Friday, July 06, 2007

Will an Office Romance Jeopardize Your Career?

Interesting piece with Today's Meredith Viera and Lissa Coffey.


Lessons From a Master Flirt

My friend is an amazing flirt.

Here's what she's not: Trashy, vulgar, in-your-face, or desperate. Here's what she is: Attractive, kind, and confident. She has an open and pleasant face, but after two children, she doesn't possess a figure like any of the women on NBC's fright fest, The Age of Love. She looks like a woman, not a girl.

A couple of weeks ago, she and I and a bunch of other female friends headed to a tapas bars for, well, tapas. Oh, and mojitos.

The host came over to seat us, but he refused to make eye contact. So Master Flirt made a joke (nine times out of ten, she gets people to loosen up this way), but he was resolute. He wasn't going to look at us.

At that point, I admit, I'd have given up. Hey, she tried. But the girl did not give up. Instead, in an act of sheer genius, she sidled up to the guy. She was careful not to invade his space frontally, but moved over to his side gently in a way that conveyed, "Hey, Buddy."

And guess what? He smiled at her. He smiled at her all the way over to the table.

Then the waiter came over. He, too, refused to make eye contact. So she made a comment about the weather (I'm an idiot at small talk; while I'm trying to come up with something clever to say, she blurts out something benign, and it usually works. But this guy, like the last one, was a tough customer). When that didn't achieve the desired result, she brought up the subject of the bandage on his arm.

"Hey, what happened?" she asked.

The waiter involuntarily arched his back, surprised that she even noticed. "Eh, I just scratched it pruning a tree," he said. And then he smiled. And he smiled at her for the rest of the evening.

At the school where she works, she's known as the "hot teacher," even though she doesn't own a provocative article of clothing. She's also over 40.

The woman knows how to draw people in and make them feel important.

At her house for lunch one day, I spied How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie in her bookcase. While I've read that book, she absolutely lives it. Winning friends and influencing people is not about manipulation; it's about making people feel good about you and, more important, themselves.

And that's what a master flirt does. Everybody just loves her for it.