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?

To the creepy guy who reblogged the post about creepy guys

Someone reblogged my post About Creepy Guys with a comment along the lines of:

“LOL. I guess there’s no safe place for men to flirt with women anymore, unless they’re attractive guys.”

Quote over.

That’s a creepy comment.

Here’s why it’s creepy. My post was about how it’s unsafe for women to reject unwanted attention, because men hit on them in ways that leave them no polite way to say no. Because men are allowed to implictly threaten women with impunity in public, and women who tell them off are seen as rude or otherwise bad.

If by safe, you mean places in which your attentions are guaranteed to be welcome, then no, there is no safe place and there should not be a safe place. Women are allowed to be uninterested.

Consensual flirtation is an offer. It isn’t a negotiation. It isn’t an attempt to pressure a woman into saying yes or convince her to do something.

If you’re continuing the conversation after someone has made it clear that you want them to stop, you’re being creepy.

If you’re flirting with someone in a place they can’t easily walk away from you, you’re being creepy. No one should ever be a captive audience for flirting.

If you take no as a humiliating personal insult, you’re being creepy. No is the default. Most people aren’t going to want to date you or sleep with you. They are not wronging you by being uninterested.

It’s true that hot guys tend to get away with a lot of things they shouldn’t. It’s harder to tell that someone has no regard for consent when you want the things they want you to want. It’s easier for people to tell that you’re being creepy if they aren’t attracted to you.

That doesn’t mean it’s ok to be creepy, or that women are wronging you by being creeped out. It means there’s a bad thing you need to stop doing even though some people get away with it.

I can’t look at people without staring. How do NTs get enough information about a person to look away so fast? Or am I not supposed to be taking in information? Is that the point, that I don’t know them so I shouldn’t be looking at them?
realsocialskills answeredL 
I don’t completely understand how NT eye contact works. I think that one thing it’s for is confirmation that someone is paying attention. 
Like, they think that glances verifying that someone is looking in their direction confirms that the person they’re talking to is paying attention. And that they’re noticing them and reacting to them specifically and not just speaking generically.
It can also be used as a request for attention. Like, looking at someone’s face can mean “I would like to talk to you,” and returning the glance can mean “Ok, talk to me.”
A slightly more intense version of this means “I find you sexually attractive and would like intense attention.” Returning that kind of eye contact in a fleeting way can mean “I also find you attractive, and I’m bashfully flirting back.” Returning it in an intense way can mean something along the lines of “Wow, you’re hot. Let’s enjoy our intense mutual attraction.”
Intense eye contact can also mean “I am trying to establish dominance.” In that convention, whoever breaks eye contact first loses.
Avoiding eye contact when someone is attempting to initiate it can signal, in various cases:
  • That you’re afraid of that person
  • That you’re embarrassed or ashamed and don’t want to face them
  • That you’re avoiding them for some other reason
  • That you’re intentionally insulting them by snubbing them and ignoring their requests for attention
Those are the primary things I know about how eye contact in English-speaking NT culture. (Eye contact has dramatically different connotations in some cultures.)
Do any of y'all know of other uses of eye contact? Or things I’m getting wrong?

A post for how to recognise flirting/romantic overtures would be really helpful. I’m neurotypical as far as I know, but have a huge amount of trouble deciphering social cues and noticing small details while talking to someone, because I’m having to devote too much focus to just having the conversation.

I’m not actually sure. I’m not very good at detecting flirting. A few things I do think I know:

  • Someone who is attracted to your gender and repeatedly calls you cute, attractive, sexy, or beautiful is most likely flirting with you
  • (Unless they’re doing it in response to you expressing insecurity about your appearance/attractiveness)
  • There’s a way people look at folks they’re flirting with that is a bit more intense than normal social looking at people. I don’t know how to explain that though
  • If things seem way funnier than usual, it might be a sign that flirtation is happening (not always. but it definitely can be)
  • If someone seems to want to touch you, it might be flirtation

I don’t know much else about recognizing flirtation. Do any of y'all?