The Lost Art of Flirting

Everyone flirts or at least they should. Married or single? Doesn’t matter. Some people are better at it than others, sure. I’ll admit, too, that some people have no idea that their glance, eye contact, or smile could even be constituted as flirting,  but it is flirting nonetheless.

The truth is, in today’s culture of hopping in bed, STDs, and one-night stands, flirting is a lost art form. More than that, many Christian women I know are downright scared to flirt, for fear of being seen as a harlot (or floozy, or tramp, or insert description of a loose woman here: _______). And men simply don’t know how.

Flirting is needed, however. Flirting is all part of the game, whether single or not. It’s time to re-learn how to flirt. It’s time to restore the lost art of flirting…

The Who

As I stated before,  flirting is healthy for both single and married people.  If you are single, flirt with other singles. If you are married, flirt with your spouse.

It turns out that even animals instinctively flirt. Mice, for instance, according to Pyschology Today, twitch their noses and tilt their back in order to catch the eye of another available mouse. We, too, are hardwired for flirting and, done in a fun and responsible way, flirting proves useful.

The Why

Since flirting is instinctive, you think that would be reason enough. Unfortunately, flirting has received a bad rap over the years, especially within Christian circles.

Yet, many of us flirt without realizing we are doing it–a lift in our voice, a tilt of our head, a gesture of our hand, the toss of our hair (hopefully it is not you men, tossing your hair).

We can gain a whole wealth of knowledge through flirting. Psychology Today writes:

“…flirting is nature’s solution to the problem every creature faces in a world full of potential mates-how to choose the right one. We all need a partner who is not merely fertile… [but] healthy enough to promise viable offspring, provide some kind of help in the hard job of parenting and offer some social compatibility.”

Besides helping us weed out the duds from the studs, flirting within marriage can add a whole dimension to fidelity. Flirting can rev up your friendship,  personal interest, and, of course, sex life within marriage. Flirting in marriage should never die. It’s one way of continually telling your spouse that you are still into them and that you chose wisely.

So get to flirting already! Oh wait, you’re not sure how. I understand…

The How

Men. Science says men engage in rather, well, baboon-like flirting behavior. Sorry dudes, but it’s true.

According to one study, the men “…arched, stretched, swiveled, and made grand gestures…Their swaggers, bursts of laughter and grandiose gestures were an urban pantomime of the prancing and preening indulged in by male baboons and gorillas in the wild.”

Try this to start, however: Say “Hi.” Yes, a strong “Hi,” along with eye contact and a smile, can go a really long way with a woman. Get close to her, but not creeper close. Lean in. Act interested. Ask her about herself. Tell her she looks pretty.

I know it sounds both cheesy and obvious, but you’d be surprised how few men do this and do this well.

Women. Flirting with a man is pretty simple. Smile. Laugh at his jokes. Toss your hair (yes, really I’m bringing up the hair toss again. I know it seems lame, but guys respond). Gaze into their eyes. Tell him he is capable, strong, and masculine (in a cool way).

Oh, and wear heels. No, I don’t wear heels often, but the same study said women in heels, “swayed their backs, forcing their buttocks to tilt out and up and their chests to thrust forward.” Ha! Um, I’ll pass on the buttocks-out business, although I think some women do this without realizing–and that’s the point.

Flirting is ingrained in our psyche and it helps us determine a viable mate, yes. But it is also fun and, when done respectfully, completely appropriate and worthwhile.

The Song of Solomon is rich with the story of flirtation–the look, the first words, the touch and, well, you know the rest. Let’s just hope the final act of flirtation is between a man and wife.

So go ahead, flirt it up. Restore to life the lost art of flirting.

How do you feel about flirting? Are you good at flirting? Do you think flirting has a bad rap for good reason? How can Christians flirt responsibly?

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17 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Flirting”

  1. Great article. One of my faves! Flirting is awesome (though I’m horrible at it). I don’t beat my chest monkey style, but I’m probably too reserved. Thanks for reminding me to loosen up!

