Tips For Mastering Flirty Eye Contact & Leaving The Awkwardness Behind

If you've ever locked eyes with a stranger across a bar and felt a twinge of something in your gut, then you know that eye contact can have a major impact when meeting people. On the flip side, you may have been out and made eye contact with someone whose gaze was too intense, almost weirdly so. And instead of being intrigued, you got a case of the ick and diverted your eyes quickly — which is never fun, but it happens to the best of us. 

When it comes to eye contact, it's crucial to use the right amount. For some, eye contact can make or break a connection, and if you're into someone, you want to build a bond that will eventually lead to more than just flirting with your eyes. You know, perhaps secure a long make-out session or a first date. But here's the thing, no one is born with perfect, flirty eye contact. It may take years to master through trial and error and a lot of awkwardness that you can turn into lessons. 

Everyone has had more than a handful of awkward eye contact moments, so no one is alone in that. If you've yet to develop your flirty eye contact chops, don't fret. You will get there, and your future eye contact endeavors will be, for the most part, successful experiences. 

Consider the setting

Before making eye contact with a potential love interest, you want to consider two things: the setting and the crowd. If you're at a packed, noisy bar and the person whose attention you're trying to get is across the room, you'll be completely reliant on eye contact. But if you're at an intimate dinner party with just a few friends and acquaintances, you might be able to use eye contact and a conversation to get your intention across.

Although neither scenario is better than the other, they can improve your chances with the person you're interested in getting to know. Another factor to consider is your position in the room. If someone is across a bar or club, you want to situate yourself within their view, whereas if you're at a small gathering, you want to get as close to them as you comfortably can without coming on too strong. Distance plays a significant role in how you'll navigate your flirty eye contact skills. 

Choose your technique

Like any type of flirting, you need to choose which eye contact technique you will use for which situation. Are you going to lock eyes and hold a gaze? Or maybe you prefer short, playful glances that leave the person you're interested in intrigued and wanting more? Are you more comfortable with a staccato look that connects, disconnects, then connects again? There's no one way to make flirty eye contact, so you want to map out which technique best fits you, the person you've noticed, and your intentions.

It might sound a bit silly to overthink these things, but if you're really interested in someone, there should never be any half-measures. There will be time for whimsy and unplanned ways to flirt once your eye contact prompts your love interest to talk to you — or for them to respond in a way that makes you comfortable approaching them. 

Invoke the flash

Before you run to your closet to see which coat might be best for flashing someone, we're not talking about that type of flash! You can save that role-play for your partner after you've been together long enough for flashing to become part of your sexual cosplay repertoire. Instead, we're discussing the eyebrow flash, in which we give a quick up-and-down of the eyebrow as a playful way to let someone know we're interested in them.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the eyebrow flash is recognized worldwide as a greeting gesture. Unlike some facial expressions that can be confusing, the eyebrow flash doesn't leave anything open for interpretation. It's a welcoming gesture for friends, lovers, or potential partners. However, not everyone can pull this off because not everyone can move their eyebrows in such a way. But if you can do the eyebrow flash, incorporate it into your flirty eye contact technique. If you can't, that's totally cool too. After all, we pay big bucks for Botox, so we wouldn't have to move our eyebrows!

Give yourself a time limit

Flirty eye contact can get awkward quickly if you continue gazing at someone for too long. While extended eye contact is sometimes necessary to deliver your message silently, there's a fine line between "I'm into you" and "I'm a creep." Think about it this way: If you're starting to feel uncomfortable with the amount of eye contact you're making, then the person you're looking at got to that stage about a minute before you. So roll things back and shift your eyes elsewhere.

Because flirty eye contact is essentially a game you're playing, glancing away from time to time gives the person you've been looking at the opportunity to digest your gaze and allows you to show them that while you're interested in them, you still have other things going on. No one who's ever stared at a person all night long, in any setting, has gotten anywhere — except maybe being asked to leave an establishment. Don't be that person; take your flirtation in stride, and don't dump it all on someone in one prolonged, embarrassing moment. 

Keep it all in the eyes

Many of us have been there: we're out with friends, someone catches our eye, and the flirting begins. Just when we think a connection is being made and we're going to take it up a notch to chat-level flirting, the person makes a gesture that's, well, gross. 

It doesn't matter how hot and bothered flirty eye contact can make two people; that doesn't mean you should throw in lip-licking, sexual gestures, or, if you happen to be within reach of someone, touching them in places where no one should ever be touched without consent, especially in public. It's important to keep everything in the eyes and keep your hands above the waist and to yourself. Sure, a brief touch of someone's arm while maintaining eye contact can deliver a lot of information about how much you're interested in them, but not everyone is comfortable with that, either. It is here that you should take what you know about reading the room and respect the boundaries of those around you.

Put yourself in the other person's shoes

Eye contact is powerful stuff. According to a 2011 study published in Scientific American, when someone makes eye contact while smiling, they become more attractive to the person they're observing. Two minutes of uninterrupted eye contact increases feelings of love, passion, and affection between two people, and that's some seriously heavy results just from eye contact alone.

Because the intensity of locking eyes with someone is undeniable, you want to try to see things from the perspective of the person you're attempting to connect with. Such intensity can make some people feel vulnerable or insecure — two emotions you don't want to evoke in someone you're hoping to get to know. Although you're not a mind reader, if it looks like your flirty behavior is making someone uncomfortable, then stop immediately. You've made your point with your initial eye contact, but now it's time to let go. It doesn't mean you were out of bounds or rude; it's just that some people aren't comfortable with eye contact, and that's okay.


Because flirting in itself involves practice, then, of course, flirty eye contact is going to demand the same thing. Eye contact involves facial movement, so standing in front of a mirror and seeing how each technique looks will give you a good idea of how you appear to those you lock eyes with. Granted, because you're not trying to seduce yourself, the intention won't be there, but you'll still be able to see what works for you, facially speaking, and what doesn't.

You can also try out your flirty eye contact with your close friends. Your friends are always the first ones to tell you whether or not you look a bit wonky, too intimidating, or like you're staring into nothingness as if you were a space cadet. Once you have feedback, you can take your flirty eye contact into the world, put it into action, and see how it's received. As long as you know the power of eye contact and when to look away because your gaze has been rejected or you've made someone uncomfortable, you're good to go. This doesn't mean that flirty eye contact will lead to you walking down the aisle by year's end, but it might be the ticket to meeting your next one-night stand or your forever partner.