The first rule of flirting is just to get this big picture perspective through your head. Be respectful. Here’s what being respectful does NOT include:
- Yelling out car windows
- Making crude noises
- Insulting someone in hopes they find it complimentary
- Interrupting conversations to assert your views
- Touching someone’s body in any way without their explicit consent
- Staring at someone for long periods, even after the person becomes aware of it
You may be attracted to someone, but your feelings toward them are never more important than making them feel safe and respected.
Read Body Signals
Creepy people completely ignore another’s signals and proceed exclusively with their own desires in mind. Instead, pay close attention to any signals someone you are talking to may be sending. For example:
- Are they purposefully closing themselves off to a conversation by wearing headphones, having a closed posture, keeping their eyes down? That’s generally a signal they don’t want to be talked to. Best to leave them alone.
- Are they giving you short, yes/no answers as you try to start up a conversation? That could be a signal they don’t want your attention, but they’re still trying to be polite.
- Did they look at you and smile and engage in enthusiastic conversation? THAT could be a signal that they’re interested — but it also may not be. Stay respectful and back off if the person doesn’t seem to return the attention.
Keep it Simple
Affirmative consent does not begin in the bedroom. Requesting consent at every stage of interaction is simply a sign of respect, and we all owe each other that. If the other person is sending a signal you interpret as being receptive to conversation, start with the basics. You can simply ask if they want to talk, or if you are interrupting. Being upfront can avoid confusion and allows them to be equally upfront. Then they can either engage with you or let you know they are uninterested. After some conversation, if it feels appropriate, you can ask for a phone number or a date.
Remember – You are not entitled to anyone’s attention or affection. Ever. People are allowed to set boundaries, say they aren’t interested, and even walk away from you – and you shouldn’t react with anger. Experiencing some rejection is just an inevitable part of flirting. Stay respectful.