      1. I loved this article, but what happens when you flirt and flirt and flirt with your husband and he just doesnt respond.. or says things like “why are you saying that honey”……

        WELL I’m saying it because I’m trying to flirt with you, but of coarse……………He was having NONE of that!

  2. Is it ever okay for a married person to flirt with someone other than his or her spouse? One Christian writer (I don’t remember who) wrote that there are two women other than his wife with whom he flirts–his three year old granddaughter and an elderly widow at his church. Flirting doesn’t have to be sexual. Sometimes it is just a way to let someone know they are special.

    1. Bonnie,
      Great point! My husband flirts with my 4 year old daughter all the time.

      Flirting doesn’t have to be sexual! You’re right! It can be innocent, loving and even platonic.

      Thanks for adding that point Bonnie.

  3. Nicole,
    I could use your words of wisdom on something that (I hope) isn’t about flirting..but could be??
    The situation: I have been in college classes with a guy for the last 3 years. We are the same age and both married, and I think of us as just casual friends. (Believe me when I promise you there is NOTHING there – from my side anyways) My question is…do you think he see’s our funny/joking friendship differently than I do – since he is a man and the whole “EGO” thing is involved? Another side note. I have classes with his wife and we are all friends and my husband knows about him- so this isn’t a “secret” friendship or anything strange.
    Anyways, I hope I didn’t make it worse than it sounds, I mostly wanted your point of view (and other’s) about how you think men react differently to situations like this one.
    Thank you!

    1. Natalie,

      As someone who knows you, and knows you are beautiful (inside and out) I would bet that your friend, finds you attractive at the very least.

      Thing is, being married doesn’t stop us from finding people attractive. We aren’t blind when married, just faithful hopefully.

      I worked with a guy when Jon and I were engaged and first married. I suspect he had a little crush on me, but we were just work buddies.

      He started asking me questions about morality and eventually God. Long story short, I was blessed to help lead him to the Lord.

      Since your husband knows about this friendship, perhaps it can become an opportunity for you both to witness to them as a couple.

      I say too, that as long as your friend has never made you feel uncomfortable or done anything questionable, there is no harm in being his casual friend.

      He probably enjoys your joking around like you do, loves his wife, and happens to think you are pretty. I personally don’t see that as bad, again as long as no boundaries are crossed.

      Hope that helps and thanks for asking.

      1. Nicole,
        Thank you so much for the reply! It was a much needed reassurance of what I probably knew deep down, but really wanted another opinion on; so thank you!! I think you may be right on how this guy see’s me, which is a little awkward to admit, but probably true. I can rest on the fact that I haven’t crossed any boundaries and only hope that I had a positive impact on him! I tend to be really hard on myself, so it was really helpful to find a more balanced opinion of the situation!
        Again, thank you and I will continue to tune in to Modern Reject and learn from you – because I have learned a lot from you so far!! : )

  4. If I could judge my ability to recognize when someone flirts with me on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being not able, and 5 being spot-on, I would rank at about a -2.

    Same scale, only now with my ability to flirt. I think it’s about a -1. Just a tad better at flirting than I am with recognizing it.

    No idea how I caught the eye of my girlfriend, and held it. It must have been my baboon chest-beating and picking lice out of her hair. ;)

    Interesting post–an angle I never would have thought of had you not brought it up. Kudos! :)


    1. I have always been a bad flirt too. I never liked doing it. I’m still learning how to flirt with my husband.

      Picking lice out of a woman’s hair is a sure fire way to get noticed. I forgot to list that one in my post! he he

  5. Hi Nicole, really interesting post. And, funnily enough, I think this is the first time I’ve disagreed with you since I started reading Modern Reject. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with married couples, and yes it’s an important, affirming part of a committed relationship. But I think so much harm can be done by single people flirting carelessly. I agree that *occasionally* flirting can be platonic, e.g. a father with his 4-year-old daughter, but I think by it’s very definition flirting generally has sexual connotations.

    A few years ago I heard someone say that (for single girls) flirting should be for showing the guy you like that it’s okay to ask you out. And vice versa for guys, to show the girl you like that you might just ask her out! I think that’s a good rule to go by, because I feel like we can so easily get into so much trouble by flirting with people we’re not interested in, or even flirting with people we ARE interested in but haven’t consulted God about.

