For almost anyone, the great mystery of life is how to successfully flirt. Add on a heaping dose of shyness, and it’s enough to make any timid guy doubtful about how to approach someone they find attractive. Thankfully, seasoned romancers are sharing their tips on how to flirt like a pro—and it turns out it’s all about authenticity and faking it until you make it.
In a Reddit thread requesting tips for flirting as a shy guy, self-proclaimed “experienced flirts” say everything from eye contact to casual conversation are key. When skimming the thread, there’s very little a shy guy can’t accomplish in the flirting realm with a little practice. And with 1,300 comments and 4,500 upvotes, it’s clear the advice is more than welcome.
Five main rules of flirting have overtaken the comments, reigning supreme as the ultimate tips shy guys can apply to their romance game. Take notes because this is bound to come in handy.
Take it easy
Rule one: Breathe. If you are shy about flirting, chances are you are also anxious to approach someone you find attractive. But flirting really boils down to getting to know a person—and dropping hints to let that person know you are interested.
Forget the eyes across the room, the ignoring-but-not-ignoring game, and the friend telephone nonsense. Expert flirters on Reddit suggest starting with a simple, stress-free conversation one-on-one.
One commenter advises, “Clear your head, and have a nice smooth and clear speech. It also helps me to have something in my hands, so that if I ever do get nervous or fidgety, I can just casually mess with whatever [is in] my hands.”
Whether it’s a drink at the bar or a ring of keys, getting out some nervous energy can help. Just make sure to not get distracted by a cellphone. Make sure you are paying attention.
Harness your confidence—or just fake it
Faking it until you make it applies to flirting, too. At first, shy guys who lack flirting confidence might find it impossible to give the exact opposite impression. But, according to Redditors, faking confidence is the first step in gaining confidence.
“Literally, and I cannot stress this enough if you lack confidence just fake it,” one commenter advises. “It’s the #1 thing when it comes to flirting and is very attractive. Emotionally, I’m not confident at all, but I act like I am.”
There is an important distinction to look out for, though. Confidence should not be mistaken for arrogance, so make sure you aren’t crossing the line. Ego is never appealing, but self-assurance is.
Another commenter writes, “For clarification, confidence and arrogance are not the same thing. You don’t have to be over the top about it.”
Look them in the eye
If you are a shy guy, you might be tempted to avoid eye contact with someone you like. But making eye contact while talking to someone, or even when the person you like enters the room, will make them notice you—and give off that all-important air of confidence.
“Eye contact says more than you will ever know,” one experienced flirter writes. “Subtle, of course.”
But eye contact isn’t only one-sided. Pay attention to see if the person you are flirting with is returning your gaze. It could be a sign your attention and flirtations are welcome, according to another commenter.
“If a woman gives you her eyes, that’s everything,” this Redditor writes. “In a world where she has to constantly avoid creeps with her eyes, it means everything in the world to have eye contact and attention paid towards you. At that point, the door is open and all you have to do is be friendly.”
It may be the advice given for when you are committing a low-level crime, but acting natural is actually the key to flirting successfully, according to some self-proclaimed romance experts. According to one Redditor, the best flirting is not flirting at all.
“Don’t flirt. Just talk to them like you would any other person you’re not [romantically] interested in,” the commenter advises. “Nature will take its course from there.”
Another commenter agrees with the nature argument, saying that not trying to flirt is when flirting happens most naturally. After all, if you are interested in someone, it’s human nature to show them in even the tiniest ways.
“Don’t try too hard. Don’t overthink. Don’t even attempt to flirt,” another commenter writes. “Just talk, engage, and be interested in your own way. People naturally gravitate towards others who are confident in who they are. If you can do that, flirting will come naturally.”
One modestly experienced commenter in the realm of flirtation says women respond better to him when he treats them like a person rather than a conquest. While not exactly revolutionary, it is important to remind yourself the person you are flirting with isn’t mythical or untouchable. They are just a person who may even be a little timid around you, too.
“I am not an experienced flirt at all, but I notice that women respond much better to me when I am just natural, talk about random stuff, and treat them like a person instead of an interest,” the commenter writes. “This puts them at ease. So yeah, just try to be comfortable and be yourself.”
Be a (genuinely) nice guy
There are nice guys, and then there are Nice Guys. While nice guys are genuinely good people with sound intentions when it comes to flirting, Nice Guys are those who believe good behavior means their owed a woman’s attention and adoration. Be a nice guy, not a Nice Guy.
“Maintain eye contact and be naturally nice,” one commenter shares on the thread. “Find simple compliments rather than things that may possibly sound creepy—and don’t try too hard.”
Keeping the creep factor low and prioritizing respect may sound like a given to any actually nice guy. But we live in a world where the obvious needs to be stated and kept in mind, especially when approaching women you might now know well.
“Be honest and show respect,” another commenter adds. “Have a bit fun and hope it all works out.”