Keeping It Light: Can Banter Be Flirting?

banter and flirtingMost of the time when I coach men on bantering they’re amazed at how easy it is. Change the subject to flirting and they might clam up. But are the two actually different? It’s worth exploring the question can banter be flirting?

Flirting Is Fun

At the very least, banter and flirting have a lot in common. They’re both light, fun and playful. They allow two people to interact with each other in an exciting way that doesn’t risk a lot for either party. Can banter be flirting? Of course. But not all banter is flirting. There are a few things you can do to make sure that you’re flirting while bantering and keep yourself out of the friend zone.

Body Language Is Key

Body language is one of the biggest keys to making simple banter into sexy flirting. There’s the basic use of your body to project confidence by standing up straight and a good smile to project friendliness. However, there’s also the question of how your body language relates to hers.

A lot of guys talk to women by facing them directly. This can put a lot of pressure on the interaction. You’re also giving her something (your attention) without getting anything in return. Here’s what we do instead:

  • Introduce yourself by facing her straight on.
  • Pivot to her side so that you are standing shoulder to shoulder, slightly angled in.
  • Angle more toward her the more you want to show your approval. If you’re unhappy with how the interaction is going, angle out a bit.

Think of your attention as a reward. People don’t respect rewards they get for nothing. Using that to your advantage is a subtle way of displaying confidence; You’re not giving your approval out to just anyone.

Touch Accelerates Things

Guys are often afraid to touch women when they’re talking. They shouldn’t be. The arms, hands and upper back are all very safe places to touch a woman. Touch accomplishes a few things. First, it creates a sense of intimacy. Second, it gives her permission to start touching you. In my years of coaching, I’ve noticed that the heat can get turned up fast when a guy does something simple like touching a woman on the shoulder. Next time you’re bantering with a woman at a bar or a club, try just playfully touching her on the shoulder and see where it goes.

Smiling Is Your Ticket

Another thing that can make all the difference is a big smile. Smiling allows you to get away with saying and doing things that you might not otherwise. Think of something as simple as the phrase “Get out of town!” Said with a smile, this is a playful jest. The smile is an ancient, ancient sign that you’re friendly and nonthreatening. Smiling with your eyes and cheeks, not just your mouth, is a great way to create a sense of ease in a woman, allowing both of you to flirt without fear.

Let Her Be the Pace Car

When it comes to flirting with banter, let her be the pace car. As a man, you want to be taking charge and have her be the one putting on the brakes. This shows confidence, but it’s also the best way to keep things moving forward. Don’t worry so much about going too far — she’ll let you know. As long as you’re being friendly and respectful it’s OK to push the envelope a little.


AJ Harbinger - author of 1126 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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