When it comes to flirting, the French are kings and queens of the art of seduction. It’s a delicious, integral part of our lifestyle and, I will even say, flirting is in our genes.
“We love to seduce or be seduced.”
“Flirting” comes from the verb “fleureter” which means “to say sweet words”. Flirting is the calculated way you look, speak and behave with someone to capture their mind and imagination. Yes, “fleureter” is an art and it is distinctly French, dating back to the sixteenth century. The English love to flirt too and subsequently appropriated the word, but few flirt as well as the French.
What exactly is “flirting”? The expression refers to the titillating feelings of lightness and romance that emerge in a love relationship. But, attention! There are rules – a protocol to observe carefully if you want to become a smooth “pro” in French seduction.
Rule 1: Learn the language of flirting
To flirt, find the right words to impress, make no mistakes in speaking and cultivate good expressions. Mix the buzzwords and some older turns of phrase in order to promote your intellect or flaunt your personal interests or originality. You can appear romantic to the person you want to seduce by engaging them in conversation on lighter topics, thus arousing in them the desire to know more. Learn to select the right vocabulary with your target and dazzle him with your words, wit and humor.
Rule 2: Display intellectual curiosity
Fancy talk does not suffice to “flirt”. You have to know what to say in all circumstances. To do this is not as difficult as it sounds. Simply be curious about the other person and their interests. But, to show curiosity, you should flaunt some knowledge of the topic. Make yourself interesting. Broaden your interests to learn about authors, current novels, the latest exhibitions and events. Read about politics, sports and culture. Experience what you read. To seduce you have to have both questions and knowledge. Do not rely only on the physical attraction, but on what is behind the physical: the mind. Note that this value is the one that lasts at any age.
Rule 3: Use Humor to Conquer
Okay, you know you can charm in a conversation, you’re intellectually up to speed, but it’s still not enough. You should know how to laugh, that’s the secret of “flirt”, and I can tell you the French love a good laugh! They appreciate how the right word solicits a smile, how a clever compliment transforms you into the Queen of the Evening.
To amuse the person you want to seduce – and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself too – be lighthearted… the real fun will be for later. Show him that you’re pleased to be in such good company. Do not forget: you only have one spectator and this person must be seduced by your audacity, lightness and petulance.
Wasn’t it the American humorist Helen Robson who said:
“Flirting is the act of making a man feel pleased with himself.”
Rule 4: Learn to keep a distance
Here’s the tricky part. Know when to keep your distance with flirting. Have a sense of humor, but don’t become the laughing stock. Try to impress without fawning. Learn to flatter without pretention, don’t take literally whatever someone tells you, and be careful with your conversation choices. Preserve the mystery about yourself and don’t immediately make the discussion about you, your interests or successes. A real flirter makes the other person feel special.
Rule 5: Be patient
Today, everyone lives fast for the moment. But not you. Distinguish yourself by showing you’re not in a hurry.
Adhere to the saying of Jean de la Fontaine: “There is no point in running; you must leave on time.”
Demonstrate to the chosen one that you are ready to wait; the person will be even more flattered or anxious. Resist showing any eagerness and let time take its course. To wait is a wonderful, suspended romantic feeling in an age where love letters no longer exist and Tinder or Meetic sites plan our dating. With waiting, there is time to dream, desire, even lust… all the desirable effects that come with flirting.
Rule 6: Be generous
How can you please someone if you are not a generous person? If a man or woman pays the bill at the restaurant and serves you first, how do you reciprocate? Show considerate behavior, share thoughts and feelings that will demonstrate you fully sense the other before you. Be a good listener without interruption. Know how to offer what you know best. Be expansive to others and highlight your openness to the world that surrounds us.
Rule 7: Look the part
When you have a rendezvous to “flirt”, think about your appearance. For women, I recommend that you not be overtly sexy or flashy; it would not be subtle and take the fun out of flirting. Remember in Rule 5, I told you not to be too hasty. Romance, not vulgarity, is associated with flirting. “Be natural with art” as the 16th century writer Boileau said when lavishing the Belles at that time. This is still relevant in the 21st century. Your smile will be your greatest asset.