Alright, boys and girls, this is important stuff – we’re about to bestow on you some enlightening knowledge that has evaded most people for centuries except for the lucky few (we’re looking at you, Romeo). So, here they are, the elusive secrets to winning with the object of your affection – we’re talking about 25 tips to flirt without being creepy!
1) Good things take time
If there’s one cardinal rule for flirting, this is it. If you’re really into this person you’ve got to be willing to put in the time and effort to get your message across in a non-intrusive, non-stalker, non-creepy way. The King had some very wise words for us when he penned ‘wise men say, only fools rush in’. Strategy, approach and patience are paramount!
2) Dress to impress
It should come as no surprise that this simple, yet grossly overlooked tip can go a really long way. Now we’re not saying you have to don an Armani suit or a Gucci dress to make a good impression, but if you present yourself in clean and neatly pressed clothes, you’ve already scored brownie points. No one wants to be hit on or approached by a seemingly creepy bum in torn and dirty clothes.
3) Hygiene is king
Yes, we’re stating the obvious, but many don’t realise the absolute criticality of this when it comes to making a good impression on the object of your affection. That means a daily shower, decent breath (good to always carry mint or gum), deodorant (we cannot stress this enough!) and neatly combed or styled hair. On the other hand, overdoing it with things like cologne or perfume and hair gel can come off as creepy.
4) Got a sense of humour? Use it!
Laughter is the best medicine and the most effective flirting tip in your arsenal to draw a person to you. Even if you commit a creepy faux-pas while carrying out your carefully laid flirting plan, you can easily deflect the negative effects with humour. Also, nothing is sexier than someone who can make you laugh!
5) Read the signs
Now, this might be easier said than done, but more often than not, the signs are pretty obvious. Most of the time you’ll know when someone is responding to your flirting because they will maintain constant eye contact, be reluctant to end the conversation, find excuses to hang out later and laugh at your dumb jokes where others mostly just roll their eyes.
6) Act your age
The best way to win someone over is to act your age; this applies more to the 30+ crowd. Getting into fist fights, excessive drinking, ogling at other people, puking your guts out, overly aggressive behaviour – all points to you being a monumental creep. Enjoy yourself by all means, but be aware of your limits. Your crush wants to know that you’re a mature adult who can handle him or herself in public with class and dignity, and if it comes down to it, look out for them too.
7) Don’t flirt
Sometimes the best way to flirt is not to flirt – wait, what? It’s true! Some people, especially those who are used to a lot of flirtatious attention, respond better to an agenda-less, platonic approach. For them it’s more of a challenge as in ‘why is this person not flirting with me when practically everyone else does?’ or it could just be a refreshing change. But be warned, this works well only when you really know that the person is like this, otherwise, your message could get lost in translation.
8) Confidence is key
Even if you’re approaching a total stranger to start a conversation, hesitation is the kill switch to the entire exercise. Always be confident, even if you get a cold shoulder or a polite rejection, smile, say ‘well, it was nice to meet you’ and walk away with dignity! You never want to leave a bad taste in the mouth by being overly persistent or throwing a tantrum – this will most definitely earn you the ‘creep’ tag.
9) Light conversation
Personal topics might be alright when you already know the person and they’re the ones who bring up the topic. But when you’re making the first move steer clear from personal queries. For example, asking someone if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend right off the bat is inappropriate! Start by introducing yourself and go on to something as simple and non-invasive as asking them what kind of drink they’re having (if you’re in a bar setting). Or if you happen to meet them in a coffee shop and they’re reading an author you like, that’s the perfect cue!
10) Compliment something other than their appearance
This person already knows they’re attractive – after all, that’s why you’ve approached them. Plus, if you focus too much on their physical appearance, you could come off as creepy. You will need to pick up on things other than their physicality, like their style or how they carry themselves. It shows your ability to notice subtleties rather than just what’s on the surface.
11) Eye contact and SMILE
Nothing says ‘creep’ like standing in a corner, staring at someone and furtively darting your eyes away when they catch you gawking. Instead, acknowledge your crush whenever you see them. If you happen to get caught sneaking a look, smile and wave! Say ‘Hi’ even if you’re just walking past them in the hallway. It also paves the way for starting a conversation when you’re finally confident enough to do so, and if you’re lucky, they’ll come to you first!
12) Bollywood is your enemy
Please do not look to this black hole for inspiration if you’re trying to win someone over. Movie flirting (read stalking, shrine-making and eve teasing) is a, super creepy and b, everything that could potentially go wrong with your flirting endeavours in the real world.
