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How can I Tell if Someone is Flirting with Me?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

When it comes to the combat sport known as modern dating, one of the heaviest guns in the arsenal is the art of flirting. One casual flip of the hair, a well-timed burst of laughter or the flash of a smile and the quarry is usually in the bag before it even realizes it was being pursued. That's the theory behind effective flirting, anyway. Many people receive these non-verbal cues of interest on a subconscious level, but still need some convincing that all of this sudden attention is truly focused on them for a reason. Assuming flirting not in evidence, however, can also lead to a very long and painful trip back to your table. Therefore, it's important to recognize the signs of true flirting, and how to let the pursuer know you have indeed received the message.

No matter how hard we may try to present ourselves with the confidence of a James Bond or Angelina Jolie, deep down many of us are geeks hoping to meet people who speak our language. The stereotypical "art of the pick-up" is simply not part of our dating technique at all. Therefore, many people in the dating scene must rely on more subtle flirting techniques to let others know of our interest.

A man may display his hands while flirting.
A man may display his hands while flirting.

One of the oldest flirting techniques is extended eye contact. When someone across a crowded room scans your group for signs of life, he or she will often hold their gaze until you notice them, then quickly look away. Once you've been informed by others that someone is showing interest, then it's your cue to return that eye contact. The moment both of your eyes meet is the beginning of the courting ritual. If that person flashes a brief smile or breaks off the gaze slowly, then a connection has been established. This is your opportunity to turn innocent flirting into a real conversation starter. If you don't act quickly, however, the window of opportunity may close.

Women often twirl their hair and look over their shoulders when they are flirting.
Women often twirl their hair and look over their shoulders when they are flirting.

Another coquetting gesture is a quick flip of the hair or touching of the face. Many women will tousle their hair or give it one good flip as a subtle way of flashing their best facial features without looking too obvious. Some people will run their fingers through their hair or twist a lock repeatedly while actively flirting. Some people will make a point of displaying what they consider to be their most attractive physical feature while flirting. A man may prominently display his masculine hands, for example, while a woman may frame her hands around her exceptionally attractive eyes. The best thing you could do is compliment your new friend on a feature he or she obviously feels is a strong asset.

Someone who breaks into laughter when someone else makes a joke might be indicating attraction.
Someone who breaks into laughter when someone else makes a joke might be indicating attraction.

Many times a person will consciously or subconsciously touch the other person while having a conversation. An affectionate pat on the knee or a lingering stroke of your arm should be received as a sign of romantic interest. Posture during the first minutes of an encounter can be a tell-tale sign of flirting as well. If someone leans in closely to hold a private conversation, or turns their body away from the crowd and towards you, then you should know he or she is most likely interested in you. As long as the touching remains comfortable and not manipulative, you should just go with the flow and enjoy the intimacy of the moment.

Extended eye contact is a flirting technique.
Extended eye contact is a flirting technique.

Flirting can also involve showing more than a little interest in getting to know you better. If someone you've just met laughs at your jokes or asks more about your life or career or personal interests, then you should seize the opportunity to share a bit of your life with him or her. People who are actively flirting often toss words of encouragement into the conversational mix, such as "That's really great!" or "I wish I could do something that exciting!" Other people may show some polite interest, but a person who is truly interested in getting to know you better will ask questions or find other ways to keep the conversation going.

Leaning in closely to have a personal conversation can be a sign of flirtation.
Leaning in closely to have a personal conversation can be a sign of flirtation.

In short, be open to all the subtle signs an interested person sends out at the beginning of the dating ritual. Flirting is meant to be a subtle art, so allow things to flow naturally and on their own time. Still, the dance may only get the fish on the line, so to speak, so it's up to you to decide how to get it in the boat.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular WiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular WiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...

Discussion Comments


Okay so here's the deal. I like this guy at school but I'm not sure if he likes me back. We never really talked to each other. He's friends with one of my friends and sometimes comes and talk to them, but we never really talked. He sometimes would say stuff but not really meaningful, like I don't think he actually talks to me. But we do make a lot of eye contact and sometimes I would catch him staring, but look I look away.

