Essential guidance for anyone who was wondering

5 types of flirting only confident people can pull off

Flirting is fun, quirky, all kinds of awkward and exhilarating - and few people have the confidence to get to the really good parts. We as society are drilled to fear the other gender, that’s what decades of misogyny and feminist zealotry on either end of the spectrum have left us with.

The good thing is that you can just opt out of anger and misplaced paranoia, and start having some fun. You can tell a surprising amount of women that they look good and get a smile, and us guys can be quite charming and interesting to talk to, as long as there is some established middle ground that is safe to treat for both sides.

And once you get there, you can start exploring some of the fun types of flirting that only confident people can pull off - with other confident people.

Overt flirting

The easiest way to make flirting awkward is to try and hide your attraction. It doesn’t work, immediately shows, and kills all fun.

But if there are two people in the room who obviously have a base level of mutual trust, then one can playfully fetch coffee for both, sit next to each other in meetings, play a bit off their obvious attraction and get on that level of overt flirting that often happens in work environments or in a group of friends when everyone totally knows this is all just good fun. Other people will get horny on your behalf, but the two people engaged in this friendly banter can often times create a kind of distance through proximity, and last surprisingly long in that charade of totally-not-meaning-it.

And if things go really well, one of you changes teams, moves to a different city, before things can ever truly escalate. That way it will stay a fun memory, and that coworker is the one who got away, and good riddance. It was all disaster waiting to happen.

Harmless flirting

Overt flirting usually starts off harmless, but often times doesn’t stay that way. But harmless flirting most definitely exists, usually between people who have enough reasons to like each other, yet enough reasons not to actually fall in love. People in drastically different age groups, or married people, or the sister of your best friend.

These may just be interesting people with fascinating stories to tell, but everyone has about a dozen different reasons to keep themselves in check. There is the threat of marriages falling apart, groups of good friends disintegrating, sex that is memorable mainly because it was incredibly awkward and never happened a second time.

Doesn’t mean you can’t tell her she looks cute in that jacket, or for her to compliment your unexpected cooking skills. There is a ninety percent chance that this will not lead to any kind of serious relationship, and he who shoots for that ten percent is far more desperate than the guy who stops by the roadside motel once a month.

Insider-joke flirting

My own favorite way of flirting is that kind which is not obvious to anyone but those involved. If you manage to tell a story to one person, and another person at that table finds it gigglingly-funny, then you have succeeded at this masterclass of socializing. The good thing here is that this is a relatively safe way of flirting, since nobody else realizes what’s going on you can play with each other and nobody has to pull up their walls immediately.

Two people can leave a party in all kinds of confused and semi-horny states, and everyone else thinks it was a strangely chaste party for once.

Risky flirting

If your boss invites you for dinner and you bring flowers for his wife, and manage to make it seem like a purely nice and polite gesture - until she later finds your handwritten card inside the bouquet - that’s risky, and probably lethal.

But it also requires you to be somewhat secure and confident, enough at least to handle the potential fallout if your boss finds out and decides to fire you.

There is some fun in this type of flirting, but it is actively detrimental to three lives and the only way this can lead is in a chaotic mess of fire, pain and loss. Best not to engage in it at all, but if you do you better be confident enough to do it right.

Platonic flirting

We are drilled to think of flirting as an on-off switch between sex and no-sex, and that is why we usually don’t do it with platonic friends. But who, if not someone who trusts us, can take a compliment the way it was meant?

The greatest part about platonic friendships to me is that you are privy to parts of each other’s lives that you wouldn’t share with anyone you are sexually interested in, or can’t stand at all for that matter.

I have stood in two married women’s bedrooms and helped them pick clothes to wear to work because nobody else was around, obviously chosing the least-fitting contrasting colors and mismatched outfits. One of them rightfully objected but laughed at the effort, the other one was even more fun to play with and decided to just roll with it. And both of these times, that was in no way a sexual kind of flirting, which to me made it all the better.

And there is just something about knocking at a friend’s door and walking inside with a compliment on your lips, a little gift in your hand, or teasing each other a little. Telling someone you care for them, or showing them with a handmade gift, those things all go a long way even if you’ve known each other for long enough to afford skipping the pleasantries.