13) Pay attention and listen
When your crush is talking to you, it’s easy to drift off and start imagining your future wedding, 2 kids and a golden retriever in your countryside villa, but hold your horses. All that will remain a fantasy if you’re not able to relate to them first. Listening is key in any conversation, which also means you should never interrupt someone mid-sentence – there’s nothing more off-putting. But when you’re able to absorb conversational tidbits and relay them at a later date – you’ve struck gold.
14) Non-intrusive physical contact
We would discourage men from trying this because nothing is creepier than a guy who invades personal space unless of course, you know for sure that she’s comfortable with it. It can, however, work wonders for the ladies. If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get through to him with subtle hints, a light touch on the shoulder or arm, mid-conversation, will definitely do the trick as long as you don’t go overboard or overdo it.
15) Being a gentleman
Fellas, there’s nothing wrong with opening doors and pulling out chairs for the ladies. Just because she’s a strong, independent woman, doesn’t mean she will not appreciate being pampered once in a while. And ladies, when a guy pulls out a chair for you, he’s not undervaluing your ability to do it yourself; he’s trying to be attentive and show you that he cares. Be careful it doesn’t cross the line, however, for example, don’t order for your date in a restaurant, this can come off as presumptuous and creepy.
16) Small, thoughtful gifts
If you know the person reasonably well, a small gift goes a long way to convey your feelings for them. It could be as small as a keychain or even a CD you know they will like. Just remember, the gift should be relevant so that it lets them know they’re on your mind. If there’s no thought behind the gift, however, then it just looks like you’re trying to buy their attention which is, you got it, creepy!
17) Become fluent in body language
If you strike up a conversation in an attempt to flirt and you get one-word answers in response, it means this person is indulging you out of politeness and is not interested in talking to you. Similarly, if you’re having a conversation and the person is responsive, leaning into you, touching your arm, etc, then you’re good to go. If not, then you should either change tactics or bail. In short, learn to tell the difference between when a person is inching towards you and when they’re inching away from you.
18) Don’t try to ‘pick up’ someone
The worst possible way to start a conversation with an attractive stranger you’ve had your eye on is using a corny pick-up line. However well-intentioned, original and clever it may be, it just sends the message that you have only one agenda and you couldn’t care less about getting to know them. As a conversation starter, it’s always better to go for casual and non-personal banter.
19) Less is more
Remember it’s better to be perceived as just being nice rather than being a creep. You can easily win someone over with niceness, but you’ll earn their avoidance forever if you impose yourself and don’t respect boundaries. Even if you choose to ‘flirt’ with ‘How was your day?’ or ‘What are your plans for the weekend?’ that’s absolutely fine and can work just as well as a gift or a compliment.
20) Know your boundaries with conversation topics
Especially when it comes to sharing adult jokes and stories. We all love a good naughty joke, but one should be careful not to cross the line when it comes to someone you just met and are trying to get to know better. A little innuendo is rarely ever a problem, however, overtly sexual humour can come off as crass and creepy.
21) Maintain a healthy distance
Sometimes when your crush starts responding to your attention, you feel the need to know what they’re up to every waking moment of the day. Cease and desist! It’s not only creepy but also extremely annoying to have someone message you every 10 minutes or send you 50 messages in a row if you don’t reply immediately. Whatever favourable impression you may have built up with this person will disintegrate faster than a snowflake in hell. Keep a reasonable distance and leave them wanting more!
22) Playful teasing is good, being rude is not
Teasing your crush about their cute little quirks can set the mood for playful banter and make the sparks fly. On the other hand, making them feel embarrassed or humiliating them will cost you not only your efforts but probably also a potential friend. Draw the line at making fun of someone’s physical characteristics, background and values.
23) No one likes a braggart
You might have saved a baby from a burning building or have a bank account bigger than Bill Gates, but shoving great things about yourself down someone’s throat from the get-go may not be the best idea; same goes for name-dropping. There’s nothing more tasteless than bragging because though it may seem to you like you’re just trying to get someone to like you, to them it will seem like you’re trying to establish your own superiority.
24) Create a comfort zone
Awkwardness and general creepiness are the biggest buzzkills when you’re trying to create a bubble wherein your flirting can commence. Always remember to make the person feel comfortable and at ease, they shouldn’t feel trapped or obligated to have a conversation with you; this means you will have to give them an escape route just in case. For example, it’s probably not the best idea to approach an attractive stranger in an elevator.
25) Fake it and you won’t make it
We’ve all been caught in our own web of lies at some point in our lives, which begs the question – why complicate things by faking it if your aim is to start a relationship with someone you obviously care about? It’s always better to be truthful. Though it may seem like a good idea to paint a more impressive picture by giving yourself a promotion, a better job or a bigger bank account, even the tiniest lie can snowball into something way beyond your control if you’re not careful – so why risk it at all?