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Let's Talk Sweet Nonsense

How does one flirt? I’ve been in a long-term relationship that has ended and I don’t know if I’m being flirtatious or creepy.

Flirt (verb) - perhaps influenced by the Old French fleureter ‘talk sweet nonsense,’ also ‘to touch a thing in passing,’ diminutive of fleur ‘flower’ and metaphoric of bees skimming from flower to flower.

Whatever your relationship status, flirting is a fun and carefree way to show you are interested in another person and can occur with friends and romantic or sexual interests. Many flirting behaviors occur almost subconsciously as our bodies respond to the chemicals pumped into our systems that say, “Hey! We like this person!” We lean in when the object of our flirt speaks, our breath quickens, and our skin flushes as blood rushes everywhere. The exaggerated eyelash flutter in films is, in reality, the look and glance away, look and glance away because we want to view the object of our attraction without the perceived open aggression of a straight-on stare.

Like the “bees skimming from flower to flower,” each person is trying to show off their best traits to woo the object of their attraction. Relax and enjoy yourself!

Much of flirting is reading and interpreting the signals from the other person. If you are engaging in small talk and the other person is responding by making eye contact, leaning in, laughing, responding with more than one-word answers, and maybe even touching your arm—all good hints that this is a successful flirting exchange. Once you have moved into the conversation part of the interaction, make sure you listen to the other person. Listening can be the best flirting technique you have ever utilized! And remember to listen with your whole body: lean in, make eye contact, make affirming vocal sounds, and paraphrase what they have said.

Important Note: If you are flirting with someone who isn’t responding to you, you are not engaging in wholesome, harmless joy. You are being a creep. Unsure if this is you, it probably is. If you are being flirted with and are not interested (if you feel safe) speak up! Say, “I’m not interested,” or “No, thank you.” If it feels unsafe, walk away or enlist help from a bystander.

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