November 23, 2019 5:23 AM   Subscribe

“Flirting should start out feeling like warm, friendly conversation. Like you put a hot mug of tea in their hands in a cold day, or a cool refreshing iced tea in summer. It shouldn’t veer toward sex unless that’s a mutual agreement ... Flirting is, in part, the art of, for a second or a longer span of time, making the other person feel like you are a breath of fresh air giving them safety. Like they are the only person in the world.” A twitter thread, by @genderqueerwolf, where flirtation and flirting, why and how to and how not to, is described.
posted by Wordshore (47 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
So does this mean Mr. Rogers was an incorrigible flirt?
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 5:56 AM on November 23, 2019 [6 favorites]

I've been told I flirt a lot, but I never try consciously and I'm definitely not saying suggestive things. I felt ignored and crowded out of conversation as a kid and so I make a point to listen and be interested in people when I'm talking to them. From both men and women this is taken as flirtatious often enough that I can't imagine how bad dating must be these days, when just listening is flirting
posted by dis_integration at 6:55 AM on November 23, 2019 [42 favorites]

Here's a quicker style that I seem to love:

1.Think of something nice and fun to say.
2. Wait, why would you say that.
3. Stare at the floor.
4. Leave conversation.
5. Walk into the river
posted by Philipschall at 6:58 AM on November 23, 2019 [118 favorites]

What does this have to do with cheese?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:59 AM on November 23, 2019 [8 favorites]

If there's something like being flirt-blind, that would be me. Not an issue now since I'm old and long married but when I was young and single, I never had any idea when I was being flirted with. Either a friend would say, "hey she was totally flirting with you" later or I'd smack myself in the head two weeks later when I finally realized what had been going on.
posted by octothorpe at 7:08 AM on November 23, 2019 [16 favorites]

Join the club, octothorpe! Totally blind and clueless. Though, I think my blindness can be directly attributed to not believing anyone would ever want me, so why would anyone flirt?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:12 AM on November 23, 2019 [12 favorites]

I think perhaps the over-riding arc of the twitter thread linked to in the post is not to expect anything from flirting. It's not an exchange or transaction or something done with the expectation of something else happening. You just do it to make someone else briefly feel good about themselves. No other reason.

This may be quite different to how many people view flirting, but that was my take from it.
posted by Wordshore at 7:30 AM on November 23, 2019 [30 favorites]

So does this mean Mr. Rogers was an incorrigible flirt?

I think the point of this essay is that genuine flirting is always corrigible.
posted by straight at 7:40 AM on November 23, 2019 [10 favorites]

If there's something like being flirt-blind, that would be me.

In my early 20s, a girl once sat in my lap – and even then, I don't think I fully grokked what was happening.

I'm no better at delivering flirtation than I am in receiving it – but I do like some of the ideas in the Twitter thread. Maybe I'll even try it.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:46 AM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

In my early 20s, a girl once was kissing my neck in bed and, even then, it took me a minute to grok what was happening.
posted by Skwirl at 7:49 AM on November 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

I can't say I was horribly cursed or unlucky or anything. I can't say I was blind. But from my early teens through my 20s I had this idea that flirting, hooking up and dating was an activity that Other People Did. I cannot explain it. I was a good looking guy, skinny but not athletic. It took the few girls and then women who finally got through to me quite a bit of work to make me realize what was going on.

My biggest puzzlement—and yes, a mild regret—looking back at those times. I was somehow convinced All That Stuff was what Other People Engaged In. I sure as hell had dozens of crushes and longings and I jerked off privately like a rare champion specimen! I'm not 100% sure why I behaved and thought that way, but as I get Old, I'm figuring it out more and more.

Youth wasted on the young and all that.
posted by SoberHighland at 7:58 AM on November 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

I just really appreciate how positive and encouraging but sensible this advice is, instead of punitive/moralistic "don't do this or else" OR creepy pickup artist "push these buttons to manipulate people into giving it up."

I also really appreciate the effort to disentangle flirtation from sex—but without being erotophobic or shame-driven. Part of the "good work" of combating rape culture is finding ways to talk about affection, attraction, and sexuality in ways that avoid reproducing the shame / danger / harm / punishment complex that drives sexual violence.
posted by LMGM at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2019 [39 favorites]

In my early 20s, a girl once sat in my lap – and even then, I don't think I fully grokked what was happening.

