Saturday

How to Flirt


QUESTION: Dear Chuck and Garland,
I am twenty years old and I am in college. Dating in this setting can be difficult, because most of the time it simply doesn't exist. I understand that my twenties are for figuring out who I am and also what I like. However, I am very shy when it comes to interacting with guys. So much to the point that if I do encounter a guy that I like, I usually do the opposite of what I should do (ie: ignoring him, not striking up a conversation ect).

I was wondering if you had any advice on how I can get over being so shy, and if you had any tips on how to flirt? I do not want to be overt and profoundly obvious like I have witnessed others. I believe in being subtly, but to pick on my "subtle" hints, the guy would have to be psychic.

So please, if you can, give me advice on how to be approachable.

Thanks so much,
Punch D.
GARLAND: Hey Punch D - thanks for checking our blog out!

Being shy can work in your favor sometimes... it keeps you from being too cocky and running headfirst into some foolishness, so it can be a good thing.

I think I used to be pretty shy when I was in my early 20's, and then I got an odd boost of self confidence that gave me a bit of a swagger that I'm not sure I ever lost. I think the key to losing your shyness is simply infusing yourself with confidence. The only way I can think of doing this - sitting here in front of my laptop - sounds pretty shallow, but I think it might work. Look around you at the other young ladies and see where you rank with them. Now, you have to do this internally, YOU are the only judge here. But I think you will find that you rank pretty well with everyone you. When I say "rank" I mean, yeah... in the shallow sense of the word AND in the deep sense of the word. Find physical things that play to your advantage and mental things that make you stand out. Maybe your eyes are prettier than most, maybe your smile is prettier, maybe you have an odd dimple that makes you stand out, maybe your GPA is higher then most, maybe you can play the violin, maybe you want to find the cure for HIV/AIDS when you graduate - ALL of those things stand out and all of those things should work towards building up that self confidence and peeling off some of that shyness.

Now surely, someone is not going to like me saying that you need to compare yourself physically to the other young ladies on campus. They'll say that I'm being sexist or shallow... but they will be wrong. Anyone that claims to have never looked at someone else and compared themselves to them is lying. I think people do it everyday and it's nothing wrong with it. There's nothing wrong with determining that your cutier than this person or maybe not as cute as that person - but you have to make sure that you understand that everyone has their own beauty in who they are, so don't dwell too much on so-in-so's hairdo or their booty or something else like that per se, I want you to realize that you have a physical presence and you'll probably be surprised by how strong it truly is.

The key point I'm trying to get across to you is, in my humble opinion, is that shyness in and of itself is not a bad thing and I think you know that. However, if you want to change it, you need to get a big dose of self confidence and you have to really appreciate how special you are, how interesting you are and you have to understand that people around you will benefit from your opinions and ideas. This holds true for the guy or guys that you want to approach. YOU ARE SOMEONE SPECIAL and you bring that specialness whereever you go. YOU just HAVE to believe that!

Now, what can you do to be noticed, to be flirty, to be 'subtle?' Hmm, I guess that all I can think of is what raises my eyebrow - "The Casual Pass By" It's one thing to walk up to a guy and say, "Hey, my name is Punch D and I think you're pretty smooth. You want to have dinner tomorrow night?" Okay, sure, you COULD do that - but we both know you're not and that is OKAY. But what I mean by the 'casual pass by' is this: You see a guy you want to chat up, take a moment and think of something brief and sensible to say and just say it and keep on walking. Now, you may have to do this a few times before he tries to pull you into a conversation, but I believe it will work. FOR EXAMPLE: You and him are in a class together and on your way out the lecture hall you pass him and say something like, "Can you believe she [the instructor] wants us to write 14 pages tonight?" And then keep walking. It lets him know that:

1. YOU'VE NOTICED HIM
2. YOU'RE NOT INTIMIDATED

3. YOU'RE SMOOTH

and

4. YOU'RE NOT PRESSED [to stop and talk to him].

Maybe the next day you don't say anything to him in that class because you know you're gonna' run into him later. When you see him again in a day or two say something else equally brief... play it cool and I think very shortly he'll approach you and a dialog will ensue. They key is to not come off as pressed to talk to him and to not come off as a crazy stalker. REMEMBER that ANY guy YOU choose to date or spend time with is, IN FACT - LUCKY TO BE WITH YOU!!!

Good luck and happy hunting!
CHUCK: I don't necessarily agree with Garland's suggestion that you take inventory of those around you and compare yourself to them. You could work around some hot freakin' people. And then how would that make you feel? But I do agree with his general assertion that you should do an inventory on yourself and find out what it is that you do the best, or what your best feature is and emphasize it. I'm not suggesting that you get stuck on yourself, or you should allow your ego to swell out of control. But doing something like this can do wonders for your self-esteem. When you become aware of what your best qualities and characteristics are, you will become more confident and not be as shy.
As for the flirting, I like Garland's scenario, where an innocent contact can become the basis for a friendship to develop. One to grow on, if you will. Other innocuous actions such as maintaining eye contact, smiling, or touching someone on the arm or hand, are subtle, non-verbal ways to let them know that you are interested.
However, do not become alarmed if the subject of your attentions seems not to notice, or reciprocate your actions. Bottom line: Men are confused. You could wave a sign at a guy that said, "HEY YOU! YEAH, YOU! I AM ATTRACTED TO YOU!" And the guy would still question it because the font wasn't a certain size. When I was single, I would often question whether the signals I was receiving were the same ones being sent. If anything, guys seem even more insecure these days (see various past posts). Give a guy time to get through his stupid head that you like him, you really like him.
But hey, you have fun. Keep it light. Now is the time in your life when you should find out about yourself, and interact with your peers before things get start getting all serious and fraught with consequence. So enjoy.

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