Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Why you should flirt (part one)

It recently came up that a dear friend who is very beautiful and constantly hit on at her job has had little success in the dating realm. This, I proposed, was because she did not know how to flirt.

Flirting is the art of asking for what you want without directly asking. Either because you fear rejection, commitment, or success. Flirtation's difficulty comes when too much subtlety belies obvious and clear needs and desires, which is frustrating and frequently much ado about nothing. This was demonstrated best in the famous subtitles scene in Woodie Alan's "Annie Hall". Skipping the process of flirtation runs the potential of missing critical components of the vetting process. A person's likes, dislikes, psyche, and other elements are exposed during flirtation. Although some relationships happen very fast and are successful, its undoubtedly true that the same relationship happening on a slower time line would have also probably been as successful. Meanwhile unsuccessful relationships that went slower might have avoided lots of unnecessary tedium after shit falls apart.

Traditional views of dating and relationships may be seen in this light: as just a lengthy vetting process that may expose negative or problematic behavior (unreliable, annoying, uses meth, or hates puppies), flirtation must imply subtle interest. Questions about the other person, their likes, their interests. Having nothing in common makes this difficult, hence the term "small talk," which may inadvertently lead to finding mutual interests. People who have nothing in common are not necessarily incompatible, thus flirtation helps move through this uncomfortable initial phase.

Why flirt if you have nothing in common? Frequently chemistry is a good model, but chemistry alone is a difficult test to rely on because instincts can be incorrect. What may draw you to someone else may be illusory or based on bad information.

Surprisingly, no chemistry and having nothing in common does not exclude the possibility of a quality, available person being at first unseen and unknown. The only want to discover this is by spending time with people. Since this isn't a possibility (or is somewhat awkward) with a one-on-one presence, having a broad and open social structure allows multiple people to find and discover each other. Thus, its required that if one wants to find dates, that he or she find a broad social selection from which to draw. Its just the law of averages that eventually you'll find someone who draws your interest or in whom interest develops. Meanwhile, the broad array of friends will hopefully fill your desire to be social.

There are a variety of methods out there describing how to flirt but here's one.

[continue to part two]

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