In my early 20s, a girl once was kissing my neck in bed and, even then, it took me a minute to grok what was happening.

Gentle readers, in both cases something was happening but it was not flirtation. Attempts at seduction, perhaps even successful ones, but not flirtation. I enjoyed the Twitter thread. I tried to flirt with someone waiting to get a haircut last week. It did not go as well as I had hoped, but I don't get as much practice as I used to. It was still fun. Thanks for the post, Wordshore.
posted by Bella Donna at 8:21 AM on November 23, 2019 [23 favorites]

The one and only time that I thought a woman was flirting with me was at a bed & breakfast near Yosemite. And I noped right out of there because her husband, bible in his lap, gave me the stink-eye when I checked in. But the wife was very flirtatious. I feel badly about this, not because I failed to notch a mark on my bedpost, but because, in retrospect, I think she needed a friend to talk to, and I was not that friend.
posted by SPrintF at 8:38 AM on November 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

"improve the moment/hour/day/life of all parties involved...whether that’s by making all parties feel seen and acknowledged, feel better about themselves, or just improving a rough day."

Yes: Give your human attention in a way that lifts another person up.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:40 AM on November 23, 2019 [8 favorites]

My Mum has always said that working in retail means an element of flirting with the customer whoever they are, although she doesn't mean "Sexy Flirting" so much as what I characterise (and enact) as "Friendly Flirting", i.e. being that bit more open, engaged and maybe mirroring but without it being artificial and always taking your cue from the customer. Give people their space and let them lead, if that makes sense? My more personable regulars always make me laugh or put a smile on my face and I'm confident that the reverse is true for them too, just as the ones who do like their space shouldn't and don't have to suffer me all up in their business.

In real life of course I'm a disaster at actual flirting or human engagement and another member of the hilariously flirt-blind club, to the point of actually thinking of people in what become latter-recall, forehead-slapping moments "Oh, they seem flirty, they must be a flirty person! That's cool, I wish I was more flirty like that!"
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:57 AM on November 23, 2019 [11 favorites]

Flirting to me is not about making "anyone" feel good. That's just being nice or friendly or whatever you'd do with a grade schooler or your grandma. Flirting has to have sexual component, to me. That's why it's a whole different word. I don't agree with this thread's definition, even though my therapist would. Even the writer says don't flirt with kids, coworkers, etc. so uh...come on?

It's very rare that I'm attracted to anybody, and to me flirting was always being obvious about showing someone that you wanted to bang them. My best friend in middle school would slowly shake her big ass while doing a slow walk and give a biiiiiiiiiig smile and a breathy "Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" and it just about made you want to barf watching that show. That, to me, is what flirting is like. And since I am not exactly considered desirable by most people, I didn't want anyone to know I liked them because they usually didn't like me back. Ugh, no. Never doing flirting.

However, with the current ah, object of my affection, who at first obviously wasn't interested either, after a few months we were doing longer than usual eye contact and subtle stuff along those lines. I read in some psych books that that was flirting, albeit in a very quiet, non obvious way. Ditto doing stuff like mirroring how they move and stand (which was also happening). To which I was all, well, if that's happening anyway and we're kinda already doing that, why not? We'll see if he slowly starts liking me and not realizing it, or whatever....

Well, he figured it out, and a lot sooner than I would have guessed, and said he wasn't ready to be in a relationship. And now we're in a netherworld of weird, summed up nicely by Camila Cabello with this quote: "It was this awkward thing where we both liked each other, but we weren’t together. It was just weird." I wish I could wipe his mind of this knowledge per a certain television show, but just like that television show, I fear he'd figure it out again anyway, dammit. I think he's slowly nearing getting ready, mind you, he said "not yet, anyway" the other day when asked if he was with someone (in front of me, he knows I heard it), but we'll see. Who knows, it could take him till 2025 for all I fucking know. I'm gonna be an idiot and wait around for him to be ready, most likely.

Anyway. What was my point of this? Watch it when you flirt. You may think it's just fun and free and without consequence and those arrows ain't ever gonna land, but you might end up very, very surprised. So be cautious about what you do and who you do it with and realize there may be more going on than you think.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2019 [12 favorites]

I have never understood flirting, which I suppose is a result of being on the autism spectrum. What it is, what it's for, how to do it--all baffling to me. Somehow I managed to get a husband anyway.
posted by LindsayIrene at 9:06 AM on November 23, 2019 [9 favorites]

I ... I guess this makes me uncomfortable. Not so much the intent or meaning, but with how it bumps up against men's misogyny.

