Letting Your Fingers Do the Talking

So much can be said without ever uttering a word. These days we rely heavily on text, email, and instant messaging to do the talking for us, but if someone you're having a drink with receives a text from you saying 'touch me', they'll be thrown, alarmed, and probably uncooperative. Sometimes only your fingers can do the talking.

Taking over your space and theirs

When you first start flirting with someone you're both in your own little territory, but when things start to get more intimate you need to start invading their space, in the nicest possible sense, or inviting them into yours.

Anything on a surface near you can be used as a non-verbal invitation. By clearing things out of the way, you literally clear a path to you. By pushing your objects (wine glass, bag, napkin) into their space, you test if they're receptive to the next move being made.

Look at Figure 10-7. Can you tell who's invading whose space? They've met in the middle with their glasses; he's holding his position by holding his glass and using his arm as a barrier and she's doing the running. She's ventured into his space with a reassuring intentional touch on the arm and you can tell by his smile that he's happily accepted the move and their flirtation has just moved up a gear.

Figure 10-7: She's venturing into his space.

When you're next eating with friends, family, or colleagues, experiment with the position of items on the table to redefine your territory and see how they react. Your boss probably won't be happy about you invading her space, but your best friend probably won't mind.

Getting in touch with yourself

Touching yourself is a subtle way of conveying that you're interested in the other person and you'd like to invite them to flirt more with you. By touching yourself you draw attention to your body and to those parts where you'd like the other person to touch you.

Touching yourself can also be very reassuring and calming if you're feeling uncomfortable.

In Figure 10-8, the woman is touching herself to draw the man's attention to her cleavage.

Keep your self-touching to the upper part of your body for maximum effect. Watching someone vigorously rubbing their thighs in anticipation can be quite off-putting! However, a seductive stroke with the tips of your fingers can be quite appealing.

Figure 10-8: Attention goes to the location you're touching.

Intentional touching

Touch has a long-lasting and positive physiological effect. When someone has received bad news, you may automatically feel the need to put your arms around them to comfort them and protect them from the hurt. Yet in the highly litigious environment in which we live, touching has become almost taboo. Used appropriately and at the right time, however, touching can really cement a flirtation and move things along to the next level.

You probably do more intentional touching than you're aware of. It can be a split-second action, which is usually over before you know it, but the effect lasts.

When touching someone else, you have to first make sure that your proximity is appropriate (see the earlier section 'Getting Your Proximity Right') and that the touch is justified; that is, you have a good reason to touch them: they've just told you a joke, you're agreeing with them on something, you're showing empathy, and so on.

Always touch above the waist on the arm. Use a gentle movement: a quick landing, a brief connection, then off again.

Figure 10-9 shows a couple that have just shared a joke. He's used the opportunity to touch her arm to show that not only are they connecting but he also thinks her joke is funny.

Avoid patronising or dominant moves such as putting your arm around someone. Stay above the waist on the arm until you're well acquainted. Touching someone's face is only appropriate when you're very familiar with them and are welcome in their personal/ intimate space.

Continue reading here: Preening in Public

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