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Anonymous: Hi, do you know how to play a flirtatious character? I’m in no way seductive/flirtatious but the character just connected to me and I just cannot let it go!
The beauty of roleplaying lies in the fact that you don’t have to be anything like the characters you portray. So, if a flirtatious character speaks to you even if you’re nothing like that in real life, I say go for it and remember to have fun while you’re at it.
Personally, whenever I write a character who could be considered flirtatious, I tend to take the witty route. I really enjoy a good battle of the wits between two characters who have great chemistry, and it’s oh-so-fun to write. I also find it a less obvious way of showing that a character is flirtatious, and a good way to avoid it being clichéd. So, a good place to start would be to figure out what type of flirtatious your character is. Are they the witty type who does it because they think it’s fun, rather than actually aiming for it to go any further? Does the character has some ulterior motive with their flirting, as a manipulation tactic? Or are they the Captain Jack Harkness type who can’t resist hitting on anything to moves? Such things would affect your portrayal.
An easy way of adapting the flirtatious trait is through descriptions of the character’s body language, rather than through dialogue. After all, non-verbal communication can sometimes be more effective. Flirting signals vary a little between males and females, but some general ones are eye contact, mirroring (matching the other person’s mood and actions), triangulation (starting out by looking at the other person’s face, and then letting the gaze move towards the body), and deliberately accidental touching. Men often stretch or take to other actions that make them appear bigger, while females try to make themselves appear smaller. If your character is a bit more shy, their cheeks can be slightly flushed, or they could touch their hair or face… These are all useful things to utilize when you play your character.
Another piece of advice I tend to give when people come to me asking for advice on how to portray a character with a certain personality trait is this: Don’t let that one trait define everything they are and everything they do. It’s just one part of their personality, after all, so you don’t have to focus every time you write that character. Vary the portrayal a little, and utilize other aspects of their personality as well. If you’re unsure how to be flirtatious in character, this might actually help; whenever you do write it in, do it inconspicuously.
And lastly, if you’re not so familiar with how flirting works in real life, do a little research on it. There are plenty of articles online from flirting through a psychological perspective to more Cosmopolitan-esque how tos on flirting. Try reading through some of them, and seeing what you can adapt. But like I already said, don’t go overboard, and try to be subtle, rather than obvious. That is usually better when wanting to avoid clichés.
Here are a few links you might find useful. Even though some of them aren’t writing-related per se, you can adapt some of these things in character:
I’m sorry it took me a little while to get to your question. I’ve been terribly busy with offline undertakings this week, so I haven’t had time to properly sit down and think about the more time-consuming messages I’ve received. Hopefully this helped you still!