I think we all remember that famous John Gray book from the ’90s that stipulated that men were from Mars and women were from Venus. We’ve all come a long way since then in terms of reassessing how we view the various similarities and differences between people, however, one myth has stood the test of time: how do we know when men are flirting? It’s a lot clearer (in our own minds at least) when women flirt, but what about men? If you’re just as confused by the mixed messages, look no further! Here are 9 ways that women often miss when men flirt.
- Physical touch plays a big role. Okay, I know this sounds like an obvious thing men do when they flirt, but you’d be surprised. I’m not talking a sleazy pull at the club or even the tactical “hand on your lower back as they pass you” move. What I mean is reaching for your hand, helping you with your coat, making eye contact as he touches you. There’s just something about that last one that always hits different. It transforms the simplest touch into something much more intense and intentional. There can be no ambiguity with a lingering touch and longing glance.
- He sends you memes. This is a classic way that men flirt that’s often dismissed as a friendship move. This is precisely because it isn’t a move at all. Sending memes is all about showing you his personality and wanting to hang out with you more, and learning about your tastes and sense of humor. You can see how compatible your personalities are at this stage of flirting, and hey, what makes a guy more appealing than a sense of humor? It also demonstrates that he just can’t get enough of you, but it’s a form of attention that isn’t overwhelming or expectant. You can dictate the intensity of the interaction and he isn’t pressuring you.
- He introduces you to his friends. This is a subtle gesture of intimacy and vulnerability. Here, he wants you to know about the important people in his life and for you to see how he acts with other people that he cares about. In doing this, he also shows you that you are important to him. It’s a win-win situation—you get to make friends and he gets to integrate the key people in his life. This is a sign of his maturity and his emotional complexity, which are great, attractive qualities in a relationship.
- He makes personal jokes with you. This shows his eagerness to get to know you and grow your sense of humor together. He wants to make these moments permanent, remembered by both of you rather than forgotten in a list of ex-lovers. By reminding you of personal jokes, he’s showing how much he values these moments, as well as building up your bond together.
- He puts an effort into his appearance. By this, I don’t mean that your guy has to be Tom Cruise (or whoever GenZ is obsessed with nowadays), but he does have to show he cares. If you notice he’s dressing up more, wearing nicer shoes, or styling his hair a bit, he’s definitely interested. This shows that he’s willing to step outside of his comfort zone for you, as well as take risks with his appearance to shake things up for a change. It shows that he’s trying to get your attention, and that’s never a bad thing.
- He plans great hangouts. If he’s really keen on you, he will show you his love languages, and this becomes clear in the quality of time you spend together. If it’s more than just hanging at his house, or at the bar, there’s a strong chance he thought long and hard about how to show you a good time. It may not even be overtly romantic in tone, but all those memories of cinema trips, hikes, night drives, brunches, and experimental coffee shops that you have? That’s evidence of him caring. A lot.
- He gives you attention. He doesn’t overwhelm you or pressure you into physical dates, but he gives you the support that you need. This shows that he can learn from your boundaries and listen to your needs, without imposing his own intentions on top of them. He will listen to your problems and help, without thinking of how he can respond in a way that makes him look good or desirable – he will just want you to be happy.
- He gives you space when you need it. This is key. No one wants a smotherer in any relationship. If you communicate that you want a little downtime, he will effortlessly step away and respect your boundaries. It sounds counterintuitive, but this is still a form of flirting because he’s showing you that he respects you and doesn’t just think that he can fix all your problems. That would be patronizing and imposing. Flirting should never be overwhelming or creepy.
- He sends ‘Good morning’ texts. A staple. This tried and tested example of flirting is perhaps the most obvious, but for good reason. Here, he is showing his cards by being all of the above – attentive, thoughtful, low-pressure, but still coming from a place that genuinely cares, rather than viewing it as a chore.
If a guy in your life is giving you a lot of these verbal and non-verbal cues, you can be assured that they’re very interested in you. Why not take a leap? Or, better yet, how about stepping up your flirting game and adding a little nuance?