And a few days ago I was sitting with my friend and he came and sat with us but we didn't talk. I was sick and didn't really feel like talking with them but when my friend got up to talk on the phone, he immediately slides next to me and he sat really close. He didn't talk to me because his friend was there, so they were talking and I was just sitting there. I'm not sure if it really means anything. But I like him and I really hope he likes me back, but I'm too shy to talk to him. Please help. I don't know what I should do!


Word of advice: ask the person and all your problems are solved.


When I went to this place a few months ago, there was a man who kept on staring at me and kept on following me with his eyes on me wherever I went. This is the place where he works. And I feel okay and happy because he also catches my attention because he's cute.

Then one day, I went to the place again where he works and I saw him again and when he saw me coming, he also came close, within about 36 inches from me and removed his eye shades and I noticed that still he kept on staring, but he didn't talk or greet me. He just stared, although I caught him and I think he wanted to make an eye contact with me but I am shy. Maybe he was also too shy to approach me because my mother was with me. What do you think is the meaning of this? Does he like me or anything, or what? I need your opinions please. Thank you.


There is this girl I really really like. I have no classes with her, but I always see her in the hallway, and I usually check her out to keep from making eye contact (I'm very shy around girls I like), but when I look at her face we seem to always make eye contact even she's with her friend or boyfriend.

The only thing she probably ever says to one of her "gangster" boyfriends is yes, since they only try to make a move instead of talking. I look into her eyes for a second, and I usually break away first. She is shy too, so I'm pretty sure she breaks away too, but I don't look and find out. This happens every day when I see her in the hall, and I am afraid to approach her to even talk because I figured it would be awkward to approach without her knowing me.

I think she knows my name because we did have gym class together, and I was known for running really well, but she rarely talks at all. She is like the prettiest girl in my grade, and I just don't know if the eye contact every day means something. It makes it harder since we are both shy.


Is he flirting with me? I am very much flirting with him, yes his eyes do dilate when I get the chance to speak to him and he has a huge smile, or is it because he is just being friendly? I stupidly said you are looking buff -- embarrassing or what? My brain goes into mush at the very thought of him. The very cute cop.


I walk this girl home and we talk whenever we see each other and when we talk she smiles more than with her friends. I was wondering if you think she likes me?


I really like this girl. She is only in one of my classes and I talk to her a lot.

Whenever some of her friends are around, she hugs my arm and says look at my boyfriend and blows me kisses jokingly and says she wants out of the friend zone, but I don't understand. I've told her I like her and everything, but she just says okay and stuff.

I don't understand. We have been talking for a while now but I just don't understand if she likes me or just wants sex!


I dated this guy for seven months and we broke up, but we never lost our attraction to each other. Fe was dating this girl who is a total snob. They broke up about a week ago and ever since then he's been texting me every day. He even asked me to homecoming.

So, the other day he came over to my house and I was watching TV in my living room and he walked in and started messing with my hair and rubbing his hands up and down my arm and I liked it so much. Ever since then I can't get him out of my mind. He's the sweetest, nicest, funniest guy I have ever met and I want to get back together. I think he does, but I don't know.


@anon46594: I sympathise, sir.


OK, so, I met a guy last summer at a christian camp. He is probably the hottest guy I've ever seen. I moved here after camp and we see each other at church and other stuff all the time. He never approaches me to start a conversation, but when we do talk he's always looking either into my eyes or at my mouth.

I really like him and I think he likes me, but I'm too afraid to ask him. I think he's tried to ask me out a couple of times but I was doing something else. The last time I saw him he followed me around. I don't think he knows I noticed but I totally did. And, he always seems to be wherever I am.

And yes, he winks almost every time we have I contact. His face also turns like five shades of red every time I talk to him. So, does he like me?


I'm so not sure. She is hot and cold. It's so hard to tell, but she asked me to fix her shirt on the sides. It's something she can do on her own. Is she just a tease?


I know this guy and every time we had a conversation I just held his arm, but he slides up my hand and holds my hand tightly. His eye contact with me makes me feel something within. I don't understand. Yeah, I admit I've fallen for him, but you think he likes me?


There's this guy I know and every time we have a conversation, he always pats me on the shoulder, taps my head and even asks me to come near him. I don't know what to do because he's married. I can't afford to fall for him just because I misinterpreted his actions.


