What the Heck is Flirting?

No, seriously, what is it? Because it seems to just be a word we made up to differentiate between platonic and romantic teasing. The only difference between those two types of teasing being the relationship that you and the target of the teasing are or want to be in.

You could say that another difference is the frequency and strength of teasing, but that seems too imprecise. I suppose you could make a graph of frequency vs strength and say that this line over here is the line between teasing and flirting. If that’s the case, I can see how one would measure frequency, but how would you measure strength? Another problem with this method is that the line between teasing and flirting is different depending on the target.

So we’re back to just saying that flirting is a word that says more about the relationship than it does about the action, in which case, it seems its only purpose is so people have something to gossip about other than staring into eyes or kissing or whathaveyou.

So I’m sure you’re wondering why I would be talking about this. *gasp* Am I flirting with someone?! I mean, I guess?

I have a very sarcastic humor, and I tend to tease people a lot because of that. As we’ve just established (feel free to argue it), the actual act of teasing and the act of flirting have no difference–the difference being in the connotation and possibly the tone. So, yes, I suppose I am flirting with someone: basically all of my friends.

Which then leads me to wonder if I come off as flirty to my y-chromosome-deficient friends. Rather, since almost no one is able to recognize when someone is flirting with them until after the fact unless the environment is meant for flirting, if other people think I am flirting with the y-chromosome-deficient friend. Of course, since most of my communication with y-chromosome-deficient friends occurs over text because most of them are back home, I don’t have to worry about what other people think, so I just carry on as normal.

So, yeah. I think I technically flirt with everyone in terms of the actions I take, but not according to connotation.

My next post will probably be about what would happen if I died (ignoring the emotional side of things because I’m me and I don’t understand that side of things).

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One thought on “What the Heck is Flirting?”

  1. I feel like intent the most relevant factor, rather than connotation or tone per se.

    One flirts to arouse or express romantic interest, or even to move a relationship forward. It’s a tool to help you get what you want, or to test the waters and read a situation. It’s considered “non-serious”, whether because someone’s just doing it to make themselves feel good or whether they are interested in a romantic relationship and just expressing it in a more playful and indirect way rather than laying out their heart for explicit rejection or acceptance. (Within a romantic relationship, flirting may at times just be romantically affectionate play without intent, but that’d still probably be romantically arousing in some way if not quite on purpose).

    Banter, teasing, quipping, seems to be our generation’s favorite “weapon” to flirt with (partially for culture reasons) but glances, posture, and other forms of verbal communication are also used. When teasing is flirtation, it should have the intent factor and it may include or soon include indirect and yet explicit romantic features. (Touch abnormal for just friends or jokes that specifically mention romance.)

    …People can normally read the intent. It seems to be a completely different action because of its completely different intent. Normal teasing probably won’t go exactly how flirtatious teasing goes, even if the difference is slight or all in the eyes. Banter/teasing that ceases being done amongst everyone and zeros in prolongedly between two people and makes everyone else at the table feel like their own presence is irrelevant is a sign of flirtation. It could just be skilled, passionate, wordsmiths, but I’d expect the group to feel comfortable and involved if it’s done well. I would expect most people to know if you’re flirting with them or not.

    We probably like teasing as a form of flirtation because it is attention, and it lends itself so well to feelings associated with romance- play, affection, an impressed state, and a safe sort of risk, vulnerability, danger, and challenge. We might also think of it as the primary form of flirting because it’s the one most visible and obvious to those who aren’t engaged in it.

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