He Says/She Says: The Unspeakable “F Word” of Dating

So you made it to our second post on the ins and outs of virtuous dating in this crazy, mixed-up world. Well done, young Padawan daters.

Any number of things could have brought you to this blog post:

  • You’ve had it with boring first dates and flaky text messages.
  • You’ve been burned one too many times by the fling-focused hookup culture.
  • You’re sick of serial dating – one after another. After another.
  • You’ve taken a break from dating or have even gone on a dating fast, and you’re ready to jump back into the game.
  • You‘re sick of living in a world where Tinder exists.

Friends don’t let friends use Tinder.

Whatever brought you here, know that you’re on the right track.

Now, don’t get us wrong: This endeavor isn’t easy. Those of us trying to date with integrity are swimming upstream in our modern culture of delayed adolescence, instant gratification and sexting. Virtuous daters need a road map to navigate this crazy environment.

That’s why we’ve created this series, something to serve as a tool-belt for your adventure into the realm of virtuous dating.

In our last post, we talked about some dealmakers and deal breakers — things to look for (and to watch out for) in a potential date.

So let’s say you’ve met someone who strikes your fancy: a good-looking individual who doesn’t seem like a total creepy stalker, who likes children and has nice teeth. Good start.

Now what?  

It all begins with something we like to call the “unspeakable F-word of dating.” That’s right: flirting.

This is one of those things that either you’re really good at and you know it, or you have literally no idea what you’re doing. If you’re in that second camp, it can be awkward and scary. And awkward. Did we mention awkward?

But have no fear! To aid you in the journey, here are a few tips from the FOCUS blog’s resident dating experts Dear Abbys (i.e., the only people crazy enough around here to write a post about flirting).

He says…

There’s a little saying I came up with when I was 14 while giving dating advice to a buddy of mine (old habits die hard, I guess). It went like this: “Before you win the game, first you must score points.”

While it sounds like it belongs on a fortune cookie, it’s pretty much the rule I live by when I’m interested in a gal. Before you ask for the date, you should test the waters a bit.

Many guys are so eager to get a date with Miss Perfect that they rush into things, making “the ask” too quickly. Other guys fail to pick up on a girl’s negative signals, leading to embarrassment for both parties. So what’s a guy to do?

First, score some points. Throw some stuff out there and see how she responds. Does she look at you when you’re talking, or are her eyes constantly glancing elsewhere? Is her body language warm and inviting, or are her arms crossed and closed off? When you gently tease her, does she fire back? Does she smile? Does she laugh at your jokes? (Pro Tip: If she laughs at the stupid ones no one else is laughing at and subsequently hits you on the shoulder, you’re golden.)

How do you know it’s time to ask for that date? Simple: when you’ve scored enough points to win the game. (That is, when you’re decently confident that if you were to ask her on a date, she’d accept.)

On the flip side, know when to bail. When a guy persistently tries to get a date with a gal who’s obviously shutting him down, it’s embarrassing for everyone and pretty much the saddest thing ever. Don’t be that guy.

Here are some cues for when it’s time to get out before you hurt yourself:

  • There’s something on her left ring finger. This doesn’t always mean she’s taken; some single women just like to wear jewelry. It could be a purity ring. But nine times out of ten, it means she’s taken. Sorry, bro.
  • She mentions her boyfriend. Same deal. Maybe she sensed your interest, and wanted to let you down gently before you asked her out. Or maybe she just likes talking about her boyfriend. Either way, get out while the getting’s good.
  • She seems bored. I know it stinks, but if she looks bored, she probably is. You can’t force chemistry, so if you’ve given it your best shot and she doesn’t seem interested, it’s best just to view her as a friend.

She says…

Flirting is interesting for a girl. On the one hand, you need to show him you’re interested, if you are. On the other, guys can usually smell when a girl is desperate (don’t be that girl). Sometimes it’s good to be really clear; other times, it’s better to let him initiate. Unfortunately, there is no black and white rulebook for this one, ladies. This is where our own feminine intuition and solid girlfriends (wing-women are a thing!) come in.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Subtlety is key. Don’t be weird or over the top. A light touch on the arm, good eye contact and a big smile should be enough. Compliments also go a long way — guys love to hear that stuff, too.
  • Be playful. Teasing and joking is textbook flirting. Just be natural, be yourself and let your sense of humor come out if you’re interested in him.
  • Put yourself in his area. A lot of Catholic women tend to have what some of my friends call a “Rapunzel complex.” We expect the guy to climb up our tower without us doing any of the work. Relationships are a two-way street, so this means we need to put ourselves out there and show interest. One great way to do this is to simply put yourself in his area so he’s more aware of your presence. For example, If he’s standing on one side of the room, place yourself near him. Maybe strike up conversation. See where it goes from there!
  • Intentionally get to know him. Single him out of the group a bit and ask him questions about his life, his interests, etc.
  • Practice. Don’t be discouraged. Flirting (again) can be weird and awkward. Keep trying.  Most of us are all weird at this no matter how old we are.
  • Do some recon. Ask guy friends of yours that know him to put a bug in his ear!
  • Don’t be afraid to be bold. If you do a little flirting and he “takes the bait,” well shoot — give him yo’ digits. Make it cute and be creative. You don’t have to straight up ask him out, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Flirting is an art, not a science. There is no perfect formula that can be applied to all situations, but these are some things we’ve found to be helpful in navigating the unspeakable F-word.

Next week, we’ll talk about how to get the first date.

Until then, free-fall into flirting!

Check out the rest of our dating series!

  1. He Says/She Says: Your Utility Belt for Surviving the “Dating Apocalypse”
  2. He Says/She Says: The Unspeakable “F Word” of Dating
  3. He Says/She Says: How to Ask Somebody on a Date (and How to Respond)
  4. He Says/She Says: How to Have a First Date that Rocks (and Isn’t Awkward)
  5. He Says/She Says: So You’ve Been on a Couple Dates…Now What?
  6. He Says/She Says: The Virtuous Relationship
  7. He Says/She Says: How to Break Up (and Keep Some Semblance of Dignity)
Therese Bussen and Daniel Paris
Therese Bussen and Daniel Paris
Therese lives in glorious Denver, Colorado and grew up in the high desert area of Southern California (and knows what the Israelites felt like waiting in the desert to get to the Promised Land). She graduated from Benedictine College with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Art. When she's not hanging out with friends, Therese enjoys reading, writing, painting, drawing, designing (basically any kind of art), and dancing awkwardly on purpose. She also loves surprising people with her love of shotgun shooting and cigars. Also, a glass of wine is her favorite thing. Daniel is a ninth-year missionary with FOCUS, having served two years on campuses on the east coast and seven years in the national Formation department. Daniel and his wife Allison have been incredibly blessed and are thrilled to be newly married and on mission together.

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