Read an Excerpt
HOW TO ATTRACT ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE
FLIRTING – HOW TO DO IT
What better way is there to start a relationship than to flirt? In this innovative book you’ll learn the fine art of relating to others and attracting them to you, and you’ll soon be making connections—instead of excuses. Expert flirt Susan Rabin will teach you:
How to make eye contact and the “flirting triangle” work for you
How to master the five “W’s” of (not-so) small talk
The best way to start and end a good conversation
How to make techniques like the “echo,” the “third ear,” and the “three R’s” work for you
How to turn self-denial and self-destruction into self-esteem and self-support
The best way to handle the sting of rejection and get back in the saddle
How to end a relationship with Mr. or Ms. Not-Quite-Right and still respect yourself in the morning.
SUSAN G. RABIN, M.A., is a relationship therapist, communication and flirting coach, international speaker, and president of Dynamic Communications, Inc., a company dedicated to making relationships work and is director of The School of Flirting®. She appears frequently on radio and television, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The O’Reilly Report, as well as on the Learning Channel and CNN.
Susan was the former Family Living/Sex Education Coordinator for the New York City Board of Education and is also the author of 101 Ways to Flirt and Lucky in Love (both available in a Plume edition). She lives and works in New York City.
BARBARA LAGOWSKI is a former editor and the author of fourteen books.
Visit www.dynamiccommunications.com and www.schoolofflirting.com
Also by Susan Rabin
with Barbara Lagowski:
101 Ways to Flirt
This book is dedicated to the salmon who swim upstream, and my loving family and friends who helped me with my struggle. I hope I can help others with theirs.
To my mom and dad. I wish they could read this book, but I am sure they know of my happiness and success, and I want to thank them for giving me the intelligence, personality, ability to persevere, and education so that I could make this book happen.
To my three children, Stuart, Jeff, and Frannie, who kept me on my toes as a single parent, and gave me a reason to work hard and persist and above all a desire to learn to love well. They taught me lessons of life not found in the school books, ones that only experience and motherhood can provide. Sometimes raising children alone felt like an endless struggle, but one well worth it, and I am very proud of each of them. They turned out to be exceptional grown-ups.
To my sister, Jewel, whose name only begins to describe her precious qualities. She is loved and appreciated in ways words cannot express, and was always there for me. I thank God she will read this book and enjoy my successes with me.
To the best sister-in-law a person could have, Laura. Never too busy or tired to listen (and listen well) to my ramblings. I hope to fulfill my promise to her yet. Laura, the chauffeur is on the way, she’s just a little late.
To my brother, a real treat of a guy who taught me early what a good man and loving brother is, and gave me my first inkling of how different men are from women, and just how okay that is.
To Ben, my brother-in-law to whom I owe my sense of humor and love of sports. He is a very good man and made me feel special and cared for especially when the chips were down.
To my dear friends:
Lynn, so kind, supportive, and loyal from the first lecture she attended through all our ups and downs. Here come the good times, Lynn, enjoy them with me.
Rosemary, who laughed with me all the way through our writing conferences as we learned our craft, and encouraged and edited my work at all times of day and night. Thanks for being there, Rosemary.
Claire, my author friend whom I admired and tried to emulate, and who always insisted that I could write this book when I didn’t think it possible. She was there personally and professionally to keep me going. Thanks, Claire.
Dolores, a dear friend whose talent inspired me to keep on going because she told me I had talent, and I thought she must know, as she hung in there to advise me. Thanks, Dee.
Herb, who introduced me to my agent Sandra, because every time we talked he said, “You have great ideas, do something about them.”
To Sandra, an agent sent from heaven. She believed in my book, and made everyone else believe in it too, and used her natural flirting ability and charm to get this book to publication.
To Peter, my friend and editor, with whom instant rapport was easy. Thanks, Peter, for the belief, confidence, and skill you gave to me and this book to make this project as exciting a reality as it is.
To Barry, the man I most love to flirt with and have for many years. Thank you, Barry, for your astuteness as my attorney, and making my life a pleasure, personally and professionally. Besides, any man who can finish the Sunday Times crossword puzzle in half an hour and let me think I’m good at it too is a gentleman worth loving.
To the men in my life, thanks for enjoying me as a woman and letting me practice my flirting and relating skills which helped me to become who I am today and taught me to love and be loved in a healthy way.
