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Awakening the Natural Art of Flirting

Peta Heskell, the director of the UK Flirting Academy has kindly written the following flirting tips especially for Romance.ucam.org. We hope you enjoy it. Over to you, Peta...

When I was at University, many moons ago, it was like being on a long holiday: we were taking three years off from life. The sixties were probably the most laid back time any generation has had since the twenties. We lived by slogans like "Make love not war" and life is just "Sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll". And we had a ball. Work was the last thing on our minds: we had much more important things to get on with like getting stoned, having lots of sex, protesting the Vietnam war and having FUN. It's not quite the same for you is it? First off, you've got to get a top degree so that you can get a great job and afford a home as well as paying off the debt most of you start with. And at the same time you've been plunged into a Garden of Eden full of temptingly nubile, sexy, available single guys and girls all up for grabs. You'll never have so many to choose from, within such easy reach. All that remains is for you to go out there and pluck them off the tree! That's why Romance.ucam.org is so cool. But what happens when you want to take it further? Making that first move is often the most daunting thing you'll have to do, except making the move that takes you to final base!

I've spent the last four years researching into, writing about and running courses in Flirting. "Why on earth would we need to learn to flirt?" is one question journalists ask me all the time. My answer is always: "It is a natural skill that we've somehow lost track of due to unfortunate programming by parents, media and teachers". This isn't about learning something new, it's about reawakening our natural ability to flirt. Once upon a time when you were a tiny baby, you were a super flirt. Check out any baby and you'll see what I mean. Babies don't think "I'm no good"; they just are themselves and happy to be like that Babies don't think "He/she won't like me, might reject me"; they just reach out and expect the best, and then life steps in and Kapow! We start to learn how not to be the way we were meant to be..."

So, if you think you could do with brushing up your flirting skills, here's my top tips tips to help you through. And if you like what you read, why not get hold of a copy of my latest book The Little Book of Flirting. It's got some great ideas in it and exercises you can do to help you become more flirtatious and have more fun.. It's a sexy little present for Christmas too!

The first two tips are vital. You've gotta feel good about yourself before you can use positive flirting techniques.

  1. Be who you are and like yourself. Too many people try too hard to be what they think other people would like them to be. Take a good look in the mirror and make a list of your special unique qualities. Focus on your intelligence, your humour, the things you do for other people. Brits often find this difficult to do because, hey, that's boasting. No way. It's not boasting. If you can't like yourself and vocalise it then why should anyone else like you? Trying to be someone else is saying you're not good enough as you are. It's not the same as trying to improve on who you are.

  2. Talk nice to yourself. I bet you've had times when you talk negatively to yourself. "He won't like me", "She's going to say no", "You're ugly". Stop with the dissing-self talk and start thinking of nice things to say to yourself. Listen out for the damaging voices in your head [no you're not loony, everyone has them] and find something to put in their place. Choose a sentence you'd really LIKE to hear instead of the bad things you do hear. Practice saying it to yourself when you hear the nasty voices. If you want to drown them out, play in your head a piece of music that really gives you the right attitude and makes you feel hot to trot.

  3. See other people as an opportunity. You're going to a party. Chances are you are scared of all those new people. Great flirts love going out and socialising because they get excited about meeting people. They see them as an opportunity to have some fun, connect, make great contacts and maybe even turn into a romantic interest.

  4. Eye them up. This is the oldest tip in the book, but I'm always gobsmacked at how many people can't do it. Girls say to me, put me in a room with a guy I fancy and I'm looking anywhere but at him. Guys get scared to look at girls in case the girls guess they're thinking randy thoughts. You will NEVER make a connection if you don't connect at eye level. Eye contact is the number one flirting action without which the rest cannot take place. Eye contact makes the first connection.

  5. Smile. And before you think "Doesn't everyone know this?", I'm telling you that even if they do, they don't always put it into practice. A smile follows eye contact by reassuring the person you're connecting with that you're interested in them and you're nice.

  6. Give great voice. There's nothing more off-putting than when that hunky guy or sexy babe opens their mouth and the sound that comes out is like fingers scraping down the blackboard. Sound waves have a physical effect on the body. If it's a great voice, it makes someone feel bathed in waves of delicious sound. If it's not... listen to your own voice, compare it to someone on the TV or radio who does give great voice. Practise deepening the tone, changing the rhythm, slowing down or speeding up the pace.

  7. Sexy is as sexy thinks. This one's for you guys. I know that when you look at women you don't think "She's nice", or "She's quite pleasant". Your thoughts are much raunchier than that. If you find yourself trying to stop those thoughts because you think she'll think you're after sex. STOP. Of course you're after sex. You wouldn't be normal if you weren't. Women like sex too, they just need more time and reassurance mostly before they go for it. Thinking sexy thoughts sends out a vibration that women pick up. They can't read the content of your thoughts, they just get the feeling you're sexy. The key is to keep the thoughts to yourself when you talk to her. Think sexy but talk romantic or nice. If you suppress those thoughts, she'll mentally file you away as 'good friend material'.

  8. Flirting sexually to get a drink might land you with more than you bargained for. This one's for the girls. If you go out there flaunting your sexuality and sidling up to guys with that Marilyn Monroe voice, pouting your lips, jiggling your boobies and rubbing up against them because you know it gets attention, be careful. Guys mistake those signals for a green light to go for it. If you don't want to jump straight into bed with them, don't send out the "come get me" signals or you might find them jumping on you. Fine if you want it... if you dont... hmmm.

  9. Number one rule for email flirting. Email and text is the techno generation's top flirting tool. BUT there's one very important thing to remember. When someone reads your writing that's all they read. They can't see your face smiling, they can't hear the jokey tone in your voice and they can't feel your positive energy. When you are emitting all of those, you can say some crazy things and they get the meaning you intend. Without them, some words can sound toxic. Make use of emoticons or add the laughter and your state of mind by putting asides in brackets [I'm smiling.. hoho.. that was a JOKE] to enrich your communication.

  10. Last rule of email flirting. Remember unlike words this stuff can stay around for as long as anyone decides to keep it on the computer. Telling someone that you and your boyfriend had hot sex last night is not the same as forwarding a sexy email from your mate to your friends. Be careful what you put in writing and remember you can't deny having written it!!!

  11. Bonus tip: Be determined to spread a little sunshine in other people's lives. Look around at the people you notice and pay attention to what you LIKE about them. Their hair, their energy their smile, something they're wearing. And then tell them. Compliments are the greatest gift you can give without spending loads of money. Men like them as much as women. Praise men for their achievements and praise women for their personalities, energy, thoughts. And if you want more, get a copy of the Little Book of Flirting.

Peta Heskell is director of the UK Flirting Academy and author of Flirt Coach and "The Little Book of Flirting". Her website, www.flirtcoach.com has loads of free articles and tips on dating, flirting and sex. Please note that Peta is not able to answer individual queries.