The art of flirting

Love it or hate it, the art of flirting can't be underestimated...

Flirting tips

Use it to pull the perfect partner, with your boss to get a payrise or with friends to make them feel good. Once you've got it mastered it'll be your lifelong friend.

Sadly though with so much at stake, it's easy to get it horribly wrong. Over-eager flirting can be misconstrued as an invitation to get physical, equally a lukewarm approach can imply you're not bothered. Successful flirting is indeed an artform, but for those out there struggling, rest assured it's a learnable skill.

To get you started we've compiled the essential dos and don'ts, but please be subtle in your selection. Excessive lip-licking and hair-flicking à la Victoria Beckham looks unnatural and anxsty. Remember it's about having fun, and if you slip up a few times, what the hell! So pull your shoulders back, hold your head up high and enjoy yourself.

Do:

  • Smile. If you only do one of the things in this list make sure it's this one.

  • Be the bearer of good news. Regaling Daily Mail histrionics about asylum-seekers or house prices will not become you. Talk about things you like and things that inspire you. And if your friend says 'I love football' and you hate it, for god's sake don't fess up.

  • Make direct immediate eye contact. A frank open countenance is a good thing, an unblinking stare is not. Worse still is pretending to make eye contact when in fact you're talking to an earring or a fringe.

  • Ask questions that show that you're listening and that you're really interested. Starting your sentences with 'I wonder' or 'I think...' is a sure-fire way to get the ball rolling.

  • Mirror your friend's gestures. When you're chatting to someone you're interested in, your body language and gestures often synchronise. This is often an unconscious thing and not the same as mimicking, repeat not the same.

  • Playing with a strand of hair, a straw or a stirrer can be alluring. Don't over-egg it though and girls, never run your finger around the rim of the glass. You'll look like a hooker.

  • Leaning towards your friend sends out positive signals. And if you cross your legs make sure your knees face your friend and not the other way. The leg crossing perfected by Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct is considered a forthright gesture, recommended once you’ve dispensed with formalities.

  • Give sincere compliments. People love to be flattered even if they pretend not to. Practice daily with colleagues, the posty or fellow supermarket shoppers.

  • In conversation, casually touching your friend on the arm or hand, or brushing lint off a jacket are gestures which will be appreciated. Flicking dandruff off shoulders is never acceptable, even if they're your own.

-Sit up straight with your chin up. Slouchers looks slovenly and like they need a good shake.

  • When introduced to someone shake hands, repeat their name and ask a question. Don't let the introduction just hang there or it'll wither within seconds.

Use all of the above in moderation.

And now for the Don'ts!

Don't:

  • Use chat up lines. Fact: they don't work.

  • Fidget. And men, never ever stand jiggling the contents of your pockets. It's frankly disturbing.

  • Cross your arms in front of your chest. It immediately implies you’re on the defensive.

  • Look down when you’re speaking or you'll come across as shifty and paranoid.

  • Punctuate sentences with 'y'know' or nervous 'huh' sounds. It smacks of a total lack of confidence.

  • Bite nails, pick at cuticles or heaven forbid scrape the dirt from beneath the tips.