Men and women flirt differently, for both different reasons and expected outcomes. Flirting is an art that requires confidence without being over the top. Some of the same things that work in real life, also apply to online flirting. Let’s face it, someone has to break the ice, and all relationships begin with successful flirting.
How do you achieve that halfway point?
Ninety percent of all communication is non-verbal. Body language always speaks first in any conversation. When you are confident your body relaxes, you lean in, you smile, and you become more animated. When you are tense or not at ease with yourself, you will be sitting back, crossing your legs, maybe your arms are folded, your mouth will barely break a smile, and your eyes will be searching the room. Knowing this will help you convey confidence with your body language.
If you flirt just to be friendly, you’re opening yourself to different opportunities. You may well end up with a new lover, or at the very least, a good friend. You might even be introduced to the ‘Right One’ by this person. One never knows! Keep your options open.
Tips To Become A Successful Flirt:
- Just relax. Have fun! Be lighthearted, funny, and entertaining. Make this person eager to talk to you again. Flirting is being playful.
- Radiate confidence. Successful flirts have a positive outlook on life. You need to transmit this feel-good factor in your words and approach. An optimistic attitude attracts everyone.
- Give out genuine compliments, and do it often. Suddenly doors fly open when you make them feel good about themselves. This person will want to spend more time with you and if he/she pays you a compliment, say thank you. Don’t be self-depreciating.
- Listen. Pay attention to what they have to say and ask appropriate questions. Get them to open up and talk about themselves. Be sincerely interested.
- Don’t be rude. Flirting does not include being sexually explicit nor taking offense if the person isn’t responding to you. If there’s no interest, take the hint and move on. If you get a lot of rejections, you should probably consider a different approach.
- Send an email after you chat. It’s similar to sending a thank you note or a gift, and it is vital to successful flirting. Don’t try to go too fast.
Think dating is difficult? Try dating with a five-year-old or fourteen-year-old watching your every move. Suddenly your romantic life is immersed in the morals, values, and integrity you’ve established for your children. Can you hold fast to them or are you just talking out of the both sides of your mouth?
Every single parent must remember they are showing their kids how to date: what to look for in a man or woman, how to act, how to be treated, is sex before marriage ok, is a lot of sex with a lot of different people before marriage ok?
Children notice a strange man in mom’s bedroom, they notice a half naked woman in the kitchen in the morning. They’ll quiz you incessantly about your date, did you like the guy, do you think you might get married to that woman. They’ll also be loaded with opinions about your dates: be ready to hear not that just “he’s nice” or “she’s pretty” but “he looks mean” or “She doesn’t like me, I can tell.”
So there are some proven suggestions for loving, caring parents who for one reason or another find themselves back in the dating game.
- Ask yourself — how important are your kids to you? This is a serious question. “I love them to death,” isn’t a serious answer. “I love them so much I’m willing to put off any relationship for a year or two or three,” is a serious answer. I’m not saying that’s always necessary, but sometimes it is. God put the destiny of these young children in your hands, you can’t be willing to throw it out the window for the first good-looking regional manager that walks into your life.
- If your first relationship ended in divorce, remember your kids probably still love their parent. They don’t want to hear how much nicer this new woman is than their mother. For awhile they won’t want to hear how much more you love this new person.
- You don’t have to, in fact you shouldn’t, introduce every date to your kids. This will only confuse them and let them build up false hope about a person they unexpectedly like.
- Let every date know you have kids. This will eliminate future complications with prospective partners who absolutely aren’t ready for the responsibility of kids.
- Do not let your kids find half-naked strangers roaming around your house in the early morning.
- When you feel a relationship has become serious enough to introduce the kids, keep everything low key. Maybe a picnic or trip to the zoo with young kids, so the focus isn’t on “the new person.” Older kids can be tougher or easier depending. Sometimes, if the parent is a widow, they just want their parents to be happy. Other times, if they are children of divorce, don’t expect them to love the new person overnight.
- Remember, somebody can be a fun date and suck at being a mom or dad. The more you’re around them, the more you’ll be able to tell.
