How to Succeed at Flirting by Denise Williams


[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to welcome author Denise Williams to the site today. She’s sharing some flirting tips picked up from romance novels and beyond. Take it away, Denise!]

I wrote a novel about flirting, particularly the varied and creative ways people can fail at it and still find a happily ever after. I’ll admit, that is how my story worked out and my husband would tell you the same thing. In all my time reading contemporary romance, though, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to succeed at flirting.

Flirting at work is a fine line.

Though in real life, flirting at work can be dicey romance novels teach us that, with the right person, banter by the copy machine or a suggestive glance during happy hour can lead to some very enjoyable overtime. Once Lucy and Josh in The Hating Game realized they didn’t hate each other, the story bubbled over with excellent work flirting (and some very excellent after work flirting, too). In Here To Stay by Adriana Herrera, the flirting is red hot while both characters are still conscientious of power dynamics in the workplace and considerate of professional boundaries.

From friends to flirting can be an awkward journey.

Some friends flirt all the time, but if you’re like me, the jump from friendly banter to I-like-you flirting can be an awkward one. Romance novels have taught me to embrace the awkward, to push through the uncertainty of shifting things from platonic to maybe more because you already know the other person is worth it. Lola and Oliver in Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren are my favorite example of friends to flirting, in part because both main characters are so confident and yet so awkward. It’s delicious. In Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan, Kimba and Ezra communicate well, no doubt because of their friendship, even after a long time apart.

Flirting through text is an art form.

Body language and eye contact are lost in written communication, but romance teaches how much flirtatious magic can reside in a brief email or a text message. My favorite moment in a romance is when someone sends something unflinchingly flirtatious and takes the other person by surprise. It’s a delicious moment of tension and warm feelings and surprise. I wonder how often that moment happens in real life. Whatever the answer, it should happen more. Be bold, readers! The first half of Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata is epistolary, and I remembered smiling as I read the emails and chats between Ruby and Aaron the first time. The charm, tension, and hints of attraction were in these tiny moments of exchange and was an excellent example of a slow burn text flirtation. When I read Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter, my heart raced at every text exchange because they were so packed with sweet and sexy flirting, perfectly match for the couple.

Your flirting score instantly goes up if it involves a pet.

Before I was married, it was more likely that my dog would be pooping when the cute guy walked by versus her bringing us together, but in romance, pets immediately up someone’s flirting game. Our furry friends can make us seem more approachable and give us something to focus on instead of staring eagle-eyed on our love interest. Smudge the cat in Get a Life, Chloe Brown has more than a paw in helping Chloe and Red get together. Stuntman Mike, the irascible pup in The Friend Zone is a solid wingman for both Kristen and Josh.

Even the most atrocious flirting fail might still just lead to you falling in love if you’re failing with the right person.

There’s really no one way to flirt. Sure, eye contact, confidence, and being quick witted can help, but flirting is so much fun because it’s all about the people involved and how they connect with each other. So, the most important thing I learned about flirting from romance novels is to not sweat it, to let it happen, and to trust yourself. That’s how it worked out for Naya in How to Fail at Flirting

About the Author:
Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate Youfeatured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD. 
A diversity trainer and co-creator of a women’s empowerment group, she is dedicated to developing flawed, multidimensional characters who struggle with those issues impacting real women. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house.
Denise was a 2019 Romance Writers of America ® Golden Heart Finalist and How to Fail at Flirting his her debut novel.
How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams, out now!

One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup.  Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.

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