Why You Suck At Flirting, And How to Become The Ideal Lover

Most people suck at flirting. There are some cultures where the majority of individuals do not suck at flirting, but most people don’t come from those cultures.

If it were just you, it’d be your fault — but it’s not. It’s the fault of a culture that gives a detailed education on how to look sexy or even act in specific sexy ways (talk like this, say that), but fails to teach us how to be a sexual person. This leads to a disconnect between a person’s “sexual side” and the person they are around others most of the time.

“I didn’t feel comfortable flirting because my/their friends were there.”

“I didn’t feel comfortable flirting because it was at work and I need to act professionally.”

Does this look shameful to you?

These statements, which I hear all the time, reveal a warped understanding of what flirting actually entails. Due to the sexual shame we carry, sexual feelings are often muddled with what I’ll call confusing feelings. Because these confusing feelings are so often partnered with our attempts to flirt, before we can even talk about what sexual communication is, we have to first untangle the mess of what it isn’t.

The first confusing feeling people associate with flirting is anxiety. When our bodies begin to feel more turned on by our environment this often triggers anxiety (again, due to sexual shame) and we often compensate by thinking more. We’ll run through thoughts of how we should act or what the other person is thinking — but all this is really doing is distracting us from our feelings. Instead of communicating appreciation for our sexual feelings, we’re only communicating anxiety. This naturally makes others feel less comfortable around us and sends us the signal, “my sexual feelings make others uncomfortable”.

The second confusing feeling people associate with flirting is insecurity. As I’ll discuss in greater detail in an upcoming article, most of us aren’t enjoying enough sexual intimacy — whether emotional or physical. When human beings don’t get our basic needs met, we don’t feel secure… it’s not surprising that people who are looking for sexual intimacy from a place of insecurity — or perceived scarcity — are described as “thirsty.” When we’re communicating our own feelings of lacking more than our sexual feelings, the words “slut” and “creep” are tossed out most often.

The final confusing feeling commonly associated with flirting is expectation. Like anxiety, this feeling that’s often confused with sexuality stems from your tendency to jump into your head to avoid your feelings. Instead of our thoughts being self-conscious, thoughts stemming from expectation become a personal fantasy revolving around what you’re going to do with this person. Your “flirting” isn’t representative of the feelings of the moment, but rather of your fantasy. This can make the other person feel overwhelmed by your feelings, since they’re disproportionate to the moment. When both individuals do this to each other it typically leads to relationships that start hot and end disastrously.

Now that we’re clear on what flirting isn’t, we can finally talk about what it is. When we’re around certain people our bodies involuntarily create sexual feelings. When we’re not repressing or muddling those feelings in the ways described above, these feelings are some of the most pleasureable feelings on the planet. I’ve exchanged nothing more than eye contact that was more pleasurable than a lot of the sex I’ve had. When a guy asks me why I didn’t get her number, he’s missing the point.

The first step toward becoming an amazing flirt is to simply enjoy the beautiful feelings others inspire in your body for their own sake without anxiety, insecurity, or expectation. You must become more aware of the confusing feelings that try to derail this natural process, and practice brushing the thoughts they create away. Then, simply return to enjoying the pleasure buffet that God/nature has spent billions of years preparing for you.

Sexual turn-on isn’t the only feeling to be in touch with and enjoy though. When we truly turn our attention toward the feelings inspired by others, there’s an inherent sense of awe present as well.

There’s the basic awe of another human being — who’s filled up with all the same feelings, thoughts, and demons — climbing up their own mountain in life. There’s beauty in someone’s comfort with themselves, in their kindness, in their adventurous spirit, in the light of their eyes, in the dazzle of a genuine smile, in the way someone’s outfit highlights them, in the sound of a voice, in vulnerable dorkiness… and a million different things that are particular to every person.

“This is the life, and the world we were all meant to enjoy.”

The best flirts recognize that there is inherent beauty in every single human being. They don’t start by evaluating whether another person is up to their standards before determining whether or not they’re worthy of taking pleasure from, but rather they find beauty everywhere. When you put “objective hotness” on a pedestal because it kind of feels good to say that other people aren’t in your league, all you’re doing is denying yourself an ocean of available pleasure and ensuring that you’ll suck at flirting.

While the first step to being sexy is to simply enjoy the amazing feelings inspired by the endless beauty around you, the second step is to share those appreciative feelings.

This can be scary, especially after a lifetime of cultural programming and past flirting experiences being loaded with the common pitfalls we discussed above. All you’re doing though, however, is saying “thank you.”

“Thank you for the feeling of awe. Thank you for the feelings inspired by your beauty. Thank you for having the courage to put yourself out there and share that beauty when we’ve all been hurt/shamed for doing so. Thank you.”