To Dr. Albert Ellis, whose professional training helped me grow personally and professionally and enabled me to help others do the same.
To all my friends and relatives who are not mentioned personally, but know who you are. Thank you for touching my life and caring about me. I have learned and loved with you.
To the men and women who have attended my seminars and lectures—my friends and clients. You are who inspired me to write this book. I am so glad you were willing to come to the workshops and lectures to learn and to share your experiences. I gained much from you as well. I hope this book will further help you achieve what you desire, always.
To the children, teenagers, and teachers I have taught and guided in health and sex education for the New York City Board of Education. Thanks for the opportunity to make a difference in your lives. I hope this book will guide you further and increase your insights in the future.
To Miss Johnson, my eighth grade English teacher, who taught me an appreciation of the English language and the writers who used it so well. She may never know of her influence, but like all great teachers she inspired me. When she wrote in my autograph book at graduation, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” (Keats), I just knew she meant me, and that was the foundation for my positive self-esteem.
And to a nameless woman who delivered a speech at a health education conference in 1959, “The Gift of Greatness,” in which she told her audience, “We as women truly had the gift of greatness, as we sacrificed by leaving our loved ones for the weekend to enhance our education.” I waited a long time and took a circuitous path, as many women of my generation did, but I found my way toward doing what I felt destined for and her words never left me.
Lastly, to the salmon that swim upstream to spawn. I know how hard that journey is, but I am happy to say “I made it!”
IF ALL YOU’RE LOOKING FOR AT THE LAUNDROMAT IS AN AVAILABLE DRYER . . . LOOK AGAIN!
Bus stops. Hardware stores. Dog runs. Box-office lines. Business meetings. Grocery stores. To most busy singles, these are nothing more than time-consuming stop-offs en route to the parties, dances, and bars where they hope to meet that certain someone. But to the thousands of adventurous, available men and women who have adopted my philosophy—that you can attract anyone, anytime, anyplace—the bakery is a local hot spot. (Where else can you flirt with the tantalizing idea of éclairs for lunch as well as the possibility of having dinner with that attractive customer beside you?) The office-supply store isn’t just a place to buy that new date book—it’s an opportunity to fill it in. Even a visit to the neighborhood laundromat doesn’t have to be a social wash. (In fact, one of my single friends met a man over Clorox who put her into a very enjoyable whirl—for more than five years!)
The jogging track, deli counter, self-service gas station . . . these may not seem like the most romantic places in the world. But anyplace you meet that special someone becomes a special place to you. Best of all, no matter which field you play (or how long you’ve played it!) you can meet and attract new and interesting men and women everywhere you go. You just have to know what to do when you get there.
FLIRTING AND THE FINE ART OF SOCIAL INTERCOURSE
Social intercourse. What an icebreaker! I’ve been single, married, and single again, and I’m here to say that some of the most satisfying intercourse I’ve had has been the discourse that takes place within the first five minutes of meeting a new person. Of course I don’t mean physical relations. That kind of irresponsible behavior went out when more than twenty-one kinds of sexually transmitted diseases came in. But social intercourse—that exciting meeting of the minds that turns virtual strangers into fascinating friends (or lovers)—can be better than sex. For one thing, you can do it anywhere. For another, you can seek it as many times a day as you want, provided you know how to flirt.
“FLIRT” IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
Contrary to what your mother may have told you, “flirt” is not a five-letter synonym for all those four-letter words that mean “tease.” Flirting is a charming and honest expression of interest in another person. It is never coquettish or coy. (Drop a handkerchief in the street these days and all you’ll get is a dirty hanky!) Flirting isn’t even quaintly old-fashioned. In fact conversation has become the preferred form of sexuality in the ’90s. Flirting is a safe, intriguing way to get to hello and beyond.
Lucky for me, I have always been a natural flirt. I speak whether or not I am spoken to—and I take it like a trooper when no one speaks back. I approach others if they don’t approach me. And I can make conversation with a blank wall if need be. (And what single person hasn’t found himself or herself across a dinner table from one of those?)
On the personal level, my ability to flirt has enabled me to communicate my feelings and understand the signals of others. Over the years, these skills have led me to marriage, shaken me out of the doldrums of divorce, and provided me with a constant supply of fascinating, creative companions.
