Want to find love in a foreign country?
Or do you at least want to flirt with cool new people while traveling?
You can introduce yourself in English confidently.
You can also pronounce things like a native when talking.
But flirting like a native English speaker can be hard, even for an advanced English learner!
You see that special person across the room, or maybe you have been friends with them for a while. How can you tell them you’re interested in them? You want to do this in a confident way that sounds fluent and natural.
We get it! This article is going to help you out.
How to Flirt Confidently in English
Before you start flirting, you should get to know the culture behind the language you’re learning. To do that, use FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.FluentU’s videos will show you how English is really used by native speakers. Give it a free try and become the next Casanova!
Flirting Culture In English Speaking Countries
Every culture has a different idea of flirtation, the act of flirting.
In most English-speaking countries, confidence is the biggest thing when flirting. However, being too aggressive is always bad. Later, we will look at phrases that show off your confidence without being too aggressive. An “aggressive” way of flirting is to not give up after someone tells you “no” or after they say that they are not interested in you. It is also aggressive when you are too direct and say very strong comments.
Flirting culture in the United States is mainly focused on gentle compliments, with a tone of confidence to hint at what you mean. There is a difference between how people see “you’re so hot!” and “you have a lovely smile, did you know that?” Subtlety and confidence, remember that.
There are also social rules about the space between you and other people. A common term used in English is comfort zone or space bubble. Just image the area that’s around a person. These phrases refer to the space that is close to them, where they do not want other people to be. That is personal space.
While people have comfort zones of different sizes, in western cultures it is usually a very large size for most people. However, when someone starts to get closer to you, that usually means that they like you and they are trying to flirt with you. But if you go too close, you may seem creepy.
The same goes for touching. If you know the person well, touching their shoulder or hand may be okay. If you don’t know them, it can be aggressive to touch them. The best way to show interest without breaking social rules is to keep eye contact when you talk. That means you are looking at the person’s eyes. This gives the impression of closeness without invading their space bubble.
Of course, you don’t want to take it too far with your language, either! This is known as coming on too strong. Confessing your love for someone on a first date will seem very strange. Because of this, be sure to check out the video below to see how characters from top films and TV shows express their love in many different ways.
As an added bonus, there’s an interactive cheesiness meter, meaning you will know when it is a bit too much. If you love learning with these native videos, you’ll love the FluentU English YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to the channel now for native content and insider tips like the ones below!
What Is Flirting?
You may have heard of a pick-up line. This is a phrase for flirting which is very direct and sometimes silly. Pick-up lines are usually really awkward or sound very old on purpose. Being funny is a type of flirting, too.
The classic example is: “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” This has been repeated millions of times, and it is comparing someone to an angel. Using these is not really a modern way of flirting. They are more funny than anything. People still use them sometimes, but usually to make someone laugh.
Another term is hitting on someone. This can mean to flirt, but it also has a negative meaning at times. It is often used when someone is too aggressive or says something that makes you uncomfortable.
“What happened today?”
“I was on the subway and some guy was hitting on me.”
“I think Sarah was hitting on me.”
“She was trying to feel my arms.”
Flirting is simply showing someone that you are interested in them or think that they are attractive.
This can be done using body language, but it is also about what you say. Flirting is appropriate (okay to do) in many kinds of places, because it does not have to be aggressive.
If you do not know the person, you might go and talk to them in a bar, coffee shop or a party. You may want to flirt with a person from work or school that you know, and that’s okay too as long as you are not aggressive. Usually you will want to flirt with a coworker or classmate in a more public place. That way, both of you feel more comfortable.
Phrases You Can Use to Flirt
There are some subtle (gentle) phrases that people connect with flirting. You can use these phrases, and people will know when you are flirting with them. These sound casual and, more importantly, are in very natural in modern English.
“Are you on_____?” or “Do you use_____?
The blank spaces in these sentence are for inserting a social media website. Some popular social media websites are Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. When you are getting to know somebody and you don’t want to ask for their phone number right away, this is a more casual way to get their contact information. Most people have a smartphone to look up social media information. This also gives you several ways to talk to them again.
“Are you on Facebook?”
“Yeah, are you?”
“Of course! Can I add you? I want to hang out sometime.”
“Sure, that would be great.”
“Can I get your digits/number?”
The more upfront (straightforward) way to flirt is asking for their phone number after talking. You ask them their name and talk about their life for a while. Then you can ask for their phone number.
This is a question, so they can say “no.” If they say “no,” then you can ask about some other way to talk to them, like on social media. If they still say “no,” they may not be interested. Hopefully that won’t happen! Some people say that you should wait three days before using the phone number to call them, but now people don’t have to follow that “rule” so strictly.
“So I was wondering, could I get your number?”
“Great, I’ll have to give you a call sometime.”
Another approach is to give the person your number and ask them to call you, leaving it up to them if they are interested, like “call me sometime, okay?” This can also be used as a response if someone flirts with you first.
“I love your ____”
First, do not sound creepy with this one. It’s easy to go into aggressive territory or sound awkward. Usually you’ll want to say you like something sweet and innocent, like their smile, laugh, eyes, hair, dress, jacket or other small feature. If you say you like something weird or sexual like their face, feet, butt or ears, you may just give them a weird impression of yourself, especially if you do not know the person well.
“Can I just say, I love your eyes.”
“Oh, thank you.”
“They look so bright and pretty.”
“Has anyone ever told you ____?”