A smile is the most basic way to share this appreciation. As I discuss at length in As You Are, communication starts and ends with your feelings. A forced smile will always be awkward. You can’t be thinking about the best way to share something. You must be connected to your sexual feelings and the gratitude you have for those feelings. When you do that, your appreciation comes beaming through every part of your face.

As people become more intimate the feelings shared often mutually evolve from, “I really appreciate the way you’re making me feel,” to “I want you,” “I want to be on you” etc. At its most basic level though, flirting is just saying “thank you”.

All of this knowledge won’t make it any easier to actually start flirting with people when you’re not used to doing it. That will always be hard/scary. But just try it for one day.

Take the time to really pay attention to what you find beautiful around you. Be almost like a treasure hunter looking for it. Be aware of thoughts that try to distract you from your feelings and refocus your attention on enjoying them. Give yourself permission to check out another person — not with any anxiety, insecurity, or expectation, but rather just with appreciation. If they “catch you,” simply say “thank you” with a smile and your genuine gratitude behind it.

If the majority of people are still replying to your appreciation with discomfort or awkwardness, then it’s most likely still laced with too much anxiety, insecurity, or expectation. In this case hold off on sharing your appreciation for now and simply practice enjoying the feelings inspired by others for their own sake while quieting the thoughts in your brain. While it might be difficult at first, this practice will rewire the neural pathways in your brain and become easier until your sexual system is running as it was meant to.

Once you can share your feelings without your thoughts twisting them you’ll become so accustomed to positive responses from people that the rare times your appreciation is met with discomfort, you’ll know that it’s because of their stuff and not yours (nothing wrong with that, we’ve all got stuff).

It’s difficult to describe how the world changes when you see the way that most people react to your unadulterated sexuality (aka, your expressed appreciation for them). However, I think a recent past client sums it up nicely:

“There was a pretty Mexican architect named Veronica at the airport, then serious sexual tension with Jennifer, our flight attendant, on the way home. Then Shaelee at the gym, and Mason at the store tonight when I got back home. I literally can’t believe it. I’m chatting up and flirting with women everywhere, and loving every damned minute of it. I felt more engaged while talking to a male friend of mine at the gym tonight, too. I feel like the best way to describe it is that a door has opened that has allowed me to exchange more love with other people, and how can that do anything but make a person feel happy?”

This is the life, and the world we were all meant to enjoy. We can, and should all do our part to make it a reality by simply beginning our interactions with a thank you.

How to Instantly Turn Your Night Around

It was the Saturday night of my latest workshop — 12:30am (a half hour left in our last night) to be exact — and one of my clients said he needed to talk.

We step aside and he tells me he’s having a bad time — not enjoying himself, not getting the kind of results in his interactions that he wanted. This would be a lot of coaches’ worst nightmare.

Instead of freaking out, I manage to talk to him about everything calmly for 5 minutes (ok, so I wasn’t calm the entire time).

After that talk, he was the most popular guy at the bar (I extended our night to closing time). Everyone was loving his company and, most importantly, he was telling me how much he was enjoying himself.

As the bar closed he had a decision to make.. take things further with the cute little southern belle that had him pressed against the fence (we love our patios in Austin), or join us for food across the street.

It was kind of like this

 

Fortunately for us, she wasn’t his type.

So what did I say to him that night?

To find out, simply buy my book. 😉

Seriously though, it wasn’t anything magic. You’ve probably heard it before in some form or another. But when we’re uncomfortable, other messages swarm our brain and do their best to discredit those perfectly good ideas.

Now, every person is going through things a little differently at different times, and so what I said to my client that night was personally tailored to his situation — to the messages that swarmed his brain..

But in general you could break what I said up into two main themes:

 

1. Base your definition of success of success on things you can control.

If your definition of success is based on your ability to control the weather, you’re going to have a bad time. Not only will you consider yourself a failure, but you’ll question yourself. Your confidence will suffer further as you wonder why you can’t succeed.

Of course, you were setting yourself up for failure. When we base our ideas of success — our happiness, our confidence — on things outside of our control, we’re dooming ourselves to misery.

I have yet to meet a fully functional adult who can’t grasp this idea, and yet, when we’re getting blasted by our insecurities, it’s hard not to get upset if the person you like doesn’t like you back, or if the person you want to talk to doesn’t want to talk to you.

But this is childish thinking, the world doesn’t revolve around us. Whether or not that person wants to talk to/date us has for more to do with things outside of our control (are they single? Are they having a good day? etc.) then has to do with us.

We can choose to entertain that immature reality but that’s our choice. When we choose to dwell on those feelings any more than momentarily we are choosing misery.

Instead, our definition of success should be based on the only thing we can control, ourselves. Did we put our best self out there? Success, regardless of what kind of mood the other person is in. If you don’t celebrate every small step forward and allow yourself to feel good about every little success you’ll never move forward.

