Things are going well. You navigated your way past all the awkward pre-relationship difficulties and finally planned a date.

At this point it doesn't really matter whether you met online or in person or who asked out who. All that matters is you are going on a date with someone you are attracted to and want the day or night to go well.

For now, lets assume that the date is well planned, offering excellent opportunity for you and your partner to get to know each other while simultaneously enjoying whatever activity is occurring. If that isn't the case, there are plenty of blog entries on this site that can help with that aspect of the date. For today, we are going to focus on the other important aspect of any date: flirting.

Flirting is the art of interacting in a way that creates and fosters interest and attraction. Good flirting can make even a mediocre date feel great and great flirting can save dates that would otherwise be a disaster.

You won't become an expert at flirting overnight, but the following pieces of advice are six great ways to successfully flirt on a date.

Don't Hide Your Intentions

Subtle flirting is just a stone's throw away from creepy stalking when you aren't on a date, and when you are on a date it makes absolutely no sense. The entire purpose of the date is to evaluate and further romance.

Always make sure that your flirting is obvious. This doesn't mean it has to be aggressive, just that your date should fully understand that you are interested and that you are taking appropriate action to further that interest.

Keep it Casual

There is a commonly quoted rule about never discussing politics or religion on a date. If you are trying to keep it casual, that is a good start. A more comprehensive rule is to never engage in any topic of conversation that can start a debate.

While religion and politics are obvious topics that start debates, so are things like favorite sports teams or movies. If you or the other person has strong feelings about something, it is a dangerous topic for discussion.

Focus on positive aspects of discussion topics and try not to discuss things in absolutes. For example, if you both enjoy football, you can probably easily discuss games you have seen or great moments of the sport. But if you wander into best or worst categories, you are asking for a debate.

The other tricky part about keeping it casual is that you don't want to seem vapid. If your discussions are so casual that they reveal nothing meaningful about you, you aren't flirting. At that point you are just killing time.

Initiate a Conversation as Soon as the Date Starts

The best way to make it clear that you want to flirt is to start talking as soon as the date starts. If your date beats you to the punch in starting a conversation, that is a good sign that they want to flirt, too.

The important point is that silence at the start of a date really kills the mood and will make it a lot more difficult to effectively flirt once the date is in full swing.

Body Cues

Conversation is only one part of flirting. Body cues are another major part. When flirting, it is important to regularly make eye contact (without staring), to smile naturally (making sure the smile reaches your eyes), and to maintain a relaxed, inviting, and warm pose. If you aren't familiar with that last part, it means you want to generally face towards your date and avoid crossing your arms or legs.

Filling the Dead Space

There are times in any date when there will be silences. Hopefully, those are comfortable silences rather than uncomfortable ones where you are wracking your brain looking for something to discuss.

One way to make them a little more comfortable is to flirt, even while not talking, with physical flirtation. You can do this with small facial gestures like winks or sticking out your tongue or maybe even with light touching if you are both comfortable with that. Even something as simple as pretending like you are going to steal your dates food while eating is a lighthearted and fun gesture.

Remember to Compliment

One of the most important rules for good flirting is to compliment generously. All compliments should be natural and sincere. If it sounds like you are simply reciting a list of their features (physical, mental, or otherwise), you are doing yourself more harm than good.

Listen closely for cues during conversation and make sure you are smiling while giving any compliment. The last thing you want to do is sound sarcastic or insincere while complimenting your date.