When is it flirting?
We have all been there, a cute guy at work smiles at you as you pass in the hallway. Admit it, it’s so flattering! The smiles turn into compliments, the compliments turn into conversations that turn into a brush of your hand in the break room. The brush of the hand turns into asking you out on a date and you say yes. Is it flirting? Are you okay with this? You think he is cute, you are both available, so odds are yes, you are definitely okay with this.
Let’s take the same scenario above, let’s insert a guy that you aren’t attracted to. You are a nice person, so initially, you smile back. He starts to compliment you, again you aren’t attracted to this guy, so you say thank you because you are polite and walk away. Conversations happen because you are co-workers that turn into a brush of your hand in the break room. You immediately think to yourself “WAIT A MINUTE, what just happened?” You feel violated, you don’t understand how he got the wrong impression, you have no interest in him that way. “What was he thinking?” Are you going to be honest right there or wait until he asks you to go out with him?
Is it flirting when the guy isn’t attractive? Is it flirting when the guy should understand you don’t like him like that? What is the difference between the two scenarios above? One you have an interest in, the other you don’t.
The definition of flirting is “behave as though attracted to or trying to attract someone.” It doesn’t specify that both parties must be attracted to each other.
Is it flirting only if both parties perceive it to be and “want” it to be? We must agree that two people do not always perceive things the same way, correct? Is the scenario where you aren’t attracted to the guy turning inappropriate because he touched you (and you don’t feel the same way)?
Both guys above perceived you were flirting back, even if you only had interest in one of them. I am not suggesting this perception is your fault, but simply asking you to think about the scenarios being similar between the two guys and how you could use a few tactics below to help put a halt to the situation you don’t want to be in.
I think this is a time “use our words” as we were taught as a child.
- If you are approached by someone you don’t feel the same way about, you could simply say “I love working with you, however, I prefer to just remain friends (or co-workers).”
- If you don’t want to hang out as friends, do not give that impression or make the offer to do so.
- I suggest not telling someone you are in a relationship if you aren’t. Being honest is the best policy and will prevent the situation from happening again when he “thinks” you are single.
- Be courteous and don’t toy with other guys in front of him, you aren’t attracted to him, that isn’t his fault.
- If someone isn’t respecting your boundaries that you have spoken with above, this is the time to be concerned and let human resources know. No one should feel unsafe or uncomfortable in their place of work.
Have you ever been in one of the situations above where you were flirted with? Is flirting and playing around okay? How did it work out? What steps did you take or are you going to use these in a situation you are currently in? When is it flirting to you?