Flirtation 101: Effective Methods for Flirting

At a Christian homeschool conference a few years ago I happened to pick up a little book on a table.  The book was about dating.  I figured since it was a Christian, homeschool conference, it might have some interesting tips for single girls.  It did.

In the middle of the book were two pages — one for girls, one for guys — on how to flirt with the opposite sex.  For guys, it suggested smiling, winking, holding her hand, and commenting on her hair, eyes and skin (!).  For girls, it suggested flattering his ego, gazing into his eyes and touching his arm or leg seductively (!!).  I was flabbergasted.  What was this doing here?!  The little book was teaching how to be a Jezebel.  A hussy.  A manipulative, wily, deceitful woman of the world. 

Since we have already covered what to do when a man flirts with you, and since we have addressed the question of having friends that are male, now we turn to how to act with those friends.  Worldly girls learn by osmosis how to gain attention from men, and work that talent to their ‘advantage’.  Christian girls, however, are being trained to keep Christ as their focus, not their friends (male OR female).  Even in this, however, Christian girls can unintentionally flirt with a man. 

Methods of Flirtation

The Hair Toss:  You’ve seen it; in response to a compliment, she giggles, throws her head and flicks her mane behind her back.  This is probably the most apparent method of flirtation — painfully obvious and attention-grabbing.

Eye contact:  This, I think, is an easy place to stumble.  Where looking someone in the eyes is essential for good communication, steady eye contact with a guy send signals of “I’m really interested in you…” There is a fellow at my local college who consistently tries to make eye contact with me across the room.  If I accidentally happen to pass his gaze, he assumes I am interested in him!  Be careful how long you look into someone’s eyes. 

Giggling/Whispering:  Don’t giggle and whisper to a guy.  Doing so projects a closeness with him that either isn’t happening or shouldn’t be.  Also, giggling and whispering with a girl about a guy, with him present, is another way to gain his attention, or just attention in general.

Laughing:  Okay, here is where I have a problem.  My mom has a *cough* rambunctious laugh, and so do I.  Thus, whenever I laugh, it is usually rather loud.  This is just my natural guffaw!  However, when with young men, if you laugh extra loud or often at his jokes and comments, that is a way to tell him that you like him better than anyone else.  I have to consciously tone down my laugh around men because of this. 

Flattery:  I have one male friend who happens to notice whenever anyone cuts their hair, and he usually comments on it.  When I got my hair cut, he told me it looked nice.  I knew he wasn’t flattering me because I knew his personality.  With men you don’t know, or are only aquainted with, they may try to compliment you unnecessarily to get your reaction.  In the same way, don’t dish out compliments are that aren’t relevant to the conversation, the environment or the relationship.

*Special Note

In the olden days, when a young man thought a young woman was pretty, he would whistle at her.  This still goes on today.  Men are visual, and when they see a pretty girl, they may ‘compliment’ her by throwing out a little tune her direction.  This happened to me when I was skiing a few years ago.  A young man whistled at me, and utterly flabbergasted by it, I yelled at him to “Shut up!”.  Smooth.  When I told my parents, thinking they might understand my flabbergast-edness, they told me I had disrespected that young man.  My dad said the best thing to do in those situations is to smile and walk on.  Don’t return the attention —  but don’t scorn his attempts at a compliment either. 

Aggressiveness:  This is more common in preteen girls.  Still unaware of what to do when it comes to boys — half annoyed at them and half liking them around — they fight, wrestle and punch like one of the guys.  Girls left to themselves still do this into their late teens.  It is not attractive, and comes across quite masculine rather than feminine, as we should be. 

Touching:  Even with my friends, I really don’t touch them unless I have to — and then it’s a quick pat on the upper arm to get their attention.  Guys are very responsive to touch and it belongs within very strict boundaries.  There are certain male friends that I do hug on occasion — but then it is a ‘side hug’, never signalling any intimacy.  Of course, fathers will decide what it appropriate, but I don’t know a father alive that wants his daughter running about throwing her arms around every guy’s neck!  Now, standing stiffly next to a young man is not necessary either.  Good communicators turn and look the person in the eyes, stand close enough to talk easily but do not appear possessive of their conversation partner.

Posessiveness:  Possessive girls are often very ‘latchy’ and like to keep a guy ‘on their arm’ even if he isn’t literally on their arm!  They are also jealous and sarcastic toward other girls because they present a ‘threat’ to their crush.  Jealous girls tend to be insecure, while also assuming that the guy wants to be their friend in the first place.  Something I have learned over the years is that guys like to pick their own friends.  If they approach you, and talk to you on their own, they want to be your friend.  ‘Pushing’ yourself on them makes them feel disrespected. 

Most of these can be done, and are done, unintentionally.  This certainly isn’t Phylica’s List of Do’s and Don’ts — but I hope it helps you in evaluating your own actions when interacting with young men.  In addition, I interviewed five young men about how girls flirt, and the above methods were all given as evidence of flirtation.  

Finally, a girl who has Christ as her focus will not be concerned about getting attention from men, and will not need to use any of these methods to her ‘advantage’ — because she has the Advantage of being loved by the greatest Man of all!

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Keep A Quiet Heart

There is nothing I love better than morning.  All is still, all is calm, and above the trees across the eastern pasture the sun begins to shoot brilliant golden rays into the sky.  It gleams on the dewy backs of the horses as they graze and glimmers on the blossoms of the cranberry tree.  On days like these I like to go out on the front porch with a cup of tea and watch the sun rise.  It’s a view I never tire of beholding. 

What does a sunrise signify?  To me it is a sign of peace.  It is a beautiful recognition of the new day — a new start. It is silence and song.  It is wistful and wild.  It is trust, it is faith… it is peace.  Because peace is all those things.  It is the silence of the world when the soul is in song; it is the wistfulness of wishes and wildness of dreams; it is trust in One who holds our hearts and faith that He will direct us where to go. 

Peace is not a feeling, which is something I wish I had learned long ago.  Peace is the acknowledgment that God is in control.  It is the product of trust in Christ.  Just as you can’t force the sun to come up any sooner than it does, so you cannot force yourself to have peace. Jesus said:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (Jn. 14:27)

Peace is a reflection of a heart trusting in the Lord; a lack of peace is a sign that one is carrying her burdens alone, refusing to cast them on the one who is strong enough to bear them.  True happiness and joy is found when you are free from the cares of life because you have given them to God, because in exchange for our burdens, He gives us His peace.

I am currently reading Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot.  And that is what we need to do today and every day — and here in the morning, although it is raining and the sun can’t be seen, I know that the Son is still behind every cloud… and I can keep a quiet heart.