Flirting comes so naturally to some people. Without even thinking about it, they can bat their eyes, laugh delicately, and make the person they’re with feel very special. But other people have to work for it—they have to plan out their next move, think about if they’re laughing too much and too often, and constantly wonder where they should put their hands. Flirting is a natural gift to so many people, but even if you’re a master at it, how do you decipher whether or not someone is flirting with you?
Even if you can effortlessly flirt, you’re not necessarily fully aware of another person’s intention. Call it ignorance or a lack of attention to detail, but it can be really tough to tell if someone is being nice to you, or if they’re letting you know they’re interested.
The next time you find yourself wondering, “Is he flirting with me or not?” consider the following signs:
Sign #1: A Telling Touch
Friendly people can be touchy, of course, but one of the quickest and surest ways to tell if someone is flirting with you is if they’re physically reaching out. It should be noted that touching someone without their consent is completely inappropriate, but if he’s flirting with you and you’re letting him know that you’re interested tool, the touch will be a welcome one.
The initial touch will probably be subtle. If you’re walking next to each other, pay attention to how close he gets to your body. Does he reach out and help guide you as you cross the street? Maybe his hand lingers on your back for just a millisecond longer than a friend would keep it there? If you’re sitting across from each other and he playfully taps your feet with his, or brushes his hand across your knee or forearm, these are all really clear signs that this is more than a nicety. (And if you don’t want to be touched, let him know that too.)
And a long, lingering hug is maximum flirting.
Sign #2: Lots and Lots of Text Messages
Let’s say you and a friend of a friend are hitting it off but you just can’t tell if he’s interested in more than friendship. A good way to tell if it’s flirtatious or friendly is by checking your text messages. If he’s reaching out to you a lot, or speaking directly to you in a group thread, chances are you are on his mind.
This example works for social media as well. Is he tagging you in hilarious Instagram posts pretty often? Does he like all of your tweets? Any kind of extra attention when it comes to smartphone use is usually a pretty good sign that he’s trying to be flirty.
Sign #3: Teasing
In elementary, middle, and high school, one of the most common flirting techniques is the gentle tease. We don’t mean hair pulling, we mean subtle jokes at the other person’s expense.
“Aw, but you looked cute when you tripped over that violin on the school bus.”
Though this flirting style may seem silly as adults, it can be just as effective. Gentle teasing, as juvenile as it may seem, is one of the easiest ways to tell if someone is being flirtatious.
Sign #4: Body Language
You’ve heard it a thousand times, but it remains true—body language is one of the best ways to tell if someone is flirting with you. Is his body turned toward you when you sit next to one another? Check his feet—are they pointed at you? Does he look at you directly in the eye when you talk to him? Does he find a lot of excuses to be near you, physically touching you or just standing as close as possible? If he wants to be next to you, often or always, he’s probably interested. Body language is one of our best tools for flirting. So watch for it!
Flirting is so fun. It can be anxiety-inducing, but most times, those butterflies in your stomach are a good thing. If you aren’t sure if that guy you have your eye on is flirting with you or just playing nice, consider the above and pay attention. A friendly reminder—Usually people in customer service positions (like a waiter/waitress or bartender) are being nice, not flirtatious. Unless you have a rapport with someone—your regular bartender or barista, someone you see often and know each other’s names—be respectful of someone’s job and try not to cross any boundaries.
Other than that, have fun and be flirty!