Sometimes shyness goes hand-in-hand with self-doubt and you might feel invisible. But you could never be invisible. We bet someone has already noticed you and is waiting for a little eye contact, a smile, or some small sign of reassurance. Stay open to your surroundings and look around to see who might be interested in you, then acknowledge them with your body language. This is a subtle icebreaker, but can draw people to you.
5 Tips for Flirting, Onscreen and Off
My vlog question this month was what makes someone a “Smooth Talker.” After many interviews, I’ve concluded that a big part of it is showing romantic interest in someone in a way that gets them interested too. Otherwise known as flirting—something I am constantly being accused of, even when my interest is 100% non-romantic. However, when I am looking to get the attention of someone I find attractive, there are at least 5 things I know I do. And they work in TV and movies too!
Check them out:
1. Make your presence known. When you’re interested in someone, make sure they know you exist. This can be accomplished simply by smiling, maintaining eye contact, and initiating conversation. May seem obvious, but even I have been guilty of depending on mutual friends to introduce me to someone I find cute. But a casual introduction by a third party does not say, “I think you’re hot!” And the key is to make a lasting impression. Anyone who’s watched the movie Hitch’s Alex ‘Hitch’ Hitchens (Will Smith) has witnessed this being accomplished against all odds:
2. Give compliments. And not just obvious ones. Instead, be in the moment and look for actions or traits that genuinely impress you to comment on. If the person you’re interested in says something to make you laugh, don’t be afraid to mention how funny you think he or she is. And if all else fails, you can always dedicate a poem to your love interest, like Darius (Larenz Tate) did to Nina (Nia Long) after they first met in Love Jones.
3. Find a reason to make contact. Innocent, unnecessary touching is a guaranteed way to show interest! And an easy way to start is with a handshake. Not one with a power grip, but one that lingers and is accompanied with eye contact and a smile. Another way to “connect” is a subtle forearm grab upon excusing yourself to go to the bathroom or leaning in to talk in a loud room. In most cases this only works for women, but men can sometimes pull it off too. On Sex and the City, for example, Robert (Blair Underwood) went beyond the call of duty to make contact with Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) around minute 2:15 of this clip:
4. Names matter. Never underestimate the power of remembering and using someone’s name. And saying someone’s name suggests you’re interested in getting to know them better. Check out Whitley (Jasmine Guy) from A Different World—after making her presence known (tip #1!)—strategically slipping in the name of the guy she’s crushing on (min 1:34):
5. Be engaged! Be inquisitive! This is where my work as a journalist comes in handy;) You’ll never guess how many times I’ve been introduced to someone for the first time and learned something about them that our mutual friend knew nothing about. Listening, asking follow-up questions, and getting to those “I can’t believe I’m telling you this” moments will definitely leave a lasting impression.
And always: Be Yourself. When flirting, ultimately you should only say and do things that come naturally. Nothing is worse than looking like you’re trying too hard!
Have you used any of these tips while flirting? Tips of your own to share?
Veralyn Williams is a Multimedia Freelance Journalist currently working in New York City. She has spent 4 years at WNYC Radio working with various departments including: Radio Rookies, Culture, News, and Freakonomincs. Also freelancing for Black Enterprise, BronxNet Television,Bedsider, and The Museum for African Art. Her independent work is featured on her website VeralynMedia.com. Through all of her endeavors she aims to give a voice to perspectives that are often forgotten in the media.
Good Crush: Connecting Student Bodies
Flirting with a crush has never been this easy…or this anonymous…
With the help of guest reporter Emily Corwin, Laura Stepp takes a look at college internet dating and specifically goodcrush.com, a popular site that “eliminates potential awkwardness and shyness from romantic interactions by offering simple, fun, and exciting ways to turn your crush into a GoodCrush - a match.” [9 min 9 sec]
Originally published on SexReally.com on April 19, 2010.
Eyelash Batting, Pursuit, Conquest, and Cognitive Dissonance
Originally published on SexReally.com on October 21, 2009.
Big, big smile to the gas station attendant. I was ten years old, and it was summer. I was riding in the front seat of my grandfather’s camper, on my way to meet my mother and sister at the pool. I could detect a glint in the teenage boy’s eyes, and found myself tossing my hair and batting my eyelashes. At ten.
My stoic German grandfather looked over at me. He frowned. As we pulled out of the lot, he moved the van into a parking spot. “Katherine, I need to talk to you about something,” he said firmly.
I loved having the favor of this brilliant, eccentric, bellowing man. A German immigrant, a vegetarian at the age of 7, my Opa taught me the value of independent thinking and living in accordance with one’s own ideals. I could tell he was unhappy, and became silent and attentive.
He looked me square in the face. “Throughout the course of your life, you are going to be encouraged to participate in a whole host of behaviors. Some, you will be encouraged to participate in simply by virtue of being a young lady. You are an attractive girl and you will realize that you can use this to your advantage in life, to receive things or hold power with men. However, I am going to ask something of you right now. I am going to ask that you never be the kind of woman to abuse someone’s real and true interest in you, real and genuine feelings, for her own gain. I am going to ask now that you never exploit someone who has taken to you in that way, because I think you are a stronger, better person than that. You do not have to reciprocate those feelings EVER – never let anyone make you feel you do. But you can at least be respectful of someone having them as long as they are being respectful towards you.”
Fairly heavy for someone who hasn’t hit puberty yet.
I nodded. And I thought.
This moment would come back to me over years, in a host of ways. It would come back to me as I watched men and women string each other along, power struggle, bait and switch, mislead, and misrepresent. It was a heady feeling to be a teenage girl and notice the way adult men would stare at your body, appraising, appreciative – and at times scary and leering. It was terrifying to witness the nature of friendships with boys change, the nature of teasing change, of banter and rough-housing. Befriending a girl labeled a “slut” in high school afforded me the tag of one as well, years before I had ever even slept with a boy.
After a few experiences of being the sidekick to the popular girl at parties, in vans, at raves and behind the schoolyard, and after navigating my way (usually with humor and awkwardness) out of messy, scary situations, I began to get the message that attracting men was a form of power but also posed an undeniable threat. I failed to see this as the “well-intentioned” sort of admiration my grandfather had spoken of to me.
It becomes clear to most women and girls fairly quickly that to arouse desire also means to invite unwanted advance, comment, assessment and demarcation. The same guy who tells you how fine you are one moment can scream at you that you are a worthless cunt and a bitch when you ignore him the next. I have wanted to go back in time, and ask my Opa what he would think about a guy I met recently, who worked at a café I frequented. This guy had always been really friendly to me, and one day pulled me aside to tell me he had been interested in me for over a year. He asked me out to lunch. It seemed so genuine that I gave him my number – only to deal with a drunken call that night at 4 am asking what I was up to.
I don’t think that is the kind of attention my Opa had in mind.
Against this kind of a backdrop, is it any wonder girls and women struggle with feeling safe about being sexual?
Sex, love and attraction are richer and more powerful when experienced in unscripted ways, by complex, whole human beings – with their own share of assets, histories, and foibles. Humans find ways to appreciate some aspects of traditional gender roles that work for them but also challenge those that don’t. As a culture, we have everything to gain from being frank about this – and, as my Opa said, honoring genuine respect and admiration in one another, as depraved as the backdrop we are living against may be.
Katy Otto is a social justice activist, writer and musician who grew up in the DC area. She works in nonprofit management and development.