My single friends and I often joke about the advice we’re constantly given by our parents, our coupled-up friends and basically, anyone who hears yes, we’re ‘still single’ and yes, ‘still looking.’ The words of wisdom are never delivered with any malicious intent and really, are meant to raise our spirits and ensure we don’t adopt a mostly-bitter attitude toward finding our life partner. But the kicker that’s humorous – especially if you’ve been dating for quite some time, like I have – is that all advice seems to contradict itself. You have to put yourself out there, but not try too hard. You should try online dating, but don’t rely on it completely. You should play hard to get, but don’t be too unavailable or you’ll come across as unapproachable…
…and the list goes on.
As an effort to approach the New Year with a refined attitude toward love and to transition our mindset in a healthy direction, it’s time to let go of some of these tired, old fashioned ways of looking at love. Therapists who are trained to help their clients work through difficult times and take long, hard looks at themselves are better equipped to offer meaningful tips for dating that could actually benefit you in the long run, instead of, well, confusing you.
That’s why, they’ve decided to officially give you permission to stop following these bad pieces of dating advice. And best of all: offer you a different solution instead.
‘Don’t get your hopes up.’
It’s frankly a mantra I repeat in my head over-and-over before any date I have. Since going into date number one, I rarely know much more than the basics, I tend to remind myself to not get too excited. Licensed family and marriage therapist Dr. Wendy O’Connor says instead of being negative, I should actually be positive. “Quit being a downer and negative! Stay positive, motivated, ambitious. If the dating style gets old, boring or just plain bad, find inspiration. Find new interests, new groups. Inspire yourself and others will quickly follow. You will see your luck shift into positive outcomes. Positive thoughts become positive actions,” she explains.
‘You have to research your date and partner, so you’re not blindsided.’
As talented as you might be at identifying someone’s full name by piecemealing the information you know about them via a dating app, therapist Dr. Nikki Martinez, LCPC says to resist the temptation. You may think that you’re setting yourself up to not be shocked when you meet this person, or discover their unruly past, but in reality, you’re taking a lot of the magic of dating discovery out of your experience. “It is not healthy, it is taking you away from doing productive things, and it keeps you stuck in a time and place that is not good for you,” she explains. The same goes for once you’re in a relationship (or about to make things official) and decide to take a joyride through their personal phone. “This is a violation of trust, and a huge question mark to your relationship. If you can not trust this person, you either have some personal work to do, or you are with someone you can not trust. Neither makes for a healthy relationship right now, so address it ASAP,” she notes.
‘Just join all of the dating apps, they’re all the same.’
Just like you wouldn’t go to a Chinese restaurant looking for Mexican food, Dr. Martinez says being strategic about the apps that you invest your energy, heart, and time into is important. Online dating can produce a relationship, but if you’re only swiping in an app that’s intent is based around casual encounters, you’re likely going to be feel disappointed. “There are many sites, and they are pretty clear what their purpose is. So, match your purpose. If you want to have fun, there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are looking for something serious and long term, don’t set yourself up for hurt and failure,” she explains.
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Have you ever struggled to connect on a date? Or felt absolutely nothing sitting across the table from a potential partner? Or have you ever felt a strong connection to someone and believed you were going to get another date, but the feeling was not mutual? Do you have a sense of what was missing or blocking a connection?
Or what about the opposite? Have you ever experienced an instant “click” or connection on a date or a feeling as if you had always known this person? Did you just know the date was going to lead to you in a positive direction together?
Connection is key to creating motivation to continue getting to know someone, determining compatibility, and developing affection and love toward someone. After all, the main purpose of a first date is to see if you connect, right?
Difficulty connecting commonly leads to self-doubt and a natural questioning of your own worthiness. Repetitive failed connections or an inability to connect during dating experiences can wear on your self-esteem and confidence. Discrepancies in perception of how a date went can also make your dating life feel disappointing and draining.
It is important to remember you are worthy and deserving of love regardless of your ability to connect in dating. What you can do, though, is take control of your dating approach and engage in behaviors that promote meaningful connection.
