Master the art of flirting to find your perfect match or mend that broken heart.

Master the art of flirting to find your perfect match or mend that broken heart.

You’ve tried online dating, blind dates, a month of Happy Hours at your local lesbian bar—and yet Ms. Right is still eluding you? Perhaps you’ve overlooked a simple but misunderstood social skill—flirting.

Flirting is not exclusive to needy heterosexual women who have had too much to drink. Far from being a way to get laid, or to manipulate those around you, flirting can help you land the love of your life and win a promotion at work—or so says Rachel DeAlto, a communications expert, a life coach, a matchmaker, and, yes, an expert on flirting.

The author of the bestseller Flirt Fearlessly—and a practicing trial attorney—DeAlto is dedicated to redeeming the reputation of flirting, and showing you how to use it to achieve your goals in life.

But how can lesbians use flirting with finesse, and not come off looking like Crazy Eyes from Orange Is the New Black? How can flirting be used to authentically attract someone, and not just as an ego boost?

    “I think flirting is a way of making people feel like they’re the center of the universe for however long you want to give them that honor,” says DeAlto. “It can be done platonically. It can be done romantically. It doesn’t have to be about the seduction. It can be, but it’s really about connecting on a human level. We’ve kind of forgotten how to do that.”

Posting or poking on Facebook doesn’t teach people how to connect person-to-person. Flirting is one way of breaking down the walls that technology has enabled everyone to put up. Flirting is “not about a pickup line,” stresses DeAlto. “It’s about connecting with somebody and making them feel special.”

For same-sex-attracted women, flirting can be difficult. Certain rules that have their roots in the chemistry between men and women essentially don’t apply between two women. And as a gender we are already more relational: Kissing and touching can be part of a greeting even between friends. So how do you get the message across that you are romantically interested in another woman?

“Women are so much more naturally connected to each other that it needs to be stepped up a notch,” says DeAlto. “But women in general are conditioned to not be sexually aggressive: You shouldn’t flirt because you shouldn’t be the pursuer because you’re a woman.

So in the lesbian community there’s a condition that it’s about stepping up that game. Let her know you’re interested in her without saying it out loud. So if you’re touching her on the small of her back, that’s great—but leave your hand there for a while. Look into her eyes.

Maintain your eye contact beyond what’s normal for a platonic conversation. And then blatantly ask her out. There’s nothing wrong with that. Ask her for a drink. There’s no harm in taking it to the next level and saying, ‘I’d love to take you out.’ Put it out there.”

DeAlto says that lesbians flirt with her “all the time” and she takes notice, much like Lady Gaga, who famously says, “I find lesbians to be way more daring than straight men, when it comes to coming on to you. And I really like that.”

“To me, it’s all a compliment,” says DeAlto. “It’s a compliment to be thought to be attractive. But don’t come on too strong to everyone you meet. That’s something I see universally. Some people are over-flirts. I’m a big fan of ramping it up a little bit, but get to know me, have a conversation with me.

“Telling someone they have a really great ass or great boobs is taking it over the line. Telling someone they have a really great smile, that it lights up the room—that’s a really nice thing to hear.”

The first rule of flirting, says DeAlto, is to be authentic. “I teach people to embrace who they are, to make their own connections in a way that’s authentic to them.”

The danger with flirting is that it is seen as—and can be—manipulative. “There are people who use their powers for evil,” notes DeAlto, “being coercive with their charisma.” Hookup culture is partly to blame, a byproduct of the Me generation, where it’s all about self-absorption: how you look, what you want, and how to use anything in your power to get it—now.

DeAlto cautions that flirting should not be used just to “get some.” Flirting requires an investment of time, and there is no real guarantee of an outcome. “Flirting is not just hit-and-run. A pickup line is intended to get someone else sexually interested. When you’re flirting with someone, it’s really about making an actual personal connection. It’s about listening and having a conversation. It’s not about how you look or flashing leg. It’s about finding a shared interest.”

While everyone’s goal seems to be making that connection, few people apply flirting to that end. “Everyone wants to date, but a lot of people don’t know how to get to that point,” says DeAlto. “It can be very frustrating.”

But acquiring a new perspective is easier than you think, and DeAlto is so convinced of the power of flirting that she’s bringing it out of the bar and the bedroom and into the boardroom.

“There are so many ways that the flirting strategies I use for my dating clients work for my corporate clients as well. I do networking training because networking is kind of like speed dating, and being able to present yourself and find your voice—talk about who you are as a professional—is almost the same as talking about who you are as a person to date.

It might not be what some people perceive as flirtation, but it’s really using or developing your charisma to be better and more successful in the workplace. It’s the same thing, just a different goal.”

Flirt at work? “I do not condone making out with people at the Christmas party,” DeAlto laughs. “That’s just a hot mess. I’m not even sure it’s hot. Don’t do it! There’s a way to get ahead as a woman, whether you are a lesbian or not. Women bring a different perspective and so many values into the workplace that don’t have to be sold sexually to everybody else. There’s a way to get ahead by connecting with people without having to flash some cleavage.”

Four Foolproof Tips From the Flirt Expert:

1. Manifest your dream woman: Believe in the power of your thoughts and words. They will attract what you want.

2. Map your perfect mate: List the qualities you want in a woman, such as: “She is loving and kind, she is generous with her time and spirit, she loves to travel, she likes to eat cheese…,” laughs DeAlto. “Write it down and put it in your favorite book. It becomes this Message to the Universe of what you want.”

3. Believe that you are flirt-worthy: Recognize your self-worth and get your confidence up. Believe that you have just as much power and are just as desirable as the person you want to date.

4. Remove your blinders: Your perfect match may not fit your mold. She may break it altogether. However, that love could last a lifetime.