For many of us, flirting is fun. But for others it can be an embarrassing experience as we try not to stutter, go red or accidentally insult the object of our affection. Why do some of us feel so paralysed, and how can we overcome our fear of flirting?
'Flirting isn’t necessarily about being good-looking,’ says psychiatrist and behavioural psychologist Jean Cottraux. 'It’s about making the person you’re talking to understand you, seeing if you find them attractive, and finding out whether they find you attractive, too.’
Flirting has more to do with your own attitude. And it can also be a fun way to get to know others and yourself. The key is to keep a playful, relaxed perspective on the situation and be interested in the other person and how they see things.
3 steps to successful flirting
1. Pay attention to the other person. Instead of trying to seduce, listen to what the person you are attracted to is saying, and watch their body language. 'If you obsess over how you're coming across you might miss their signs of encouragement or lack of interest,’ says Cottraux.
2. It's OK to make a mistake. Tripping over your words or blushing can be charming. In fact, not being an experience flirt can be reassuring to potential partners. Don’t be discouraged if you get the brush-off. Next time you flirt, pretend you are playing a role. This will help you feel less anxious and build up your confidence.
3. Try therapy. If your inability to flirt is stopping you from forming relationships, consider professional help. Cognitive behavioural therapy can be a good start. Therapy can help you identify and change the blocks that are getting in your way and reinforce your real personality at the same time.
Read Dating – who pays? by Madeleine Mason on LifeLabs