Detecting flirting

Anonymous said:

Do you have any advice for figuring out if someone is flirting with you?

realsocialskills said:

I’m actually really terrible at this. Someone else will probably have better advice.

Here are some things I think I know about flirting:

  • If you’re blushing more than usual and it’s not out of shame, that’s a sign that flirting might be occurring
  • Someone who is complimenting you a lot might be flirting with you
  • Particularly if the compliments are on either your appearance or general qualities
  • Eg: Someone who says you are really smart or really pretty a lot might be flirting with you
  • Someone who says specific compliments on specific things is less likely to be flirting (eg: “I really like working with you because you cut through the layers of corporate speak to find the actual assignments” is less likely to be flirting than something like “I’m so happy to see you! You really brighten my day!”)
  • There’s a kind of flirting that is done with eye contact. It involves briefer glances than usual, then looking away, then looking back. I don’t know how to describe it well, but it’s a major component of flirting for a lot of people.

People who are flirting don’t necessarily mean anything by it:

  • Some people only flirt with people they’re actually interested in dating (or being sexual with)
  • Some people flirt a lot, for fun, with people they aren’t particularly interested in dating
  • I don’t understand why people do this, and I’m not totally sure how to tell the difference.
  • (One way to tell the difference is that some people flirt who flirt for fun do it with people who are obviously orientation-incompatible, eg: a gay man flirting with a straight man; a straight woman flirting with women. That’s not totally reliable though, especially since someone’s orientation is often not what you think it is)
  • People who flirt in the presence of their partner usually are doing it for the sake of enjoying flirting. Flirting in this context is usually not for the sake of dating or sex. (This is not necessarily the case for polyamorous people.)

Anyone else want to weigh in? What do you do when you’re flirting? How do you tell if someone is flirting with you? And how do you tell the difference between fun-flirting and serious flirting?