Is He Micro-Flirting? What It Is & Why It Sucks

Maybe the guy isn’t cheating on you. Maybe he’s not even blatantly flirting with other women. Maybe he’s just micro-flirting, but that’s still not OK. Here are some behaviors you might notice and why they seriously suck.

  1. He “likes” another woman’s photos. He isn’t blatant enough to “like” another woman’s bikini pics on Facebook. Instead, he “likes” normal and everyday pics she posts, and maybe even every single status she puts on social media. What’s more disturbing about this than the fact that he’s paying another woman so much attention online is that he’s watching her every move.
  2. He fidgets around her. When you and your boyfriend bump into his female co-worker or friend, he acts really weird. He seems jumpy or he fidgets a lot. If you ask him about this and he says he was just feeling anxious for another reason, like maybe because you were both running late to get to a friend’s birthday party, it might make sense. But if it still feels weird, then maybe he was really feeling uncomfortable at the thought of you and her catching up. It makes you wonder why…
  3. He laughs a lot when she makes a joke. Maybe you hang out with one of his female friends sometimes, like when a group of you goes out for dinner or to a club. How does he behave around her? If he’s always laughing the loudest at all of her jokes, even when she’s really not that funny, that’s telling.
  4. He won’t let you see his messages to her. He might be open about his conversations with other women, but when it comes to this specific friend, he never likes to mention what they’re talking about, even though you know for a fact that they’re talking on the regular.
  5. He won’t share her work with you. Maybe he’s really cool about letting you take a listen to some music his friend produced, but when this specific female friend or co-worker sends him an article she’s working on, your boyfriend doesn’t let you read it. He says something like, “I’ll ask her if she’s cool with you reading it first.” Um, shouldn’t he have been that protective about his other friends too? Why is she getting special attention?
  6. He compliments her on deeper stuff. He doesn’t just say that she looks pretty when she bumps into you guys at the mall. He’ll give her a compliment that seems to mean more, like saying how much of a hard worker she is or how skilled she is at what she does. It’s clear that he’s paying her a lot of attention, and maybe more than he does you.
  7. He comments on their inside jokes. When he comments on her social media posts, he’ll mention inside jokes that you have no clue about. Although it’s fine for him to have a connection with his female friends, it can be micro-flirting if he’s always drawing on that connection.
  8. He becomes Mr. charming around her. When you guys spend time with his female friend, he becomes the sunshine of the room. You sometimes can’t help but wonder if he’s had a personality transplant because he’s never like that when you two are alone. It’s one thing to be friendly and charming, of course, but it’s quite another for him to be targeting all his smiles onto one specific person.
  9. She comes up at weird times. Your boyfriend might not have mentionitis when it comes to this other woman (which would obviously indicate that he could be cheating with her), but he might mention her at weird times. For example, he might mention her when you’re talking about sex, which would make you wonder why they’re talking about sex. It’s inappropriate.
  10. He watches her a lot. When you’re around this other woman and your boyfriend, you can’t help but notice how he’s always watching her, even after she’s broken eye contact with him. What the hell is that about? Clearly he can’t take his eyes off her.
  11. He’s a little too helpful. Maybe your boyfriend is a genuinely nice guy who likes to help others. But wait, if he’s always a little too ready to help this other woman, then you have to wonder if he’s going the extra mile because he’s micro-flirting with her. He’s probably hoping she’ll see him as the perfect guy. On the surface, micro-flirting can seem pretty harmless and your boyfriend is sure to deny he’s doing it, but sometimes it’s more about the feeling you get when you see it play out in front of you. The main thing is to trust your gut if something feels weird.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.