Focus Group: How Do You Like to Be Hit On?

Photo by Cristi Tohatan.

Flirting is hard! I certainly can't do it, at least not on purpose. (Seriously, as soon as I've ever decided I like someone and that I want to flirt with them, everything falls apart and I say things like "I'm just not looking for a relationship right now" or make eye contact that screams "oh please please please love me do you love me? I am trying to be smouldering, is this smouldering? PLEEEEASE!")

Given how hard it is to flirt with people IN GENERAL, plus the fact that many traditional techniques for hitting on someone have been revealed to be uncomfortable or undesirable or straight up harassment for the recipient, I was curious to know how people actually LIKE to be hit on. I put the call out to my focus group, and now have the ULTIMATE AND BEST FLIRTING TECHNIQUE!

Are you ready? This is it! This is 100% of the data, distilled into one piece of advice on how to flirt:

If you want to hit on someone in a way they will appreciate, all you have to do is make sure the whole interaction recognizes that they are a whole entire person (not just an object of your interest) and that they don't owe you anything.

That's it! You're done!

Here are some supporting quotes, in the words of the 5 women and 1 man who answered my call:

"In general when I sense someone is hitting on me, I get anxious about having to let them down or know I'm not interested in anything more than a conversation. I suppose because it feels like that's the only reason why I'm being talked to, and I don't feel like a person anymore... But I do feel like I banter and am playful with other people (especially actors) when I feel safe doing so... which to me can be a type of flirting."

"While it is nice to hear I am beautiful etc... I much prefer the recognition of my gifts and strengths and who I am, rather than what I look like. Speaking as a 44-year-old, I am discovering how the looks are not with us forever. So I would hope that anyone interested would be interested in the long hall and whatever age brings our way."

"For me, I think if it could come in some sort of email or text would be ideal, because it gives me some time to think it over. I think in person makes it a little harder because you don't have much time to think before you respond. Ultimately, I am really cool if someone approaches me and says they like me and want to see me somewhere."

"I was at a nightclub with a stagette party recently. Groups of drunk girls gathered around a very drunk bride-to-be are generally a target for douches. But instead, we got... one emissary from a group of men who came over, went straight to the bride-to-be and congratulated her on her upcoming nuptials. Politely asked whether his group could join ours. Accepted her answer (nope, because people had driven in from out of town and she wanted to spend time with them) with a smile, and exited graciously. Literally every single woman in our group was drooling over him as he left."

"One time a guy just said as he passed by - 'you've got a really nice smile' and kept on walking. No attempt to pick me up, just a genuine compliment. I suppose if I was interested I could have run after him (I didn't) - I thought that was a nice way to do it. Just a nice comment with no strings attached or expectation from me."

"Treat me like a human...I've probably first noticed something physical about you, whether it's your eyes or your amazing shoulders or your delicious butt. ;) Or maybe its a skill - perhaps you're a great dancer or you play an instrument... And when I flirt with you, I'm trying to figure out if the personality, the soul that animates those features is as attractive as the outside. If someone shows genuine interest in ME like this, I will definitely have a good flirt. Touch is powerful, don't use it without thought. Please don't put me down or make light of things I care about and then say its a joke (this happens a lot in Britain and I find it extremely annoying). Please don't play hard to get without leaving me enough crumbs to and cold is not my style and is quite offputting. I like a slow, steady burn ;)"


-When the interest is just physical/sexual, it can feel pretty dehumanizing.
-Actual conversation and banter (in the appropriate setting) with no strings attached is super sexy.
-Letting someone know in a low-pressure way that you're into them is super sexy.
-Recognizing the things you like about the person that are not appearance-based is super sexy.
-Giving the person space to think or say no without any expectation is super sexy.


Also, how is this for a super cute flirtation technique?

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