Why You’re Not Actually Flirting When You Think You Are

May 21st, 2013 by Nick Notas 9 Comments

Michael Bluth and Rita

I remember when I first attempted internet flirting advice in the real world. I high-fived girls I met, called them silly names, and even got some kisses.

I thought I was the man. I had girls laughing with ease. I could actually see their initial attraction and interest in me. I’d finally gotten a grasp on flirting…or so I thought.

I kept facing dead ends. I’d meet girls, trade numbers, and not hear a response. Or I’d get replies but could never seal an in-person date. Or I’d go on a date that I believed went perfectly only to not get another chance.

How could this be? I was lighthearted and fun like most advice instructed. I used humor to create an enjoyable atmosphere. I playfully flirted with the girls which I believed would lead to us hooking up. I did everything right except…

I didn’t show enough intention.

While I thought I was being a potential sexual partner, I was actually more like a gay best friend.

Understanding Friendly vs Sexual Flirting

For the sake of simplicity, I want to break flirting into two types: friendly and sexual. The difference between them is the underlying message they convey — intention.

Friendly flirting is safe. The deeper message is, “This is innocent fun!” It’s how many men flirt with girls they desire.

This is a great way to break the ice and create some initial tension. But while effective for the first moments of meeting or early on a date, it won’t take you much further.

Sexual flirting is risky. The deeper message is, “This is fun and I am sexually interested in you.” It’s hard to mistake as a friendly gesture. This is how men should be flirting with girls they desire.

Some examples of these are…

  • High-fives (friendly) vs holding her hand and playing with her fingers (sexual)
  • “You can’t eye me like that!” vs “If you keep eyeing me like that I won’t be able to restrain myself.”

Although sexual flirting requires more courage, it’s the only path that consistently works.

Why Friendly Flirting Doesn’t Work in the Long Run

I’ve discussed many times that attraction is an emotional response. It’s a feeling. And something has to trigger that sexual feeling in her. She has to get turned on and think about sex (or the potential of sex) with you, even subconsciously.

The problem is that the majority of women won’t get to that headspace unless you bring it there. Society has taught women that they are supposed to be courted. They’re not supposed to take the romantic lead. If they do, they’re deemed as sluts or easy. They’re afraid of being negatively judged.

So if you’re playfully joking and not showing your sexual desires (intention), she’s going reciprocate the same. If you’re touching her in the way her friends would, that’s how she’s going to touch you back. If you kiss her but don’t push further, it’s unlikely she’s going to push it towards sex.

Treat her like a potential sexual partner and she will see you as a potential sexual partner.

4 Ways to Show More Intention When Flirting

As a rule of thumb, you should show more intention the longer you spend with a girl. So if you hug her at the beginning of a date, you should go for a kiss before the end. See my When to Make the Moves On Her article for more details on escalation.

Below I have categorized the four main ways to increase the amount of intention you display. The examples in each section show less intention (left side) versus more intention (right side).

Physical Contact

Physical contact is by far the strongest way to display your intentions to a woman.

LocationWhere are you touching her? Places friends touch such as the shoulder, arm, or elbow are less intimate (low intention). The back, hips, stomach, and legs are more intimate (medium intention). Erogenous zones like the lips, neck, inner thighs, and butt are the most intimate (high intention). Start low and progressively take it further.

  • Walking arm-in-arm vs walking hand-in-hand
  • Hand on her shoulder vs hand on her back while ordering drinks
  • Sitting together with little to no touching vs sitting together with legs resting against each other
  • A goodnight kiss on the cheek vs a goodnight kiss on the lips

Duration – How long are you touching her? Short touches (under a couple seconds) like a quick hand on the upper arm show the least intention. Longer touches (3-8 seconds) like a hand on the back while moving through a crowd. Lingering touches (more than 10 seconds) like resting your hand on her thigh while talking show a LOT of intention.

  • Friendly short handshake (2 seconds) vs slightly longer than normal handshake (3-4 seconds)
  • A brief kiss vs kissing her passionately for a few seconds
  • Accidentally brushing your foot against hers under the table and stopping vs accidentally brushing feet and then playing footsie

Non-Verbal Communication

Vocal Tonality -  A dominant chest voice shows more intention than a submissive head voice. A weak voice shows timidness and a lack of self-assurance.

Eye Contact - How much eye contact are you giving her? Where are you looking? The more consistent the eye contact, the more intention you show.

  • Breaking eye contact frequently vs holding strong eye contact during conversation
  • Meeting eyes from afar and breaking eye contact first vs holding eye contact (while smiling) until she looks away
  • Normal eye contact vs looking at her seductively while biting your lip

Proximity and Positioning – How physically close are you to her? Take a look at this personal space chart. As you decrease the distance between you, the level of intention and intimacy goes up.

