Most people need to take the initiative when they find someone attractive and hope to form a connection. But if you are more comfortable waiting for someone to approach you, there are a few things you can do to subtly encourage the attention and make yourself seem more receptive to the flirtation. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hit the town looking for a date—or even when you spot someone cute while on errands or otherwise don’t expect it.
Put Away the Distractions and Smile
Although people don’t always respect this unwritten rule, having your attention focused on something—your phone, a book, music playing through headphones—is typically code for “not interested, leave me be.” If you’re trying to get someone to flirt with you, put all of these things away. Don’t be tempted to check your phone, even if you hear it buzz or if you feel a little awkward. Instead, cradle a drink (alcoholic or not) with your head held high. Stare at a band if one’s playing or just bob your head slightly to the music overhead. Every once in a while, let your gaze wander toward the person who’s caught your eye and smile. Try to smile a lot and seem friendly and approachable in general; even if you’re feeling lousy, if you want someone to come over and flirt, you need to seem like you’d be fun to talk to.
Find Excuses to Move Closer to the Person
Even if you don’t want to start up the conversation, you need to present easy opportunities for the other person to start talking to you. Don’t stay huddled in the corner or at your table all night, especially if you’re with a group of people. (Some people find approaching one person among friends intimidating, like there’s added pressure not to mess up.) Make your way over to where the person is spending most of their time.
Maybe you need to refresh your drink or you just want some space to dance in and stretch your legs. To make the move more casual, you might bring out your phone just for a few seconds to make it seem like you needed to step away to check your messages. Then quickly slip it back into your purse or pocket and lean against the wall near your new crush, waiting to see if they’ll take advantage of the moment to come over. Stay within sight of your friends if you’re with some—just for a layer of protection—but get far enough away from them to give your new crush the confidence to approach you.
Seem a Little in Distress
If smiling, eye contact, and the casual move nearer your crush isn’t enough to make them come over, up your game a little by appealing to the average person’s empathetic nature. If you look like you could use some assistance or support, they might feel more confident in approaching you because they have something to offer. Don’t start bawling or look ticked off—that could actually make someone back off—but try sighing a little and letting your smile slip just slightly, or rummaging through your purse or pockets as if you’d lost something. (Plan ahead and purposely leave your keys or something else small at your table with your friends, then your new “hero” can point that out and “rescue” you.) You could also finish off your drink and keep trying to sip it, looking longingly at the ice clinking around. While it doesn’t pay to be duplicitous in the long term in a relationship, a little harmless manipulation of the situation might be just the push your crush needs to step up.
Few people can be entirely passive and get others to flirt with them, especially if they have a specific person in mind. If you’re willing to put in at least some of the work, you can subtly encourage a more favorable reaction from those around you. Just be sure to politely but firmly shut down any unwanted attention from others who might be intrigued by your open, playful aura.