In fact, many of my clients say that “clicking” on a first date feels like magic, but there are actually certain mindsets and behaviors that are known to lead to connection.
Here are seven strategies to promote greater connection in dating:
Connect with yourself and hold yourself in a positive light.
Connecting with others can be challenging if you don’t feel connected to yourself, have a deep understanding of who you are and what you want, or have insecure and self-critical thoughts. Reflect on your personality, values, lifestyle preferences, hobbies, goals, and aspirations and take action on what is important or enjoyable to you. Developing yourself, honing in on your strengths and values, letting go of your flaws and imperfections, and engaging in behaviors that leave you feeling confident, content, and rejuvenated will aid you in feeling secure in what you have to offer a potential partner. Approaching dates with a positive mindset and self-image is a major component to connecting on a date.
Ensure you are emotionally available and ready to date.
If you arrive on dates with an ex or unhealed breakup on your mind or other potential partners floating around your thoughts, it is highly unlikely you are going to be present and open enough to actually connect to the person right in front of you, so it is crucial to honestly assess if you are ready to date. If you are ready, remember to approach dating with curiosity, openness, and positive energy and leave the past behind.
While walking to a workout class, busily talking to my mom about my latest dating flop, she kindly reminded me that when the time is right, when the stars align, when the right person comes along, it won’t be so difficult to fall in love. She’s a big believer in the way the universe twists and turns, often giving us signs if we’re open-hearted enough to see them. I usually take everything she says as scripture (she is my mama, after all!), but on this particular sticky hot afternoon, I just couldn’t be bothered. I heard myself say snippy words as my eyes welled up with those big, splashy, unapologetic tears, and I quickly hurried off the phone.
Even an hour’s worth of boxing didn’t make me feel better, and though I had so many things to check off my to-do list, something told me to stop by Barnes & Noble before heading to my apartment. I remembered how my mom once said we all need some inspiration when we’re feeling defeated or disappointed, and maybe, just maybe, I’d find something that would give me that hope that often feels far away after five years of being single.
Normally not one to judge a book by it’s cover (I’m an avid Kindle reader, for the record) – I couldn’t help but look at a small, lightly-colored book called ‘Godwinks On Love.’ I told myself that I would only buy the book – a real, tangible book! – if I opened it to a random page and something spoke to me.
For whatever reason, I pried it open and my eyes instantly went to a date that was written out – September 16. No big deal, right? Wrong – that’s my birthday. Without hesitation, I hurried to check out and called my mom to apologize. I didn’t know what was in store for me with this quick-read book, but within a week, I had highlighted so many passages, cried my way through the chapters and gone to sleep every single night feeling more positive and full of life.
I’m still single but this profound book full of heartwarming stories that really make you trust in something bigger than yourself, was exactly what this 20-something girl needed. Luckily for me, the author – SQuire Rushnell (NOTE: the capital Q isn’t a typo!) took some time to answer questions for me about how he created the inspiring Godwink collection, along with some advice for daters like me:
What is a godwink?
SQuire Rushnell: “A “godwink” is one of those little experiences that everyone has; you’re tempted to call it “coincidence” but you know it’s something more … something of divine origin.
When that word came into mind, writing my first GodWinks book, I thought of when we were kids, sitting at the big table; you looked up and saw someone you loved looking back at you⎯they gave you a silent communication, a wink⎯you never said, “What do you mean by that?” You KNEW! It meant, “Hey kid, I’m thinking of you right now! I love you!” Well, that’s what a godwink is.
As someone who has been single for most of her adult life, reading your book was the breath of fresh air I really needed. It’s so hard to maintain hope in dating!
SR: I so identify with you. When you are feeling that perfect love in life is something that has passed you by, it gets pretty hopeless. But, I honestly believe that God has created the perfect mate for everyone. Think about this: Why would the God, who created everything perfectly, not have a perfect mate for you? Everything around you is a symphony of perfect design, balance, and color.
