The Art of Flirting

By Robine Jean-Pierre

Have you ever stopped to think that flirting is just a form of communication? It is basically behavior that conveys a specific message: either “I’m attracted to you,” “I want you to be attracted to me,” or both. Some people are very intentional with it, while others don’t even know they’re doing it; some are successful, some are not. Being in a committed relationship has increased my interest in what I’d like to call “flirting etiquette.”

From Cooties to Catcalls

To start, it’s interesting to note that the style of flirting seems to change with age. Generally speaking, as children we were taught that if someone teased you, it meant they had a crush on you; Billy sticking out his tongue and calling Sally names were his way of hiding his true affections. As we get older, it seems a more direct approach is usually favored. Traditionally, if a guy is interested in a girl, he has to “make a move” and present himself to her. It is then the girl’s decision to accept or decline the offer.

Got Those Moves?

So what are those moves? Is there a code or a system? Can it be taught? I’ll let you answer those questions yourself, but I figure that just as there are five love languages, there are probably five broad categories in which people flirt. Someone might try to give you a lot of gifts or buy you things (receiving gifts); go out of their way to do kind gestures (acts of service); compliment you frequently (words of affirmation); give you long hugs or pats on the back (physical touch); or spend as much time with you as possible, either in person or on the phone (quality time). Someone who’s really ambitious would probably do a mix of all five. (If you’re interested, see
my previous post about Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages.)

When it came to my fiancé Angel, he hit heavy with words of affirmation. Early in our friendship, the compliments were non-stop. He often texted me things like “I’ve never met a girl as cool as you” and “you’re really an amazing person.” I couldn’t tell if he was just being friendly or if he was flirting; but either way, it started to bother me, so I kindly asked him to stop. (I was really hard to get; I had my reasons.)  So that brings me to the next topic: is it flirting if it’s not being done on purpose? What if that person is just being “nice”?

Oops, I Did It Again

Sometimes your words and actions are misinterpreted (which I talk about in my previous post titled “What Do You Mean?”). During this early stage in our friendship, Angel may not have thought he was flirting, but I definitely took it that way. (In the same way, I may not have thought I was flirting when I gave him bear hugs every time I saw him–but he subconsciously took it that way.) I believe anyone who receives questionable affection has the right to confront the giver of it. The world of romance can be mysterious and elusive, which is what some people enjoy about it; but there’s nothing wrong with asking someone outright, “Do you like me?” and having a mature conversation about it, whether the answer is yes or no (or “it’s complicated”).

I Want You to Want Me

In our case, Angel and I did actually like each other, even if it took time to acknowledge and develop. However, that leads us to another question: is it OK to flirt with someone whom you have no intention of actually pursuing? Again, I’ll let you answer that one; I can only speak for myself.

Some may consider flirting to be harmless fun. It brings pleasure knowing that someone wants you, even if you don’t actually want them; flirting is a way to test the waters, to see if you could get that person to want you.

However, in my opinion, doing this could cause undesirable conflicts. Flirting with other people especially if you’re already in a relationship can lead to jealousy, insecurity, and at the most extreme side, cheating. It can be just as risky if you’re single. It makes me think of a line from Michael Jackson’s song “Billie Jean”: “Be careful what you do, and don’t go around breaking young girls’ hearts.” It’s easy to frustrate and hurt people if you play with their emotions through flirting. And unless you enjoy that, why do it?

The Feeling Is Mutual

Relationships are all about reciprocity. Most of us enter one expecting each party to contribute in some way. At the very least, we desire a mutual physical attraction for one another. Unrequited love is perhaps one of the greatest sources of discontent. No one wants to like someone who will never like them back; if they could eliminate the desire, they would. This must be why we are more likely to become interested in someone who appears to be interested in us, even if we were not initially attracted to them.

A Penny For Your Thoughts

I’m sure I could say a lot more on this topic, but I’ll leave it here. What are your thoughts on flirting? How would you respond to any of the questions I mentioned above? Feel free to leave a reply below.

