Move over, just flirting, there’s a new (mini-sized) dating trend in town: Meet micro-flirting.
Worldwide searches for micro-flirting spiked on Google in December, according to a press release from dating site PositivesDating.com. (Oh my god, everything is so small these days ― microplastics, micro jobs, micro learning, micro seduction ― can we get something full sized?)
Micro-flirting, the site says, is flirting “in a subtle, less obvious way and is usually done to gauge whether someone is interested in someone else.” This is also a great way to protect yourself from rejection, as light flirting can easily be interpreted as you just being nice.
People who flirt like a sport might be immediately taken aback by the idea, but micro-flirting isn’t meant to attract them: It’s for the awkward ones among us, the introverts, the social misfits. a sign that their lives depended on it.
On TikTok, Generation Z shared some signs of this trend: Do normally quiet coworkers have long, drawn-out conversations with you, as if they’ve memorized a script tailored to your interests? Do they use micro-gestures, like touching their neck or biting their lip when you talk? That might be micro-flirting!
Dating experts are also amused by this trend. Kimmy Seltzer, dating coach and host of the Charisma Quotient podcast, thinks micro-flirting is just flirting in disguise.
“The funny thing to me is that I’ve been teaching flirting for years when I was doing flirting workshops and retreats, and what defined as ‘micro’ to me was flirting,” she told Talk News.
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“Most people start with micro-flirting before they start flirting. Only 1% of people directly commit murder! “99% of other people are micro-flirting,” says dating coach Marni Kinrys.
Most of the way we communicate is nonverbal, so body language plays a big role in conveying interest, says Seltzer.
“Plus, showing subtle signs of micro-flirting is much sexier, approachable, and easier to manage than over-the-top, ‘macro’ acts that may feel excessive, silly, and inauthentic,” she says.
Marni Kinrys, a dating coach who teaches men how to attract women, thinks micro-flirting just means flirting in lower case letters, too.
“People have been afraid to flirt for centuries,” he said. “That only happens in movies where people are overt, over-the-top and outright flirtatious.”
“Most people start with micro-flirting before they get involved in flirting,” he adds. “There are 1% of people who immediately commit murder! 99% of other people do micro-flirting.”
If played right, subtle flirting rather than overt flirting really works. Jordan Willis, a makeup artist from Orange County, California, joked that she was too flirtatious in her seven-year relationship.
“I feel like not giving too much information up front is one way to grab their attention,” he told Talk News. “Micro-flirting is flirting while still playing games and being cool.”
That said, you don’t want to go overboard on subtlety.
“There’s a fine line between micro-flirting and playing too hard,” says Willis. “You don’t want to make it impossible. Just a little chase.”
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Direct eye contact is one of the most powerful ways to show subtle signs of attraction.
Five subtle signs of micro-flirtation
Although Seltzer considers flirting and micro-flirting to be basically the same, he loves the new trend, so he shares some signs of micro-flirting. Dating coach Connell Barrett also gives some examples.
1. Eye contact
Direct eye contact (in a sly, sexy way, not a creepy “oh-my-god-is-this-guy-a-serial-killer” way) is one of the more solid ways to show that you’re interested. somebody.
“The ‘three-second rule’ is a great technique for showing interest in someone, especially in a crowded room where you want to grab their attention,” says Seltzer. “This is where you look at one person once, look away, then look at them all again in about three seconds so both parties can feel the connection.”
Is your crush standing closer to you than usual? They may be micro-flirting.
“Additionally, as you get closer to someone, using open body language and light touches on the arm or shoulder convey receptivity and interest, creating a more inviting space,” Seltzer says.
3. Microfacial signals
Subtle signals like raised eyebrows, grins, winks and genuine smiles are pretty obvious signs of flirting, Seltzer says.
For better or worse, ignoring can be a form of petty flirting, Barrett says, like “making fun of someone’s taste in movies or TV.”
5. Ask lots of questions
If someone you know suddenly likes Anderson Cooper with you, they probably like you, Barrett says.
“A less effective form of micro-flirting is asking the other person lots of questions – essentially going into ‘interview mode,’” she says. “This won’t work because the other person feels interrogated, not teased.”
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“Micro-flirting can complement a direct approach. If you’re too subtle, micro-flirting can make your dating options too small,” says dating coach Connell Barrett.
Some people warn about micro-seduction
If someone exhibits just one of the above behaviors, don’t jump to conclusions and assume they like you: That woman at the gym is probably looking directly into the mirror behind you, not at you. That awkward guy at work who comes to you at happy hour with a series of questions might just be awkward. The barista who always smiles at you is probably very friendly.
Think about it collectively – maybe you get three out of five signs from the person you like, along with a few other context clues (for example, the person is recently single) – then it’s safe to guess that the person probably likes you.
Incomprehensible micro-flirting is why Barrett doesn’t like it, although he understands why shy people prefer this approach. She also understands why men who don’t want to make a woman feel uncomfortable or risk being seen as creepy or harassing might resort to a little flirting.
“The problem with micro-flirting is that it’s often too subtle for people to detect, and if your flirting isn’t obvious, your crush will miss your signal,” she says. “They may mistake your smile or eye contact for being friendly rather than flirtatious.”
As a dating coach, Barrett advises singles to get clear on their romantic interests. Start with a little flirting, and if you feel like the other person is feeling it and reciprocating, take it up a notch.
“Micro-flirting can complement a direct approach. If you’re too subtle, micro-flirting can make your dating options too small,” she says.