I once was mired in loneliness and hopeless about finding perfect love. But I now know that when I cried out in constant prayer that I was placing myself on His GPS⎯ God’s Positioning System. Louise was doing the same thing at the same time. It took awhile for Him to Divinely Align all the events and godwinks in our lives, so that our paths would intersect, but it was worth the wait. When the godwinks began, and our love ignited, it was better than any fourth of July fireworks. And today, 16 years later, I can honestly say that I love my wife more today than yesterday.
What tips do you have for someone who wants to stay positive?
SR: When you ask in prayer, believing that God is who He says He is, and can do what He says He can do, you should expect to receive perfect love. And also expect your answered prayers to come in the form of godwinks.
Godwinks happen more often when you get out of your comfort zone, leaving your baggage behind, and doing things that may take a little courage. Does that mean that people who engage others in conversation, and are actively involved in projects are more likely to experience godwinks than someone who is sitting at home watching TV? Yes.
Sometimes the very things we find attractive in someone may actually be warning signs that they may not be good for us in the long run. Those high expectations that make him a success in business may turn to unnecessary pressure in a crisis. That dramatic flair that makes him exciting, may actually keep him from being a comfort to you in a time of need. Here are 5 warning signs that your guy may not be good in a crisis.
He can’t go with the flow.
How does he react when things don’t go according to plan? When you get stuck in traffic does he freak out? How about when plans change at the last minute? What does he do when you’re late? If your partner sweats the small stuff, don’t assume he’ll rise to the occasion when there’s a real crisis. Instead, what you see is probably what you’ll get. Most people don’t change personalities during a crisis. In fact, most revert to type. The guy who freaks out when there’s a change of plan, may not be able to handle the uncertainties of a health crisis, or have the flexibility he needs to be a great parent.
He has friends or family he chooses not to speak to anymore.
This is a big red flag. Anyone who is capable of cutting people out of their lives has the ability to see the world as black and white. The truth is that relationships, and life in general, have a lot of gray matter. The more forgiving someone is, the more empathy they have and the more supportive they are likely to be. Make sure you get the story on why he’s pushed someone away and ask yourself if you’d do the same.
There’s a big difference between someone with high expectations and a perfectionist. A perfectionist is defined in Merriman Webster dictionary as: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable; especially: the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness. Need I say more? When a crisis hits, sometimes all you can do is get through the day. A perfectionist can’t let go of expectations and that pressure can be debilitating for someone going through a difficult time.
He talks much more about himself than you to his friends and family.
A supportive partner will be excited to share your accomplishments. He will be sure to mention how well you’re doing at work, or even some small thing that you’ve done that he’s proud of. An unsupportive partner will fail to mention both the big and small things that happen in your world. Instead, he will focus only on what he himself has done. This type of partner may resent the attention you receive during a crisis.
If your guy is the type who seems to create drama wherever he goes, a crisis may bring out the chance for even more. Instead of being the calm in your storm, he may bring on the thunder and add to your emotional burden.
So, now that you see the flags, what do you do? You may not need to kick your guy to the curb right now (unless you checked off every single one of these traits), but it’s good to take stock. Ask yourself how YOU are in a crisis? What do you need during your times of need? Maybe you are the strong one and you like it that way. Or maybe you get tired of always being the one who has to be stoic. Maybe the more intense he gets, the calmer you get and his demeanor doesn’t stress you out. If, on the other hand, you wind each other up, it may be time to think about making a change.
A friend I’ll call “Ed” kept pushing me to contribute to my school’s alumni fund. The more he called me, the more stubborn I felt that my answer was, “No.”
I felt that not only did I lack the money necessary to contribute in order to make a true difference, but I also knew whatever I could give would be paltry in relation to what the fund had already accumulated.
Finally, Ed said, “You’re the only person who hasn’t said yes.”
Maybe that was the truth. Maybe not. Knowing Ed — and his narcissistic ego — I sensed his motivation behind so actively pursuing my contribution had more to do with his desire to be able to say he got 100% of our class to contribute.
So I said, “I guess that’s the way we’ll have to leave it.”
