There is a lot of great information on flirting, but when it comes to flirting-with-intent, there is one key piece that seems to be missing. It is the make-or-break variable that causes problems.
April Braswell, a friend of mine, is a dating coach. In a recently blog entry, she quoted one of her clients: “April, I don’t really know how to flirt. What do I do?”
You don’t know HOW to flirt? What kind of person is this?
That second question I just asked is the key piece of information that nobody ever talks about. It is the reason why most advice articles about flirting with intent fail.
“What Kind Of Person Is This?”
Who has problems flirting? Since this is a web site about understanding people, we’re in a great position to answer it.
Let’s start with the four personality types: Warriors, Strategists, Logisticals, and Morale Officers. Which one pops out at you as having difficulty with human relationships?
If you said the Strategist, you are correct.
Strategists are those people with N and T letters in their Myers Briggs Personality Profile (MBTI). The N stands for intuition, and the T stands for thinking.
Intuition describes the way that these people gather information. It is more than just the five physical senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. They infer other information from that which ties things together. In other words, they dig deeper and try to explain why things are the way they are. For example, Strategists, because they have this intuition trait will try to explain why the sky is blue. And if it is a different color than that, they will sense that conditions have changed and want to know why.
Once they sense that the condition has changed, they will process the information in a “logical” way. This is where the “T” for thinking comes in. They search for a logical reason—based on facts—for the way things are.
For example, to explain why the sky is blue, they will tell you it is because the nitrogen molecules in the air are excited by the sun’s energy, and they re-radiate the energy back out at a wavelength that our eyes see as a blue light. Furthermore, they will tell you, that the color of the sky on the planet Mars is red, because it lacks nitrogen in its atmosphere…
What does Intuition and Thinking have to do with Flirting?
Imagine that you are a person with processes these two traits, and you walk into a bar with the intention of finding a potential mate.
What do you see around you? Right. You see people talking back and forth, engaged in the same process of finding a mate that you are there for. Some people are seemingly happy and smiling. Others display a body posture that tells you that they are uncomfortable with whom they are talking to.
Being the “THINKING” person you are, you try to explain what the difference is between the comfortable couples and the uncomfortable ones. You do everything you can to understand the situation you see, and it still somehow eludes you. Obviously you want to do the stuff that causes the other person you’re interested in to be comfortable. But you see two people doing the exact same thing, and they are getting different results.
What information do they have to compare against? These are generally very smart people that we’re talking about. So they’ve done their homework on dating and relationships.
They’ve probably seen something similar to this piece of flirting advice from one of the other dating web sites:
“It’s not just the delivery of the lines that helps when you’re flirting with men – its the body language, the dressing and the tone of voice. Girls, you must be accessible as people, and open to socializing, but at the same time, play hard to get. The main reason why one should be in control of the situation is that IF, by chance, the guy isn’t the kind you want, you should be able to reverse and back out ASAP!”
That last line resonates with the Strategist personality type because it mentions the word “control.” That is exactly what the Strategist seeks to accomplish – to control the situation.
How do you maintain control in a mating situation when you don’t know how the other person will react?
The result is the Strategist type person is experiencing his worst fear – “lack of control.” Fear in this case, causes one reaction–to freeze in their tracks. Doing nothing. And then my friend April Braswell gets an email saying: “April, I don’t really know how to flirt. What do I do?” What they are really saying is: “I can’t control how the other person will react when I do attempt to flirt with them.”
One Common Problem To Overcome
The one element that all dating advice sites assume, is that everyone is the same. That means that people act the same in similar situations.
This is absolutely wrong! Since there are four personality types with different purposes for their lives, they each react differently to the same situation. I’ve shown this before in some of my other posts, like the one that explains the difference between “confidence” and “a lack of insecurity.” They sound like synonyms, but they mean different things to people with different personality types.
Without knowing how a person’s personality dictates how they will react, you are going into the situation with a 3-out-of-4-chance of screwing things up.
The Basics of Dating
This sounds so sterile, but you can learn dating techniques by learning sales techniques—or—you can learn sales techniques by learning dating techniques. They are interchangeable, because they are both the same thing – persuasion situations. You really need to learn persuasion techniques.
This is why I use a lot of examples on how to learn sales by watching reality TV shows. You can see the interactions of the different personality types to different situation in a short amount of time. The producers of the show edit out all the boring stuff for us, and just keep the emotional situations where real persuasion is taking place.
What is Flirting?
Lets get a definition of flirting. If this were a sales situation instead of a dating situation, what part of the process would flirting be? Think about that for a second. Because if you can answer this, you’ll have a much greater success rate when flirting with intent.
Most people consider flirting to be in the “rapport building” stage.
In rapport building, or the bonding stage, you are trying to establish a connection with another person. The intent is to make the other person feel like they were looking into a mirror at themselves.
