Flirting is fun. But since it's so innate, sometimes it feels like you know the drill, and don't know where to go from there. Still, there is always more you can learn, even if it comes from generations past.
Old-fashioned flirting can be just as fun, and may even add a little spark to new romances or for long-term couples stuck in their patterns.
Without getting into any anti-millennial harping, it's still valid to note that our styles of flirting have
changed over the years. You definitely flirt with your suitors differently than your mom did, or your grandma before her. And while going back in time isn't as appealing as it can seem in your daydreams, it can be fun to add some blasts from the past into your romantic life.
"There’s no question that flirting has changed overtime,"
Bethany Ricciardi, Sex and Relationship Expert with TooTimid, tells Bustle, "[...] Wouldn’t it be nice to [flirt in an] old-school, romantic manner?" These techniques don't expect much — Ricciardi calls this genuine kind of flirting "giving attention without any intention." While you can spice up your sex life in new, exciting ways, spicing up your flirtation can mean going back to basics.
Here are seven old-fashioned dating techniques we should totally bring back.
If you've already established a flirtation between the two of you, switching up how you display your affection can be a really fun and flirty refresh.
"Instead of a handshake or an awkward hug, go for a quick flirty peck on the hand!" Ricciardi says. "You barely ever see anyone gesturing to kiss your hand hello or goodbye." As long as this isn't an unwanted advance, but a part of a consensual, affectionate back-and-forth, you can integrate this into your flirting habits for an added swoon-worthy moment.
Offering To Walk On The Busier Side Of The Sidewalk
Sometimes, the flirtiest moments involve just the smallest little actions. This old-fashioned technique is one of those tiny moments that can automatically boost your butterflies. Try, if you're walking side-by-side, offering to switch to the busier side of the street.
"What an old school, flirty, sweet way to show someone you like them," Ricciardi says. "Whether you’re on a calm road or a busy main street, it’s a flirty move to offer to walk on the outside. You can also take the opportunity to be even more flirty, by grabbing their hand, or rubbing their shoulder to direct them and say, ‘Here, let me walk on the outside." It shows you care about their space, and that you're paying attention. Plus, it's an excuse to share a flirty touch with the person you like.
Approaching Your Crush With A Compliment
Rather than playing games, if you know your crush in real life, try walking up to them and delivering a genuine compliment. It doesn't have to be on their appearance; it could be something like "you really made me laugh earlier," or "it always makes me smile seeing you read that book during your commute." Without being pushy, you're showing genuine interest.
"I think a lot of people are nervous of approaching someone and them taking it the wrong way," Ricciardi says, "[...] Instead of approaching the cute person you see at the bar and throwing a compliment, we stand back and go home to swipe through dates later. Flirting isn’t supposed to be obvious, there’s supposed to be a little tease to it! It doesn’t have to be blunt and creepy, but try telling them you really like a piece of their clothing or something simple." And if they don't seem receptive to your advances, take a step back. Being pushy won't win them over.
Texting can be fun. But it can also be
really stressful. So if you're in a relationship, or starting things off with someone, try writing your feelings down and sharing it with them.
"Write a note,"
David Bennett, a certified counselor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Even though most of us have moved on from writing most things down on paper, and communicate digitally, a handwritten note still comes across as more thoughtful and permanent than a text or snap." For an extra touch, add a little bit of perfume to it, or a pressed flower. You'll seem extra romantic even if your note is only a few lines.
Opening The Door For Them
While it can be creepy if someone hovers by the door for you, expecting something, it can also be really sweet if you offer to open the door for someone you like.
"A very flirty action to take is going out of your way to open a door for someone," Ricciardi says. "[This means] not just holding it open because you’re in front of them also walking through, but more like getting up from your table at lunch to open the door for someone even if their hands aren’t full. You can take it as an opportunity to make eye contact and say hello!" Again, if the person doesn't seem receptive, let them continue on their way. But if they know you, or are your partner already struggling with a task, it's another small way to show you care.
Make sure you aren't
crossing your partner's boundaries first, but, if done right, sharing a drink or dessert can actually be just as sweet as it seems in all those old movies.
"Maybe this fell off because we’re worried about getting into someone’s personal space and we think way too much about the germs of sharing," Ricciardi says, "... [but] sharing food, feeding each other, or wiping off a spot of ice cream on their cheek is a cute way to flirt because you’re showing the person you like how close you can get to them." And if you're feeling particularly intimate or bold, you can even kiss that bit of milkshake off their face for an added touch of romance.
Not Looking At Your Phone Around Your Crush
Of course, back in the day people didn't have cell phones to look at, but you can occasionally try to mimic this kind of environment by
putting your phone away while hanging out with a crush or out on a date.
You can also try this as a way to engage more with the people around you if you're single. "Put away the technology," Bennett says. "Historically when people were out and about [...] they had no choice but to be open to the world and people around them. They would pick up smiles, glances, and eye contact." This may make you more receptive to signals, and more able to send some out if you want to. And if you're on a date, even if your crush has their phone out casually, you putting yours away might encourage them to do the same and engage with you on a deeper level.
Sometimes, flirting feels like a complicated game. It doesn't have to be, however. You can look to the past for simple little things that used to, and still can, make people smile and feel connected. Things as small as kissing a loved one's hand, or writing them a "have a good day" note can bring you even closer. Just remember that no matter how you choose to flirt, it's important to respect the other person's interest. It's also important to remember to have fun with it, and that flirting is all about making new connections.