We all know what could result from a carefully timed flirt. Eye contact that lingers a little longer, more conversation, and then the prize — the exchange of numbers and a promise of a date. This is all great stuff because when single, flirting is a necessary means to an end. But conscious flirting is so much more than that. It has amazing benefits and not just for the single among us.
My client tells the story of a really tough day at work that left her feeling spent. But she still had errands to run before she could pick up her children from daycare and go home. She was trudging through the grocery store, trying to remember her list, while re-living her day. Needless to say, she was feeling really low. At that moment, she passed an attractive man who held her eye and smiled. She surprised herself and just smiled back. That was it and that was all it took. Her mood immediately improved and she said she felt “alive” again. She wondered how just one smile exchanged with a stranger could have that effect? In that moment, she peeled away the layers of her day and in connecting with that stranger for one brief moment, she re-connected with her self. She was present again. She didn’t see that stranger again but she finished her shopping with a positive outlook and a renewed mindset.
So what is flirting anyway? We usually associate flirting as something single people do or what happy couples do to keep the romance alive. But at it’s lowest layer, it’s simply connecting with another human being and reflecting that connection back in a joyous way. And most of the time it’s purely platonic. Babies are naturals at it and show us that we are all hard-wired to respond to smiling, joyous faces. Flirting is inherent and we do it all the time, whether we recognize it or not!
So if flirting is simply cultivating a connection with another human being, and if it is inherent, why do we sometimes resist it or feel daunted by it? What makes someone a “natural flirt” and what makes another struggle with it? There is a lot at play here. For example, introvert and extrovert personality types will cultivate that human connection in different ways. Introverts tend to gravitate towards more polite and reserved styles of flirting. While extroverts tend to be more playful and physical when they flirt (hand on the shoulder, toss of the hair anyone?)
Regardless of your personality type and which style of flirting is a fit for you, we can all be naturals at it if we keep the purpose in mind. For my client, that one smile led her to a breakthrough in not only how she sees the necessity of flirting while single but the benefits to her being. That smile stayed with her throughout the evening and into the next day. She recognized that a connection with another was enough to bring her back to being present and finding a little joy in her life. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
Terran Shea is a Matchmaker and Dating Expert with MutualMatch.ca