I’m a freshman in college, and I’ve been lifting for almost a year now. I’ve developed my body to be decently attractive and recently a girl I’ve talked to a couple of times asked me to work out with her some time. She’s one year older too (!!). I said of course, we can set up a time later. Right now we are chatting on facebook. Should I flirt? I think she’s very attractive. I also don’t know if she’s just trying to be friendly. Maybe she’s just trying to be friendly. I met her through a club. I’m her ‘little,’ since all new members and freshmen are littles.
This dilemma, while very specific in your case, is actually a pretty common one once you remove the specifics. What you’re asking is this:
If a person you’re acquainted with asks you to do an activity that isn’t inherently romantic and hasn’t given a clear signal that they are romantically interested, should you flirt with them?
To which I would say: Maybe, depends on the situation.
Right now we’re operating off of very little information. It seems like she’s given no clear indication one way or the other as to whether or not she finds you attractive or not. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to decide ahead of time whether or not you’re going to flirt. Flirting and it’s sexier cousin, Seduction, involve a bit of back-and-forth and without that back-and-forth, you can’t know whether or not you should be flirting or not. I highly recommend that you, or anyone, watch this TED Talk by Chen Lizra called “The Power of Seduction in our Everyday Lives” which, again, highly recommend. If you can’t watch it, or you’re just lazy, I’ll refer you to my favorite quote from the talk:
"Keeping the 'maybe' alive is the skill of presenting potential possibilities and then fueling them with desire"
You shouldn’t decide ahead of time if you flirt with her, you have to keep the maybe alive. You’re attracted to her but the attraction is unclear on her end, so there isn’t a point in making a decision on what to do when you do see her again. What you should do is approach the situation with the idea that maybe she’s interested, maybe she isn’t. You need to approach this situation, and any situation with the potential for romance, by keeping Maybe in mind. It’s why a lot of my advice comes down to “Maybe“, because when the situation changes, you should change according to that change. If you’re getting good signs, flirt, if not, don’t.
Let’s say that you meet up for this workout and she immediately starts flirting with you, but you decided ahead of time that you wouldn’t flirt. You’d immediately change your plan and start flirting with her, right? If the situation is flipped, where you decide to flirt no matter what and her interest just isn’t there, I’d hope you’d stop flirting. Don’t limit yourself to one option ahead of time, go into the situation with an open mind and base your behaviors on her responses.
If there is something there between you two and you want to know how to flirt, it’s pretty simple. Flirting is all about Building and Reciprocating, and Flirting in Context.
Here’s where building and reciprocating comes into play: Let’s say that you lead with a complement on her butt, or her abs, or ripped arms or whatever and she then reciprocates in a way that implies flirtation. What do you do? You reciprocate and build on it. You take what she said and add a layer. Conversation is a lot like lasagna. If you want it to be good, you need to add a few different types of layers. If you’re the only one adding things to the flirting, you wont have a good conversation. It’d sort of be like making a lasagna with just the noodles, which sounds terrible. If she compliments you, compliment her and build on it. If she says “Your arms look really strong” you can reply in kind and then say something along the lines of “You look like the type of person who works really hard in the gym, is that why you look so good”. Obviously, don’t go word for word with what I’m saying, just focus on flirting that builds. Start small, put a mostly harmless comment out there, and if it’s reciprocated, build on it. Here’s why context is important: If I walked up to a stranger in a bar and said “Your butt looks amazing” I doubt they’d be that receptive to me flirting beyond that. However, if you’re working out with a fitness buff, telling them that they’re glutes look great might get a different reaction. I’m not saying that you specifically should lead with “Hey girl, nice glutes” but in the context of working out, physical compliments are a little more acceptable. But you know, complimenting her on stuff besides her body is cool too.
If you’re finding that there isn’t any reciprocity, it’s possible that this really is just a friendly invite to the gym and it’s probably best not to flirt. Most people tend to avoid flat-out rejections unless you come on very strong, so you’re more likely to get passively rejected when flirting. That passive rejection comes in the form of polite responses and disengaging from romantic suggestions. If you say something along the lines of “Wow, even in gym clothes you still look amazing” and she replies with a simple “Thanks” that seems like the sort of “thanks” you give at the end of a terrible customer service call, she’s not interested. If she doesn’t acknowledge your flirting at all, that’s an even clearer sign she isn’t interested.
Good Luck Out There.