I'm used to the risk of having any friendly exchange with a man being read as flirting, and also, always being on guard against friendly men because they might think they're flirting. Normal human interaction with men I don't know well is already fraught because too many men already equate friendliness or warmth with sexual interest, and don't see any reason to have a normal human interaction with a woman other than the sexual thrill.

I really don't want being friendly to be considered "flirting" because that word does have a romantic or sexual connotation regardless of how much you insist it doesn't.

So ... yeah. I think this understanding of flirting makes a lot more sense in queer spaces or with queer friends where I don't have to deal with this as much. But outside of those spaces/relationships, it easily gets tangled up with something toxic.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:53 AM on November 23, 2019 [18 favorites]

I still suck at it in any romantic sense. Flirt with babies, customers, sure. Guy is showing interest? I figure it out much later. I try to show interest? Nah, a bad thing might happen. At the very least, I will do something goofy and look Goofy.

And, yes, creepists tend to take even civility as an opportunity to creep. This was especially true when I worked retail.
posted by theora55 at 9:57 AM on November 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

I’m not sure what to think of this, honestly.

I relate to jenfullmoon’s point about, if there isn’t a sexual component, why is consent so emphasized? Why is it not okay to flirt with people like employees?

Also literally the first tweet says, “I encourage strangers and friends alike to fall in love with me, to fall in love with the world, to fall in love with themselves.”

I think part of my confusion and maybe our shared social confusion is: where is the line between romantic, affectionate, and/or sexual vibes?

In some contexts, blurring these lines can feel exciting and connective. Like that feels like it’s a big part of normative bonding in a lot of queer circles. In other contexts, blurring those lines can feel dangerous, oppressive, and/or coercive. Like sexual harassment, catcalling, and general rape culture.

There also can be a lot of personal, emotional wounding around all this. For some people, falling in love with an incorrigible flirt might feel fun and enlivening, light and easy, and aligned with loving themselves. For others, falling in love with an incorrigible flirt might feel scary, painful, overwhelming, confusing, reminiscent of past abusive relationships and in these ways contribute to challenges to loving oneself. (I might be speaking from experience here.)

I wonder if a concept that might help is the erotic as used by Audre Lorde. Maybe flirting is a way of dancing with the erotic. And so also a way of dancing with power. In other words, flirting is powerful. I feel that this twitter thread acknowledges the power(s) of flirting in some ways but also seems to downplay or not see all the potential impacts and the complexities in how people might experience harm and confusion.

Or maybe there’s just multiple kinds of flirting and we don’t yet have the language for all of them...
posted by overglow at 10:46 AM on November 23, 2019 [15 favorites]

I think part of my confusion and maybe our shared social confusion is: where is the line between romantic, affectionate, and/or sexual vibes?

I've been thinking a lot about this discussion. I'm thinking now that I'm a shameless flirt, because I want everyone (at work, at home, at the store) to just cooperate. To my benefit, of course, but c'mon guys! Get along! Maybe that's why I like MetaFilter so much: here, we loosen the strings a bit and expose what we keep hidden all day. (Flirt! Wink! Flirt!)
posted by SPrintF at 12:19 PM on November 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

I think misunderstandings are created not infrequently due to the fact that some people think flirting is innocent fun whereas other people think flirting is serious. To make an extremely broad generalization, my impression is that more women are in the former category while more men are in the latter. I've certainly been aware of a huge number of instances in which a man was thinking, "Hey, this women wants to get it on" and the woman was like, "What? No. We're just having fun." This undoubtedly speaks to some not-so-great aspects of our culture that I'm unsure how to verbalize.
posted by slkinsey at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2019 [14 favorites]

I also agree with jenfullmoon. I feel like that Twitter thread is describing a mix of flirty and non-flirty concepts.

... a method of communication, one that used well can improve the moment/hour/day/life of all parties involved...whether that’s by making all parties feel seen and acknowledged, feel better about themselves, or just improving a rough day. ... The Why is to make other people happy, because it is a Good. ... because there are humans on the other side of your interactions.

Yeah, that's being friendly and pleasant; everybody deserves that sort of treatment just because they're human beings. I try to do that in my interactions with people in general, and now I hope to god none of them thought I was trying to flirt with them!

