THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: “How can you tell the difference between modern flirtation and actual flirting? Are the ‘traditional signs’ still relevant or has it become a grey area?”
I believe “flirting” has morphed into a generalization of enjoying one’s company and can be completely platonic versus wanting something more. That said, I believe a man’s flirtation level does not vary with whom he is talking to, but if he likes a particular woman, he is going to zone in on her. Women, on the other hand, HAVE flirtation levels and are talented at spreading them across different types of relationships. These range from “you-make-me-laugh, friendly” to “take-me-on-a-date, engaging”. To the male species, these levels appear to be the same, but I assure you, they aren’t. That’s where the confusion lies and that’s probably what prompted your question.
Getting to the “how” part, I will focus on two major factors — follow through and consistency. When I “flirt” with either a male friend or male interest, I will grab their arms, smile widely, and lock eyes. This is how I engage with my female friends, too. I’m enjoying their company. What separates the intent of my flirtation relies on the follow through. Since you can’t tell if I’m picturing you with your shirt off, pay attention to what happens AFTER you think we have “a moment”. Do I remind you of my existence with Facebook comments and text messages? Do I send you random reminders of “inside jokes” we’ve had? Do my friends somehow disappear or leave me alone when we end up seeing each other again? More importantly, are these actions consistent the entire week? If they aren’t, then you’re just a friend, my friend.
Bottom line, a girl who wants to date you is going to make it pretty obvious, and most likely her friends won’t be discreet, either. Keep in mind this may not apply to shy women. You will just have to take the risk and ask them out. For bolder females, try the two-week rule. If a girl sends what you assume is a “high level of flirtation” and there’s no sign of her for two weeks OR she responds in short phases, then your relationship is most likely platonic. Good luck, sir.