Signs of Flirting

Crystal Schwanke
Flirting or Friendly?

If you think a person is interested in you, but you're not positive, it's a good idea to watch for attempts at flirting. Some flirting signals are obvious, and others are more subtle. Actions that you think might just be friendly gestures can actually indicate romantic interest.

Eye Contact

One of the hardest flirting signals to detect is eye contact. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish casual eye contact from flirting. To tell the difference, you have to know what separates conversational eye contact from the type that indicates interest.

Extended Eye Contact

Most people make eye contact when carrying on conversations. Therefore, it isn't a good idea to assume that everyone who makes eye contact with you is sending a message of romantic interest. When a person holds eye contact for just a few seconds longer than what seems natural for a particular conversation, however, there's a good chance that he or she is flirting with you. Extending eye contact for brief moments longer than expected can add intimacy to a casual encounter, and can definitely be one of the signs of flirting.

Across a Crowded Room

If you notice someone on the other side of the room trying to catch your attention, and then smiling when you make eye contact, that can be a sign of flirting. To test it out, smile when the flirting suspect catches your eye, and then glance away for a few seconds. When you look back in the person's direction, if he or she is still looking at you, it's a pretty safe bet that flirting is taking place.

Body Language

You can tell a lot about a person's intentions by observing his or her body language. When it comes to any type of human communication, especially romantic interest, actions often speak louder than words.

Light Touching

Seemingly casual touches during conversation can sometimes indicate romantic interest. Depending on how it's done, and the personalities of the people involved, simple touches that seem to be very casual can be flirtatious. Someone who gently brushes real or imaginary lint off the sleeve of your sweater, or who lets his hand rest lightly on your arm during conversation just might be flirting with you. It's important to realize that some people are naturally more touchy-feely than others, so you have to pay attention to how the individual interacts with other people to evaluate intentions. If you seem to be singled out for special attention, it's likely that the person is very interested in getting to know you on a romantic level.

Response to Touching

If you move away when someone casually touches you, you'll be sending a sign that the flirting behavior is unwelcome. If you don't respond at all, you're sending a message that you aren't uncomfortable with the other person's actions. If you respond in like fashion by initiating casual contact of your own, your behavior lets the person know that you recognize and reciprocate the potential interest, and may be interested in getting to know him better. Mirrored body image (mimicking what the other person is doing, like crossed legs, hand on chin, etc) demonstrates interest as well and shows that you're in sync with one another.

Touching Own Accessories or Hair

This is a type of preening that some women do without even realizing it, but it shows interest. Playing with hair or fidgeting with an accessory isn't just a nervous habit.

Moving closer

People typically try to get closer only to the people they like, so if someone is trying to increase their proximity to you, there's a good chance they're interested.

Words

Flirting signals that are spoken might be easier to detect, but if you're not paying attention, they might pass you by.

Compliments

This one's the easiest to interpret. A compliment is a way to show obvious approval. Did he say he loves your eyes? Your smile? Even your dress? He's probably interested.

Being Funny

When someone makes an effort to make you smile or laugh, they're often trying to impress you with their sense of humor.

Gentle Teasing

Revisit the playground with this one. Is the object of your affection teasing you? It's the equivalent of the little boy on the playground pulling your hair in kindergarten. Giving you a hard time is sometimes a way of flirting.

Saying Your Name

Using someone's name in conversation is a way to make them feel closer to you. If you keep hearing your name when you're having a conversation wih someone, he's probably interested and trying to create a bond.

Pick Up Line

Here's another obvious one. Pick-up lines, as long as they're not inappropriate, can generally be used as an ice-breaker and hopefully lead to a date. They tend to be funny and recognizable, so they're hard to miss.

Engaging in Conversation

Does the person you're talking to try to engage you in conversation rather than making a few comments here and there or tuning you out in order to drone on and on just to hear himself talk? He's legitimately interested in what you have to say--and in getting to know you.

Smiling

You shouldn't assume that everyone who smiles at you is flirting with you. However, you can tell a lot about a person's intentions toward you and interest in you from the manner in which he or she smiles when interacting with you.

Shy Smile

For example, if someone makes eye contact with you across a crowded room and then smiles shyly when catching your eye, a little bit of flirting might be taking place. To test it out, when you glance back at the person who initiated eye contact, see if he or she is still smiling. If the shy smile was a gesture of embarrassment for getting caught looking at you, the person will look away again. If the intent was flirting, however, it's likely that he or she will maintain eye contact and smile even more this time.

Open Smile

There is a big difference between a polite smile and one that is truly open. When a person's smile reaches the eyes, and the whole face seems to light up, that's a sign of genuine affection. It may be a smile of friendship, but it can also indicate romantic interest. The first thing to look for when evaluating whether or not a smile indicates flirting is the person's eyes. A polite smile doesn't generally reach the eyes. If you notice a sparkle in the person's eyes, watch for other flirting behaviors paired with the smile to help you figure out if more than just friendship might be motivating the gleam in the person's eye.

Flirting Signs to Ignore

There are many ways to flirt out there, but remember, just because someone flirts with you doesn't mean he or she is truly interested in you. Sometimes, people who are in relationships or who are married flirt, but don't mean anything by it. For many people, flirting comes naturally and those who are very warm and friendly might do it unconsciously. Keep this in mind as you look for meaning behind words and actions, and know which signals to take seriously and which to let pass you by.

Not an Exact Science

Of course, recognizing whether or not flirting is taking place is not an exact science. A big part of recognizing whether or not someone is interested in getting to know you on a romantic level is developing the ability to recognize the signs. It's important not to jump to conclusions about the other person's intentions, and you should avoid responding to suspected flirting attempts in an aggressive manner. If you observe the subtle hints that someone's interested in you, and you want to see if that interest is sincere and mutual, respond by doing a little flirting of your own.

Signs of Flirting