When you want to get someone’s attention, do you flirt?
In the movies we see flirting as a lot of eyelash batting, sultry glances and witty banter back and forth. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s edgy, but rarely is it straight forward.
After all, flirting by it’s very nature is attempting to “charm” someone into bed (or at least on a date), right? It’s being coy and demure, yet making your interest known. It’s a way of putting yourself out there, but still playing it safe.
You create a dating profile online curating your best photos. You try to flirt by showing a side of yourself that’s easy-going and “cool.” To a potential date you want to be appealing and their perfect match. You might not order what you really want at a restaurant. You might keep your opinions to yourself. You may stick with neutral topics and giggle at all your date’s jokes (no matter how lame).
Flirting, as fun as it is, is unproductive at best and deceptive at least. Yes, online meeting can get the conversation started and help you assess the playing field, but don’t hide behind your idealized dating profile.
Putting it all out there, or walking up to someone and expressing your honest interest might feel frightening, but it’s also a much quicker means to an end. Telling someone you’re interested and genuinely intrigued at the prospect of getting to know them, will create intimacy much faster than arm touching and eyelash batting.
Now, in this day and age of swiping left and right and hoping into bed with someone simply based on looks and superficial circumstances has become commonplace. People are intimate in the sexual sense of the word, but it’s not connecting them.
What I find disturbing about today’s hook-up culture is it doesn’t allow for true intimacy. People are patting themselves on the back for being so open, yet in reality they’re closed off. They’re rebelling against their upbringing, society and they’re fearful of truly putting themselves out there.
Instead, true intimacy comes not from sex, but from communication. You can be emotionally intimate with friends, with your parents and family, but most importantly with your partner.
The truth is, not everyone is ready for intimacy. Some of us are still at the beginning part of our exploration and journey to discovery. You may not be prepared to date yet, and truly that’s okay. You don’t need to engage in a sexual relationship with people to keep them interested or put yourself “out there.” In fact, it’s perfectly fine and encouraged to let people know you’re doing personal growth work and simply seeking new friends right now.
When you tell someone your innermost thoughts and feelings it’s much more honest and vulnerable than flinging off your clothes and jumping into bed together. It takes real courage to tell someone how you feel and discuss what you really want.
You owe it to yourself to be honest and demand what you want and need from a relationship, rather than settling for a mediocre situation. Contorting your personality and needs to match what you perceive as the desires of the person you’re dating doesn’t work. You should be who you truly are.
When you’re honest, conflict will come up—probably often—and you know what? It’s totally okay! It’s even healthy!
Oftentimes people tiptoe around on dates (particularly woman, but men do it too) trying to be “polite,” and to put out a vibe they’re easy-going. You might see a movie you have no interest in watching, you might bite your tongue when your date selects a restaurant, you might not even order what you want to eat at the restaurant because you’re worried your date will judge you for eating too much.
The sooner you let those pretenses go, the better! Start going for what you want. Be who you really are! After all, if you charm someone into falling for you, what have they truly fallen for? You, or your most charming false self? You may pretend to have so much in common, but at heart, commonalities aren’t what makes a relationship great anyway. Instead of compatibility and commonality, you should be aiming for honesty.
You see, there’s a long-standing misconception about compatibility. Mainly that it matters.
We explore this and many other misconceptions about relationships in our book The Heart of the Fight. Even as early on as your first date, you set the precedence for setting up honesty and truth no matter where your path leads (friendship, another date or a potential relationship).
Instead of conforming to the whims of your date, be honest about what you want and what you expect. If you don’t like the restaurant, say so! If your order is wrong, speak up! If your date expresses an opinion you don’t agree with, let them know.
You see, if you’re both operating from a place of honesty, there will be conflict, but there will also be true resolution.
If you’re holding back, or attempting to flirt your way into a relationship, stop! Instead, communicate your way into getting to know each other. Authenticity, it turns out, is one of the most charming qualities out there. Have fun! Explore, connect and engage. Be yourself!
For more on how to navigate the waters of relationships and dating, please visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for a weekend Foundations Training or network opportunities. Meet friends, connect with others and get to know yourself!
Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.