What exactly is Flirtationships?

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Flirtationships aren’t entirely new but they’re more popular and essential than ever. They can be the gateway to something more serious with a little bit of finesse. A flirtationship is a great bridge between meeting online and meeting in real life. According to a Pew Research Center report released earlier this year, more than 30% of American adults say they’ve used a dating app. 12% found a long-term partner online. If you’re ready to make new friends, show interest in someone you already know or simply brush up on your sexy skills then you need to be aware of this emerging trend. Dating is changing. Relationship statuses are getting more complicated. Skip all of the headaches that come with defining the relationship and give yourself permission to simply enjoy someone. 

What’s A Flirtationship?

It’s a fun, flirtatious relationship between two people. It’s more than a friendship but it’s not dating either. Think of a flirtationship as a stepping stone between friends and more than friends. This shouldn’t be confused with a “friends with benefits” arrangement. Flirtationships don’t overtly promise sex but being involved in one is a clear sign you’re not in the friendzone. It’s no strings attached, no expectations, all fun. Online dating is the new standard but that isn’t the only place to find a flirty friend. You can easily strike up a little playful back and forth with someone you know offline with the same benefits. Professor David Dryden Henningsen of Northern Illinois University identified 6 core reasons why people flirt with each other: 

     1. Sex: This may be the most obvious motivation but many people flirt in the hopes of establishing a sexual relationship
     2. Exploration: Many people like to “try on” a relationship before they commit to something more serious.
     3. Instrumental: Some people flirt to get something they want.
     4. Relational: Flirting is an important part of any relationship that helps keep fun and passion alive.
     5. Esteem: Flirting builds confidence and self-esteem. Many people will look for a little bit of attention when they’re feeling insecure.
     6. Fun: The most common reason people flirt isn’t to get anything other than a little thrill. Volleying banter back and forth with someone you like is a great time.

Why Flirtationships Are So Popular Right Now?

The casual flirt is nothing new, it’s a basic skill of humanity. Many factors have contributed to the recent soaring popularity of these near flings. People spend more time online than they ever have before. Dating, friendship, school and more happen over the internet these days. This ever-growing dependence on technology means that digital flirting isn’t going away any time soon. Social distancing protocols also affect how often and how soon many people are willing to meet face to face. It’s simply not as safe to date as it once was. Flirtationships can fill in those gaps where critical social interaction is missing. There are no safety risks and no emotional investment. It’s simply a fun way to connect with someone else and brush up on your interpersonal skills. 

Who Does This Work For?

The short answer to this question is almost everyone. If you’ve been out of the dating game for a while and need to build up your confidence this is a perfect exercise. It’s also a great way to get your feet wet if you’re new to dating. Ending a serious relationship can make it hard to get back into casual dating. Flirting with a few people you trust can refresh all of those skills. Have you ever felt anxious to meet up with an online crush? Get to know them better through some texts, little gestures and fun conversations. Build up some trust first to calm your nerves before a date. A little bit of harmless flirting is good for everyone. When there’s so little to lose and so much to gain there’s no reason not to get out there and have fun. 

The Benefits Of The Flirtationship: 

There are a lot of benefits to keeping things casual. A flirtationship provides the same giddiness and excitement of a developing crush without any of the stress or insecurity of a serious relationship. Likewise, this lack of in-depth investment means no hard feelings if things come to an end. If you’re just playfully flirting there’s no expectation to be exclusive. You’re free to flirt with or date anyone you like. It doesn’t take long to send a few texts every day. Dating can be very time-consuming. If you don’t have time to date, consider striking up a flirtationship! A Flirtationship can give you something to smile about throughout your day. It’s a great source of fun, connection and relaxation. There are plenty of health benefits associated with a little sexy chat. 

Who To Flirt With: 

You know what a flirtationship is and why you need to be in one. But how do you start one? How do you know someone would be receptive? There are many different ways that people show their casual interest. While it may not be as overt as actively dating, flirty friendship has its own subtle language. Do you have a friend that makes a lot of eye contact? Do they think of you when they see something funny? If so, you may already have a flirt buddy. Some other signs of interest could be: 

– Comfort being in close proximity to you

– Having a list on inside jokes

– Referring to you as their “work wife” or “campus husband” etc.

– Knowing trivia about you like your coffee order

– Texts that frequently end in hearts, smiley faces or wink emojis

What’s Next?

