How to Get Smitten, Not Bitten, This Summer With Ariel Kiley


You’ve worked hard all year to enjoy an easy, breezy summer season—from warm sunshine, longer days and bare feet to the fruits (and vegetables and flowers) of nature’s bounty. Time to relax, feel all the feels and probably attend a few weddings, too.

Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise that romance often blossoms. Ariel Kiley, co-author of “Smitten: The Way of the Brilliant Flirt” (Chronicle Books, 2013), has a few tips for flirting and maybe even falling in love—without getting burned this summer.

Pickup lines that work


Kiley first recalls a pickup line—her own—that failed. When she and a stranger made eye contact across a room and he approached to ask her name and what she was doing, a confident Kiley answered, “I was just noticing how cute you are from across the room.” The stranger mumbled something and scuttled away.

“It was too forward for his disposition,” she says. “Did I get dismayed? Did I feel let down? No. I thought, This is not the man for me, if he can’t have a direct and silly moment like that with me.” Kiley laughs and says, “I moved on to bigger, and better, and weirder men.”

She recommends questions that are “really simple but telling,” like favorite condiments. Kiley, a fit, attractive woman, admits, “I’m a ketchup person, and that’s never going to change. No matter how classy I look, I will still secretly want to put ketchup on my spaghetti. And if you can’t deal with that, we should get that out on the table right in our first encounter and move on.”

Pause and listen


As in other conversations, flirting often involves thinking about what we’re going to say more than listening to the other person. It might be even more of a turnoff in flirtatious conversation because, Kiley observes, “It’s like you’re pasting your personality all over the other person.”

Instead, she says, “Take a few deep breaths, open up the electromagnetic field of your heart by breathing into your chest and let yourself be present—because then something organic and intuitive can happen between you.”

Make your own fun


The drama of deciding when and whether to follow up with someone can take all the fun out of flirting. Kiley’s advice: “If the person isn’t calling, texting or getting in touch the way you hope they will, either decide, ‘Am I going to take action and reach out to them? Does that feel good to me?’ Or switch your phone to silent and focus your precious attention elsewhere.”

Because she’s teaching yoga, Kiley often has her phone set on Do Not Disturb. “Then when I look at it every few hours, it feels like, Wooh! Who wrote to me? This is fun.”

While becoming a slave to your phone’s notifications is definitely not fun (and unappealing to others), Kiley still advises, “Be kind to the part of yourself that wants that attention, that wants to be loved. That’s a part of your sweet, open heart.”

Enjoy the frosting


And, Kiley says, there’s nothing wrong with five minutes of falling in love, if that’s how you want to feel. “I can think I’ve fallen in love with someone on a first date,” she says, and the second date is a reality check. (Which she says sometimes leads her to wonder what she was thinking after the first date.)

After the first date, Kiley tells herself, “This is evidence that I’m in love with life. Awesome.” She lets herself fall, she says, “without entertaining fantasies about how that person’s going to make me whole or transform my life in some way that I think I can’t.”

It’s like frosting, she says. Enjoy it!

Video credit: uberstock, Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com; djile, Adobe Stock; Predrag Vuckovic, Getty Images; Rawpixel.com, Adobe Stock; Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com
Hair and make-up: Éva Roston