And because flirting has everything to do with communication, it has enhanced my professional life as well. Nonsexual flirting has helped me to become a more effective therapist, a successful lecturer, a popular television guest, and, through New York’s Discovery Center and Learning Annex, the leader of my own standing-room-only seminars on (what else?) how to attract anyone, anytime, anyplace.
CAN YOU LEARN TO FLIRT?
Of course you can! Flirting is no more difficult than dancing if you learn the proper steps—and if you stop skipping the ones you think you don’t need!
Since 1985, I have shown thousands of single men and women how to make that all-important first move, how to turn that first move into a first date, and how to use flirting skills to enhance every aspect of their lives. And their successes have been my successes. Of the 2,500 “graduate flirts” who have attended my lectures or enrolled in my seminars, virtually all have reported an increase in social activity, sharper communication skills, and the self-confidence to speak to and attract whomever they want, wherever they are. Many who have adopted my belief that the key to Attracting Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace is Approach, Attitude, and Action have found that special someone and have since taken themselves out of the singles market.
As the song goes, “It’s a wonderful world, full of beautiful people.” And my strategies for meeting the opposite sex will open up that world for you. Whether you are shy or merely inexperienced, the simple techniques in this book will enable you to approach new contacts with confidence, to communicate with them (often without saying a word!) and to interpret their messages in return. And whether you are happily single or actively looking, this invaluable guide provides you with all the skills you need to date, relate, or meet your mate, including how to converse with anyone about anything; how to use provocative props; what the ability to listen says about you; and how to give feelings of rejection the big brush-off. As you read this book, refrain from viewing the word flirt as a noun, and try to think of it as a verb. When someone says, “He/she is a flirt!” the noun sounds pejorative and may label the person as a tease, manipulator, or insincere. As a verb, flirt or flirting connotes action—being playful, friendly, conversant, and charming. It has a “zen” quality, by living in and enjoying the moment without thought of the outcome. To flirt allows you to act and interact without serious intent as you successfully meet and relate to others.
Some enchanted evening, might you meet a stranger across a crowded folding table? Who knows? But I can assure you of this: if you can flirt, your life—and laundromats—will never be the same!
To you, I give permission to flirt. It is okay to flirt! In fact, it is more than okay; it is necessary in the ’90s in getting to know someone, and is the first positive step for attracting anyone, anytime, anyplace!
THE FLIRT IN YOU
You may not know it. You may not be sure you like it. But there’s a flirt in you. And whether that alter ego is shy or gregarious, bold or bashful, it makes itself known everywhere you go, with everyone you meet.
To become the best flirt you can be, it’s imperative that you get to know the kind of flirt you already are. Because this quiz reveals your social strengths and weaknesses, it will give you a head start on first-class flirting. And because your quest for an effective flirting style must be compatible with your quest for a significant other, the pointers you learn here can set you apart from the crowd.
Ready to come face to face with the flirt you are? Take out a pencil and get started. What you find may surprise you.
1. You’re at a local diner and you spot a drop-dead gorgeous guy or gal at the counter. You
A. hide behind your newspaper and keep your eyes focused on the print, wishing but never daring to make eye contact.
B. find an article that allows you to expound on your own viewpoints and begin a conversation with the intriguing stranger.
C. immediately take stock of his or her physical attributes. What a bod!
D. assess the person’s possibilities and decide to pass. He or she is just not your type.
E. gush, “What a bright, sunny smile you have! It positively lights up the room!” Compliments always work.
F. do nothing. Relationships with people you meet on the street are dangerous . . . and they never work out anyway.
G. think of a million great opening lines—and imagine how the person might respond to each of them.
2. You think flirting is
A. silly, contrived, and manipulative.
B. a great way for people to get to know you.
C. something you have to do to get sex.
D. something you have to do to get married.
E. easy if you just tell people what they want to hear.
F. a technique that works only if you’re one of the beautiful people and lucky in love.
G. a nerve-racking pastime. The result is so hard to predict.
3. The conversation you are having with a new prospect begins to lag. You handle the situation by
A. excusing yourself. If this person can’t think of anything to ask you about, she or he obviously doesn’t find you interesting.
