Remember the days when you had to call a potential love interest on your vintage landline — still yet to be equipped with the luxury of caller ID — and ask them on a date with real spoken words? Well, as a member of Generation Z, I actually don’t remember this. I’ve only experienced the thrill of answering my home phone and being asked on a date by my crush second-handedly, namely through movies and stories from my mom. While that does sound vaguely romantic, technology makes life — and dating — so much easier, or so I’m told. Even so, navigating the waters of digital flirting can be a struggle. That’s where these tips to up your online flirting game, whether it be through Tinder, texting, or LinkedIn (hey, no judgement), come in.
1. Be yourself. (Cringeworthy, I know.)
We are all guilty of caring too much about how we may be perceived, and that can take away from our ability to form meaningful connections. When flirting IRL, we don’t have time to think through every little thing we say. We would, at the very least, frighten our (potential) dates if we stopped to think for 120 seconds before uttering a word. That’s not the case with a text or DM. Analyzing every message down to the punctuation and sending it to our group chats for approval (you’ve definitely done this, don’t lie) not only slows things down, it also doesn’t allow us to be our authentic, (hopefully) amazing selves. I promise that adding or removing that extra “y” at the end of your “heyyy” won’t dictate whether someone wants to go out with you. This is especially true if you just met someone on an app. You don’t, say, share mutual friends so there’s no pressure — you can be as flirty, quirky, and true to yourself as you want. If they think you’re a weirdo, then they’re probably just not your brand of weird.
2. Seem (a bit) unavailable.
In a (semi-)cute way, I mean. Everyone loves them some witty banter. You want to see me tonight Tinder suitor #8? Yeah, well, you and the rest of the world. I’ve got all the boys waiting in the yard. Get in line. (So maybe you exaggerated a little about the length of the queue of boys in the yard, but the illusion may just manifest them — move over, Kelis!) Now you seem mysterious, a little unattainable, and like you have a great sense of humor. If referencing early 2000s bangers to feign unavailability isn’t your cup of tea, that’s OK. But a playful reminder that you’re a very busy and important human who isn’t waiting around for someone’s attention all day is generally a good idea.
3. Find the confidence to be forward.
Sometimes we (guilty as charged) can try so hard to seem like that chill person who only texts every five days that we miss out on opportunities. Or, this same fear of being too bold can prevent us from seizing opportunities that may have been directly in front of us all along. When a friend of mine was crushing on a guy in her calculus class, she stalked their class roster to find out his full name and then proceeded to Instagram DM him. Right before the final, she wrote, “I need a distraction from staring at these problem sets. Let me know if you’d want to come over and ‘study’ sometime.” They ended up dating for a few months. Even a simple, “Hey, what are you up to tonight?” can go a long way. There’s no better way to gauge if someone is into you than to be upfront.
4. Creep on their social media.
Now, don’t get all carried away and pull a Joe Goldberg from “You.” But a little innocent Instagram DM flirtation never killed nobody. Responding to a prospective bae’s story is a great way to remind them of your lovely presence while effortlessly sparking up a spontaneous in-app convo. If practiced correctly, these story responses can potentially lead to more dates. For example, responding, “OMG that looks unreal :heart eyes emoji:” to a special someone’s mediocre shot of a slice of pizza can prompt an, “It was. We should definitely go sometime!” Or, you know, tag them in cute meme.
5. Have fun with emojis.
Emojis just make it too easy — not that I’m not complaining. These built-in characters encapsulate every flirty vibe you’ve ever wanted to give off. Plus, you can send virtually any message, end it with a smiley-face emoji, and create the impression that you’re a happy-go-lucky person. Now, ending every text with a smiley emoji may make you seem like a serial killer but, within limits, the grinning/winky face/girl dancing emoji is a successful flirt on its own. If you’re feeling particularly witty, try sending emoji-only texts. For example, pointing emoji + eye emoji + fire emoji = “you look fire.” How creative! I, for one, would totally date you.