 

2. If you can’t simply enjoy connecting with people you’ll always be miserable.

“ I’m an introvert!” my client exclaimed when I asked him why he wasn’t enjoying his interactions.

It doesn’t matter. I’m an introvert. I need my quiet alone time. But every human being on the planet still needs to connect with other human beings. We require it for our overall health and happiness.

We often get so wrapped up in what we want more of — dates, sex, intimacy — that we forget to simply enjoy connecting emotionally with another human being.

It’s the baseline. It’s the starting point.

You must enjoy that conversation — that connection — so much that you forget about everything else you wanted. That’s the only consistent way to chase away the perfectly normal human impulse to want more.

Again though, it’s a choice. If you can’t simply enjoy even the briefest human connections you encounter then you will never be happy. You’ll never sleep with enough women, never go on enough dates, all while requiring more and more to not feel miserable.

But if you can get so caught up in the moment with someone that you forget about the rest, the rest becomes easy. Most importantly though, you enjoy your social and dating life the way you were meant to.

That’s all my client did that Saturday night.

He already had all the tools. He drilled them the two previous afternoons with my female assistants. I removed his ability to use the excuse, “I don’t know how”, because I watched him do it right.

It wasn’t a question of ability, he just had to flip this one little switch and he was unstoppable.

When I go out, sometimes I run into someone I’m attracted to, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes she likes me back, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes our personalities click, sometimes they don’t. Sometime’s we’re both single, sometimes we’re not. Sometimes we’re both well rested and in good moods, sometimes we’re not…

If my happiness depends on any of that I’m screwed.

Am I putting my best self out there? Am I enjoying even the briefest of human connections as much as possible? Then I’m going to have a great day/night/date/work event/life.

Are you choosing to be happy or miserable?

You can keep being frustrated over not getting the results you want or you can flip the switch. Either way though, you can’t complain because the choice was yours.

The 3 Biggest Myths About Flirting

MYTH #1: We know what flirtation looks like.

Society holds a fairly standard image of what “flirting” looks like. Reflected in the media, we generally agree that when someone is communicating with someone else with strong, fairly obvious sexual intention that this constitutes flirting. The problem though, is that the standard image that we have of flirting is only a fraction of what a confident expression of one’s sexuality can look like.

how-to-flirt

The standard image of flirtation. Sexy, but unfortunately limiting.

As I say in As You Are, at it’s most basic level, the ability to comfortably communicate sexually simply says, “I’m comfortable with all of myself”. It’s an essential component for socializing as a fully confident adult human being. When we keep our sexuality under wraps until someone we want to flirt with comes along, not only will we flirt awkwardly, but in every other interaction where we hold it back we’ll be giving off the impression that we’re not completely comfortable with all of ourselves no matter how outgoing and self-assured we present ourselves to be.

Happiness is a dynamic feeling. You can think of it on a 1-10 scale: 10 and you’re beaming ear to ear. You can’t stop giggling — your face can’t contain how much happiness you’re feeling. 1 and there’s just a little positive tingling. No one gets the overt impression that you’re in a happy mood but there’s a general positivity radiating off of you.

Same with sadness: 10 and you’re sobbing uncontrollably, 1 and people who know you well can tell there’s a little something off.

We know these feelings. We can identify them. As you’re reading about them it’s not a problem for you to recall the feeling at least a little bit.

On the other hand, most people don’t have the same relationship with their sexual feelings. The standard image we’ve accepted of flirting and acting sexually only represents about a 7-10 on the scale (6 if it’s very covert flirtation). Just like happiness and sadness though, there’s a lot more nuance to sexual expression than that.

When you’re feeling around a 1 on the sexy scale, people may find you sexy, but no one’s going to get the impression that you’re flirting with them. Instead, there’s just a little extra buzz about you — a little more personality in your tonality. This expresses confidence, not only because you’re expressing comfort with all of yourself, but because sexual feelings are so often repressed in our culture. When someone shows comfort with something most people have a hangup with it’s powerful — even though it should be no more difficult than being a little happy or sad on any particular day.

MYTH #2: It’s easier to feel sexual around people you find attractive.

Why isn't he feeling turned on?

Why isn’t he feeling turned on?

A lot of people think that it’s easier for them to get in touch with and express their sexual feelings when they’re around someone they’re attracted to — that this individual will make their feelings flare up more powerfully — and while this certainly happens, often the opposite is true.

As I discuss extensively in my book, when we’re in situations that intimidate us it’s much more difficult to tap into and communicate with our feelings in general. In these situations, it is common for people to either jump into their head and overthink things or start talking too much as a way to avoid these feelings. Feeling asexual when we’re around someone who makes our heart beat faster may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it’s already difficult to stay present with more familiar emotions in uncomfortable situations — the less comfortable we are with our sexual feelings, the more difficult it becomes.