    Maybe this is just my personal opinion. I do think flirting is a real blessing for us to enjoy in certain situations, but I think we have to be wise and (to a certain extent) intentional about it. I think in a way, it’s also an area where we can set ourselves apart from non-Christians and be a witness by not flirting with every passing guy/girl.

    1. Cool. It’s great to have a good old healthy disagreement every once in a while. :)

      I will say that I agree with you–flirting carelessly can be harmful, which is why I said that flirting in a responsible and healthy way is okay in my book. I guess I could have defined what “responsible and healthy” means though.

      I think women should flirt to let a guy know they are interested, otherwise, how would he know? I think a man should flirt with a woman he is interested in to do the same–let her know he’s interested. My husband flirted with me and had he not, I’m not sure I would have made the connection of “hey wait, this guy who has been my friend for a year would be a great husband!”

      Here’s where I disagree with you though. You said: “because I feel like we can so easily get into so much trouble by flirting with people we’re not interested in, or even flirting with people we ARE interested in but haven’t consulted God about.” I agree on the first part, but not the second half.

      I think people over think dating and over think marriage. We try and over-spiritualize something that need not be spiritualized. I don’t think we need to pray before flirting, asking if God would have us flirt with a particular person.

      He gave us wisdom, discernment, and most importantly, His Holy Spirit. Sometimes we just need to enjoy the little things and not turn everything into a theological or spiritual or religious event–dating included. I think if more people just trusted the Lord, themselves, and other brothers and sisters in Christ, more people would be happily dating or happily married. I’m not saying we all need to be married (wait for a post coming this week on that subject) but there would be a lot less hesitation around the issue of dating, which would inevitably lead to more marriages.

      I think not flirting can be a witness too as you stated, but how about two people flirting in a fun, healthy, non-sexual way being a witness, as well?

      Thanks so much Rachel for expressing your disagreement with me. I really appreciate that you did!

      1. I guess the reason why I think we should consult God about who we flirt with and show an interest in is because I’ve been in that situation before. Long story short, if it had been down to me I would have been very open about flirting with this guy, and judging by his behaviour I think he was interested in me – however, I prayed about it and really felt God telling me to take a step back and wait for him to pursue me. He didn’t, so nothing happened. I asked a mutual friend who knew him better, and she said “I think you would be good for him but I don’t know if he would be good for you.” But I think you and I are in agreement that we should take at least some direction from God, it’s just I classed that as ‘praying & waiting on God’ and you classed it as ‘wisdom, discernment & the Holy Spirit’.

        I think maybe my view on this just comes down to me and where I am with God. There’s that old saying that ‘if He’s not Lord of all then He’s not Lord at all’, and I realised a few years ago that I had unintentionally closed off my dating life from God. In every other area I was willing to commit my decisions to God and follow His will, but when it came to who I dated, I decided that so long as he’s a Christian then it’s all good and I don’t need to ask God about His plans at all. I can see where you’re coming from that maybe people just need to lighten up a bit and trust their own discernment, but for me I really want to submit this to God. I believe He has a plan for every part of my life, including my relationships, and I really want to surrender to every part of that plan.

        I guess this all hinges on our different views of what flirting is and when it should be used. For me, it is inherently sexual (although not necessarily inappropriately so!) by its very definition, except for a small number of exceptions (e.g. father & daughter), so I think “two people flirting in a fun, healthy, non-sexual way” is usually a contradiction in terms! But that’s my view, and differing views are the spice of life eh ;)

  6. As a 26 year old and a divorced mother of one, I’ll say this: I am afraid of flirting! I am not good at flirting but I always I relax around men who are easy to talk to and are outgoing (extroverted). Then I can talk and not feel uncomfortable.

    Some e-cards that we see on Facebook kind of describe my flirting technique: Chances are if you’re cute I’ll ignore you and not make eye contact.

    Flirting isn’t even talked about at church or Bible studies. I am an introvert so it would take time even to get comfortable around anybody and I usually let my gate down around women.

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