Humans are complex social beings. We use certain behaviours and rituals to communicate, compete, and find romantic partners. Flirting is a normal part of our lives as humans. We've learned these patterns from our ancestors to find a pleasing partner. But even after centuries of human evolution, we still become awkward and can be easily confused when we flirt. What are the signs of flirtatiousness, and what can we do to avoid misinterpreting them?
When you think about flirtatiousness, what comes to mind? Probably a romantic setting with two people enjoying each other's company. Flirting can be fun and exciting when two people share a mutual attraction. However, misinterpreted or poorly received flirtatiousness can turn into a social nightmare. In this article, we gathered information on how to recognise when someone is flirting and what to do so you can avoid uncomfortable situations.
What is flirtatious behaviour, and why do we flirt?
According to anthropologists and psychologists, the most basic function of flirting is to find a suitable mate for procreation. This type of courtship gives people time to evaluate a potential mate to decide if they are acceptable for partnership and parenting. However, we also flirt without any intention of future sexual intimacy. In fact, many people flirt to make themselves appealing, get special favours, or just boost their self-confidence.
Period Tracker & Calendar
You can track your period using WomanLog. Download WomanLog now:
You can track your period using WomanLog. Download WomanLog now:
Flirting is a social behaviour people engage in when they are attracted to or interested in someone. People flirt regardless of gender or gender identity, and sometimes flirting has no meaning apart from playful interaction. Strangers flirt, long-term couples flirt, and friends can flirt with each other as long as both people enjoy it. Genuine flirtatiousness signals attraction and sexual or romantic interest. It is an accelerator that, if both parties engage, can lead a couple to the next stages of their relationship.
However, friendly behaviour can sometimes be mistaken for flirting and interpreted incorrectly. And some people simply have flirtatious personalities—their baseline for friendly interaction may include many signs of flirtation, but they are simply their extroverted selves.
What are the signs of flirting?
How a person flirts depends on the individual—directly or indirectly, with body language, compliments, or cheesy pickup lines. Some people flirt boldly with no filter, and you can clearly tell they are "into you", while others are more subtle or shy and leave you guessing. Some people even flirt without meaning to because they aren't fully aware of the signs of attraction their bodies are showing.
Several classic tell-tale cues let you know when someone is flirting. The main indications are playfulness, smiling, eye contact, accidental touching, and compliments. When someone is flirting, their voice becomes softer and lower, they straighten their posture, and tend to lick their lips; they will also look at their conversation partner's lips and pay undivided attention to that person. Cues of a mutual flirtation include moving closer to each other and mirroring—when two people synchronise their movements or imitate each other unconsciously.
Although flirting is a universal behaviour, men and women may express their attraction slightly differently. Women tend to give short side looks, smile, and laugh while they talk to someone they are interested in; and many women touch their lips and hair unconsciously, nod as they listen, and lean in closer to the other person. Men behave similarly but their body language often becomes more dominant—they straighten their backs and raise their heads to occupy more space and joke or act playful with someone they are interested in.
Flirting can be fun and exciting when it happens with the right person in the right context. How do you respond if you notice clear signs that someone is flirting with you and you like that person too? If you aren't sure they're flirting, you can try:
Holding their gaze for a few moments
Giving a compliment (appropriately)
Scootching closer to see if they are comfortable with that
Being playful and sociable
If they respond positively, congratulations! You now have some more information but remember to consider the setting and intensity of flirting. The line between flirting and just being nice can be very thin. So, even if the other person is showing signs of attraction, don't come on strong before making sure the interest is mutual.
How can flirting be misinterpreted?
Some people are more extroverted in their social behaviour, making them seem friendlier and more charming than the average person. It can sometimes be challenging to distinguish social friendliness from indirect flirtatiousness. Here are some signs that can be misinterpreted as flirting.
Laughing at your jokes—just because someone enjoys your company and your sense of humour, they aren't necessarily attracted to you. However, if a person is laughing only at your jokes (even if they aren't particularly funny), it might be a sign of attraction.
Being nice—when someone is pleasant, helpful, accommodating, they are often just being friendly. It's important to recognise friendly behaviour and respond appropriately.
