Top 5 Ways to Tell the Difference Between Friendly and Flirting

You say something hilarious and he laughs with appreciation. You give her a smile and she gives you an even bigger one back. She touches your knee. He puts his hand on your back. What is going on here? Are we flirting or just friends?!

It can be hard to navigate this precarious line. The reason you are in this situation in the first place is because you already have an attraction. Friendships are founded on attraction, even if it’s in a non-romantic way. We want to spend time with people whom we are attracted to, even if we don’t ever think about kissing them. For example, I am a heterosexual woman, but I have friendships with many other women, and there is an attraction. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be friends. Do you see where I am going with this?

Throw in the mix that this person is of your preferred gender, and let the confusion games begin. Don’t worry. This is why I use social anthropology to get you results. When I asked 250 people in my interviews into flirting, ‘How can you tell the difference between friendly and flirting’ they told me the following:

    1. The subjects they talked about were different. One woman said, ‘If someone is flirting with you, they are not going to be talking about the weather.
    2. They gave you more attention than other people in the group. ‘If they were telling a story to a group of people, they would direct much of it towards you’.
    3. They make excuses to see you more than usual.
    4. They touch you a lot
    5. They give you F.L.I.G. eye contact! This is eye contact flirting that you need to know. It’s an acronym that stands for:

Frequency  – They look at you a lot.

Length of Time – They look at you for a longer amount of time than normal. They hold your gaze.

Intensity – ‘You can feel it behind the eyes’ said one Parisian male. It’s more intense.

Gesture – They might add another gesture to the eye contact, like touching their hair or biting their lip.

Eye contact flirting is the most powerful way to tell if someone is flirting or just being friendly.

If you would like more help learning how to flirt, how to practice flirting, or more about flirting between friends, please look at our online courses or read the art of flirting book by Jean Smith, Flirtology: Stop Swiping, Start Talking and Find Love.