How to Flirt in English (Expressions, Phrases, and Idioms)
Ah, flirting. Sometimes even those of us who have spoken English our whole lives have a hard time mastering the art of seduction. If you’re still learning English, how do you make sense of the flowery metaphors and avoid saying something offensive to your date? In short, how do you flirt in English?
To successfully flirt in English, you need to know a series of idioms, phrases, and expressions. Here are some of the most common phrases:
Can I get your number?
Are you seeing anyone?
Can we get something to drink sometime?
How are you still single?
I’m falling for you (after a few successful dates, of course!)
The above phrases are just some of many you can use to impress your date. Keep reading, as I’ll share more great English phrases and some expressions so you can learn to successfully flirt. I’ll even discuss how body language and eye contact can help your flirting attempts go even better!
Flirting in English
English Flirting Expressions
Expressions can be a great way to make your date smile or blush. What kinds of expressions should you learn in English for flirting and dating? Here are some of the bigger ones.
In many parts of the world, you go out on a few dates with someone to know if you like them. If you do, then this person will eventually become your boyfriend or girlfriend. Another way to refer to your boyfriend or girlfriend is to call them your significant other.
The term was coined in 1953 by Harry Stack Sullivan, a psychiatrist. It’s stuck in popular vernacular ever since.
In today’s abbreviation-heavy world, significant others may be called SOs. Calling your boyfriend or girlfriend your significant other is a little formal, but it’s an option nonetheless.
Going Steady or Seeing Someone
Both the terms “going steady” and “seeing someone” mean the same thing. They’re just other ways of saying you’re dating. There are various degrees of dating seriousness attached to the terms though. For example, if you’re going steady with someone, you may be thinking of a relationship. Seeing someone is a little more casual for now.
In the world of dating, a partner can also be referred to as a match. That’s why one of the biggest dating sites is called Match.com.
To tell someone they’re your perfect match means you two complement one another well. In other words, there’s potential for them to become your significant other.
Falling in Love
The term “falling in love” can qualify as an idiom, but it’s also a major romantic expression. Luckily, there’s no literal falling here. This just means you’re developing strong, passionate feelings for your dating partner.
You shouldn’t say you’re falling in love with someone unless you mean it. It’s also not an expression you want to use on the first few dates. You might scare the other person off!
Love of My Life
Another expression you can pull out when you and your partner go steady is telling them they’re the love of your life. This is even more serious than saying you’re falling in love. You’re telling your partner that you’ve never loved anyone as much as them. This love is the grandest you’ve ever experienced.
Better Half or Other Half
If you think of yourself and your boyfriend or girlfriend as two halves of a whole, these expressions make much more sense. To call them your better half is complimentary. You’re saying that your half (yourself) is good, but they’re better.
To refer to a boyfriend/girlfriend as your other half is the equivalent of saying they’re your perfect match. It means you two go very well together. You may hear some people say they’re seeking their other half, or their ideal partner.
English Flirting Phrases
I just threw a lot of expressions at you at once, and not all are easy. Take your time going through them. Then, when you’re ready, move on to these flirting phrases.
You’re so beautiful/handsome
Don’t necessarily begin your conversation with this when you first meet someone, as it could be a bit too much for some people. Once you two start talking though, you can express the attractiveness of this person using the phrase above. If they like you, they’ll love hearing this!
Can I get your number?
Getting someone’s number (or digits) is to ask for their phone number. You can then text or call them later to set up a date.
Are you on social media?
Asking for someone’s social media name is almost as good as getting their phone number. You can add them to Facebook or Instagram and then send them a private/direct message. If you’ve heard the term “slide into his/her DMs,” that’s what this means.
Are you seeing anyone?
You know now that seeing someone means dating them. This phrase is to confirm the person you’re chatting with is single. If they’re not, you may want to back off.
Can we get something to drink sometime?
Asking someone for drinks doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you’ll do. It’s a casual date for lunch or coffee in most cases. Sometimes you will indeed go to a bar, but this isn’t always a literal request.
How are you still single?
When you say this, you’re marveling at your date. You’re wondering how someone with their looks, personality, or both wasn’t taken by now. Do make sure you ask this question in a nice, inquisitive tone. You don’t want to come off as offensive.
Can we get together sometime?
If you request to get together with someone, it’s another way to ask if you can go on a date.
I know this is a little forward, but…
Saying you’re being “a little forward,” means you’re not afraid to take a more direct approach. You might follow up this line with “can I get your number?” or “you’re very handsome/beautiful.”
You do need the confidence to pull off something like this, but if you do it right, you could seriously wow your date.
English Flirting Idioms
An idiom has a more figurative meaning than a literal one. When you say, “it’s raining cats and dogs,” it just means the rain is heavy. If someone cries their eyes out, they’re very sad. They don’t actually lose their eyes from crying.
Flirting in English is filled with idioms. Make sure you learn them all little by little to navigate your dates.
A pickup line is sort of like the flirting phrases above, only more obvious and in some cases overused. Here are some examples:
Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?
Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?
Are you a camera? Because every time I look at you, I smile.
I lost my number. Can I have yours?
The problem with pickup lines is most people have heard them a million times. They may sound cute to you since you’re still learning English, but pickup lines lose their originality fast.