Giving complements—it's okay to compliment people without being attracted to them. Of course, you should make sure your compliments are received positively. For instance, praising someone's outfit or a sense of humour is often an appropriate compliment. But saying that, for example, your dress makes your legs look stunning, can be misinterpreted and inappropriate in many situations.
Making eye contact - eye contact can mean that the other person is genuinely interested in the conversation with you. It's considered polite to keep eye contact with the person you are conversing with.
What not to do when flirting?
Misinterpretation is common when it comes to flirting. After all, the whole point is to find out if you have a connection—it's a bit dicey; there are no guarantees. It would be hard to find someone who hasn't been disappointed to realise the other person was just being nice. Misfires are part of the game, and there is no shame in it as long as you know how to deal with it gracefully. However, misinterpreting flirting can lead to inappropriate behaviour, making another person feel uncomfortable and guilty for being nice to you.
Even if you think another person is flirting with you, never…
…touch another person inappropriately. A slight brush of the hands when you both feel the chemistry can be an exquisite rush. But an unwelcome touch of any kind can easily become scary or creepy. If you touch someone and they seem uncomfortable, apologise and stop immediately. If you aren't sure—ask.
…have expectations of intimacy. Never pressure another person to do something they don't want to do. Trying to force a conversation with someone who is clearly not interested or even bothered by you is unacceptable behaviour; pressuring them for any kind of physical intimacy is even worse. True intimacy is always based on trust and respect.
… get angry when you get turned down. Most of us get our wires crossed occasionally. We might miss a cue or misunderstand. But the difference between a few moments of awkwardness and inappropriate, even dangerous, behaviour is how you respond to the situation. Admitting you made a mistake can be embarrassing, but it clears the air quickly, especially when we can laugh at ourselves. If you misinterpret someone's pleasantness as flirtation and make a move before you are sure, it can quickly turn into sexual harassment. No one is entitled to another person's attention or required to suffer unwelcome attention.
Of course, the door swings both ways. If you feel uncomfortable with the way another person is treating you, if they are coming on too strong or their behaviour feels inappropriate, listen to your gut. Some people are sensitive to cues from others and will modify their behaviour once they realise it's making you uncomfortable. Others don't get it or don't care. You can call them out on their behaviour if there are people around who will support you, but it's probably best to get away from them and move to a safe environment. We show other people how we expect to be treated by the way we respond to them and by how we treat ourselves.
Flirting is a fun way to test the waters if you're interested in connecting with someone romantically; it can also add spice to a long-term relationship, or just be a way of engaging socially when you're feeling confident and playful. However, like any other social interaction, flirting can be inappropriate in the wrong context or misunderstood even when you think you're sending the right signals. Therefore, it's important to notice flirting cues and know how to respond subtly and without making another person feel uncomfortable or pressured to do things they don't want to.
Menstruation is a natural part of life yet talking about it can prove difficult due to social stigma and gender stereotypes. Two people in a romantic relationship will come to know each other intimately and your period is a topic that is sure to come up sooner or later.
Sex drive—or libido—is a person’s level of eagerness for sexual intimacy. A person’s sex drive is influenced by the psychological, physiological, and social aspects of their life experience, such as age, hormones, family attitudes, lifestyle, past sexual experiences, social pressures, health, and many other factors. Each of us is unique, so it’s not uncommon for people in a relationship to have mismatching libidos.
Sexual harassment is defined as an unwelcome sexual advance. If you have received unwelcome suggestive comments, have been touched without your permission, or have been bullied or coerced into complying with a sexual advance, you have experienced sexual harassment.
Sex is an integral part of most committed romantic relationships. Trying out new positions is a good way of maintaining emotional closeness and learning more about your needs and the needs of your partner. You don’t need to do anything crazy—even small changes can help you achieve better orgasms and generally enjoy a more exciting and pleasurable experience.
The pleasure gap is an issue affecting many heterosexual couples. When one of the partners experience fewer orgasms during sex, the gap grows. To close the pleasure gap between men and women, it’s important to rethink heterosexual sex.
Intimacy is one of the most complex, fascinating, and rewarding aspects of human connection. We usually talk about physical and emotional intimacy in romantic relationships, but people can share intellectual and spiritual intimacy as well. While the idea of intimacy is simple enough to understand, many different factors can contribute to an intimate bond.