If you are flirting by using compliments, this is a great phrase to use. You can put whatever you want to say at the end. It’s flattering, it may help the conversation along and it doesn’t sound aggressive.
“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Drew Barrymore?”
“Has anybody ever told you that you have the best smile? I bet you hear that a lot, huh?”
“Yea, I get that a lot actually.” (Meaning: People tell me that often.)
“Are you seeing anyone lately?”
If you know the person already, or maybe you haven’t talked to them in a long time, this is a great phrase to use. It can come off as lighthearted (friendly and casual), but can also be turned into a conversation around dating, specifically you.
“How are you doing? Are you seeing anybody lately?”
“I’m okay, and no I’m not. I just haven’t met the right person I guess. You?”
“No, but I have my eye on someone right now.” (I have someone I’m interested in right now.)
Another great compliment is “how are you still single?” Some people may think this is annoying when asked by their friends, but when it is said in a tone that suggests that you are romantically interested it is considered flirting. You can follow up with, “you’re so handsome/beautiful! I would want to date you.”
When Someone Is Interested
So you are confident, you have eye contact and you have started flirting. How do you know if they are interested in you too? Or perhaps someone is flirting with you and you want to know how to respond naturally. Here are some more phrases that will come in handy!
“I’m totally into _____“
This phrase can be changed to fit who you are talking to. Maybe your friend asks you about the person you were talking to.
“He was flirting with you!”
“I know, I’m totally into him.”
Or you can use it directly with the person if you are feeling bold.
“Can I get your number and give you a call sometime?”
“Of course you can have my number, I’m totally into you.”
“Have a thing for_____”
To “have a thing” for someone means that you like them. This phrase also comes up when you are talking to friends or people around you. It’s not common to use it with the person directly, but it is possible.
“You have got a thing for her, don’t you!”
“Yea, I totally have a thing for her. Should I ask her out?”
“We are meant for each other” or “we are meant to be.”
You may have heard this before in songs or movies, because it’s a common saying or phrase. If you believe in fate (destiny) and think the person you are talking to is perfect for you, you can say this after you have been flirting for a while. This is also a pretty bold thing to say, so be careful! If you say it in a cute way, it can be playful too.
“You know I’m glad we have been talking these past few days. I really think we may be meant to be.“
“I’m falling for you“
This is an another version of “falling in love.” Romantic language especially is very visual, so to fall for someone is to quickly become attached to them and like them a lot. “I’m falling for you” says that you are beginning to feel this way, and you think that it will keep going until you love them. You can use this to flirt with someone, or respond to flirting over time.
“I think I’m falling for you.”
There are a few versions for this phrase. A get-together can just be a casual meeting with a bunch of friends. However, to get together means to date or become an item (become a couple). If you want to start dating this person but don’t want to ask very directly and boldly for a date or relationship, this will work for you.
“I’d like to get together sometime.”
“How are you still single? I’d date you if I had the chance.”
“I think we should get together, then.”
When Someone Is Not Interested
You may find that someone is not interested after you talk to them. Rejection can be hard, but it should be accepted so you can both move on.
You may hear these responses when you flirt, or you may give these responses if you don’t want to be with a person who is hitting on you too much. Some of these responses can be given politely with a smile, and others are purposely rude for when you are really not interested, or when the person is invading your personal space.
“Sorry, not interested.”
They may have a girlfriend or boyfriend already. Maybe they will also say that “I need to focus on my career right now” or “I don’t have time for a relationship.” But they still want to be polite to you. The “sorry” is what makes this polite. Without it, this sentence is a direct shut down (rejecting a person quickly and strongly).
“Can I give you a call sometime?”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not interested.”
Maybe you are in a formal situation and you want to be very polite to this person. If you want to be very nice and polite, use the following sentence.
“I appreciate the compliment but I’m not really looking for a relationship right now.”
This is very polite. The other person won’t think that you don’t like them. They won’t feel bad about themselves. They will think that you just don’t want to date anyone at all.
“I’m seeing someone”
If you’re already in a relationship and you don’t plan on starting another one, a good way to reject a person is to be honest and tell them that you are taken (meaning, you are dating somebody). Again, seeing someone means that you are dating them when used in this context.
“How are you? Are you seeing anyone lately?”
“Actually, yeah, I am seeing somebody.”
“Oh, wow. How’s that going?”
“Really well, thanks.”
What if the person was rude to you? What if you just don’t feel like being polite to aggressive people tonight?
A person will usually use this phrase, “get lost,” in situations where they do not want to talk to the other person at all. Sometimes it’s just used when you don’t like a person. It is also sometimes used with children or animals, but it’s also a harsh rejection. If a person uses this it can be seen as very rude. The expression really means that you want the person to go far away and be lost somewhere so they can’t bother you anymore.
“How about I buy you a drink?”
“In your dreams”
Finally, this rejection is usually used by people who think that they are much better looking (more attractive) than the other person. You may have heard the phrase “out of his league,” which means that they are too smart or attractive for the interested person.
“In your dreams” is a short way of saying “me going out with you is only going to happen in your dreams, and it’s not going to happen in reality.” If you hear this, it means the person really is not interested at all.
“Are you on Facebook? I’d really like to get to know you better.”
“In your dreams, okay?”
And there they are, phrases for flirting and responding!
Be careful with the tone of your voice, which should be friendly and confident.
It may take some time to get comfortable enough to use these, but practice makes perfect so don’t be afraid to try.
Remember these phrases next time someone interests you, and good luck out there!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
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