Sometimes flirting is obvious, but oftentimes it’s much more indirect and subtle. Sure, he seems to be taking an interest in your life, asking to hang out, and generally seems to be having fun with you… but don’t your friends do that too? It’s just so hard to know! Is he flirting or just being nice? Here’s the definitive answer.
- He’s always in your personal space. Does he move closer to you when you’re in groups together? Does he make physical contact with you a lot? While not all physical touches are flirtatious, you may be able to gather what his intentions are by the context of his touching. If you can imagine anyone touching you in that manner (think work colleagues, family), then it’s probably just friendly. However, if his touches are out of the ordinary parameters of friendship, it might be something more.
- He’s overly excited to discover you share common interests. He loves Germany and you speak German? What a coincidence! You love music and he plays an instrument? OMG, IT’S REAL LOVE. No, but seriously — if you two have common interests and he seems to get overly jazzed about them and tries to drag out a conversation with you about them, then he’s trying very hard to make a connection with you.
- He slyly tries to get your number. If he asks you for your number outright, that’s a pretty good hint that he’s into you. But sometimes it can be done quite slyly. He might tell you he had a photo of your friends he’d like to share with you or tickets to a concert you might be interested in, and he simply HAS to text you about it. Don’t be surprised if he’s finding excuses to get in touch about pretty much anything.
- He goes out of his way to talk to you. If you’re at a party full of plenty of people to talk to and he always seems to end up chatting with you, that’s a definite sign he’s feeling it. If you always find yourself just talking to him for hours, accidentally having ignored the rest of the group, you may have an admirer (as well as a crush!)
- He lowers his voice when talking to you. Oftentimes when a guy is flirting with you, he’ll whisper or talk quietly so that you have to lean in (or he has to lean in) and become more intimate with you. Maybe it’s a bit of gossip he wants to share with you, maybe it’s something personal that he doesn’t want the rest of the group to know. Whatever the reason, he’s working hard to create a sense of intimacy between the two of you.
- He jokes about sex. A lot. Okay, so guys talk and joke about sex a lot, and when they do it with girls, it can border on creepy sometimes. But it can also be quite playful when done right — think silly double entendres and innuendos, comments on how long it’s been since he’s had sex, etc. More importantly, if he’s clearly trying to scope out how you feel about the idea of sleeping with him, then you can bet he’s flirting with you.
- He teases you without being mean. This is classic schoolyard kids’ psychology, but we just don’t seem to leave those golden years behind! He’ll pick on you over others in the group, forcing you to interact and laugh with him. This is not always a sign that he’s flirting with you, but in combination with any of the other signs, this could be what gives him away!
- He’s always smiling around you. People smile to be friendly, so this is one of those signs that really relies on your observational skills. People who are being polite will smile without those feelings reaching their eyes. The smiles are posed and meant to be polite, and that’s fine. A guy who’s into you is grinning from ear to ear, and his smile will undoubtedly just be one indicator of how happy being around you makes him. He stays engaged, interested, and involved because, well, he’s into you.
- He goes out of his way to do nice things for you. He offers to fix your car or give you guitar lessons, free of charge. He might seem just like a “nice guy,”, but what he’s really asking you is for more time together. Guys don’t generally go out of their way for women if there isn’t a more romantic interest there. Take this as a sign he’s not just being nice, he’s definitely flirting.
- You catch him staring at you. Whether it’s from across the room or while you’re in close proximity, you can catch him looking at you often with a look in his eyes that’s definitely saying something more than friendship. If he can’t take his eyes off of you, you can bet that he’s into you.
- He tries to impress you. He might try to impress you by bragging a little bit. Don’t mistake this guy with the general braggart, who just likes to talk about how great they are. This guy will be far more subtle, hoping to talk himself up in your esteem without sounding like a jerk.
- He makes it a point to mention he’s single. You didn’t really ask him about his dating life but he was more than happy to volunteer information on the fact that he’s very much single and not dating anyone. He’d love to get into a relationship with an amazing woman, he insists, but he’s just waiting for the right one before getting involved. Clearly, he thinks that might be you.
What to do when you think a guy is not just being nice — he’s flirting with you
So you’re pretty sure you haven’t misread his clues and that he actually has a romantic interest in you. What do you do now? While that depends on the situation and the relationship you have, assuming you’re both single and dating is a possibility, you should go for it. Here are some tips to get started.
- Flirt back a bit. If he’s flirting with you and you’re into it, why not flirt back a bit? It’s fun and relatively harmless and hey, it’s kinda been a while since you’ve felt this kind of giddiness. This is also a great way to show him that you notice that he’s flirting with you and that you’re not put out by it. He’ll be encouraged by it and may even take things to the next level.
- Try and get to know him better. Flirting with someone is fun, but it doesn’t really allow you to get to know them. If you ever plan on moving beyond that stage, you have to get to know what he’s really like. Initiate some deeper conversations and figure out what makes him tick. What are his interests and ambitions? What does he do in his spare time? How and where did he grow up? There are so many elements of his life you know nothing about, but it doesn’t have to stay that way for long.
- Ask him to hang out. If you feel too shy or not quite ready to hang out with him one on one, that doesn’t mean you can’t still spend time with him. Invite him out in a group setting so that there’s not too much pressure on the situation and neither of you feels overwhelmed. This is another way to see how you gel in person. You may find out that you’re so drawn to each other that it’s like no one else is in the room anyway.
- See if you have actual chemistry. Flirting is fun but it’s not what good relationships are made of. You can have tons of built-up tension with someone that completely fizzles and fades to nothing once you spend more time together. You need to figure out if you’re compatible and if there’s something deeper there that might make him worth dating. If not, at least you’ll know now and can cut ties, right?
- Tell him you want to date. If you feel like you’re well-suited and your feelings for him are growing on a daily basis, now’s the time to make a move. It’s 2022, so you don’t need to wait for him to come to you. If you like him, tell him as much. Ask him on a proper date and make it clear that your intentions are romantic. That puts the ball in his court. If he was just flirting for fun but had no plans of taking things further, this should nip things in the bud (though hopefully it won’t go that way). If not, you never know — you may be on your way to having a new boyfriend.
If he’s flirting with you and you really wish he wasn’t
This can be really awkward but it’s something you should be able to shut down pretty quickly with minimal hassle. Here’s what to do.
- Don’t give him false hope. Yes, flirting is fun, but you’re playing with someone’s feelings here and you need to be mindful of that. If you’re not interested in him romantically, don’t flirt back and make him think he has a chance with you. It’s cruel and unnecessary. Avoid doing anything that could give him the wrong impression.
- Distance yourself a bit. If you work together or you’re part of the same friend group, do what you can to distance yourself from him for a while. This will send him a clear message that you’re not really feeling it and that you’re also not interested in spending more time with him. It also gives him time to get over his little crush and move on, which will be helpful to both of you.
- Talk about dating other people. I know this seems a little petty/immature, but I feel like it’s preferable to having that awkward “I don’t really like you” conversation. By talking about dating other people — especially if you actually are — he’ll get the hint that you’re already spoken for or are looking elsewhere for love, not to him.
- Avoid hanging out with him on your own. Again, spending one-on-one time with him is out of the question, especially if you know he has feelings for you that you don’t reciprocate. Make sure that if you do have to be together, it’s in a group setting. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.
- If all else fails, tell him straight up that you’re not into him. If you’ve tried all of the above and he’s still not getting the hint, it might be time to have a direct conversation with him letting him know that you’re not interested in him romantically. It’s sure to be painful and really unenjoyable, but the sooner you do it, the better.