Taking charge of our menstrual cycles can be empowering—knowing when to expect periods and reducing or even eliminating accompanying symptoms makes it much easier to manage, and frees up time and energy to use as we see fit!
Dating and relationships aren’t easy for anyone. Finding a partner can be even more challenging for asexual people. An asexual person has little or no sexual desire for others, which means they tend to abstain from intercourse and other sexual acts. When one partner has little interest in sexual intimacy, it can be tough for a partner who desires sex to maintain an emotionally intimate relationship.
In recent years, the number of instances of explicit non-consensual content being published online has been growing at an alarming rate. As more people use the internet to do their jobs, manage their social lives, and try their luck at dating, the danger of cybercrime increases. Revenge pornography is a cybercrime mainly committed on social networks or similar platforms.
Long-distance relationships occur when lovers are separated by considerable physical distance. They live in two different cities, countries, or even continents and cannot routinely meet in real life due to their work and study obligations or for other reasons (such as the restrictions enforced because of an unprecedented global pandemic).
Sex, like any other meaningful event, requires adequate preparation. Foreplay provides a transitional stage between the suggestion of intimacy and engaging in sex—giving partners time to prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Online dating started for real in the mid-1990s. It’s a fair bet that online romance scamming wasn’t far behind. We all want to connect, but when it comes to your safety and emotional well-being, boundaries and trust must be established before you take the next step. Knowing how to spot a catfish can help you avoid falling prey to this form of emotional abuse as you explore relationships online.
Virginity is the state of not yet having engaged in sexual intercourse. It is impossible to see if a man or woman is a virgin just by looking at them. Virginity is a concept—there is no medical or biological definition of virginity. It is a mythologised status, the idea of a transition from one state to another, an initiation after which the informal status of a person has changed.
Hormonal birth control doesn’t work for all women—some experience side-effects, others just aren’t comfortable with the idea of altering their bodies in such a fundamental way. These are the alternatives.
The experience of squirting can cause a woman to question her body just when she was enjoying a particularly pleasurable moment. How should a person feel about an unexpected gush of fluid from the vagina? Ashamed? Proud? Mainly you should feel calm, because squirting is completely normal.
Ageing and sexuality are two themes human society has surrounded with myths and stereo-types. Just because our bodies change doesn’t mean our appetite for sex and intimacy disappears. What does it mean to manage your sexuality later in life?
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a pathogen that, in the absence of treatment, results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition that undermines the body’s natural defense systems, rendering it vulnerable to disease.
Safe contraception should be available to everyone. Access to contraception allows us to plan for pregnancy, protect ourselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and gives us more control over our lives.
Most men will attest that the male member can be unpredictable. Losing erection during sex from time to time is very normal. We talk about erectile dysfunction or ED when a person consistently has trouble achieving and maintaining an erection.
Whether you maintain an active sex life throughout the month, or avoid sex during your period for any reason, there is still something of a taboo around sex while menstruating. The questions we have about this topic often remain shadowed in uncertainty.
Hidden within the vulva, the clitoris is an erogenous organ of the female reproductive system. How big is it? What is its role? Why does it give pleasure when caressed? Let’s discover the mysteries of the clitoris.
Despite cultural and scientific progress, there is still an air of mysticism and misconception surrounding female arousal and orgasm. Both men and women still struggle to understand what makes the female body tick.
Painful penetration or dyspareunia is defined as persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during, or after intercourse. Many women experience discomfort during vaginal penetration now and then. But for some, painful sex becomes a regular part of their intimate lives.
Non-penetrative sex, a.k.a. outercourse, is sex without sexual penetration. There are a variety of reasons why a person might choose this over penetrative sex, including preference, safety, mental and physical restrictions, and personal boundaries.
A visual comparison of the human male body and the human female body reveals many similarities, but the differences are immediately apparent. The reproductive organs are the most obvious difference—the physical expression of the chromosomes that determine biological sex.
A romantic relationship between two people develops through multiple stages. The beginning is full of passion and the feeling of butterflies in the stomach. After a while, the excitement fades, and the relationship falls into a routine. Lack of sexual desire in a long-term relationship is a common issue, but you can quickly light up your intimate life.
