Bringing the banter: Flirting tips for gay and bi+ guys

By Emen8, updated 3 days ago in Sex and dating / Dating and relationships


You spot a cute guy across the crowded dancefloor, lock eyes, and go over to introduce yourself, but you freeze! If this sounds like you — you might need some flirting tips.

If you’re already a bit shy or anxious, flirting with a guy in a bar (or anywhere for that matter) is a daunting cocktail of strangers, small talk, loud music, and lots of witnesses. Unlike online dating, it’s also happening in real-time, with no opportunity to check your chats before you hit send.

If flirting doesn’t come naturally to you, you’re not alone — lots of us have learned our dating skills on apps. But it doesn’t have to be a minefield. With a few basic principles you’ll be bringing the banter to the bar, and walking away with that cute guys number.

Take the risk

None of us are getting any younger. If you want to talk to him — TALK TO HIM! Approaching a guy in a gay bar can be intimidating, but the absolute worst he can do is turn you down.

Initiating conversation doesn’t have to be complicated. Offer to buy him a drink or tell him you like his jacket. His reaction will tell you all you need to know. If he smiles and compliments you back — keep it up! If his reply is dry and curt, or he’s not maintaining eye contact or smiling — maybe leave it.


Make eye contact

That fleeting eye-fuck across a busy bar can be all you need!

Eye contact is one of the best ways to show interest without saying a word. If they hold your gaze for a second or more, they’re also probably checking you out. If they do it more than once, i.e., you notice them checking you out at different times throughout the night, make your move.

Watch your body language

Your posture and the way you carry yourself will give off many signals. Keeping your posture open (shoulders back, chin up, hands by your sides) makes you seem approachable and friendly. If you stand with a closed posture (shoulders forward, face down, arms folded), you might seem disinterested and disinclined to chat — even if you’re just feeling a bit uncomfortable.


This also applies to how you carry yourself when you talk to him. Making eye contact, actively responding to him (nodding or smiling), and leaning forward will help him know you’re interested.

Go easy on the liquid courage

A few drinks can help you loosen up and find your flirting mojo.

A few too many will have you rambling, slurring and reeking of booze, none of which makes for an excellent first impression. Be aware of how much you’ve had and stop well before you reach your limit.

Put your phone down

Unless you’re calling your Mum or reading this article, pocket that phone. While your phone can be a tempting escape from the awkwardness of standing alone, it shuts you off from the rest of the room and makes you seem unapproachable.

A non-binary person using their cellphone at a bar

Instead, order a drink and look around the room, make eye contact with people and smile as you do. This will make it look like you are having a good time and lets people know you are open to a conversation.

Even if you are not interested in a person, if you have the time, be polite and friendly when people come up and say hello. They might be just as nervous as you are. If they make their move and you’re not interested — let them know politely.

Don’t play it too cool

If you’re reading this, you may not naturally be outgoing with strangers. If you keep your distance or avoid giving him any signals, you risk coming across as completely disinterested rather than just a bit shy. No guy will be tempted to decode your intriguing lack of eye contact; if it looks like you’re not interested, he’ll just think you’re not interested.

Be polite and respectful

You only get one chance at a first impression, so be polite. Introduce yourself and remember his name when he tells you. Saying his name back to him once or twice in your chat can be a useful way to remember: “It’s really nice to meet you, Yusef.” … “So, Yusef, tell me about your day.”

If you’re going to compliment him (always a good strategy), do so respectfully. “You have a fantastic smile” is charming; “I really like your nipples in that shirt” is not (unless it’s a cruising bar).


Humour is good, but don’t be (too) shady

A little humour can help break the ice and keep the conversation moving. Some light-hearted jokes about the venue, the drinks or the music are a great place to start, but make sure you keep it friendly. While some shade among friends may be funny, you’ll risk coming across as mean and arrogant if you overdo the sass with your new acquaintance.

Make sure there are two sides to the conversation

Talking about yourself for half an hour may be a good way to avoid awkward silences, but it can also make you seem self-absorbed.

Make sure you’re asking them questions and listening to them when they talk. An engaged, curious listener is someone they’ll remember — and look up again tomorrow. Interested people are interesting people.

If he’s not interested, don’t insist

If he doesn’t seem keen, excuse yourself and leave him alone. He might be unavailable, nursing a broken heart, catching up with a friend or just not interested in flirting. Whatever the reason, making a nuisance of yourself is not going to convince him.

And don’t forget…
To exchange details

If you’ve enjoyed the flirt, let him know! Give him your number or social media handle, or ask for his, so you can get in touch.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how long to leave before following up. Leaving it to the next day is always a good plan so you can both figure out if you’re into it or if it was just the cocktails talking. Keeping it simple is best when you’re figuring out what to say. Something like ‘Great meeting you last night. I’d love to grab a coffee sometime if you’re keen?’ is chill and clear.

Like any skill, it can take some time to get used to flirting. Take it slow and try one or two of our suggestions. Before too long you might need our guide to planning a great date!