No matter how much practice you've had, figuring out how to flirt with someone new can be super nerve-wracking. Even when it's casual and lighthearted — like complimenting a stranger at the bar — flirting can feel scary, because you're putting yourself out there and making your interest known (however subtly). But you'll never know if someone shares your feelings unless you take that risk and express your romantic interest in them in the first place.
"If you’re attracted to someone but too intimidated to approach them, you’ll never know if they are interested in you," Samantha Burns, couples counselor and dating coach at Love Successfully, tells Bustle. "You lose nothing by saying hello, but you could lose your potential soulmate if you don’t have the guts to initiate contact. And if you’re fearful of rejection, remind yourself it’s a natural part of dating, not everyone will be attracted to you, and that there’s no way to tell if the nearby cutie is into you or even single, unless you approach."
In a recent AskReddit thread, one user asked people to reveal their best flirting tips, because you can never have too much advice when it comes to something as important as wooing your crush and (hopefully) kickstarting your love life. If you need a helping hand before you make a move, here are 13 tried-and-true flirting tips courtesy of the good people of Reddit.
Ask About Their Hobbies
Even if your crush has a hobby that you know nothing about (like carving ice sculptures), one of the easiest ways to flirt is to ask about what they like to do in their free time. You'll learn more about their passions, and they'll appreciate someone showing interest in their hobbies — it's a win-win.
Don't Buy Into The "Friendzone" Myth
Honestly, the friendzone is complete and utter BS. If you flirt with someone and they don't reciprocate, don't sulk and complain about being "friendzoned." Either move on, or genuinely accept them into your life as a platonic friend — don't wait around hoping they'll change their mind.
Know The Difference Between Confidence & Arrogance
It's important to be confident in yourself as a dater, but there's a huge difference between confidence and arrogance. If you know you're a catch, that's great, but the way to really impress your crush is to show them how awesome you are through your actions, not by bragging about all your good qualities.
Keep Your Junk To Yourself
PSA: sending a d*ck pic does not count as flirting. If you're dating someone and they say they want pictures of your junk, then go right ahead. But otherwise, don't assume a potential romantic interest will be wooed by an unsolicited nude (and this rule applies to persons of any gender, BTW).
Don't Act Differently Around Your Friends
In the event that you and your crush (or your S.O.) are around your friends, don't be embarrassed to still flirt and show your interest. If you feel the need to treat someone differently because you're afraid your friends will mock you for being flirty/caring/attentive, then maybe you should re-evaluate those friendships.
Don't Be Afraid Of Rejection
Getting rejected by a crush is never a fun situation, but you shouldn't be so hard on yourself if something doesn't work out the way you wanted. There are plenty more fish in the sea, and one person's disinterest in you says nothing about your worth.
"At the end of the day, it can be hard to distinguish between someone who is flirting, and someone who is being friendly, such as the stranger chatting you up in the grocery store checkout line," Burns says. "This is when you may have to put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and make your intentions clear that you’d love to get their info or grab a cup of coffee. No guarantee they are available or interested, but at least you took action!"
Flirting or straight-up asking someone out takes a lot of guts, but like with all things, practice makes perfect, so the more you put yourself out there, the better you'll get at flirting. After that, it's just a matter of time before you find someone you really connect with.