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People have been flirting with me in all kinds of strange ways in nyc and I swear this happened just yesterday:
I get out of the subway and I’m walking home, it’s like 11 pm. Some guy was walking past me and he’s like “Excuse me! Sorry,” and I take my headphone off, thinking he’ll ask me for directions. He goes: “um, I, um, can I, can I take you out, on um, to um..”
Seriously? This is how we flirt now? This is your move? Do you really expect me to say yes? To a stranger on the street that I didn’t even see? Don’t you think that only a psychopath would say yes? Will you trust being alone with me if I say yes?!
Hey! Happy you’re here, I’m Cansu and I make videos to help international twenty-somethings like me navigate life in New York City. And we need to talk about flirting. Since I moved here three years ago, I came across so many people that flirt so poorly, so unsuccessfully, this video is my public service to the greatest city in the world so people hopefully stop self-sabotaging and potentially find love.
There’s a million cool ways you can go about flirting with someone, but this is my little guide on how not to flirt, especially in nyc.
Let me tell you a little about a guy that I met a few months ago, he made so many wrong moves in like four minutes that he actually prompted this video. I don’t remember his name but I remember he was from Cuba, so we’re gonna call him The Cuban.
The Cuban approached me while I was sitting at a coffeeshop writing on my laptop. He walked up to me, super confident, and said hi.
Mistake number one: don’t creep up on people. Make eye contact first, smile if possible. You see someone and think they’re cute, that’s adorable and that’s human nature. But it doesn’t mean that they’re open to meeting you. Maybe they’re in a relationship, maybe they are just out having fun hanging with friends, maybe they’re simply not interested in you. Make sure that there’s a shared interest between you two before you walk up behind them. Eye contact is crucial.
And trust me if a person is interested in meeting someone, they’ll be looking around so you can catch their eye. You can tell if someone is open to meeting people or not, and you can save us from awkward interactions by acknowledging each other first before approaching.
Anyways, The Cuban told me his name and I told him mine. Then he tried to pronounce my name correctly for seven years.
Fun fact: it really isn’t fun for someone to repeat their name a million times. We are in nyc, a lot of us have impossible names because we’re from all over the world. So you heard an unfamiliar name? Ask where the name is from and keep the conversation going, keep it flowing. Trust me if I like you, you will have another shot in getting my name right.
After a million variations of my name were exchanged, The Cuban realized that he needs to find something to talk about other than my name so he leaned in to look at my laptop to see what I’ve been busy with. What? How inappropriate? First of all, get out of my space. This happens especially at bars or clubs, you feel like they won’t hear you so lean in more, but we do. We do hear you and even if I didn’t why is your face so close? My initial reaction is to step back when you do that. So don’t enter someone’s personal space, don’t touch. Be present and charming and let them want to lean in to hear you better.
Anyways, back to The Cuban. Get this, he asked where I live and if I live alone or with people. That can’t be the first thing you wanna know about someone, that’s creepy.
And you know the first thing I know about The Cuban? He told me that he had no friends in the city and he’s been living here for a year. I’ve known you for three minutes, this is a huge burden to put on me. Now I think you’ll latch on to me and who wants that? I’m not advising you to lie and say you’re popular but why would you bring it up out of nowhere?
The stuff you’re not so happy about may not be the first things to share with someone you’re flirting with. Because, what you bring up on the first encounter will give me an idea of what we’d talk about on the first date if we end up going on one. Now I feel like we’d chat about how rough living in the city is and how it’s so difficult and everything, that doesn’t sound fun.
Anyways, it was obvious to me that this wasn’t going anywhere, so I told him I wanted to get back to what I’ve been busy with. I guess it wasn’t as obvious to him, because he wanted to meet up that night. I don’t think you ask someone on a date to go within the next couple hours. Also, I already had plans, and I told him that. Still, he wouldn’t leave before he got my number and giving it seemed to be the easiest way to be done with the situation.
And The Cuban texted me later that day.
And I didn’t see his texts until after the sulk. He put the nails on the coffin by calling me twice that night. Yes, he called me. Twice.
And sent a little follow up text the next day. lol
So this, this is how not to flirt. If you get rejected, kill them with kindness so I’d be like damn, that was not nice of me to ghost him. Now I feel like I dodged a bullet. Who do you call twice, dude? What the hell.
Nevertheless, I still admire the Cuban’s confidence. It was impressive, and confidence is necessary, but it’s not enough. You can’t just come here with those moves, disrespect my privacy and personal space and expect to get a date, it’s nyc. You gotta be on top of your shit! You should leave me curious to learn more about you so I wanna go on a date with you.
If you approach someone thinking they’re cute, you’re probably not the only one. And culturally, guys approach first and there’s a pressure that comes with that, I know. I know it’s not easy. But always keep in mind that if you chase, you scare people away. You should attract. Show us what you have to offer and let us come for you, let us choose you.
And here’s another sweet example of how not to flirt, this is about a guy who sabotaged himself so successfully that he didn’t even ask me on a date.
It was right after I posted a video in which I advise ending your relationship, so it was kinda obvious that I did it myself. And while we were talking this guy was like, “oh I bet you have a lot of men flirting with you now,” honestly it was just him. There was no one else, it was just him. He created all this imaginary competition and didn’t find himself competitive enough, so he didn’t ask me out. End of the story. He did everything by himself. I just sat back and watched.
Self-sabotage, mission accomplished!
Say you successfully handled the first interaction and got yourself a first date! One of the most annoying things that usually happen on a first date is that it can feel a lot like a job interview, and you know that’s not fun. If we like each other, we’ll learn in time how many siblings we have or which college we went to. So you wanna avoid factual yes or no questions or survey-like questions and just jump into a topic that you’d talk about if you were there with your best friend, like something that happened to you that day, or comment on something that you see around you. Because your reaction to stuff and what you make of things is how I get to know you and decide if I like you. It’s not about your college or your job. I’m interested in who you are, you know.
That’s why I cringe when guys talk about how much money they make on a first date, men who make a lot of money want to make sure you know it so they shove it on your face. When you bring it up multiple times like telling how much money you spent on that one stupid thing or you put up with your job because it’s paying really well, it shows me that you believe your money is a strong reason to why I should like you. Then, you’d attract people who are interested in your money.
So let it unfold naturally, we will get it from the stuff you tell, like your travel adventures or from where you live. Trust me, we know how the world works and we know firsthand how much things cost in nyc so we understand, don’t worry about it!
Aside from how much you make, I’d avoid talking about your ex, for obvious reasons. And I personally believe who invites should pay, but the invitee (is that a word?) should do the leaning in for my wallet dance. Also leave a good tip because we like generous people!
Honestly, I think nobody should flirt like this anywhere in the world, but I say especially in nyc because we’re competing for each other’s precious, precious time in this fast-paced city. You cannot come take anyone’s time, we should want to give it to you. And we don’t when you flirt like this.