So today in school I was talking to my friends and then a guy I barely know comes up and says hi to everyone but I feel left out because I barely know him. But after we talked and stuff, I found out his name. He's cute and all but I barely know, as I mentioned before.

But anyway, before the bell rang, he asked me for a hug and I hugged him and we just stood there for a second, then we broke away. My friends are saying, "Aww, so sweet. I can totally see you two together." and I'm like "What? No, I barely know him" and they are saying, no, you two should go out. I'm saying he likes someone else and then I turn around to see where he went and I'm like, huh? So help. Does he like me or is he just being nice?


First of all, please disregard the post below mine, Post 35, because that was mine. I thought I would add a little more information because I was pretty vague.

So there's a girl that I like and we are pretty good friends. We look at each other a lot in band and sometimes I text her but she never texts me "first". Sometimes during lunch she makes sure that I get to sit next to her and she laughs a lot at what I say. She has told me who she liked before and it no one could tell because she is really good at hiding it so...?

Plus one day we were out with friends eating lunch outside and she lay down to tan a little bit because it was warm and sunny, and she was always facing me when she lay down and sometimes I could catch her open her eyes a little bit. She has also had me compare my hand size to hers and wanted to arm wrestle me once. But sometimes it seems like she doesn't notice I'm there and she doesn't always talk to me when in a group. Does she like me?


So there's a girl that I like and we are pretty good friends. We look at each other a lot in band and sometimes I text her but she never texts me "first". Does she like me?


Okay so there's this guy in one of my classes. I hung out with him and his friends a few times, got lunch and stuff. He's copied my notes and we text here and there. It was fun and we plan to hang out again.

But I seem to notice he mentions his girlfriend a lot, ever since the first day we met. One instance he said that his weekend was "lame" although he hung out with his girlfriend. I even caught him looking at me and we made eye contact and then I looked away. But I'm wondering is there any possibility that he's attracted?


@241568: Yes, he likes you.

@234595: Yes, he likes you.

@233942: Yes, he likes you. Or he's a player, but there's an easy way to figure that out: Does he act the same way with other girls that he does with you?


My guy friend gives me hugs and jokingly blows me kisses and like he touches my cheeks and says they're soft and last night he was like looking at my lips saying they were cute and like he wrote "143" on my hand and yeah I don't know. What do you guys think? Does he like me? Or just as a friend? And also, like he punches me and slaps me when I slap him first and he also like took my shoe when I kicked at him and yeah, I don't know. What do you think?


I have a question. So I met this guy a few weeks ago, and we ended up going to a friend's party together and spent a good part of it chatting, and he spent a lot of that time touching my shoulder and waist. He ended up asking me the next day if I'd like to hang out either the day before Thanksgiving ( I was busy) or the next week.

So he contacted me after Thanksgiving and we flirted online and ended with hopefully we'd see each other that week (on his part). So we didn't really talk that much, and I contacted him on Saturday just to say hi, and he was doing some work, but asked if I'd like to get coffee? So we got coffee, chatted about random things and halfway through he started holding my hand. He walked me home holding my hand/waist, awkwardly gave me a couple hugs and touched my face, and said again see you soon? To which I said sure, I had a great time. But we haven't really talked much since then.

I do know that he is really busy, but really? Any ideas? I'm really confused.


So there is this guy. It looks like he's flirting with me, but I can't tell if he is or if he's just being friendly. He always touches my jewelry. I always wear different bracelets and rings.

One time when we were watching a movie in class, he linked his pinky with mine but after a few seconds he let go because I did not grip it back. I got so nervous I didn't even realize until afterward. He puts his hand on my shoulder and leaves his arm pressed to mine. We hung out once but that was because I asked him and we ended up talking for three hours. He has my number but rarely texts me. He says he's not big into texting.

He also invited me to a party but I couldn't go because I had an exam the next morning. What do you guys think? Is he flirting or friendly or just a player?


I seriously like this guy. When I think of him I get all tingly and just imagine what we could be together.

The other day we were having a really deep conversation and he just looked into my eyes for a good 15 seconds and I felt a deep connection. I'm worried because I find myself staring at his lips and leaning really close or touching his leg and staring at his crotch. I don't think he's realized it, but I'm also confused if he likes me or not? He talks to me but I think he's shy, and whenever I look at him and he catches my eye, that means he looked at me too.