But then it starts getting into specifics like complementing someone's eyeliner/hair color/clothing/etc. or asking about their favorite drink; that kind of thing is trickier and to me it would absolutely be considered flirting in many situations. Maybe less so if it's one offhand comment followed by a topic change, but still it depends.

On the other hand, given that at least some of that thread seems to be directed specifically to the queer community, which I am not part of, maybe I'm missing a context.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:52 PM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

So there's the tweet that says flirting isn't inherently sexual because if it were, it would be off-limits to ace/aro.

And then there's the tweet that says you must never flirt with employers/employees or anyone you're elected over, because of the power dynamic.

I don't think they can be squared. The power dynamic is a problem if things are turning romantic/sexual.

Politicians and bosses who are charismatic often work their charm in brief conversations where they make you feel like your concerns really matter to them. As long as there's no sexual vibe, it's not flirting. It's listening and paying attention, it's flattering, it's ingratiating, it's pandering, it's being charming, but at least in the current dictionary, it's not flirting.

Maybe the language is about to change. If flirting is redefined as a potentially asexual aromantic activity, what will the new word be for when it crosses over into what we now know as flirtation?
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 1:30 PM on November 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

I, too, am not in agreement that flirting is necessarily without a 'sexual and/or partnering invitation' component. And I'm speaking as an ace person. I think a much better definition of flirting is it's what we do when we are primarily-verbally signaling to someone that we "want to get with them", whatever that means in the context of our particular (a) sexuality.

This means I also disagree with this person's tweet that says flirting can fit comfortably within standard monogamy. It really doesn't. Worse, as someone else pointed out upthread, blurring the boundaries between friendship or casual chitchat vs. flirting in this way opens the door to legitimizing every dude who has ever accused me if leading him on just because I made good conversation with him.

But everything else, I vehemently agree... As a female hetero romantic ace, especially, I'd be SO HAPPY in a world where flirting did not result in an expectation of sex and boundary-pushing sexual comments from the person I'm flirting with. But perhaps non-ace folks won't be happy with that!
posted by MiraK at 1:56 PM on November 23, 2019 [8 favorites]

So there's the tweet that says flirting isn't inherently sexual because if it were, it would be off-limits to ace/aro.

This is only true if you take "sexual" to mean "expressing sexual interest." As an ace/aro person, I can flirt, it does have a sexual meaning. That's the joke.

It would still be inappropriate for me to flirt with a student even though I have no interest in them. Likewise, I can sexually harass someone without actually wanting sex. People do it all the time.

If I'm simply being warm and open and interested in a person because I want to be their friend, I don't consider that to be flirting.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:58 PM on November 23, 2019 [14 favorites]

MiraK and Kutsuwamushi, I totally agree with your comments. You explained the problems with that tweet much better than I did.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 2:05 PM on November 23, 2019

The common ideas, as mentioned above, are that 1. men are oblivious to flirting and 2. men interpret all friendliness as flirting. How's that work?
posted by Sterros at 2:37 PM on November 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Different men. (I presume it's self-reinforcing. Either you want to avoid being one of those jerks, so you second-guess yourself every time you wonder if somebody's flirting with you and consequently never learn to recognize actual flirtation; or you want to avoid being one of those losers, so you---let us delicately say---avoid letting any opportunities escape you.)
posted by golwengaud at 2:48 PM on November 23, 2019 [8 favorites]

I don't think they can be squared. The power dynamic is a problem if things are turning romantic/sexual.

The power dynamic is a problem in any situation where someone's boundaries are relevant. If someone isn't in a position to say, "No, I don't want that sort of behavior from you," then the power dynamic is relevant.

This is also why it's problematic to try to sell things to, say, your employees. There's nothing sexual about trying to get someone to buy this beautiful and affordable Cutco knife, but it's a problem because the employee may not feel like they can safely say, "No, I don't want that from you."
posted by meese at 3:42 PM on November 23, 2019 [20 favorites]

Flirting is about creating a little bit more intimacy - doesn't have to be sexual, but you absolutely should be paying attention to consent issues for that. Consent is about individual autonomy, of which bodily autonomy in relation to sexual functions is merely one component.
posted by eviemath at 4:03 PM on November 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

Meese, that is a really great example. I thought of a hospital that pressures women into getting unnecessary c-sections. Consent can apply to a lot of situations
posted by captain afab at 4:47 PM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't like flirting or being flirted with- which is probably why I'm usually (always) single. I just don't get it. It makes me uncomfortable- what do you want from me? Just speak to me like I'm a normal person and I will respond in kind and if we actually really hit it off, then that's something different. Otherwise it's a dance I don't know how to do and don't want to participate in.
posted by bquarters at 6:05 PM on November 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

what do you want from me

That's exactly what the writer is saying, flirting shouldn't remotely be about wanting something from the other person. But if you're primed to see all interactions as "someone wanting something from you" - then you'll see what you want to see.

