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Flirty Conversation Series: Playing Dumb

Flirty Conversation Series

This article is part of the Flirty Conversation Series, designed to teach you techniques for flirting successfully with anyone you talk to. This series is written to help men and women. He/She pronouns are interchangeable, and often one is chosen purely for simplicity of writing.

What is Playing Dumb

Playing Dump is a flirting tactic in which you deliberately act shocked, surprised or aghast when someone explains something to you that is basic or obvious.

Why does it work?

When someone explains something to us that is obvious, we often feel patronised. The other person may not realise they are making us feel this way. By play acting you are incredibly shocked at the news or fact they are delivering, you are able to let them know you aren’t as stupid as you look, in a flirty and teasing kind of way.

There are no hard feelings, both parties in the conversation are amused, and the conversation can move on to something more fun to talk about.

How to Play Dumb

Imagine someone has just told you the most incredible, unbelievable fact, and your world has been turned upside down as a result.

Your mouth would be wide, your eyes would be popping out. You may even cover your mouth with your hand.

Your entire face would be frozen in this expression for many seconds. You might let out a “No way!”, “What!?” or “Oh. My. God!” as you listen carefully to every word of our conversation partner.

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This is exactly how you want to act.

You can use this technique in two situations:

  1. Someone asks you a question which most people know the answer to, and you pretend you don’t. As an optional extra, you can respond to the question with an absurd or exaggerated answer.
  2. Someone is explaining something to you which is obvious.


Here’s an example a woman using the Playing Dumb technique to flirt with a man, when he asks her a quick question mid conversation.

  • Man: “I’ve been eating really healthily recently, lots of vegetables. You know you’re meant to eat five portions a day right?”
  • Woman: “What?!” (acts surprised) “I’ve been eating fifty! You mean I’ve been doing it wrong all these years!?”
  • Man: (laughs)

And another example of a man flirting with a woman using this technique, with more emphasis on the quizzical response than putting on a surprised look.

  • Woman: “I grew up in Cornwall. Do you know where that is?”
  • Man: “Of course. It’s somewhere in Spain isn’t it?”
  • Woman: (laughs)

One final example with a woman flirting with a man.

  • Man: “I tried yoga the other day. That’s the one where you do lots of stretches and stuff. Have you heard about it?”
  • Woman: “Yoga…hmmm. Nope never heard of it. Must be some new fad exercise thing. It won’t last longer than 6 months.”
  • Man: (laughs)

Where people go wrong

Don’t drag out your response. Don’t play dumb for five minutes. Keep your response short and to the point.

You must also do it in a way that doesn’t make the person you are talking to feel stupid for patronising you.

This technique can come across as rude and arrogant if you have not built some rapport with your flirtee. To avoid this, make sure you indicate afterwards that you are not upset by the person and you are only teasing them, by smiling.

Next steps

Get out there and try this flirting technique. Practise your Surprised Face. You might want to try this technique out with friends first, in case you overdo it and come across as a bit of a dick.

Flirty Conversation Series

Take me back to the Flirty Conversation Series page so I can learn more fantastic flirting techniques to use in every day conversation.

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