Having a crush is thrilling, and let’s be honest, a bit intimidating, too. It’s exciting to form a connection with someone and feel those sparks fly, and oftentimes, a little bit of flirting helps you get there. But flirting doesn’t necessarily come naturally to all of us. You want to chat up your crush, but when you’re all up in your feels and experiencing those butterflies, you can find yourself feeling all kinds of awkward. You may be worried you’ll say something embarrassing, or aren’t totally sure how to start up a convo. That’s totally normal, and it doesn’t mean you’re destined to just stare at your crush from afar for the next four years. Flirting takes practice. But with some flirting tips and some confidence, you’ll be impressing your crush in no time.
There are tons of different approaches to flirting — you could strike up conversations with your crush in between class, send them texts that make them smile, or compliment them on a recent achievement. To help you build a genuine connection with your crush, try these expert flirting tips.
1. Be yourself (!!)
The most important tip to remember when flirting is to be your true, authentic self. People will like you for you, and if your crush doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, it might hurt, but it’s going to be okay. That’s how you figure out the right person for you.
“The goal [of flirting] is to show yourself out to the world, and the right people will be drawn to you,” Janel Vitale, sex and relationship coach, explains. “The right people for you will be drawn in by your energy and want to connect with you, and the wrong people for you won’t be drawn by your energy, and that’s okay because it creates space for the right people.”
2. Ask thoughtful questions
Asking questions is one way to show your crush that you’re interested. “Being curious is a big part of flirting,” Vitale says. Not only does this help you get to know them better, which will make future conversations more natural, but showing genuine interest in someone else makes them feel good and want to be around you.
If they’re wearing a specific band’s t-shirt or a sport jersey, asking them about it is one effective conversation starter and shows that you’re curious about their interests and hobbies. You might also try figuring out where your interests overlap, Vitale suggests.
3. Open up about yourself, too
Don’t forget to include yourself in the conversation, as well. This creates a much more natural, interesting rapport. “Don’t just let them do all the talking,” Vitale says. “Don’t be afraid to take up space and tell stories about you.” Sharing parts of yourself helps you form a real connection and encourages them to open up more as well.
This might occur organically while you're talking, but if not, you can lead the way. “You can make it a flirty joke like, ‘Oh, aren’t you going to ask me more about my dancing?’ or, ‘That reminds me of an experience I had that I’d love to tell you about,’” Vitale suggests.
4. Smile and say hi when you see them
Small interactions can go a long way. If you see your crush in the hallway or outside after school, smile and wave or say hello. No need to get into a big conversation (unless you want to!).
5. Use subtle body language
Small, subtle touches like slightly brushing your hand against theirs when you’re walking, gently tapping them on their arm when they make you laugh, or touching their arm during a conversation is one way to show someone you’re interested.
There are also tons of ways to cue your interest in someone without touch — lean in or face your body towards theirs when chatting, hold eye contact (see below), smile, or laugh when they say something funny.
But it’s important to be aware of someone’s body language to help you better understand how open they are to touch, Vitale explains.
6. Maintain eye contact
“Eye contact is really powerful,” Vitale says. When you two are talking, maintaining eye contact shows that you’re interested and care about what they’re saying. You’re invested in the conversation, and not thinking about the coffee you’re going to grab after school. Holding eye contact is a simple, yet effective, way of feeling more connected and building a sincere bond with someone. Maintaining eye contact also projects confidence and helps you feel more at ease, too.
“If you are looking all around the room, people will feel like you’re not totally present with them,” Vitale explains. “But when you’re maintaining eye contact while talking to someone, it feels good and connective.”
If you happen to meet their eye while walking down the hallway or hanging with a group of friends, don’t immediately look away. Hold their gaze for just a few seconds, then look away. Doing this can be a very subtle way of showing your crush that you’re interested and attracted to them.
7. Be honest and straightforward
You don’t have to walk up to your crush and ask point blank if they like you, or declare that you like them. Try dropping a few hints that you’re into them by saying how much fun you had with them at a recent party, or that you love how much they make you laugh. Or, if you feel that there is a mutual attraction and believe you two are compatible, it could be worth just asking your crush if they’re interested in hanging out more. It could be totally casual, too — mention that you and friends are going to the beach after school, and would love to have them join.
If they say no or aren’t interested, it might be totally heart wrenching in the moment, but in the long run, you’re better off.
“The more quickly you figure out who’s not into you, the more emotional space and time you have for people who are,” Vitale says. “Don’t be afraid of getting rejected. Not everyone’s going to like you, and that’s okay.”
8. Suggest hanging out in a group
If you’re not ready to ask out your crush or even hang out with your crush one-on-one, suggest hanging out in a group. Having your besties and the people you love by your side might ease some nerves, help you feel more confident, and put your awesome self out there. Plus, it’s fun and typically more relaxed, which will make it easier for you to build a connection.
9. Send smile-worthy texts
You don’t have to spend hours agonizing over what to write your crush. Something simple and nonchalant totally works. Ask them about their weekend, check in on them if you noticed they were absent or seemed distracted at school, congratulate them on a recent win, or ask if they have a new Netflix series or movie to recommend. If you know they’re a bit on the sillier side, break the ice with one of your best jokes, a hilarious meme, or quality TikTok. Maybe you’re going to see them at an upcoming party or dance — let them know that you’re looking forward to seeing them!
When in doubt, an emoji or Bitmoji can go a long way — it just adds a little extra oomph. The next time you text to say “hey” or ask how their day was, add the heart-eyes emoji, the hug emoji, a smile emoji, or something of the like.
10. Include humor in your chats
Laughing together can be a fun way to flirt and set a playful dynamic with your crush. Think about it: You like being around someone who makes you laugh. It helps you feel more relaxed and closer with that person — in fact, one 2017 study reported by The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley found that shared laughter could enhance your connection with someone.
Don’t feel like you have to force laughter or be someone you’re not — incorporating some humor can be as simple as sharing that hilarious TikTok you saw last night. And who doesn’t bond over a good TikTok?! Maybe that’ll remind them of another video they saw on their FYP, and from there, you can be laughing and connecting over your shared sense of humor.
11. Go with the flow of the conversation
Even though going up to a crush can be nerve-wracking, take a deep breath and know that all you’re doing is chatting. You’re trying to get to know them better and convey that you are interested in them.
If you’re together during study hall or a free period, walk over to their table (you know, if they’re not cramming for a test or look extremely busy) and let them know you need a little study break and want to chat. You can ask them about their classes, something funny that happened earlier, or their plans after school. This could lead to a nice back-and-forth convo, and gives you the opportunity to show off some of your great personality. If they look really happy, compliment them on that and ask them what’s making them smile. Go with the flow of the conversation. If you run out of things to talk about, don’t sweat it. You likely made an impression by going up and initiating a chat, so all you have to do now is head back to your table, locker, or friends.
“The real goal is wanting to connect and show someone that you think they’re special,” Vitale says.
Leah Campano is an Associate Editor at Seventeen, where she covers pop culture, entertainment news, health, and politics. On the weekends, you can probably find her watching marathons of vintage Real Housewives episodes or searching for New York City’s best almond croissants.