My husband used to say that flirting was fun because it made people feel good, and the science behind flirting backs up his belief. However I have worked with many teens, young adults, and yes, full-grown adults who have been the “victims” of flirting in that they feel used, or toyed with after they’ve been shown some short-live, fickle attention. For others, flirting causes major anxiety. Is there a way to flirt mindfully, or does putting the words “mindful” and “flirting” together create an oxymoron?
Flirting mindfully means staying attuned to your bodily sensations while engaging in the flirting, and asking yourself if this energy exchange is good for me and the person I’m flirting with.
I think not. Flirting mindfully means staying attuned to your bodily sensations while engaging in the flirting, and asking yourself if this energy exchange is good for me and the person I’m flirting with. Let’s break this down a bit to see if we can keep flirting in the category of positive emotion and out of the category of traumatic event.
1. Keep in mind the biological purpose of flirting, and that when first encountering an attractive potential mate, our limbic systems (the more primitive part of our brain) has probably taken over. So we may not be in the most rational frame of mind when flirting.
2. That’s okay! I don’t want to take all the fun out of flirting by making this a science project. But here’s where mindfulness might come in handy. If at all possible, when you are staring at his gorgeous eyes or find yourself hypnotized by her creamy skin, try to bring your frontal lobes back on line by taking a few deep breaths.
3. Ask yourself, “what’s going on here?” “Am I having fun?” “Is my flirting partner having fun?”
4. In formal mindfulness practice we often focus on loving kindness and compassion. Ask yourself, “Is this flirting behavior kind to myself, and to the person I’m talking to?” If not, you might consider cooling it. If no one is in danger of being harmed – have fun!
I realize I’m asking a lot here. After all we are biologically wired to flirt unmindfully, especially with a new partner. But if you have found yourself feeling bad after a flirting exchange, you might just want to give mindful flirting a try.
Tell us about your mindful flirting experiences. How about your no so mindful experiences?