We all receive unwanted requests from time to time. Some deal with money. Some deal with our precious time. Maybe you’re more generous than I was, or maybe you’re less stubborn. Your response may vary according to the situation, and whether or not you currently possess the resources, abilities, or time needed to oblige.
Learning to say no when requests are unreasonable, impossible, or simply unwanted frees your energy, time, and financial resources so you can say yes to those things you find truly important.
Here is a simple two-step process to identify how and when to confidently say, “NO.”
1. Identify the driving motivational tendencies beneath your difficulty saying no.
In general, women (particularly heterosexual women) find it more difficult to say no than do most men. Women are more concerned about hurting others’ feelings, and are generally more anxious about incurring hostility or resentment from the person asking.
You’ll know immediately that opportunities and issues lie within you as specific concerns and motivations are identified.
One of my closest friends has collected several people she calls her friends. I call them takers, and sometimes narcissists. The relationships she has with these people are one-way streets with aspects of co-dependency — a form of relationship dysfunction in which “one person’s help supports (enables) the other’s under-achievement, irresponsibility, immaturity, addiction, procrastination, or poor mental or physical health.” This dynamic often breeds greater dependency and postpones the other person’s progress, ultimately wearying if not draining the giver.
Too many of my own friendships have been based on such “helping” relationships. Over time, I began to realize how tired I felt being the useful one (if not used), in spite of satisfying my need to be needed, as well as to be seen as a good person. I had to be honest with myself and accept how lopsided these relationships were in order to then wean myself of the habit of forming relationships with needy people.
Do we know what we are doing when it comes to modern relationships, or are we just being hi-jacked by primitive emotions?
There’s a scene in the 1996 movie ‘Jerry Maguire’, where Tom Cruise famously says to Renée Zellweger, “You Complete Me”. It’s a dry your eyes romantic moment, but it’s at the heart of what goes wrong in relationships.
We are drawn to another person for a sense of completeness. We hope that this relationship will heal or fill an empty space in our life. And for a short time we are wrapped up in a cloud of ‘feel good’ hormones and everything looks and feels better. Then, our brain chemistry normalizes, reality comes crashing in, and we notice that the partner we chose to fill our void, is trying to make changes in us to fill their own. Welcome to codependency!
Modern relationships come in many forms; dating online or in person, cohabiting, marriage, divorce, single-parent dating, remarriage, to name a few.
I’ve experienced all of these and as a researcher and writer on self-leadership, I have a few pieces of advice for those of you who are still looking for ‘the perfect relationship’.
- Would you live with you? Before we can successfully be in a relationship with another person, we need to be comfortable with ourselves. We don’t have to be perfect, that’s not what self-esteem means. We need to be comfortable with our imperfections. We need to know what we want, need, value, and believe or how else will we authentically communicate this to a partner.
- Learn from the past, don’t repeat it. Your past relationships are not failures, they are part of the learning process to understand what you want, need, value, and believe. If it didn’t work, be honest with yourself about why that was and avoid repeating the pattern. For example, if you are looking for someone to fix, to make your feel better, and they leave you after being ‘fixed’ – there’s a good chance that will happen again.
- Understand that the only person you can change is you. People to grow and evolve together but only when they accept each other as they are. The fatal mistake in relationships is to try and change something in someone else. You can communicate how a behavior makes you feel, but the choice to change rests firmly with them. And saying, “If you loved me, you’d do this…” is manipulation 101 and never ends well.
- Don’t settle. For a relationship to last, it has to be physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. We often try to settle for 2 or 3 out of 4. If the sex is great but you can’t enjoy a movie together because of a difference in intellect or education, then things are going to turn sour. If you can express your emotions with each other, but spiritually your values clash, then a schism is on the horizon.
- Communicate. This is the most fundamental of relationship advice – and the most powerful. Learn to authentically communicate your wants, needs, values and beliefs and listen openly to your partner without judgment. You are unlikely to be in relationship with your clone, and so there will be differences, but these conflicts can often be resolved by communicating in the following way; a) here’s what’s happening, b) this is what I feel, c) this is what I need, d) and so this I my request. The power of this 4-step communication strategy is that there is no blame. You are not making it your partners fault you have a feeling or an unmet need, but you are giving them an opportunity to adjust their perspective or behavior through a request.
