He opens the door for me every time I come to the building. He seems to always laugh at my jokes. He told me my new sweater was really pretty on me. He noticed my haircut and said he liked it.
Is this being flirty or friendly? How can I tell the difference?
In generations past, being polite, kind, respectful and even chivalrous were a normal part of our social relations with one another. Things have changed. People are more familiar with one another, but we also tend to not show as much kindness and care. So when someone (of the opposite sex) shows this kindness and consideration, our hearts naturally leap to thoughts of FLIRTING.
Let’s look a little closer. Here are some telltale signs of being friendly.
- he does the same thing for all the girls
- he does the same thing for girls and guys alike
- he treats the older women in the church the same as he treats the young women
- he doesn’t seem to give a whole lot of special interest to only you
- if he touches at all, it is general handshakes or light and quick pats on the back or arm
- he talks to you but doesn’t stare intently at you
- his compliments are very general in nature about looking nice
Some clues that his attention might be more than just being friendly
- he tends to single you out to be thoughtful to
- he tends to ignore the other girls in the room and zoom over to you
- he touches you lingeringly: on your hand or your arm or your knee and does it every time he’s near you
- he makes a point to get your attention with his eyes
- he looks very deeply in your eyes and tries to keep deep eye contact throughout your conversation
- his compliments are very specific and often more intimate in nature
- his humor may border on hidden sexual jokes (the double entendre)
Our jumping to the conclusion that there IS flirting going on can actually create many problems.
If we simply assume that kind behavior is just being friendly, that affects how we respond in return. We can be friendly back without fear of being misunderstood. We are actually able to be more free in our friendships with the opposite sex, and that makes for more fun and joyful times. We get to explore the personalities of our friends of the opposite sex, enjoy their humor, their style, their spiritual hearts, their kindness and learn from their strengths.
When we make the leap to assuming there is flirting going on, we create a fantasy world in our minds. If he is a nice guy we jump into seeing him as a potential boyfriend. We read into every contact between us things that might not be there. We begin to ACTIVELY flirt back. If he is a godly young man, this can throw him off balance. And he will either run or respond. Neither of which may be God’s plan for the friendship.
When there is no active “asking out on a date,” we are always best to assume there is no flirting going on. If others around us are seeing things as definite flirting (and it is not welcome to us), we can say, “I just want to clarify. I really like you as a friend. But only as a friend. I’ve become a little uncomfortable with ___________ that you’ve been doing, so maybe we can just keep our friendship on a more casual basis.”
I’ve found that, although never easy, being open and honest is the best way to go. It keeps God in the center and allows us to walk in integrity and freedom.
(image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net)