y Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
In our LDS community, flirting takes on an important role in the development of relationships, dating, and the path towards marriage. Because we have scriptural edicts in our church to "love one another", "love your neighbor", and even "love your enemies", LDS singles circles tend to have a lot of general "friendships" and "friend-like interactions". At the least minimally "civil" associations tend to occur with those a person doesn't really click with. So, how does a single LDS adult let another singles LDS adult at a singles ward, activity, or website know they are interested in more than friends? How do they let the other know they are open to possible romantic dating and more? This is where flirting comes in.
The main role of flirting is to help a person an individual is romantically interested in to subtly and indirectly recognize that they are open to more than just friends. Sometimes flirting is just more for playful fun with a person there is a little attraction for, and other times it more serious for trying to start a relationship. Time, experience, the degree of flirting, and watching/comparing the flirting one does with another versus others can help determine level of intention. Because romantic interest can fluctuate even with the same person, the intentions of the flirting can fluctuate as well. For purposes of this little article, flirting is at the very least evidence that some level of "above friendship" interaction is being considered and explored.
A definition of flirting:
"Flirting is a social and sometimes behavior involving verbal or written communication, as well as body language, by one person to another, either to suggest interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, or if done playfully, for amusement. In most cultures, it is socially disapproved for a person to make explicit sexual advances in public, or in private to someone not romantically acquainted, but indirect or suggestive advances (i.e. flirting) may at times be considered acceptable.
"Flirting usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest in the given setting. This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony. Double entendres, with one meaning more formally appropriate and another more suggestive, may be used. Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, proximity, etc. Verbal communication of interest can include alterations in vocal tone, such as pace, volume, and intonation. Challenges (teasing, questions, qualifying, feigned disinterest) serve to increase tension and test intention and congruity.
There are four kinds of flirting skills that I recommend that you practice, develop, and practice with potential romantic partners:
1) Touch: An essential flirting skill is to work to give some positive touch the person you are interested in as often as you reasonably can (without "overdoing it"). Be opportunistic and go for it. Successful touch is the main way to break out a being locked into the default "friendship" category (also sometimes called "the friendzone"). Examples of flirty touch include warm, affectionate, or playful hugs, pats, backscratches, snuggling, cuddling, rubbing/massage, caressing, fingers through hair, etc. Such touching needs to not be excessive or overly sexual (sometimes called "groping"). Physical touch is powerful, energizing, and triggers potential chemistry. However, make sure such the other person is open to the touching and is receiving it positively. Anything short of positive reception and reaction, please stop immediately (or you will be looked at as creepy and inappropriate).
2) Joking/Teasing: Joking and teasing can either be verbal or physical. Making jokes, playfully (but not meanly) making fun of the other, light sarcasm, laughter (at oneself or the other), and so on are verbal methods. Physical joking and teasing could include play boxing, wrestling, or fighting, poking, tickling, scaring/startling (like jumping around a corner), etc. The joking and teasing makes for additional touching or verbal sparring that can be fun, stimulating, and enjoyable. Plus, a sense of humor from either gender can be evidence of confidence, security, intelligence, and a keen mind. Joking and teasing is an important element of flirting.
3) Positive Verbals: Flirting can include both direct and indirect positive and interested words: questions, comments, attentive and interested listening, compliments, and so on. Asking about a person's background, hobbies, interests, career, and other personal information demonstrates personal interest. Talking kindly and affectionately can be flirty as well. When words build up, energize, and generally demonstrate personal interest, this can be the more direct and obvious form of flirting. Keep it tactful and make sure such words as received and responded to well.
4) Positive Physical Body Language/Nonverbals: When around the other, smiling warmly and affectionately is universal positive sign or interest. Facial expressions, tone of voice, and general body language that is full of positive energy and affection when the other is around is another clear indicator of interest and form of flirting. Body language that is confident and secure is another support to flirting messages.
Resources for Further Study and Practice:
Psychology Today Articles: https://www.psychologytoday.com/search/site/flirting
Book: The Flirting Bible by Fran Greene
Hypnosis Session--Flirting Confidence: https://www.hypnosisdownloads.com/self-confidence/flirting-confidence
Flirting is a choice and a skill, more than a personality attribute some people just happen to be good at and others not. Regularly and appropriately practice and cultivate this skill. Increase your dating opportunities. Be proactive. Give yourself the best opportunity for your future potentially eternal relationship. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).