I'm probably like the writer, I flirt a fair bit. Maybe a lot. It's somehow easier if it's with someone who's already partnered with someone else - like they said, it's about communication, feeling seen and acknowledged, helping them feel better about themselves. A person who is single may actually prove to be more wary of the interaction. I had a friend say that the best aspect of my interactions with her was how I deployed physical touch. She was dating one of my friends at the time. Some people need this interaction through intellectual conversation, some through emotional connection, and some through physical touch, and their partner isn't the end all and be all of human connection in their lives. Everyone has different lived experiences.

I'd actually say that beyond flirting, people in general are really, really hungry for some kind of confidant to whisper their secrets to, someone to tell them their feelings matter, to hear things they can't tell the closest people in their lives - their romantic partner, their family, their best friends - about all the things that break their heart into pieces, and the dreams that make their spirit soar. Flirting is just the entry point into this.
posted by xdvesper at 9:14 PM on November 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

This sounds a lot like being a bucket filler.
posted by Reyturner at 9:36 PM on November 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

On a followup note, overheard the following remark out of the object of my affection on the topic tonight (not directed at me, mind you):

"I don't know what flirting is. I don't recognize it when people are flirting with me. "

Then how the hell did you figure it out then?!?!?
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:28 PM on November 23, 2019

I make eye contact with babies I see around, who likewise make eye contact with me. I heard this described as "flirting with babies", which threw me, but I see what is being meant there. I think there's a definition of "flirting" as... un-earned attention, or something like that.
posted by away for regrooving at 12:57 AM on November 24, 2019

flirting shouldn't remotely be about wanting something from the other person

Maybe sometimes? But in addition to this kind of benign "flirting-without-intent," you also have "flirting-with-intent," where there definitely is something you want from the other person. It's not always sexual (I've flirted with bureaucrats to try and get my paperwork processed, for example), but sexual flirting is probably what people are thinking of with flirting-with-intent.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:23 AM on November 24, 2019

Consent is needed before selling things or recommending medical procedures, and a power dynamic is relevant in those situations. But those are analogies; those aren't flirting.

The potential problem with flirting and consent is that flirting can be romantic and/or sexual. Whether that's the intent of the flirt-er or not; whether that's the perception of the flirt-ee or not; blurring a romantic/sexual boundary or veering into romantic/sexual territory when someone doesn't want to go there is why consent and the power dynamic is so relevant.

And that's why it's so problematic when the tweeter says that flirting is saying "I'm glad you're here" and saying "wow you did great with that" without romantic/sexual intent.

I believe a boss should say during an annual review or some other time something like: I'm glad you're at this company, you did incredible work on the A project. That should make the employee feel good. And oddly, that meets the tweeter's definition of flirting. Which an employer should never do.

But if a boss says, "I'd like to make sure I have your consent before I tell you that I'm glad you're at this company, is it ok if I say that to you? Is it ok if I tell you a specific project where your contribution was especially valued?" As an employee I would be squirming and worried that the next word the boss says is going to be something that crosses a line. Because people generally only spell out consent when they want to make a romantic or sexual move, or sell me something, or convince me to have a medical procedure done, and the most likely of those when I'm behind a closed door alone with the boss is (shiver of disgust).

So I can't accept the tweeter's examples that "I'm glad you're here" and "Wow you did great with that" are flirting. Not unless there is also some kind of body language or other context that is suggesting sex or romance. (Which the tweeter says is not a necessary component of flirting.)

