The whole single world seems to live in this strange limbo of being convinced we are great at flirting, yet also secretly acknowledging that we are terribly awkward human beings that need help meeting strangers we want see naked. If only we could learn how to flirt, we convince ourselves, then we would never spend another night alone! Luckily, the very strange and unpredictable world of improv comedy has a some pointers to give us that will turn even the biggest wallflower into Casanova.
Improv comedy has a few golden tenants, and one of them is the theory of “Yes, and…” Basically, you are never supposed to say “no,” shut down, or otherwise redirect your partner from whatever scene or scenario they are constructing. Instead, you are to embrace it and build upon that world – “Yes, and…” Think about your past awkward conversations with strangers and all those times the momentum suddenly just stopped and neither of you knew what to say next. “Yes, and…” is designed exactly to fix this for comics, and it shouldn’t have any problem rescuing your Friday night. Start the conversation (“What are you doing this weekend?”), and whatever the response make sure not to derail it to something you want to talk about, or just say “sounds like fun,” or god forbid disagree. Simply accept the flow of the conversation, then build on it with your own story or even better more questions for them.
The next tool from the Improv toolkit is to be specific. To quote – “Details are the lifeblood of moving a scene forward. Each detail provides clues to what is important. Details help provide beat objectives and flesh out characters.” It is not nearly enough to tell your flirting partner that you are grabbing brunch with friends on Sunday. Tell where you are going, why you chose that location (are you excited about it?), and why those friends. All this detail is meant to give your target at least one item to latch onto and further the conversation.
These rule goes triple for when the flirting is going well and you have progressed your way to exchanges of innuendo. “Yes, and” your way in gradual steps to overt and blatant flirting and/or invitations…whether that be for dinner or for breakfast (if you catch my drift). Being specific with your flirting lets your partner know that these aren’t recycled lines and that you are paying attention to no one but them.
Comedians might not be our society’s paragon for dating prowess, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dip into their toolbox and pick any number of tactics and tips that they rely on to practice their craft. After all, few things get the heart racing faster than flirting, but being on stage is certainly one of them.