I've said it before — being "attractive" isn't about the perfect outfit or flawless makeup; it's about the energy you're putting out into the world and the way you make people feel when they're around you. And there are mistakes we all make when flirting that make us less attractive, for the simple reason that they hide or constrain the best parts of our personalities.
When I was younger, talking to someone I was attracted to was pretty painful. I'd either freeze up completely and come across as utterly disinterested, or completely overcompensate and try to be the loudest person in the room. Neither ever reaped the results I wanted, because neither was a true indication of who I was. It took a long time to start relating to people — especially people I had crushes on — as my authentic self, but as soon as I broke through that barrier flirting became a lot easier.
And the thing I started to realize is that flirting is actually pretty easy. Once you get a few simple tricks down and are aware of your own patterns, you can kind of become a flirting master. Seriously. It's in no way as hard as it may look.
If you've been feeling like flirting never goes your way, or you just want to up your game in general, here are 11 flirting mistakes we all make at one time or another that are super helpful to be aware of.
1. Crossing Your Arms
According to behavioral specialist Vanessa Van Edwards in a piece for The Science of People, crossing your arms in front of you is one of the fastest ways to signal that you don't want to be approached. Instead, try keeping your posture loose and relaxed, or make sure you're always holding a drink to keep your body language open.
2. Angling Away From The Other Person
Van Edwards also noted that keeping our feet pointed towards a person sends out a signal that we're interested. However, angling our body away from the person has the opposite effect, sending out the unconscious cue that we're not attracted to them. Keep this in mind the next time you're getting your flirt on.
3. Trying to Make Them Jealous
A compilation piece for Cosmopolitan noted that one of the fastest ways not to attract a person is by trying to make them jealous, either by flirting with other people or talking about other people you're interested in. Odds are this will only end up pushing them away.
4. Not Acting Like Yourself
OK, this one is a personal tip and is one I'm definitely guilty of doing myself on many an occasion in me teens and early 20s. Sometimes it can seem like the best way to attract somebody's attention is by taking attention away from everyone else, which in practical terms often means just being really loud. However, a lot of people end up finding this pretty intimidating and don't end up responding in the way we hoped. If you find yourself doing this as a coping mechanism, try taking a step back and reminding yourself that you don't need any giant bells and whistles to attract attention. This isn't to say you should tone it down if you're naturally a loud person, but a reminder to be yourself, not the version of yourself you think someone else wants.
5. Waiting Too Long To Text
This is another Men's Health tip that definitely doesn't just apply to men. Waiting days to text someone you like back because you don't want to seem uncool or overeager can actually just send the message that you're not interested. So if you like someone, don't be afraid to show it.
6. Showing Interest By Showing A Lack Of Interest
This is another common flirting mistake that took me years to stop doing. Whenever I liked someone, I'd be so self-conscious that I'd end up completely ignoring them and just hoped they'd somehow get my secret message. This inevitably never worked and left me always wishing I had been more clear about my feelings. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there — you only have something to gain.
7. Talking About Your Ex
A compilation piece on flirting mistakes from AllWomensTalk.com reminded us to avoid talking about our exes when in mid-flirt. It can make it seem like you're not over the other person, which will give the person you're talking to instant reservations. Try to keep things positive and in the moment as much as possible.
8. Getting Too Close, Too Fast
That same AllWomensTalk.com piece stressed the importance of letting things flow between you and the other person naturally. Getting up in their personal space too quickly, or touching too aggressively can definitely make another person uncomfortable if your connection isn't there yet. So be mindful and respectful at all times when on the chase!
9. Not Asking Questions
In a piece for Forbes, Travis Bradberry, author of the book Emotional Intelligence, says that studies show that those who ask questions about the person they're with instantly seem more likable. And this makes a lot of sense; have you ever spent an afternoon with someone and walked away thinking, "Wow — that person only talks about themselves. I don't think they asked me a single question about me or how I'm doing." No one wants to be that person!
There's no magic recipe for flirting. It's often just about letting your awesomeness shine and treating the other person the way you'd like to be treated too. Other then that, relax, and try enjoy yourself!
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