Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dear Mr. Ottis,

Here's an exceptionally broad question: How do you flirt? I mean, really? I've always been rather quiet, but I've finally broken out of my shell over the past few years. I thought I was decent at flirting, but I'm starting to think otherwise since I seem to only be considered the friend and not the "friend." Example no. 1: I'm rather attracted to my lab partner in one of my classes and am curious to see if he's interested. There's a small issue...I don't particularly wish to put myself out there in front of the rest of the class, you know? We work together twice a week in our lab and have a good time joking, teasing...but I don't know if he's interested or not. And I certainly don't want to do something that could potentially be exceptionally embarrassing, especially since we're working together in a small room with about 20 other people for the rest of the semester.

Everyone always suggests, "Do the touch, touch, hold," when referring to hand-holding (which will not happen in the classroom, obviously) or "just flirt and see what he does." Or they suggest other things that I feel are simply not helpful. exactly do you flirt?

Here's something that was said between us yesterday in class:
-background--> I missed 2 consecutive lab days due to illness and idleness and when I returned, he proceeded to tease me about missing class and he thought he'd have to work alone the rest of the semester/hated him, etc, etc...

so every time in class (even though it was only 2 days and it happened about 2 weeks the beginning of the semester, yes) he jokes, "I didn't think you'd show up for class today!" And today he said that if he didn't see me in class tomorrow (lecture..HUGE class) he'd call me (which I told him would prove to be interesting since he doesn't have my number...).

(Not that that's really anything to write home about, I just thought I'd share so you have an idea of what he's like, in case that helps with anything??) He's a really cool guy and seems pretty outgoing and we certainly have a good time talking in class about random things.

If you haven't figured out yet, I haven't had the best of luck in the whole "dating scene" mainly because I never really gave the guys back home a second look since I was so focused on doing my own thing. That was the case for the last couple of years at college, so now that I'm really allowing myself to get out there and meet people...what the heck do I do?? How do I show a guy (not necessarily my lab partner) I'm interested and how can I tell if he's interested? I don't want to over-analyze things, but I don't want to just brush something off, either. So help me,'re my only hope!

-Thoroughly Confused Millie

Dear Thoroughly Confused Mille,

Thank you so much for your letter. Indeed, your question is a rather broad one. But, I'd be honored to try my hand at answering it. I have, after all, done a fair amount of research on this very question: How does one flirt? I'm not sure that this is a question that can be fully answered in one letter, but rather something that takes practice and confidence, and small steps.

First and foremost, let me say that flirting is a very natural part of our being. It is in our DNA, and is something that most people do subconsciously. So, honing your flirtation ability is not something to be shy or embarrassed about. Rather, it is a natural part of life. Second, I like to remind people, especially the girls, that men are stupid. Yes, it's true. You may think that you're giving clear signs, but chances're not. This is why confidence is such an important key--you have to have some in order to truly put yourself out there and flirt. Lastly, let me remind you that flirting is merely a fun interaction between members of the opposite sex. It's not worth reading too much into. I'ts simply playful interaction that shows a relative amount of interest. So, how do you do it? Let me go over some very basic elements with you, and we'll proceed from there.

Appearance. Take care to look your best in situations where you'll flirt. Put on the skirt and heels. Men like women that are feminine. Do your hair and wear some conservative makeup. I'd recommend something that brings out the natural redness of your lips and a gloss that makes them look moist. This sends many positive messages to guys. Stand with good posture. This shows confidence. Stand with your feet about 6-8 inches apart, with your toes turned ever so slightly in. This shows some submissiveness that many men also prefer. When sitting, always cross your's attractive. You can take the heel of your shoe off of your foot and bounce the shoe on your toes. This exposes the arch of the foot, and is a good thing. You can also wear something that exposes the neck and collar bones, as this is widely considered one of the most attractive parts of a woman.

Eyes. When flirting, it's a good idea to hold your gaze a little longer than would feel natural. Don't stare, and don't do it in a creepy way. Just hold eye contact for 6-8 seconds before averting your gaze.

Smile. It is the international symbol of friendliness. You should practice in the mirror, because most people don't actually have a very big smile, which can make it harder to perceive. You can also practice a good, coy smile. Anything you do to draw some slight attention to your mouth can be a good thing: biting your lower lip, wearing the darker lipstick (this brings out the whiteness of your teeth when you smile) or even as strong as touching your lips can be good flirtation ideas. Smile often.

Conversation. Good conversation is key to a flirtatious encounter. Make sure that you use his name in the conversation to show that you are interested. Keep conversation light: no politics, marriage, ex-significant other, odd religious conversation, too much mission conversation, or any other conversation that could cause tension. Remember, these are supposed to be light, playful, and fun interactions. Take care to be an active listener. Don't use closed body language. Comment on what he's saying to show participation and attention. Offer sincere compliments. Use open ended questions.

Touching. Touching in a relationship is as important to men as emotional connection is for women. Therefore, you have to get comfortable touching guys. The three places to touch on a first encounter would be 1) shoulder/upper arm/back 2) lower arm/top of the hand, and 3)knee (only go there when sitting...obviously). Touch each place twice before moving to the next. The first should be fleeting (you are testing the waters) and the second more lingering (now you're showing actual interest). This is something you can practice with many people to get more comfortable.

Hopefully some of these techniques and thoughts will come in handy for you. Remember that they are all natural things that merely need to be cultivated into your flirting habits. Be confident and have fun. Remember, you are a creature unlike any other! Happy flirting!


1 comment:

  1. Read this one to all my roommates-we have been greatly enlightened! Thank you Ottis!