I won’t say to never use them, because they work on some people. However, for the most part, pass on the pickup lines.
Oh no! Did you find something about your partner that you don’t like? Perhaps this habit/trait is so serious that you’re considering not dating them anymore. That’s what a dealbreaker is.
Everyone has their own dealbreakers in dating. You might not want a partner who smokes cigarettes. Perhaps you don’t like anyone who’s shorter than you. Whatever it is, you now know what to call it.
One Night Stand
This idiom has nothing to do with your bedside table. A one-night stand is when you have sex with someone with the intention of not seeing them again. That may not be very nice, but it does happen in dating all the time.
If someone sets you up on a blind date, it means you haven’t ever seen or met the person you’re going out with. In other words, you’re going into it blind.
Out of Your League
This term refers to someone who’s deemed more attractive than you. You can’t see why they’d ever want to date you. They’re unobtainable, thus out of your league.
When you go to the bar to look for a potential partner, you might bring a friend with you. Their job is to find you a great person. They could even make the introductions so you don’t have to.
Your friend is a wingman. Female friends may be called wingwomen.
Play Hard to Get
Hopefully, your date doesn’t play hard to get. This means they’re pretending that they’re not interested so you have to work harder to win their attention and affection.
Head Over Heels
If you’re looking for another way to say that you’ve fallen in love, tell your partner you’re head over heels for them.
Sex has so many idioms in English. Some of these include getting laid, getting lucky, rolling in the hay, hooking up, and bumping uglies. They all mean the same thing and are just unique ways of expressing your good fortune with someone else.
An intense, passionate, long session of kissing is known as making out. This may or may not lead to sex, but it’s something that will happen if your partner really likes you and vice-versa.
Hitting on someone is almost like flirting, but it tends to be a bit more obvious and sometimes sexual. Most people tend to view being hit on negatively but think of flirting positively, but that can just be a matter of semantics.
More Tips for Flirting in English
You’ve learned so many interesting English words, phrases, and expressions for flirting. Now you can’t wait until you meet someone you like so you can show off what you know.
Before you do, take these tips to heart. They’ll help your flirting abilities go to the next level.
Watch Your Tone of Voice
As I mentioned, some English flirting phrases and idioms can come across as creepy or offensive depending on how you say them. It’s okay to be nervous when flirting with someone you like. That’s natural, even.
However, try to avoid a forceful tone when you speak. Loosen up so you’re not mechanical, either. If a pickup line seems too intimidating, you don’t have to say it. Going up to someone you like, saying hi, and asking a question as an icebreaker can work just as well.
Confidence Is Everything
This is almost a universal flirting trait. You have to believe in yourself and have conviction in what you’re saying when you flirt with someone. A healthy level of confidence will also help you bounce back from rejection faster.
You Can Use Your Language at Times
You don’t have to avoid speaking in your language entirely. Many English speakers find other languages exotic, even sexy. By talking a bit in your native tongue, you could win points with your date. Just don’t expect much of a conversation if your date doesn’t speak the language.
Make Eye Contact, but Not Too Much
Another element to successful flirting is eye contact. This is one of the biggest things you have to master as you seek a romantic partner.
Eye contact is what could first draw you in to someone. From across the bar or the party, you lock eyes with a person you’re interested in. Then you go over to talk to them.
Keep your eyes on this person when you introduce yourself. As you speak, you want to look mostly at the person, but don’t bore your eyes into them. The same goes for when they talk. Making eye contact lets them know you’re listening, but staring blankly could creep them out.
Know When Light Touching Is Okay
You’ve talked to this person for a little while now and you two seem to be connecting. If they’re feeling the same way as you, they’ll let you know nonverbally. You may notice your date smiles more and leans in close.
If it feels natural, you might reach out for a brief brush on the shoulder or upper arm. Don’t do anything crazy here, like grab their hand or touch their face. That can come later if all goes well.
Flirting is as much about verbal expression as it is nonverbal, after all. Great conversation plus a little bit of physical contact lets your date know you’re really into them.
Learn the Signs They’re Not Interested
Of course, it doesn’t always go like that. In some situations, the person you had your eye on won’t want to date you. This can happen immediately when you start flirting or even after you go out a few times.
Your partner may say a few idioms or phrases to let you know they’re done. Since you’re still learning English, it may not be exactly clear to you that they’re rejecting you. So let’s look at what you may hear and what it means.
In your dreams: This doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad thing, but it is. The phrase “in your dreams” means that the only way you could date this person is if you’re dreaming. In other words, it’s never going to happen in real life.
Get lost: This idiom is just another way to say: go away.
I’m seeing somebody: Whether this is true or not, you may never know. Either way, this person is telling you they’re dating someone else, so they don’t want to date you.
I’m not looking for a relationship: You may hear this after a few dates with someone. They may be trying to let you down gently with their rejection. This is just like them telling you they’re seeing someone. It may or may not be true, but it does mean it’s over between you two.
I’m not interested: This is the most obvious rejection, as it has no idioms attached. The person has no intention of dating you.
Flirting can be a challenge in any language, but you don’t have to struggle to flirt in English any longer. With the idioms and phrases in this article, you can now share your most romantic thoughts and feelings and hopefully hear them expressed back to you!