I'm really confused. He's the nicest guy I've ever met, and I think I'm falling for him. I mean, I know I'm only 15, but I think I love this guy. Honestly. He's the only guy who's ever made me feel this way. And trust me: I've liked a lot of dudes.


@anon226195: Yes indeed, he wants you to sit beside him when he pats the seat next to him. Should you go? Well, do you like him? If you do, sit next to him and see what happens. Talk to him and see if he's a nice guy. Even though teenage guys are notoriously weird about how they act around females, his actions probably mean he likes you.

If a guy is nice, don't turn down the opportunity to get to know him better. You're not of an age to marry, so getting accustomed to talking naturally and easily to guys now will serve you well as you get older. Good luck!


If a guy pats the seat next to him, does he want me to come sit with him? If yes, should I go? Does he like me? He always waves at me and says hi and sometimes evens stares at me during lunch.


@anon204018: Yep, that's flirting. He likes you, too! So, you talk about what kind of music you like, what's going on in your classes, how much you hate long band practices, whether the football team will be any good this year, which teachers you wish would just go away, which ones you like, what the class clown did in English today, the weird outfit your little sister wore to school, bad reality TV shows... Get the picture? Don't try to hide that you like him so much. He obviously likes you. Don't hang all over him or anything, but be friendly, look him in the eye and smile.

High school is just practice, where you learn more about that mysterious race of creatures called males. They're generally not even worth spitting on until they turn 30 anyway (with a few exceptions), so just have a good time and remember that the male brain goes into the deep freeze when they hit puberty, and it doesn't thaw for at least 15 years. Some are obviously better than others, but in general, this is relationship practice. Try not to take it too seriously. Time enough for that later.


So there is this guy I really like for no reason whatsoever, but recently I noticed he watches me a lot at marching band practice. I'm in color guard and he's in the drum line, and we talk sometimes, and he called me over to talk to him a lot but I don't know what to say so I don't really say much.

He knows I like him because I told him but I try and hide that by making fun of him and saying I hate him in front of him. I've noticed he smiles at me a lot and randomly talks to me. He's called me pretty but I don't know if he flirting or not.


What is flirting vs being friendly?


Okay, so there is this guy I like. Today, he said, "nice hair." I asked him if it was a compliment, and he responded "it is how you take it." Was this flirting or was it just to mess with me.


I like this guy in my fifth period class and i think he's attracted to me. every time i laugh he would at me and pretend he's smiling at something else. most importantly he told my guy friend he thought i was cute but what if he's lying, trying to seduce me. help anyone, please help.


well, there's this girl, and we have a lot of eye contact

when she comes into the room, she looks at me and vice versa. After a few of these, she comes over and sits beside me. Usually she puts her head on my shoulder and snuggles. But when the guy who likes her comes in, and she doesn't like him, she hugs me harder. what does all this mean? i mean she tells me everything about her life and all. She doesn't do this to anyone else, but I'm not sure about what she's thinking. Help!


I like this girl and we make eye contact all the time but I have no idea if she likes me. and we hang out all the time and hug but I don't know if I should confront her. What should I do?


Okay so there is this guy at school who knows i like him and i don't know what to do because we do that eye thing and we're quite close friends but last school year he wasn't into me at all! I think he is flirting with me but i don't know how to find out! Help!


To anon108889: If the guy has a girlfriend and is asking you for your pictures on webcam, he isn't flirting with you. He wants pictures of you so that he doesn't have to purchase his porn. Sorry, but that's how that goes. He also doesn't respect you as a person, nor his girlfriend nor his relationship.

Flirting is a necessary part of dating, but honey, he isn't dating you, he just wants your picture. He is approaching you in a way that he thinks should make you feel flattered, but instead, his request is intrusive and sexual. Move on and quit talking to him.

Find a guy who respects you.


I talk to this guy a lot on msn and i know him from school. he sends me a lot of faces and asks me to go on webcam all the time. he has a girlfriend so I don't know if he is being nice or is flirting with me. what should i do?


