Remember when flirting with your crush was simple?
Neither do we.
Technology is either the best or worst thing to ever happen to courtship. On the one hand, we've never had more platforms through which to drop subtle (or not so subtle) hints to the future baes of our lives. But with great variety comes the potential for even greater confusion. As the wise dating expert Aziz Ansari once said to AV Club, "People overanalyze these tiny messages and go crazy."
The hardest part: Every platform requires its own language.
Does a Facebook "like" in the morning plus a quick midday Gchat plus an end-of-the-night text message equate to day's worth of quality flirting? Is a text saying "hey" somehow more serious than a mere Facebook chat?
The answer, of course, is that it's always changing (Venmo flirting, anyone?), so there are no rules. Here are just a few of the confusing ways we have the same conversations, over and over again, on an endlessly multiplying number of sites. It's all about finessing the conversation for the right platform.
1. The classic "good night"
On Snapchat, it's all about sending the object of your thirst to bed with sex dream-inducing images of your sultry face. Texting, on the other hand, lends itself to sweet high school nostalgia. Feel like being an unattainable enigma? Can't go wrong with a hasty Gchat.
2. The no-reason reach-out
What do we want most when we've got a crush on the brain? To simply peek up from what we're doing and say "I'm thinking of you." The most passive approach of all is undoubtedly the workday Gchat, while a "like" on Swarm has certainly been done. But really, nothing says "Look at me, a person who's really into you!" like a midday Snapchat.
3. The fishing for plans
Opening yourself up for an invite might be one of the best flirting methods, as it implies you find the idea of hanging out with them more appealing than staying home alone and binge-watching Netflix. That's sometimes done over Twitter, based on a clever interaction, whereas on Gchat, the fishing is a little more obvious.
4. The subtle compliment
Telling someone you find them physically attractive has never been easier — sort of. An Instagram double-tap is a low-risk go-to when you don't want to come on too strong, while responding to a new profile pic by texting is effectively screaming "You're so beautiful!" at their (beautiful) face. Middle ground here? A Facebook like-and-comment combo — although it's worth noting that being the first to do so conveys a particularly thirsty vibe.
5. The inside joke
When we're searching for a way to flirtatiously keep the connection up, there's no better approach than bonding over a shared joke or conversation. The debate here: whether private (see: emailing a direct link) trumps public (see: retweeting and tagging your crush in a tweet).
6. The drunken reach-out
It's at once the most embarrassing and most effective form of flirting. As the Romans said, in vino veritas ("There is truth in wine"). While a "you up" text is likely to be interpreted as an aggressive booty call, the Gchat and Facebook message alternatives aren't far behind — but they do one better by indicating that you're already home, in bed, ready to toss the laptop aside at a message's notice.
7. The ultimate declaration of "like"
At the end of the day, conveying this sentiment is at the root of all flirting scenarios, and it would probably serve us well to just call them and say it.
But hey, if putting it all out there feels trite and/or frightening to you, it's nice to know: You have so. Many. Options.