Flirting is like a sport: The more you practice, the better you become at using your charm when you need it most, like when that cute guy steps on the elevator. "From the moment you wake up, have this vibe to embrace whoever you come in contact with," says Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, a dating consultancy. Flex your flirt muscles daily by complimenting the delivery guy on his watch or asking your neighbor on the train what he's reading.
When heading out for a good time, it's important to dress for your role. If you're looking for a gentleman, present yourself as a leading lady. "Dress how you want to be addressed," says Shanel Cooper-Sykes, host of Man Magnet, an online flirting workshop. "If you put it all out there in something too tight or too low, you aren't saying 'I want to flirt,' you're saying 'Come and get me.' " Forgo the freak 'em dress and instead grab his attention with bold colors in flattering cuts that make you feel sexy.
Most men have been rejected when approaching women, which can make them gun-shy. Signaling your interest reassures a man he has a chance. "Just smile and make eye contact," Edwards says. "Men are very physical, so subtle flirting by women can sometimes be invisible. Be more expressive with your gestures, and lightly touch his arm so he knows you're interested."
Be bold and creative in meeting new people. “Just like a man will send a drink, I will send a man who catches my eye a glass or bottle of what he is drinking. It shows what kind of woman I am,” dating coach Shanel Cooper-Sykes says. “You can also kiss a napkin with your lipstick and write ‘I like you.’ Then walk by his table and drop it off, or send it through the waitress.”
"Pssst. Hey, chocolate." We know it can sometimes be difficult to be charming after experiencing unsolicited male attention. "A lot of Black women have walls up from the way some men have responded to us," Cooper-Sykes says. "We have to set the standards and train men how to treat us." When you encounter an uncouth approach, check him with a smile. It's flirting practice for you and a lesson for him.
Don't limit your attention to the guy who catches your eye. "One thing that helps women look sociable is to see them interacting with people outside of their social group," Edwards says. Chatting up the bartender or the lady at the next table signals to the rest of the room that you are friendly and fun.
Facebook can be more than finding your next partner for Words With Friends. Social networks are the perfect spot to friend and flirt. If you meet someone while out, how aboutwe.com dating expert Chiara Atik, encourages you to connect with him on Facebook and Twitter. “Like his photos, retweet funny links and parlay the friending to an actual connection. Find a reason to send him a direct message to continue the conversation,” she says. For more flirting tips, check out the February issue of ESSENCE.