There are a lot of life lessons to be learned from Harry Potter, including but not limited to “Don’t share all your deepest, darkest secrets with a self-aware diary” and “Werewolves are people too.”
But more importantly—perhaps MOST importantly—within these books lies every tip and trick necessary to flirt successfully. You see, there was a lot of flirting going on in Harry Potter, particularly the latter novels, and in the end all the characters wound up married and happy. It stands to reason, then, that these books are not just life-changing young adult tomes but also how-to guides for the clueless would-be flirter.
Here, according to Harry Potter, is how you flirt:
1. Make eye contact with them. This will put you on their radar. The optimal time to be doing this is when you are in the Great Hall, or passing one another in the corridors, or flying around fifty feet in the air on broomsticks in a high-stakes Quidditch match against Ravenclaw.
2. Find subtle ways to run into each other. If you don’t have classes together because they are a Hogwarts student and you are a Bulgarian Quidditch player, just kind of hang out near them in the library. The rest will take care of itself.
3. Initiate a conversation. Tell them they have dirt on their nose and make fun of their spellwork, all within the first five minutes of meeting them.
4. Show them you’re interested. Ask them to the Yule Ball after you’ve exhausted all other options. Imply that no one else is likely to ask them. This may sound counterintuitive, but trust me, it’ll all work out.
5. Smile at them. Do this after you’ve taken a gulp of water. The result will be mortifying but oddly charming.
6. Make the first move. Do this by blurting out words so hauntingly incomprehensible that the other person won’t even understand what you said. (Example: “Wangoballwime?”)
7. Keep it light. Don’t talk about your dead boyfriend, especially if your crush is the one who saw said boyfriend die. Everyone knows that. It’s just good sense.
8. Compliment them. Tell them they look nice. Sound incredibly shocked when you do so. They will respond, with a wry smile, “Always the tone of surprise,” and it can be a cute thing you guys have.
9. Buy them little gifts. Do you hardly know this person because you spend all your time making out with them? Do you own a hideous necklace with large gold letters spelling out “My Sweetheart”? Perfect. Wrap it up.
10. Don’t just talk about yourself—ask questions! For example, you can ask them things like “Where did you grow up?”, “What’s your favorite movie?”, or “Do you think I’m being possessed by Voldemort? I suspect I am, and since you’re the only other person I know who’s been possessed by Voldemort, I figure I should ask you instead of isolating myself in the attic with Buckbeak and ignoring everyone who cares about me.”
11. Tease them a little. Tell them they have the emotional range of a teaspoon. Correct the way they pronounce things. Attack them with birds.
12. Be yourself. Unless of course “being yourself” means “yelling at them after the Yule Ball because they went with someone who wasn’t you,” in which case do not be yourself.
13. If all else fails, save them from a twelve-foot mountain troll. You’ll be married in no time (give or take twenty-five years).