Dear Joan Actually,
I’ve been seeing her a few weeks and it’s going well. Last week, I took her to a friend’s barbeque. After a few beers, she started flirting with all my friends. I don’t know if it was just the beers, or if it was her. She was getting a little too close with my buddies. While she was talking, I saw her getting touchy feely. It sucks. My friends have been ribbing me about how my girlfriend is a flirt. How do I bring it up? What do I say to her? I’m worried I might be dating someone who’s looking around for a better option. I don’t want to sound like a jealous dude, but I hate it when she acts like this.
If this was an isolated incident, I would say let it go. It’s not uncommon for someone to act a little “off” around groups of new people. Perhaps the beers decided to direct the behavior or, maybe, she felt nervous and overcompensated with extra friendliness.
However, if the “flirty behavior” has happened more than once, it’s worth addressing, especially if you want to pursue a relationship with her.
Before you bring it up, let’s go over some DO NOTs.
DO NOT mention your friends’ reaction to the flirting. She’ll act weird around them FOREVER.
DO NOT accuse her of flirting with your friends. She might consider her behavior friendly, not flirtatious.
DO NOT tell her to act a certain way or behave differently. You’ll sound controlling and insecure.
DO NOT give an ultimatum. “Stop smiling at my friends in a sexy way, or else!” You’ll sound inflexible and slightly aggressive.
A better approach will address your feelings, not her behavior. Here’s an example:
“It made me feel a little jealous when you were touching Rob’s shoulders. I’m still getting to know you, and I’m not used to feeling like this. I’m hoping you could help me.”
This response works because it doesn’t fault her for acting a certain way; instead, it encourages her to be more mindful of your feelings and realize how the way she acts affects your relationship.
If she doesn’t make an effort to make you feel more comfortable, she’s not the girl for you.