People who flirt aimlessly tend to get a bad rap. After all, if you have no intention of pursuing someone, what’s the point of pouring on the charm?
Flirting does serve a purpose, though, says philosopher Alain de Botton, and believe it or not, it’s a noble one.
“At its best, flirting can be a vital social process that generously lends us reassurance. Flirting freely redistributes confidence and self-esteem,” the author says in a new video from his School of Life series.
“Good flirting,” he explains, “is an attempt driven by kindness and imaginative excitement to inspire another person to believe more firmly in their own likability ― psychological as much as physical.”
De Botton’s take on an “honorable version” of flirting makes sense: Think back to the last time someone shamelessly flirted with you and you flirted right back. Sure, you may roll your eyes at the thought of him or her now (”A phone number would have been nice!”), but for a moment, the light banter you shared made you feel giddy and good about yourself.
Watch the video above to hear more on why we should all seek to become better flirts.