After living with my parents for nearly two years during the pandemic, I up and moved to New York City. Sitting in my shoebox-sized apartment, I made myself a promise: I was going to try dating. But what never occurred to me was that after two years of almost solely conversing with my family in pajamas and sweatpants, I forgot how to flirt. I had, I decided, flirter’s block.

RELATED: 11 Virtual Date Ideas to Spend Time Together (but You Know, Apart)

Flirter s Block Is The New Writer s Block
Illustration by Dasha Burobina

What exactly is flirter’s block?

I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again, flirter’s block is the new writer’s block. This completely-made-up-but-should-be-added-to-Webster’s-Dictionary can be defined as: a condition where someone is incapable of stringing together a cheeky phrase to a person they’re attracted to due to an influx of anxiety, often caused by a previous lack of social interaction possibly inflicted by the pandemic.

I realized this embarrassing new condition was an issue after a really good first date…like seven-hours-long good. It was one of those dates where both of us didn’t want the night to end. Two Pinot Noirs, two Gimlets and easy flowing conversation later, we ended the night on my doorstep at midnight (a modern-day Cinderella). One goodnight kiss and a quick mutual second glance as we parted ways, and I was in my apartment staring blankly at my phone.

Should I text and thank him for the night even though I thanked him in-person, or should I wait for him to text first? It only got worse from there. These thoughts slowly grew as the weeks dragged on. I began staring at my typed responses, highlighting and deleting, seeking my roommate’s advice and sending a bland “Haha, yeah” as the solution. Back in college, flirting was easy. Somehow after two bachelor’s degrees and three years, that essential skill vanished. In its place? Social anxiety.

When I decided to divulge the deep, dark secret of my flirter’s block to my date, I was met with a good chuckle and a, “Why’d you tell me that? I would have never known!” I was about to crawl under the nearest rock when it dawned on me that there was no hint of appalment in his voice. He never even noticed my lackluster texts. Instead, my date found my self-diagnosed flirter’s block confession to be…charming?

What to Do If You Have Flirter's Block

To be honest, I still suffer from it. My overactive brain mixed with a Virgo sun and a Gemini moon makes me intentional yet always unsettled. That’s why I sought advice from eharmony relationship expert, Laurel House, on how best to shake this.

1. Suggest two truths and a lie

Let’s face it, there’s no better adrenaline-inducing text than one reading, “Let’s play a game.” House’s rules are simple: “If they guess the lie, tell them they’ll get a kiss when you see them next. It’s a fun and flirty way to get excited about your next date, while learning more about each other.” Plus, the truths and lies introduce more topics to continue the conversation. Fell out of a moving vehicle while on a safari? Seems like there’s a lot to unpack there.

2. Send playful photos…

And no, not those photos. House advises, “Take a cute selfie and say something sweet.” What better way to get over the texting slump than by snapping a photo? Not only does it show that you’re thinking of them, but it also provides them with a little reminder of just how cute you are. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

3. Send a text before a major event

“Especially before your partner’s big work presentation, a tough conversation or any other event that could be nerve-racking,” House says. “This shows you care, you’re thinking about and believe in them. We want someone who isn’t just in it for fun, but also has our back and supports us when we need it. Because that’s sexy.” If I’ve learned anything from past flirt-texts, a “Good luck today,” or “You’re going to do so well,” never failed to make me smile.

4. Text to set up a video or phone date

“It might seem old fashioned,” House says, “But talking on the phone or on a video date can be an amazing way to get to know each other and establish a foundation.” Sometimes finding a time to make the date work is too hard. With everything we need to check off our to-do lists, sometimes there’s no time for a date night. According to House, these phone dates allow you to connect without distractions. “It gives you something to look forward to between dates.”

5. Text a picture of one of their favorite things

“If they mentioned they love Spider-Man, text a pic of you watching the newest movie installment to show they’re never far from your mind.” These little moments are key to keeping the interest alive. Not only does it show that you’re putting in the effort to share interests, but it also provides talking points for when you see each other next. House’s pro tip: Don’t overdo it. Let these small moments be spontaneous and unforced.

But hey, if all else fails, take a play out of my book and fess-up. Your date might just find it as charming as mine did.

RELATED: Is Socializing Awkward Now? Here’s How to Have Meaningful Conversations Again

From Around The Web