Striking up a flirtationship is much easier than you might think. Unlike dating, there’s no anxiety about rejection. You won’t have to awkwardly ask someone out or try to define the relationship. Simply start flirting with someone you admire. Let your hand brush up against theirs during lunch. See if they move away. Pile on the genuine compliments, tell them how adorable they look in that new sweater. Be the first one to like their social media posts. If your flirting skills need to be tightened up or you’re new to online dating, here’s a mini-guide to all the skills needed for a great flirtationship: 

Texting: 

Texting is the new language of love. A survey from typing.com found that out of 990 couples, 56% of them claimed to communicate more via text than they did in person. This is the new norm and it’s not just for long-distance relationships.  49.3% of couples living together said they text more than they speak face to face. Obviously you need to be on your top texting game in today’s dating environment. What do you need to know to make the best impression?

Don’t be afraid to send the first text. If you want to really set the tone send a cute selfie with your first message and encourage your crush to set it as a contact pic. They’ll think of that first text you sent each time they see your smile in their phone. 
It’s usually best to wait for a reply before you send another message

If you don’t have anything to say but you want to reach out send them something funny you think they would like or an article they may find interesting. Make sure to reference why it made you think of them so they know you’re paying attention.

Make sure it’s a good time for your partner before you send anything too salacious. You don’t want to be the reason they’re kicked out of a meeting. 

Ask questions. People feel cared about when they’re asked about themselves. A widely cited study from 1997 revealed that interpersonal closeness can be quickly formed by asking each other intimate questions. 

Selfies:

If you’re flirting online you’ll probably exchange quite a few selfies. Photos are how we sell ourselves in the digital age. In a flirtationship, selfies do more than just get to know what each other looks like. Photos are how you express your unique personality. They’re how you can share small moments in your day. You can take your photo game to the next level with just a few tips: 

Be aware of your surroundings. No one wants a pile of laundry to distract from their beautiful smile. 
Get creative. Send something silly once in a while. Flirting should be fun. It doesn’t have to be serious and sexy all the time. 
Make sure you’re on the same page about how racy you’re both comfortable getting 
Be yourself. It sounds cliche but it’s the best piece of relationship advice out there. No matter the circumstance, being authentic will always make you more likable. 

It doesn’t always have to be a selfie. Snapping a little piece of your daily life to share with your flirty friend is always a thoughtful gesture. 

Your furry friends definitely want to get in on the action. Most people love to see a pair of puppy dog eyes pop up on their phones. Share photos of your pets to let your crush know you have a soft side.

Flirting:

As you may have guessed, the most important skill in a flirtationship is flirting. Don’t be intimidated. It’s just as easy to casually flirt as it is to chat. If you want to make sure your crush is getting the message but still come across as a little smooth there are some tips you can follow to up your game. Flirting is easy with a little bit of practice and some basic skills. 

Use your skills of observation. Note little details about your crush. The easiest way to make someone feel heard and seen is to simply pay attention to the little things. Tell them you like the unusual way they tie their shoes. You could complement their consistency with a quirky ritual or connect if you notice a hint at a common interest. 

Let your shared interests guide you. If you both love hockey you have a never-ending supply of material. Shoot them a text to remind them of an upcoming game or to complain about a bad call. 

Be humorous. Making someone laugh is a quick way into the flirt zone. Find out what makes them giggle and work it. If you struggle to come up with your own jokes, send them someone else’s. As long as you’re not claiming it’s your own material there’s no harm in repeating something funny. 

How To End A Flirtationship

Unlike long term relationships which can be heartbreaking and financially devastating to leave, a flirtationship is easy to walk away from. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to break things off. If you simply lost interest, be honest. Tell the other person how you feel, let them know how much fun you had, and make it clear what you would like to happen next. If you’re seeing someone, don’t be afraid to hurt your flirtation friend’s feelings. Tell them about your new relationship status. Don’t fall into the trap of not cutting things off out of reluctance to hurt someone you care about. Your serious partner could feel that a flirtationship constitutes cheating. It’s best to stick to honesty. 

So What’s The Big Picture?

A flirtationship is the perfect solution for anyone who wants more than a friend but isn’t ready to commit to anything. If you don’t have the time or interest in dating but you feel the desire for some companionship, try striking up a little flirty fun with someone you admire. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain. Things may not stay so hands-off for long. A flirtatious relationship can easily become something more physical or emotional if everyone is on the same page. Anyone involved in the dating game can benefit from one of these near-relationships. Age, gender, and orientation are irrelevant. The flirtationship is for everyone. Don’t wait around until your crush announces they’re seeing someone new. Take a chance. Show someone a little bit of extra attention. Everyone loves to be flirted with. If your intended doesn’t feel the same way you can at least walk away satisfied that you put a smile on their face. 

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