Psychology is great.
Jean Smith’s “Flirtology” gives some of the best advice on the psychology of flirting and romantic relationship building.
While the book is chockfull of tidbits, here are the parts that ought draw a lot of attention:
Prop Task: I Ask.
A reminder for myself of key points in flirting:
- Prop – Give regard to some 3rd thing. Waiting in line*, a painting, the concert, etc.
- Task – Don’t flirt or break the ice with others for yourself; do it because it is on your to-do list! So make the approach – it is on your to-do list ~
- I – Make an observation from your perspective, whether about the prop or your own, positive feelings.
- Ask – End the opener with an open-ended question (what, how) or inquisitive statement (e.g. “Tell me about …”).
*Lines are great for giving lines – everyone is in a shared activity (the line, waiting), likely bored, and going to be hanging around for a bit. However, people have no escape-routes from lines. This in mind, make a statement about the line to gauge receptivity – only in positive responses might you escalate to introductions and asks! Always be mindful of safety before comfort before joy ~
The book suggests identifying 5 no-gos to get out in the open from low-key texting or the first two dates. (It is OK if you pick between 4 and 7 – that is how most minds work.)
In those no-gos, kill pet peeves, shared activities, and aesthetic pettiness. Height ranges, job type or quality (past being able to support themselves independently), needing to like all the music you do, or enjoy your same sportsball micro-league team will mean little in the long term.
These can be positives (e.g. “the person is kind”) or negatives (e.g. “they aren’t of X political party”) – what matters are the things that will bolster or strain the day-to-day relationship, not the thing that might matter just a few hours a month or such.
But once these few things are found out, go on the first date! Then:
Go on the Second Date
By default, go on the second date.
Unless the person lied, fell out of acceptable No-Gos, or was a generally lousy human being, choose to see them again.
It is too easy for a sense of performance or work or a night’s sleep or yesterday’s lunch to impact how a person acts on the first date. The second gets more data, so save the judgements until then if they are already nifty enough to meet in person. Speaking of:
The second date can’t happen without the first. The first likely won’t happen if you wait too long.
Texting is great for finding out if the person is a poorly-masked psychopath and setting the logistics of the date. However, text is too easy to fall into – comfy, convenient, and a terrible way to get to know someone.
So stop texting frivolously. Give a “how do you do” and get a date on the calendar ASAP. Within 2 weeks of first contact should a date be down in the books or you both move on.
You Too Can Initiate
Any sex or gender, no regard to older or younger, no matter if you were the one to break the ice or came second to the party, you too can initiate getting the conversation or date going.
Better yet, you ought be initiating.
This is the 21st century. Get over your shyness, get over your fears of rejection, get over your grandparents’ idea that one must chase or be chased. This isn’t a circus; do not expect to jump or others to jump through imaginary hoops.
Speaking of rejection, one of my fave things to keep in mind for relationships: If one person is doing most/all of the asking/proposing, they are also taking on all the risk of rejection, and there is only so much rejection a person can take before they stop trying.
While secure relationships often end up 60/40 in contributions (vs. the classic 50/50 idea), both sides ought be striving to be that 60. So show up, initiate.
Humor – crack (appropriate) jokes (no matter how corny), laugh. Play, be silly.
Openness – body posture is the big one. I would stress being open about discussing relationship topics, histories, and fundamental human conditions too.
Touch – make contact. Light, innocuous locations (upper back, shoulders, arms – mind that getting closer to hands is getting closer to intimacy), and temporary (taps or brushes).
Attention – give the other person your full attention. Listen. Be there for them. Remember to also hold judgements for later except in the most dire (or boring) of cases!
Proximity – physical closeness. Don’t be in their face, yet don’t be out of arm’s reach either. Helps enable both Touch and Eye contact.
Eye contact – look at them. Just look. Eye contact does wonders for bonding two people. (Remember to blink.)
(Smile) – my addition. Could be part of humor, yet smiling is so important it demands its own recognition. Smile, folks 🙂
“Flirtology” was a quick read for me and will be for you too. Between “Prop Task: I Ask” and “HOT APE(S)”, I feel you will improve your interactions with people, whether hanging out with friends, building professional rapport, or setting up that first date.
What pet peeves or aesthetic nice-to-haves have you been keeping around? Looking forward to your own romantic criteria being cleaned up. Cheers to your self improvement!
4 thoughts on “The Best of Jean Smith’s “Flirtology””
I think the advice to kick off a conversation in lines can be double-edged. People might not like being put in a spot where they can’t get away if they decide they don’t want to reciprocate. My two cents – be willing to talk to someone in a situation where they have the freedom to leave!
=Brilliant= insight, Galacia! Safety > Comfort > Joy, making sure that order is followed is paramount when folks are without an easy escape-route.
Post is updated here in a moment with the clarity that a statement ought be made in lines to gauge positive receptivity before moving on to the intro/ask! Danke for the suggestion!