Flirting is necessary. How could we stand each other if we never felt the need to communicate pleasantly, to appear likable? The activity is hard to define, but let’s say that if you interact playfully with someone with no serious intention, then you are probably flirting a little bit. There is nothing wrong about it. Anyone can do it, whatever age, relationship status, or professional situation. But don’t get me wrong, flirting is not hitting on someone or making advances; the only goal is entertainment, and a feel-good boost.
However, flirting can lead to unpleasant situations. Mostly when it is poorly done. The risks of flirting usually manifest when someone goes too far:
a. Awkward situations or inappropriate flirting
Imagine a random conversation between a single girl with one of her engaged colleagues, at work:
Engaged colleague: you were in my dream last night.
Single girl: Really? What was I doing there?!
Engaged colleague (frisky): I don’t remember the details, but you were in your underwear…
This is inappropriate because nothing is supposed to ever happen between those two people. Yet, the engaged guy is referring to sexual thoughts. If the girl is attracted to him, she might get upset because he is teasing her too much when nothing is possible; if she is not attracted to him, she might just think he’s a creep.
Now, imagine a teacher with his married student:
Married student: so, what were my main mistakes today?
Teacher (looking intense): your only mistake is to be married…
This goes too far because it may lead the student to stop flirting with the teacher for fear to give a wrong impression. This is probably not what the teacher intended.
b. Confuse attraction with love
Usually, one flirts with a colleague, a friend, a client, and feels different degrees of attraction towards them. The purpose is to make everyday interactions lighter, not to seek romance out of every little flirt. Of course, if both are single, attracted to each other and open to a relationship, then going farther is no problem. But how boring life would be if flirting was only reserved to those in that situation? Beware though, for one might start to have mixed feelings, or the other might get a wrong impression and start to expect more. Again, here, the limits have to be respected. And it is not because two persons have a great time flirting together that they have a ticket for a good relationship.
c. Credibility loss
A guy might become annoying if he flirts constantly and heavily. Girls might end up avoiding him because of the sexual hints he puts into every interaction. For a girl, flirting constantly and being overly seductive might lead others to label her as promiscuous and easy.
Finally, for both men and women who are in a relationship, their partners might get jealous, and imagine an affair out of nothing. That’s a shame, because flirting allows faithful partners to release natural impulses of attraction they feel towards other people. If you believe that your beloved is never attracted to anyone else, you live in fairyland! So by turning lust into a playful interaction, to flirt is to foster fidelity.
Despite the risks, flirting remains a worthy activity. The benefits are immediate: it is flattering and it is a good source of inspiration and energy. If you know your limits, you can only benefit from it.
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