Why a mirror image? Because when people look at themselves in the mirror, they know everything there is to know about the person whose reflection that they see. They know their aspirations as well as their fears. They know the history of the person, and they are OK with it.
There are many rapport building strategies. And that should lift your spirits. Because of this, you don’t have to get so caught up in the whole concept of “how-to’s of flirting”: like what phrases to say, what tonal inflection to use, how to stand, how to touch. You can revert to the other rapport building strategies and get the same results.
What is Unique About Flirting?
The one thing that is unique about flirting, is the sexual connotation attached to it. In an article in TIME magazine, Timothy Perper, who has been researching flirting for 30 years says: “Flirting captures the interest of the other person and says ‘Would you like to play?’”
Play what? Exactly. Sex.
And in this sense:
Flirting really isn’t a rapport building strategy, it now becomes a “test close.”
A test close in a sales situation is where you as a salesman try to establish the level of interest in the prospect, for what you are selling. You hear test closes all the time, and here are a few:
- When would you prefer delivery of the product, Thursday or Friday?
- What color do you prefer? Blue or red?
- Who else do you have to let know the product is being delivered?
In the case of flirting, you’re asking (without speaking the words) if the person is interested in taking the relationship to a higher level. And eventually, maybe tonight, or months down the road, it will lead to the act of sex.
When Is It Safe To Flirt?
“Flirt the wrong way with the wrong person, and you run the risk of everything from a slap to a sexual-harassment lawsuit.”
Because of the sexual connotations of flirting, it is important to know when flirting is permissible.
My advice is not to flirt until you have established rapport with the other person.
How do you know when you have established rapport with them? I would say when they have voluntarily shared with you “several” of their closely held values. “Several” is to be on the safe side, particularly if you feel like you want to flirt with someone at work. Work-related flirting is very high-risk, so you have to be extra careful in that situation.
What kind of values?
Since you are using the Personality Marketing Manual as your guidebook, you already know most of their values ahead of time. So you are at an advantage when you hear them verbalize one. But make sure that they are speaking to you alone, and not when talking in a group setting. You can pick up a lot of the other person’s values when they are talking in a group because some people feel safer when surrounded by their close friends. But are they for your ears to hear? Therefore, they are more personal when they are in a one-on-one situation.
Beware the Confusion Caused By The Warriors
I’m assuming that you are a Strategist. So I want to warn you that there is a difference in flirting among the different personality types.
Warriors treat flirting in another way besides just to see if the person they are flirting with is interested in a deeper relationship.
To a Warrior, flirting can also be a tool (a weapon can be considered a tool). And Warriors are masters at wielding tools to get what they want.
It may not be a sexual encounter that they desire. They may flirt with a store clerk to see if they can get a discount on a piece of merchandise, or a bit of information on who the wholesaler is where they can buy direct and cut out the middleman. There are a lot of intangibles that they may go after with flirting: a better table, a juicier cut of meat, or the ability to return an unwanted purchase without too many questions.
This flirting is really confusing to the other personality types that witness these type of encounters. Because why would a person willingly accept the flirting when they know that it can’t possibly lead to a sexual relationship? That is a good question for a later article, so I won’t go into it now.
The confusion on when to flirt is what causes problems. Just start with the guidelines I gave you before:
- 1. Type the other person that you are interested in persuading. What personality type are they?
- 2. Build rapport first using the secrets you have available in the Personality Marketing Manual. The techniques you use will vary according to their personality type. It’s NOT hard — there are only four different types. You can remember four strategies, can’t you?
- 3. Wait for the other person to personally disclose several of their deeply held values. You’ll know what they are when you hear them. They are listed in the Personality Marketing Manual if you need a refresher on values.
- 4. The normal purpose of flirting is as a test close to see if the other person is interested in moving the relationship from the friend phase to the dating phase.
- 5. If they accept your flirtations, which you’ll know if they thank you for them, or if they flirt back, you’re ready to progress forward and ask for the next step in actual words: “would you like to leave here and go someplace quiet where we can talk more?” Take this step. If you don’t, you’ll probably over-analyze the situation later.
“Have Fun With It”? Are You Kidding Me?
I always roll my eyes when I see one of the dating experts say to have fun with flirting. These people don’t understand the Strategist personality type. How can a Strategist have fun with something they don’t fully understand. Particularly when it is something that they can get publicly embarrassed for, since they don’t have any control over the outcome.
You can’t turn off your brain if you have the “Thinking” trait, which is how you make decisions. As a Strategist you’re always going to analyze the situation. And it isn’t fun if you are confused by the variables.
What I’ve given you here is a strategy to better understand the variables. Once you know people’s personality types, and how they will react, then it becomes fun again.
I hope that this has helped you better understand the role of flirting, and when to employ it during the persuasion process of dating. If it has, be sure to make a comment here on this page.
Until next time, “Be Fruitful.”