Budgeting Your Relationship

A man and woman posing for a picture


After three years of being in a relationship I realized that being with another person is expensive. Seriously! When I was single, the only gifts I would normally buy were for my immediate family on holidays like Christmas and their individual birthdays. Now that I have a boyfriend, I feel like there’s a holiday every month, or at least that’s how it can seem. Being in love, and caring for someone else along with yourself can be expensive for both parties. Celebrating birthdays, holidays, anniversaries; even just going out on spontaneous dates starts to add up and take a toll on your bank account. As a college student, I have to budget my money for five main things: food, transportation, books, family events/gifts and “me time.” Now that I am in a relationship, I have to restructure the set-up for my budget to include another person. I noticed that being in a relationship caused a  radical change in my spending and I realized a change needed to be made. So my partner and I sat down one day and decided to figure out a way to maximize the time we spend together, while also cutting back on the amount of money we spend on each other. I know you may be thinking what kind of relationship are you in? Why would you want someone to spend less money on you? Who wants to be in a relationship with a cheap partner? My answer to this would be “We aren’t cheap. We are just budgeting our relationship.”

I don’t know about other couples out in the world, but my boyfriend and I are still trying to establish ourselves financially so that we can live comfortably when we get older. We are both talented individuals aspiring to achieve all of our dreams, but in order for those dreams to come true, we feel we need bountiful savings accounts. Unfortunately,  going out on fancy dates every other day isn’t conducive to the lifestyle we both want to live when get older. So after much consideration we decided to establish a budget system that helped us not only save money, but also brought us closer in the process. Below I will list some of the steps that we took to start budgeting our relationship, and increasing our bank accounts.

Step 1: Be honest.  If you don’t have the money to go out, tell your significant other that. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you can’t afford a certain restaurant because you need to pay your phone bill. Pay your phone bill and then explain to the person you are involved with the situation, and suggest another way for you both to spend time together.

 Talk about your finances. The best thing you can do in a relationship is communicate with the person you are involved with. Tell them about your plans for your money, your dreams, your aspirations, and how you want to spend your money in the future. Let them know why you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a meal that will only satisfy your hunger for a few hours before you have to make a Mcdonalds run. Your partner may be more understanding about your spending habits if they understand why you are saving.

Step 2: Take the Time Out  magazine when the person outside of the train station tries to hand it to you. This magazine has so many affordable date ideas that you can attend in Brooklyn, and the other boroughs. All you have to do is read through the magazine and you are definitely going to find something that interests you. Personally I found an art exhibit for my favorite artist Kara Walker, and the best part was that it was free!

Step 3: Stay home some time. Make use of your Netflix subscription or your on-demand, or your fire stick. Pop some popcorn in your microwave. If you don’t want to watch a movie, make a home-cooked meal. Cooking at home is a great way to improve your skills in the kitchen, while also saving money. So, chef it up!

Step 4: Make date night epic every once in a while, instead of every week! Save your money for a few weeks, as Yo Gotti would say “Rake it up, Rake it up.” Then when a month or so goes by and you have accumulated a good amount of money in your account, take a small portion of that money and do something nice. Go to one of those fancy movie theaters with reclining seats, buy popcorn instead of sneaking in your own outside snacks. Ha! Most of all just enjoy the time you spend with your special person. After enjoying your date with your special someone, get back to the grind and continue to save your money.

Step 5: Go after sales! There is nothing wrong with catching a deal for half price. A gift that was originally $250.00 is still the same gift even if you catch it on sale. There is nothing wrong with utilizing sales and most of all getting coupon codes from, or even Groupon! There’s no shame in saving money. At the end of the day, your partner will still have an amazing gift or dinner, and you will be able to look at your bank account without getting chest pains.

A man holding his chest

Retrieved from Pinterest

If I have learned anything from being in a relationship, it’s that there are much more important things in life than money. My boyfriend and I have had more fun going out to a pier, eating at a local chinese restaurant, and taking long walks than we have had at upscale restaurants. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to be “wined and dined” but no one likes to see a $400.00 bill at the end of the night. Sometimes it better to just hit up a restaurant that sells affordable food so that you can stretch your money. Be reasonable and think logically: The $400.00 that you spend for one meal could get you a dinner, a movie, and a mini shopping trip if you manage your money correctly. Think about quality rather than quantity. Consider how much you can get for your dollar rather than just purchasing something because its expensive and in style.

Trust me, if you start to live your life using these suggestions, you will see drastic changes in your relationship. This counts for friendships as well. I suggest that you and your significant other discuss the changes you want to make in your relationship first. Then, if you both agree on making the changes, implement the steps into your relationship slowly. Give it a week or so and then leave me a comment and let me know if the steps above worked for you or if they didn’t.  I would love to know if any of the changes I adopted in my relationship can help others as well.