Open your mouth when you see an attractive member of the opposite sex, and you risk saying something cheesy like, "Come here often?" or "How 'bout those Cowboys?" Nonverbal flirting can send a stronger signal than words, and it's often safer -- at least until you find the right thing to say. Do it well, and you'll come across as calm and self-assured.
Make eye contact with the person you're attracted to. After you catch her eye, hold your gaze for a second -- no more, however, or you risk being categorized as a creepy stalker. If she looks away and then glances at you again, that's a sign that she may find you attractive as well, according to the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC), a nonprofit organization out of Oxford, England. If the object of your desire looks away, she's either shy or is simply not interested. If you suspect the latter, it's time to move on.
Touch is such a powerful way of communicating that you should use it judiciously, advises therapist Susan Rabin, founder of The School of Flirting. Also, the gender of the person you are attracted to will guide how much touch a person is comfortable with, according to the SIRC, stating that men are generally more comfortable with touch from the opposite sex than are women. Try touching the object of your flirtation gently on the arm as you make a point. If the person is receptive to your touch, he will often move closer or begin to initiate touching of his own. If not, you'll see physical withdrawal or closed body language, such as folded arms.
You can't go wrong by smiling, says Rabin, noting that even if the prospect is not interested, you've just brightened her day. Smiles are non-threatening and lend you an air of playfulness and charm. To keep your smiles from appearing nervous or forced, practice smiling at several strangers every day. Making smiling a part of your everyday life can be transformative while providing you with a safe way to flirt.
Just because you're not speaking at the moment doesn't mean you can't contribute to the conversation. Listening is largely nonverbal, and doing so well means you'll make an impact on the person you want to impress, says the SIRC. Instead of telling the attractive guy at the party all about your annoying roommate, listen to what he has to say instead. Nod your head, and keep a relaxed and open body posture with your arms uncrossed as you listen to him tell you about his last soccer game. When it is time for you to say something, try paraphrasing what he's told you, and he'll be likely to continue the conversation.