B. revealing some fascinating tidbit about yourself.
C. telling a suggestive joke. You know a million of them!
D. finding a new conversational partner. This one is obviously not for you.
E. feigning ignorance about a subject in which your new friend shows expertise. Making the other person feel smart is good flirting!
F. saying nothing. It doesn’t do much for the conversation, but it beats saying the wrong thing.
G. wondering what the other person is thinking. If you could only get into his or her brain!
4. At the local market, you notice an attractive shopper squeezing the melons. You also notice that he or she isn’t wearing a wedding ring. You
A. make it a policy never to talk to strangers. Too bad, too. This one is awfully appealing!
B. walk right over and announce, “I’m a pro at selecting melons!” Then you shove an appropriate one into his or her hand and say, “Here—try this one.”
C. can’t wait to try out that cute melon line! If you’re a woman, you hold one in each hand and ask, “How do you like these honeydews?” If you are a man, you sidle up and say, “Oh, I don’t know. Your melons look pretty good to me.”
D. walk on by. If this person doesn’t know how to select fruit, he or she’ll never fit into your healthy lifestyle.
E. ask him or her to help you choose melons! All that squeezing and knocking is so confusing!
F. move on to the next aisle. Anyone who’s that careful about produce has got to be hyperfastidious, perfectionistic, or married, ring or no ring.
G. can’t decide what to do so you circle the fruit counter hoping the stranger will notice you.
5. At a dinner party, you catch sight of a guest you suspect might be the man or woman of your dreams. You’d love to chat him or her up over dinner. You
A. wait until everyone is seated at the table, then take the only remaining chair. You don’t want to seem obvious. Besides, pushy people are unattractive.
B. corner the object of your flirtation at the bar, then follow him or her to the table, positioning your body so that nobody else could possibly get close.
C. walk behind him or her to the table, then whisper invitingly in his or her ear: “Sit down. I think I love you.”
D. wonder why he or she passed up the Thai beef appetizer. Is he or she a vegetarian? Vegetarians can be so dogmatic.
E. pour on the compliments like gravy. What a dish!
F. seat yourself as far as you can from this very special guest. What could you possibly have to say to such a perfect person?
G. wander around the room until you come up with just the right opening line. By the time you do, you notice that someone else has taken the seat you’d hoped to get.
This quiz is quick and easy to score. Just circle the letter before each answer that comes closest to yours, then count up how many answers of the same letter you have marked. Is there a preponderance of one type of answer? Then you will definitely find yourself in the descriptions below. If your answers are split, read each of the appropriate paragraphs. The tips you’ll find there will give you some real insight on dating and relating to the opposite sex. And insight is what real flirting “style” is all about.
THE “I DON’T FLIRT” FLIRT
“Flirting is manipulative,” Mary told me during her first counseling session with me. “I simply will not come on to men. Why should I? Men have names for girls who do.”
If you answered A to most of the quiz questions, you are ambivalent about making your availability known—and may be stuck in a negative mind-set about what flirting is and is not.
Contrary to Mary’s opinion, you can take a pass on coquettish behavior without allowing attractive prospects to pass you by. And if you keep your intentions friendly, flirting can be the most straight-up and honest pastime in the world. But first you must make an honest appraisal of your needs and your attitudes. Do you ever find yourself wishing that you could start a conversation with a potential dating partner? Do you agree that there is nothing manipulative in expressing a sincere interest in a friend or acquaintance? Would it improve your life if you knew where to go, what to say, and how to fit in comfortably in any social milieu? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, your need to interact and your attitude about socializing are at odds with each other. You would be better served if you called a truce and gave yourself permission to flirt, in your own way and on your own terms.
THE SELF-CENTERED FLIRT
If your answer of choice was B, then you may be bending the ears of your prospective partners until they hurt.
Flirting is a give-and-take proposition. But conversational partners who share too much of their advice, reveal too many of their experiences, and are too vociferous about their opinions can simply be too much for anyone to take.
Here’s an example. Karen was a teacher who was married to a man who controlled all the couple’s finances. When her husband died suddenly at an early age, Karen found herself in dire straits. She was unable to make the complicated decisions that had been second nature to her husband—and unaccustomed to the single life. When she met Tom—a gregarious, successful businessman—at a cocktail party, she thought she had found what she needed most: a knowledgeable friend. Instead, what Tom turned out to be was a Self-Centered Flirt.