How to flirt

November 13, 1997

How to flirt

By Kate Coleman

Staff Writer

Are you a flirt?

That's OK. In fact, that's good - if you want to meet someone.

"Someone" doesn't have to be the love of your life or a forever partner, but "someone" might be just that.

If you don't flirt, you'll never know.

How do you meet someone? How do you flirt?

Flirting is a skill that can be acquired, according to Susan Rabin. She calls flirting the fine art of relating to others and allowing others to relate to you. Director of The School of Flirting in New York, Rabin teaches people how to flirt.


Lessons in her book, "101 Ways to Flirt," include:

Go to a party alone.

"Few men are willing to wend their way past even a few of your closest friends to find you!" Rabin tells women.

Be interesting.

If you want to meet interesting people, do something. Take a class, attend a singles group or a poetry reading, volunteer.


Smiling is the best way to make yourself approachable. It can change your attitude, outlook and life, Rabin believes.

Make eye contact.

Catch your partner's eye for about as long as it would take to say "Hello" aloud.

Be brave.

Irrational fears can keep "potentially great flirts" from flirting.

Don't worry that making the first move will make you seem desperate or sexually aggressive. Flirting is a charming and honest expression of interest in another person, Rabin says.

Don't be afraid that you'll say something stupid.

Nothing is stupid if it opens a conversation.

Don't worry that others won't find you attractive.

"No one is more interesting and attractive than someone who can make others feel interesting and attractive," Rabin says.

Get a "fair shake."

Using the hand-over-hand handshake can make the first physical contact between people an intimate moment.

Use props.

Almost anything works, according to Rabin: A book, a unique car, pets, interesting clothing.

Flirt in the grocery store, on a bus, in the Laundromat.

It is appropriate to flirt any time, any place, according to Rabin. Being open to others can result in a pleasant conversation in a waiting room, a business or social contact, a friend and, yes, maybe even a lifelong partner.

Talking about flirting gave Donna Bage a chuckle. Bage, a licensed clinical social worker, has been in practice in Hagerstown 23 years. People are much too serious, too busy to listen to each other, she says.

Getting a laugh is important, she says. It can be an icebreaker when meeting someone for the first time. She did a passable impression of Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa as an example of using a line from a movie to help you communicate: "Yo, Adrian. Would you mind marryin' me much?"

Active listening is the foundation of Bage's counseling. A partner doesn't necessarily have to agree with everything we think or believe, but it's important that he or she listens and accepts our thoughts and feelings, she says.

"We all are hungry for people to listen to us," Bage says.

Listening actively, paying attention - even dating - should continue throughout a couple's relationship. Bage believes partners need to get away together, if only for breakfast or a cup of coffee, and take time for each other.

Rabin might call it flirting.

Rabin, who coordinated the family living /sex education curriculum for the New York City Board of Education, was asked to teach a class on flirting at the Learning Annex, an adult education program in New York City.

The response encouraged her to turn her ability to teach people how to communicate into what appears to be growing into an flirting empire. She has audiotapes and videotapes and a Web site at ( More than 5,000 people have attended her seminars.

Rabin regards flirting as a philosophy that is more than the first step in communication. She cites benefits which include enhancing self-confidence and enabling people to approach new contacts with assurance. Such qualities go beyond flirting and dating. They can help in a job interview, in making a sale, in office and career networking, in all relationships.

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