  • Facing her at an angle vs facing her head on
  • Sitting across from her at a table vs sitting next to her
  • Dancing apart from her vs dancing with your bodies together

Verbal Communication

Sexual Undertones – Do your conversations have romantic implications or are they platonic? Are some of your questions sexual? Is your teasing playful or bold?

  • “Do you consider yourself a romantic?” vs “Do you consider yourself a sexual person?”
  • “You’re such a nerd!” vs “You’re such a nerd! Did I mention how I find intelligence irresistible ;)”
  • “Aww, are you trying to make me smile?” vs “You’re so trying to seduce me — it’s working.”

Statements of Interest - Are you giving any compliments that are more forward in nature? Are you outright conveying your interest in something about her?

  • “Wow, you’re very independent.” vs “Wow, I love how independent you are.”
  • “It’s really cool that you’re so passionate about traveling.” vs “Your passion for adventure is ridiculously sexy.”
  • “I like the color of your dress.“ vs “I have to be honest, your curves look unbelievable in that dress.”

Logistics

Leading – Are you suggesting hanging out? Are you making plans with her? Are you moving with her to different places while together?

  • Not asking for a number vs asking for a number
  • Asking for a number to setup plans over text vs making plans and getting the number as a means of communication
  • Texting for hours or days for fun vs texting to setup a concrete in-person date
  • Talking to her for the entire time at the bar around her friends vs inviting her to grab a drink/fresh air/seat in a more quiet place

Location and Atmosphere – Are you spending time with her one-on-one or with many people? Are you in a public place or a secluded location? Are you in an atmosphere that encourages more intimacy?

  • Casual day time coffee dates vs night time drink dates
  • Inviting her on a first or second date with your friends vs inviting her to hang out with only you
  • Having a second or third date in a public place vs having the date at your/her place
  • Saying goodnight after a great time together vs asking if she still wants to chill at your/her place

The purpose of all these examples is to convey one thing and one thing only….

“I want you as a sexual partner and not as just a friend.”

Women are attracted to men with honest intentions. It takes confidence to display who you are and what you want unashamedly. It shows you’re a leader who prioritizes yourself in life.

They know why you’re there. They know that if you’re investing time in them, you’re more than likely interested in them sexually. Playing it “safe” isn’t fooling anyone — it just makes you seem scared or disingenuous.

So next time you’re out flirting with a girl remember this…

Getting her to think, “wow, he’s funny!” is a good start. Getting her to think, “wow, he’s hot and turning me on!” is where you want to be.

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  1. vitor on May 22, 2013

    Man, great article. Makes me think about how I’ve been making my last dates on ‘autopilot’, not really thinking about what I was doing… But I’ve been in a relationship last 3+ years, so guess it’ll take some time.

    • Nick Notas on May 22, 2013

      Glad you enjoyed the article. The above still applies to going out on a date in a relationship. Keeping that sexual chemistry going is an important piece of a lasting connection.

  2. Don on May 22, 2013

    By letting women know your intentions you’ll know better where you stand with her because if she is not interested in you in the same way, she let you know.

  3. Joe on May 22, 2013

    It seems as if you’re trying to explain the whole premise of direct game. At the end of the article you say: “The whole purpose of this is to convey ‘I want you as a sexual partner and not as just a friend’ ”

    Why not just say that to her?

    • Nick Notas on May 27, 2013

      You definitely could but you have to consider that…

      A woman needs to feel comfortable and safe to hook up with you. When you progressively escalate, you’re conveying that you want her sexually, but are allowing the connection to build organically.

      If you barely have talked and say, “I want you as a sexual partner” it can come off intense. Laying it out like that puts her on the spot and forces her to respond. which can be really intense. Most women would rather simply kiss you back than have to say “I want to have sex with you, too.”

      Finally, actions speak louder than words — always. Physically escalating, kissing, and moving to more intimate locations says exactly what you wrote. It comes across more natural and eliminates any awkwardness.

  4. Logan on May 28, 2013

    Great article about flirting, one that I can relate to. Now that I’m in a committed relationship, I have to subconsciously force myself to limit the unconscious signs and signals I gave off while I was single, the first being the subliminal smile I flashed when someone attractive was in my vicinity.

    It may seem innocent, but boy, things can escalate pretty fast when you have a bit of confidence and a few drinks in your system.

  5. kel on February 27, 2014

    As a married women, this is right on! My husband flirted in friendly way dating and in marriage,but after I became more articulate in.what turns me on, he has has improved greatly!
    And after 10 Years of marriage the mutual attraction is way better than it ever was.
    Before, I loved his character, intelligence, and integrity, but the chemistry was lacking, now he really turns me on aswell. I love it!