For a lot of people, flirting isn’t something they feel particularly confident in. Talking to someone you’re interested in can be the most nerve-wracking experience you could think of – you’d think we’d get over it after we left school, but most people still feel shy talking to someone they fancy! Flirting generates an instant connection, and more importantly, lets someone know in a casual way that you’re interested in them – giving them an easy opportunity to let you know if they feel the same way.

Author and communications professor Jeffrey Hall conducted a steamy study where people were asked if they flirted and if they thought their partner (for study purposes) had too. Surprisingly, only 36% of men and 18% of women got the answer right! So if you’re flirting skills aren’t up to scratch, don’t worry about it too much, Match is here to help you by giving you some top tips on how to flirt:

For the guys:

  • Listen and respond

What’s sexier than listening? Don’t just nod in response, listen to their stories and share things about yourself. Flirting is all about engaging the other person and making sure that you’re equally sharing the connection.

  • Look into their eyes

Eye contact is a must. Making someone feel that stomach flip when you catch each other’s eyes and one of you has to look away first – there’s really nothing better.

  • Read their body language

Mimicking someone’s body language is a way of telling someone you’re watching and responding to them. Also, see if they’re leaning towards you or away – this is a big sign of whether they’re feeling you or not. Although it could be that they are shy so don’t read into this too much. Note: this is hard to do over message.

  • Be confident – but not cocky

Letting someone know you’re secure in yourself is incredibly attractive. For example: try saying something like: “Tell me about you…” instead of brushing things off with a “I’m sorry I talk so much!”

  • Don’t be afraid to show your nerves!

Especially if you’re a guy who is dating a woman – this is how to flirt with a girl 101 guys! Being adorably nervous is endearing. Try not to give too much away, but saying something like “I was so nervous to meet you, I almost walked past when I got here!” is sweet and shows that you have genuine feelings towards someone.

For the ladies:

  • Be attentive

Find out whether the person you’re dating is passionate about the thing they’re talking about and ask them more details about it. For example, if they’re talking about how much they love going to theme parks, ask them what the best rollercoaster they’ve ever been on is!

  • Communicate openly

When you’re asking questions, you should always be prepared to answer a few too. Tell the truth, even though it’s very tempting to embellish a little, eventually they’ll figure out you haven’t met Tyler, The Creator backstage at a festival.

  • Throw around some playful teasing

Discover their sense of humour, exaggerate, be slightly sarcastic, throw some emojis in there, send memes. If they send some slight shots back, you’ll know they like you.

  • Don’t message too much

A difficult one! When you like someone, it can be tempting to message 24/7. But remember to have boundaries and if you’re busy don’t be afraid to leave them on delivered (or even read if you’re extra flirty).

  • Ask them out first

If you’re messaging it can be a great way to get to know someone, but you should make the most of being able to see people in person again and see if those sparks fly!

For those who have yet to make up their minds:

Yep – that’s a non-binary reference you’ll find in Kinky Boots and we are not ashamed about it! Dating as someone who doesn’t necessarily identify on the typical gender spectrum is an added challenge. How can you keep things light and fun when all people want to know is “What are you though? Here’s some tips on keeping it sexy if you’re one of the 6.9% of LGBT+ people who identify as non-binary in the UK:

  • Be honest, but don’t feel the need to explain

You’re not the non-binary pantomath! Keeping things away from gender politics and pronouns let’s you stay more fun and sexy. Of course, answering serious and important questions is important if you’re hoping to hang out with them, but stay away from having to tell someone everything at the first meeting.

  • Don’t overthink!

Not everyone is waiting for you to mess up – chances are, if you’re messaging or meeting, they’re probably into you. Don’t be afraid to let them get to know you. Confidence is sexy, so don’t get bogged down in anxiety.

  • Let your eyes linger on them

A great way to watch someone squirm a little – in a nice way! Checking out your date is the best way to flirt, let your eyes rest on them for a half-second longer than you need to and watch them giggle at you.

  • Leave the phone alone

Ok, we’ve all done the ‘take the phone out when they go to the bathroom’ trick to let everyone know you’re safe and having fun (or not). But leave the technology out of it. Now we can see each other in person again, spend time enjoying someone’s company. Looking at your phone is an instant flirt-killer.

  • Pull the cinema classic – do an arm drape

Sometimes the old tricks are the best. Putting your arm around someone establishes physical contact (not to be too D.E.N.N.I.S. system about the whole thing) and helps them feel comfortable and safe in your presence – who knows, you could even give them a little kiss on the cheek if they like it!

Most importantly: don’t forget to have fun!