Flirting is an art all collegiettes should learn. It’s tricky; you have to walk the fine line between letting a guy know you’re interested and coming off too strong. There are some ways to get his attention, but if you don’t know what to do short of screaming, “I want to have your babies!” (note: we would advise against this direct method), don’t worry! There are definitely subtler ways to get him to notice you. We spoke to flirting and communications expert Rachel DeAlto for some tips and asked college guys about subtle ways girls have gotten their attention!
1. Flash Him a Smile
Happiness attracts people, and college guys are no exception.
“No one wants to flirt with or date someone miserable,” DeAlto says. She warns collegiettes to be careful of “resting b*tch face” (when you think your face is supposed to be in neutral, resting mode, but you appear to look angry or miserable). “It will make you completely unapproachable,” she warns. Look in the mirror and see how your face naturally falls when you’re not smiling. Try to soften your features and make a conscious effort to smile.
Former HC RLCG Sean McFarland agrees that smiling does the trick. “Smiling goes a LONG way,” he says. “When a girl just smiles when talking in normal conversation, it drives me nuts.”
DeAlto suggests smiling as often as possible in conversation. Also, “smiling with eye contact across the room is the best way to get a guy to approach you,” she says. “A general rule for how to smile is to smile with your eyes––this isn't a glamour shots pose; it’s an authentic, warm… invitation.”
2. Get Caught Sneaking Glances
Eye contact is another subtle flirting technique to master. “One thing I notice is... [when] I catch them staring at me when I’m not [looking],” says Michael Viloria, a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University. “It really boosts my confidence and makes me feel attractive. It also makes me feel more comfortable with the way I talk and how I am.”
If you’re looking at him and you catch his eye from across the room, hold his gaze, but know when to let go.
“This can be very intimate; only three seconds is necessary," DeAlto says. "Making eye contact shows him that you are interested in connecting. No longer than three seconds, or you may look creepy; less than a few seconds and he might mistake it for a passing glance.”
3. Touch Him Subtly
Lightly touching a guy can send the message that you want to connect, or that you feel a connection.
“Some of my favorite ways a woman can flirt are to subtly use touch during conversation,” Sean says. “A subtle touch to the knee or the back of the arm can go a long way.”
Joel Dobben, a grad student at the University of St Andrews, agrees, but warns not to overstep boundaries. “Touch his arm or shoulder lightly if he says anything really funny or perceptive,” he says, “but don't rub him as if you're consciously sending a physical message."
4. Take on a Flirty Tone of Voice
Don’t just show him you’re interested, let him hear it! Michael likes when girls let him know they’re into him not by what they say, but how they say it. “There is a little change in their tone of voice; it becomes more playful,” he says.
When responding to a guy, show your interest in what he has to say by the sound of your voice. Avoid a monotone, unvaried pitch when speaking––you could lose his interest, and you may come off bored.
“A change in tone can happen naturally, BUT you can make it happen when you are talking through a smile,” says DeAlto. “It will literally change how you talk.” She suggests practicing saying, “How are you?” with a straight face and then saying it again with a smile—you’ll notice a difference. “The change is immediate, easy, and effective,” she says.
5. Let Him Know You Think He's Funny
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the flirting book, but it works like a charm every time: pump up his ego a bit by laughing at his jokes.
Michael says a girl gets his attention when he notices that she’s laughing at everything he’s saying. “It is a self-image boost kind of thing. It also makes me feel like she is someone that is fun to be with and a potential partner,” he says.
You don’t have to laugh too much, especially if it’s not genuine. But if you feel a giggle coming on, let yourself express a positive reaction to his jokes. He’ll be drawn to you when your laughter reassure him that, yes, he is funny (or at least you think so).
With all of these tips, the most important thing to remember is the balance between playing hard to get and coming off desperate. "Flirting is about letting him know that it's okay to hit on you, and that you won't sneer and ignore him,” says DeAlto. “You don't have to be overly sexual or try too hard; if he is interested, all he needs is a couple indicators that you are interested, too.”