You go to a party.

You see someone attractive.

You make a smooth approach over by the punch bowl.

You smile. You get a smile back.

It’s time for your most winning line.

“You look very attractive. I’ll bet we have a lot in common. Tell me about where you grew up, how recently you got divorced, and whether you have any baggage I should know about before we embark on our relationship.”

Wait, that’s not your most charming opening line?

It is when you’re dating online!

Go into your inbox. Check your communication. Does it sound a little serious? Is there any personality in there? Are you asking earnest and probing questions?

If so, you forgot the fundamental rule of flirting: it’s supposed to be FUN!

And that’s the thing we often forget when we’re meeting people in cyberspace: Online flirting and offline flirting are the SAME exact thing.

It’s only when you act like they’re different that you run into problems.

Online flirting and offline flirting are the SAME exact thing.

You know what flirting is. You know how it makes you feel alive. How witty banter can strike a provocative chord, even if you weren’t talking about sex.

Flirting is verbal foreplay. Yet most of us forget the foreplay part.

We go right for the close – to secure a date and gather important information – and then wonder why no one wants to continue talking to us.

Men write: “You’re hot. What’s your number?”

Women write: “I’ve found that lots of people lie on here. Are you telling the truth about your age and your photos?”

Men write: “Meet me at Starbucks on Tuesday at 3pm. By the way, my name is Evan.”

Women write: “Your profile doesn’t say anything. Tell me more about yourself.”

Ugh. No wonder online dating seems like such a chore. We turn communication into a job interview and then wonder why it all seems so stilted.

I’d like you to approach online dating flirtation in an entirely new way:

Online flirting should mean striking the same exact tones as real-life flirting.

And if you’re saying to yourself, “You’re wrong, Evan. It’s much more difficult over the computer,” I’m going to have to disagree. It couldn’t be easier.

In Finding the One Online, I hold your hand through the entire online dating process, from choosing a website, to writing a profile, to getting you photos, to writing witty and winning first emails.

Imagine I’m standing next to you at the bank. That limits my conversational options. All I know is that I’d better come up with something witty to say:

  • “Are you making a deposit or are you here to rob the place?”
  • “These lines are always so long. Doesn’t anybody have a day job in this town?”
  • “I don’t know why I cash these $2.46 checks, but if the phone company sends them to me, I guess I have no choice.”

In all of them, I’m being silly. In all of them, I’m not asking you for a date. In all of them, I’m not pushing for deep information. I’m just making light conversation over NOTHING. That’s flirting. Real conversation comes later.

Successful online flirtation is about being the most fun out of any other woman he’s emailing.

To be a good flirt, it helps to be fast on your feet, but most people can get by just fine. Flirting means exercising your personality in real time, not putting any pressure on the person for a date, and believing that the person will be receptive to conversation.

Now let’s take this to the online realm with two questions.

Q: Where do you have more information about someone – the bank or Match.com?

A: Match.com

Q: Where do you have more time to construct a witty response – the bank or Match.com?

A: Match.com

The defense rests, your honor.

When you’re sifting through people’s profiles and have all the time in the world to come up with something to say, there’s really no excuse for not keeping things light.

Because keeping things light is what allows us to let down our guard and connect.

It’s not about trying to carefully prod to find out if he’s a player or whether he’s hung up on his girlfriend. Successful online flirtation is about being the most fun out of any other woman he’s emailing.

I dated online for 10 years and if I did one thing right, it was knowing how to flirt. When other guys were pushing too hard for a phone number or a date (you know who I’m talking about!), I’d keep making women laugh. By the time I finally did ask for her number (after a week or so), she was excited to give it to me. And why not? She’s finally going to get to meet the witty guy who wasn’t trying to steamroll her into the bedroom. What a novel idea!

A lot of people – maybe even you – may feel that your personality is dependent on where you are. You may say, “I’m not good on email,” or “I’m terrible on the phone,” or, “I’m a lot better when I’m comfortable with someone”.

Well guess what? You’re never going to get the chance to get comfortable with anyone until you realize that your personality has to shine EVERYWHERE.

And if you can be warm and playful with someone you know, you can be that way with someone you don’t know.

And if you can be warm and playful with someone you know, you can be that way with someone you don’t know.

And if you can be funny with a stranger at the bank without having any information, you can be funny with a stranger online when you do have information.

You are the same woman whether you’re emailing, talking on the phone, or meeting in person. You have the same stories, the same beliefs, and the same vocabulary.

All that’s different is how you choose to handle it.

I fully explain my two email techniques – Opinion Openers and Fun Fiction – in Volume 4 of my Finding the One Online program. Once you learn how to do this, it’s like magic.

Men will be eating out of the palm of your hand, because you’re the only woman who knows how to flirt with him the way HE likes.

So get over that idea that you can’t flirt online and start making some cocktail party conversation with a stranger.