MYTH #3: I can’t flirt with someone I don’t find attractive.

In my book, I advise you to “flirt with everyone”, and I admit, doing so using the standard 6-10 representation of flirtation would be absolutely ridiculous — this is where the fears of coming off as a “slut” or “creep”, or questions about how to flirt with someone you’re not particularly attracted to, come in.

Again, however, at it’s lowest level, sexual expression will only provide a little extra zip to your communication — a little pep in your step. Flirting isn’t something you do to someone, it’s simply embracing the feelings in yourself. Embracing the smallest amount of sexual feeling in your body while interacting with people, both men and women, who don’t intimidate you will help you feel more comfortable and confident expressing your sexuality overall. This will in turn give you a better shot of expressing your sexuality when you’re around someone who does make your heart beat faster.

If you can't flirt with the McPoyles, you can't flirt.

If you can’t flirt with the McPoyles, you can’t flirt.

Still having trouble accessing your sexual feelings around others? Start with just yourself. Think of something that turns you on, touch yourself in a way that feels good, watch some porn if you have to — bring up that feeling in your body and sit with it. Meditate on those feelings for as long as you can and enjoy them. Do this every day and the feeling should get more powerful and you should be able to hold onto it for longer periods of time. As you get more comfortable identifying, holding, and enjoying these feelings you can again attempt to feel just the tiniest bit of them when interacting with people who don’t intimidate you. If you’d like to quicken this process all the way through being a confident sexual being around the people who intimidate you most you can always get coaching.

Your sexuality isn’t dependent on anything outside of yourself. It’s yours, and shouldn’t be held back until you see someone you want to date. It should be listened to, embraced, and expressed regularly. Without it you’ll always feel like something is missing, a level of confidence just out of reach. Adding a missing piece this big affects every part of your life — usually in major ways.

The fact that we’re sexual beings gets thrown around a lot these days, however we were operating under a limited picture of sexual expression. It’s time that we looked at a bigger picture of sexuality, embraced this far-too-neglected and misunderstood part of ourselves, and started acting like the sexy creatures we were born to be.

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Unhappy with Your Dating Life? Play the Claw Game.

How many times have you passed by one of these:

tiki-hut-arcade-machine

Did you realize that these machines have a lot to teach you about improving your dating life? Let me explain:

Typically, when it comes to the claw game, the best prizes are buried. They’re stuffed under other prizes or against the wall and are impossible to get out. You’d go broke trying to get it.

The way to win at the claw game is not to go after the prize you really want, but to go after what’s available. You know, the stuffed animal that’s sitting on top and not pressed up against a bunch of other stuffed animals that would get in the way of the claw.

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The more opportunities you take, the more opportunities become available.

Now I’m not saying that the way to ‘win’ in your dating life is to settle for whatever’s available — far from it. The lesson from the claw game is that when you start by taking what’s available, what you truly desire will open up and become available itself.

Similarly in dating, most of us know what we want. We want someone attractive, kind, smart, funny, successful, etc. Often when we want to improve our dating life, we want to go immediately after what we want. Just like the claw game though, there’s a lot of stuff in the way that makes getting what we want essentially impossible:

There’s our insecurities and the fact that the people we really want make them come out even more. There’s typically a difficulty staying present with people and expressing, and almost always trouble expressing sexuality. There’s usually difficulty saying what we’re truly feeling at that moment, if we’re even aware of what it is, instead of checking everything in our head to make sure it’s the “right” thing to say. Sometimes there’s the tendency to look at interactions in terms of what I can get from them, instead of simply enjoying the interaction for its own sake. Blocks, blocks, blocks, blocks, blocks.

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She is out of your league… For now at least

Just like the claw game though, there are people available in your life open to socialize with, flirt with, and date. At the bar there’s people keeping to themselves at a table, and there’s people looking to socialize. Even more simple: on Tinder there’s people who swipe left and people who swipe right.

Some people will get frustrated with this, “yeah but that’s not what I really want”. The claw game teaches you how pointless your frustration is — you’re frustrated because what you want is impossible to get at the moment. You have to remove the blocks first. (Or get some help and accelerate the process with live training)

Instead, if one takes what’s available and improves those areas that he’s weaker in (removing the stuff in his way) — being present with people, confident in expressing his sexuality, expressing his feelings with others (strangers, acquaintances, or friends) without hesitation, truly enjoying other people’s company for its own sake — then suddenly he’ll start attracting more women he truly wants and have more opportunities to test that improvement against a tougher challenge. The more opportunities you take, the more opportunities become available.

So take a lesson from the claw game: Stop being frustrated that you don’t have what you want right now, and stop trying to get it — you’ll just end up miserable and broke. Instead, take what’s available, make the most of those relationships and enjoy them fully, and suddenly the opportunities you really want will be there.

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