We are all emotionally needy to some degree in relationships — meaning simply that, during a difficult time, we need more emotional support than usual. We all long to be understood, supported, loved, and accepted.
It’s OK to reach out and ask for help — sometimes. And that’s okay. Yet, being overly emotionally needy — too demanding, clingy, annoying, fragile — can spell trouble for your relationship.
A person should be able to stand on their own, tolerate aloneness, and manage their own ‘stuff’ for a healthy relationship to exist. How we go about expressing our needs has a lot to do with our personality and our attachment style — our style based on how we learned to relate to our parents and how emotionally available they were…or not.
There are 3 styles of attachment that help create how secure or insecure we feel in relationships: secure, anxious, and avoidant.
Secure people present themselves as warm and loving and were most likely raised with caregivers that were consistently caring and responsive. Avoidant people often come across as dismissive, often minimize closeness and were raised in an environment that was less emotional and one in which insecurity and neediness were not tolerated.
However, people with an anxious attachment style are the ones that present and who are seen as overly needy. Some of the key characteristics are:
•Minimizing or denying their needs and look to others to fill their emotional gaps and emptiness in a way that often becomes manipulative.
•Worrying about their partner’s love and ‘search out’ for all the mannerisms and nuances that might indicate that their partner doesn’t love them.
•Emotionally overwhelmed and will reach out and ‘need’ their partner more to make them feel secure or constantly remind them of how they feel.
•Insecurity and oversensitivity to any slight.
•Had parents (or a parent) who was inconsistently nurturing. This created inner angst and turmoil and contributed to their anxiety — especially around relationships.
However, this often leaves their partner emotionally tapped out and overwhelmed by their neediness. They are worn out. And yet, anxious people do the very thing they fear the most will happen — they push their partner away. Their behaviors are counterproductive, yet hard to stop doing in the moment.
For the other person, there is nothing they can do to help this person. You cannot encourage growth, compliment them, or reassure them — enough. They have an insatiable and exhausting emotional ‘neediness.’
Dear Sara: I just read your article about conquering the fear of rejection and continuing to put oneself out there. My question: How do I know whether my status is a stigma against putting myself ‘out there’? Why is a female widow viewed as unavailable?
I am a widow, and almost every [time] I get into a conversation with a man, I get asked the question, why haven’t I found someone yet? I try to carefully explain that it has taken me time to grieve and to accept going forward with my life after my husband of 29 years passed, but regardless of how politely and positively I explain my past, there is an awkwardness that creeps into the conversation that makes me feel like the man is pulling back, like there are red flags going off. Please advise your thoughts and opinions on how a widow restarts a journey towards a new relationship. — Thank you, P
Dear P: It’s puzzling that the men you’ve met so far want to know why you haven’t found someone yet. Obviously, you did find someone and you clearly were able to have a strong, lasting relationship with him. Far from working against you, it seems to me that should work foryou.
My guess—and honestly, that’s all is—is that these men are possibly threatened by your late husband’s memory. Most people who are in the dating realm are there because none of their past relationships led to lifelong love. That’s not true for you and your late husband: You two truly were “Till death do us part.”
That might be intimidating to some men. They might worry that they will always be compared unfavorably to your departed spouse.
So I think you were very wise to take time to grieve, and to explain that you have done so to the men you date. Of course, it’s important to let anyone new in your life know that you aren’t trying to replace your late husband, but you are ready to move forward.
But after that, any inadequacy a prospective suitor might feel is his problem.
Instead of seeing your situation as something that puts you at a disadvantage, or as a problem you somehow need to fix, I suggest you view it as a useful filtering device, one that can save you time and energy. If a man worries that your experience in a loving, nearly 30-year marriage has given you a standard or two, good. If he senses that the memory of your loving husband will prevent you from taking any of his nonsense, then let him take his nonsense elsewhere.