Those words are simply being warm and open, in my opinion. If they are said in a normal professional office context, without any kind of creepiness, they don't require consent and absolutely should be said employer to employee.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 6:49 AM on November 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

In the South US where I was raised, “flirting” is a way of life. You smile, gush, say hey, give compliments to all and receive them gracefully if they aren’t skeevy, say “happy Friday! etc. to strangers, etc. I love it. I miss it when I travel. I can dial it up or down without a thought. I don’t ever force it on people who aren’t up for it. Making a (welcomed) connection with other people is a daily pleasure.

This whole post puzzles me.
posted by jfwlucy at 7:28 AM on November 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

In the South US where I was raised, “flirting” is a way of life.

Yes, can we please talk a bit about regional/cultural and urban/suburban/rural differences in engaging with others?

Where I live, there's a degree of kinfolking preceding most business. If things aren't too busy at the store, you take a minute to ask after a family member, or inquire about how that project is going. As an outsider, it has taken me a long time to find out about the lives of others, but I make an effort to remember their stories. Here, strangers are treated with a certain polite gruffness. At work, people I don't know come in all the time and I treat them like we've met before--I'm tickled that they're here, and that they're well. They are...taken aback at first by the warmth, but more often than not, will then open up and tell a story about themselves. I think about this as being a variety of flirting, a lively interest in another human being. But I also understand that these are my limited and local conditions.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:35 AM on November 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

It feels kinda like we're talking past each other? And like the central difference, maybe, is that we have different understandings of what the word "flirting" means?

I love the concept of kinfolking and totally agree that it's really interesting to think about regional and cultural differences in how we engage. But, to me, that kind of relationship tending/building doesn't feel like flirting. I would say there's a whole range of ways one can invite intimacy and, to me, it doesn't make sense to define most of those as flirting.

This might be a similar semantic issue but I also feel like, of course you want something from someone you're interacting with! Otherwise, why would you be talking to them? I mean, there's a huge range of what you might want, most of which isn't remotely sexual or romantic and might not even be specifically about the other person. It could be as simple as I want this person to respond to me. I want to impress someone else in this room. I want this piece of information. I want social connection. I want to navigate this social interaction as quickly and efficiently as possible. I want to avoid getting in trouble and so I'm doing this thing I don't exactly want to do. I want to make this person fall in love with me, themselves, and the world. I want to share a bit of joy. I want to make her laugh. I want to see how they will respond to this conversational gambit. I want to jab at his ego a little. I want to engage authentically. I want her to feel free to respond in whatever way feels good to her. I want my experience to be heard. I want them to get that I'm flirting but it doesn't mean I want anything sexual or romantic. You know?
posted by overglow at 9:00 AM on November 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yes I think there is semantic confusion. Some people are just talking about being friendly, or acting enthusiastic/engaging and outgoing. That's not flirting by definition. Def (first result on google):"behave as though attracted to or trying to attract someone, but for amusement rather than with serious intentions."

So I'm saying I'm not interested in engaging in the pretend (or even real most of the time) attraction for amusement aspect. Friendly is different. Engaged or enthusiastic is different. Conversational is different. If we are using different definitions (and I believe flirting is a word with a pretty specific meaning behind it) then we are all just talking in circles about different things. However, I don't want to be 'that person' on the internet so I will leave it there.
posted by bquarters at 10:43 AM on November 24, 2019

Hey y’all who don’t like/don’t get flirting: move to Germany. It seriously does not exist here. Apparently eye contact makes you a weirdo.

I’m a pretty big flirt, or at least I’ve been told I am. I think it is different from friendliness. It’s slightly more than that. I was in the same relationship for most of my adult life but still flirted, it’s not about expecting anything sexual though there is a bit of sexual tension underneath. I used to not be aware of my flirting, but after it was pointed out to me a few times, I started to notice the difference. There is a difference in the way I’m friendly with my boss vs the way I’m friendly with some random dude. It’s slightly more coy and more aggressive at the same time. Laugh a little harder, smile a little more with the eyes. Because I was always in a relationship, I didn’t use touch in my flirting.

(As a newly single person I have learned that apparently my flirting style is negging. I’m trying to work on that but it’s just so fun to take (arrogant/cocky) men’s egos and crush them into dust.)
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:56 AM on November 26, 2019

posted by Bella Donna at 6:23 AM on November 26, 2019

Hey y’all who don’t like/don’t get flirting: move to Germany. It seriously does not exist here. Apparently eye contact makes you a weirdo.

Aurelie by Wir Sind Helden concerns a young French woman in Germany struggling with this.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:12 PM on November 26, 2019

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