The frequency of orgasms differs from person to person. Some people climax every time they have sex, others struggle to climax at all. There are multiple reasons why, in the absence of an orgasm, someone might fake it.
Pornography is a popular adult movie genre that generates $90 billion annually in global revenues. Many people enjoy watching adult movies, regardless of their lifestyle and relationship status. Some watch pornography by themselves, while others use it to spice things up in the bedroom. Although adult movies can bring novelty to your sex life, it's important to watch them responsibly and find fair trade sources.
Relationships should provide love, security, and companionship. Everyone needs a few deep and meaningful connections with others as we go through life. However, not all relationships are easy. Romantic relationships can be particularly challenging, especially when they enter the long-term phase. Inequalities, differing love languages, and difficulty in communicating can contribute to dissatisfaction in a relationship. In this article, we will guide you through some of the most common disagreements couples face and how to find common ground.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), affecting millions of people worldwide. A lot of stigma surrounds STDs, making it difficult to seek help when needed. But the reality is that anyone can get herpes.
Hormonal contraception has been an effective tool for helping women gain more control over family planning and reproductive health. However, changing the way your hor-mones function is not a trifling matter. There may come a moment when a woman wants to take a break from hormonal contraception or stop using it altogether.
The potentially life-changing reality of an unwanted pregnancy causes real anxiety for most people. One of the last-ditch methods for preventing a pregnancy is emergency contraception, the key word being emergency.
Vaginal discharge is a fact of life. Every woman of menstrual age experiences it. It can be said that vaginal discharge reflects a woman’s health. The colour and quality of the secretions indicate where she is in her menstrual cycle and can be sensitive to even slight changes in diet and routine, hormone imbalance, vaginal pH, and infection.
People are social animals, but over the past year and a half, maintaining a social life has become challenging. Now that the Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted, many of us are having mixed feelings about returning to life as we knew it. Especially returning to the dating scene.
It is true that we all have our preferences. Couples often have one or two sexual positions that lead them more easily to the peak of pleasure. Varying the positions may be wise. By doing the same all the time, it loses its flavour. The routine sets in, but sometimes it takes little to change a habit and the two partners have slightly different feelings.
Vaginal mycoses, or vaginal yeast infection (also called candidal vulvovaginitis, vaginal thrush, or candidiasis) is extremely common. Mycoses is found in about 20% of vaginal secretions tested in laboratories. The pain and discomfort caused by this condition often requires immediate medical attention.
Expectant women and future fathers often worry if it is safe to have sex during pregnancy and if it won’t hurt the baby. However, pregnancy need not mean sexual abstinence: neither penetration nor orgasmic contraction can harm the child.
Natural processes are messy, and often require a set of guidelines for people to follow in order for them to be both safe and enjoyable for everyone involved. Being informed can make the difference between a wonderful experience and a terrible experience.
The sexual needs of people who live with disabilities are the same as everyone else’s but overcoming the stigma and gaining access to basic sexual-health-related information and services is much more challenging for them. Those with disabilities are still disproportionately underserved when it comes to sexual education and resources, both as adolescents and later in life. In this article, we discuss how to make information about sexual health more accessible for everyone, regardless of our physical or mental capabilities.
Although the word ‘sexuality’ leads us to think of the sex act, it is much more than just sexual relations and reproduction as a biological function. Sexuality is a holistic concept that includes a person’s physical and psycho-emotional need for love, intimacy, and pleasure; it is a set of behaviours we engage in to get what we need and want, behaviours that follow both written and unwritten laws. Or that we engage in despite them.
We live in a society where sex is considered a normal and necessary part of life. This is the result of a decades-long effort to overcome deep-rooted feelings of shame and guilt associated with sexuality. Because sexuality is so intimate and so consequential, it has led to problems in social organization throughout human history. The topic is so burdened with moralizing because it is an obvious subject to address when establishing social norms.
Stress and anxiety are likely to affect your physical and mental health. Often the first symptoms appear in the reproductive system. Prolonged or chronic stress can confuse the body and therefore hormone production, causing irregular periods, difficulty con-ceiving, and even low libido.