Flirting Definition: What It Is And Why We Do It

attractive red head woman licking a popsicle as the definition of flirting

Flirting is a key ingredient in the beginning phases of a relationship.  An accurate definition of flirting would be a social or sexual behavior involving something spoken, written or the use of body language, like light touching or lip biting.  These signals are used to suggest an interest in a person beyond friendship.  

Though this flirting definition may make us think otherwise, flirting isn’t necessarily just about signaling to someone that you’re interested in them.  Here are some other reasons why we flirt.  

Relational reasons  

As this flirting definition indicates flirting is used to suggest to another that you are interested in them.  We flirt for relational reasons when we want to tell a friend, colleague, or even someone we just met, that we’re interested in them in a deeper, non-platonic way.  Perhaps we want to turn a friendship into a romantic relationship or something casual into something more serious.

Fun factor

Some people flirt just for fun, though, they may end up leading someone on in this situation.  When someone smiles at you, chances are you smile back. Even if you’re shy and uncertain, that smile will make you feel good on the inside. When you smile at someone, your eyes light up, your expression becomes more open and you make someone else feel good. Some people flirt for the feel-good factor! 

Sexy time

Flirting that involves light touching, eye contact, and suggestive comments can not just indicate one is looking for a deeper relationship, but also a sexual relationship.  Flirting to get sex from your partner or spouse is also a fun and playful way to spice up a dull sex life, or tell someone new that you’re into them!     

It comes naturally 

Ever hear, “oh he’s such a flirt”.  Some people just have that personality that is a little more forward, touchy, or they like to get closer to people.  While the flirting definition indicates that these actions often “suggest” a deeper interest, it’s not always the case. 

Flirty people tend to mislead someone into thinking there is interest, that’s why it’s important to understand how to tell if someone is really flirting with you because they’re interested or they just being friendly.

To build self-esteem

Flirting is a good way to build confidence in the dating scene and, there’s nothing sexier than self-confidence.  For those that are shy and insecure, challenging yourself to flirt more forces you to put yourself out there.  But, it is important to build this confidence over time.  The only way to do that is with practice.  So, commit to being a little extra flirty each time you go out and watch your confidence grow and flirt factor go on the rise! 

For self-gain 

Though this flirting definition may lead you to think it’s all about love and romance, flirting can and is used as a tool by some to get ahead, for example, in the workplace. Flirting can be used by both men and women to flatter someone and get want they want out of a situation. Keep your eye out for authenticity! 

Practice makes perfect

Some people flirt just for the sake of wanting to get better at it.  They’re practicing with people who they aren’t interested in to become a better flirt with people they actually are interested in.  Since flirting is a skill and every skill takes practice, it only makes sense that some people flirt just for the sake of getting better at it.  

A competitive nature

It’s not always about landing a date or signaling you want a deeper relationship with someone.  Some people flirt as a means to challenge themselves and others.  For example, some men and women may flirt with someone other than their partner, to make their partner jealous or to prove to them they can still get other men/women. It is also sometimes used in a competition for attention. 

Now that we know some of the other reasons why people flirt, it’s important to identify what your motive is and why you want to get better at it.  Are you looking to build a relationship with someone, build self-confidence, or just have fun?  Flirting sometimes gets a bad rap because it can seem like a sly and inauthentic way of getting what you want. 

But flirting is actually a vital social tool for building self-esteem and most importantly, finding love. Just keep it real about why you are doing it and open your eyes to why someone is flirting with you. And always, have fun with it! 

Ashley Papa

Writer and Author

Ashley is a relationship writer and author of her first novel “Vixen Investigations: The Mayoral Affairs“. She writes about it all: sex, love, dating, marriage, and “crimes of the heart”.

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