There is this girl who is currently living by our house. Once my brother asked her whether she liked him and she said yes, she liked my brother.

But it came to a point that when this girl sees me she smiles and looks deep into my eyes. I am even in the same grade with her but not in the same class.

Whenever i call her my brother's girlfriend, she warns me not to say it again.

I don't know if she like me or is flirting with me or just because of my brother that she smiles at me. Help!


So i play for a soccer club and i met this girl at practice. during practice, we'll make eye contact sometimes, and she will be smiling at me and i will smile back at her. And we will talk at practice sometimes. She's the sweetest girl I've ever met. when she smiles is it just who she is or does the smile mean something? is she into girls?


Once i was walking down the hall and i saw the guy i've kind of been crushing on and we walked past each other in the halls and we both looked back at the same time to get another look at each other.


Anon79639: Smile back at her! Ask her if she's had a nice day, what classes she's taking, etc. If she responds favorably, there's never any harm in asking if she'd like to meet you between classes for coffee or lunch. Nothing like a "date" -- just getting to know each other. Something like, "I'm going on a Starbuck's run. Would you like to go with me?" Nothing too forceful. That will help you gauge her interest in you without either of you being uncomfortable. Good luck!


OK if someone could give me some advice that would be great.

This girl, who i have a few classes with and have talked to a little bit but only ever in group situations, has recently been giving me some signs.

Things like picking me out in a group of people to talk to me and looking over her shoulder towards me just to catch my eye and smile. I've never really had that much attention off a girl before so I'm not sure how to take it or what to do.


So this guy is kind of coming on to me. For example, i was sitting next to him and we were going to zap (writing someone else's name on your hand to hug them at the desired time) and instead of putting my hand on the desk he puts it on his left thigh and really kind of close to his you know what. Then he writes really slowly and when he flipped over my hand he got it even closer.

I think he's cute but i don't know what i should do. Help!


mnm - yes.


I've been married for 24 years, so I'm really out of touch with flirting. We socialize on occasion with a man and his wife.

Sweet couple, but there are times when I'm confused about his actions towards me. He hugs me every time he sees me, which is okay because I'm known as a hugger. I hug everyone. But recently, I went on a hayride with a group of people (my husband was at work). This man helped me on and off the hayride all evening (he helped many of the ladies on and off the ride.) He would hold my hand a little longer than needed and would squeeze my hand each time. At first, I kept thinking it was just my imagination. Now I catch him staring at me when we are in a room together.

Is he flirting? I need to know so I can keep my distance, but I don't want to overreact if it's nothing. Please help; is this flirting?


OK so she rubs my head from time to time, and i hers but in a little more playful way i guess. we went to dinner and her feet all night were on top of mine, despite my feet bouncing up and down. she even asked me to stay still while she put lipstick on. i thought she meant was looking at her reflection in my glasses but no it was be cause my feet were moving but she could have moved her feet off. i asked her why she was going to dinner with the three of us since she was dressed up and we were just in jeans. she said be cause you don't like going out with women who aren't dressed up. i gave her a birthday card and she looked at and said well this isn't edible undies. so is she flirting? now what if i said it's my mother-in-law?


when you have a family member flirting unconsciously with your boyfriend what do you do?


Why when I make eye contact with my friend she looks down and then away with a smile, is this a sign of attraction?


And make sure that the person is not married or otherwise attached! Often, someone will flirt even when that is the case because they feel like it's "safe." But of course, it's not fair for the person being flirted with, who doesn't know about the significant other.

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    • A man may display his hands while flirting.
      By: auremar
      A man may display his hands while flirting.
    • Women often twirl their hair and look over their shoulders when they are flirting.
      By: jorgophotography
      Women often twirl their hair and look over their shoulders when they are flirting.
    • Someone who breaks into laughter when someone else makes a joke might be indicating attraction.
      By: icsnaps
      Someone who breaks into laughter when someone else makes a joke might be indicating attraction.
    • Extended eye contact is a flirting technique.
      By: vgstudio
      Extended eye contact is a flirting technique.
    • Leaning in closely to have a personal conversation can be a sign of flirtation.
      By: Artem Furman
      Leaning in closely to have a personal conversation can be a sign of flirtation.
    • A simple interest in wanting to get to know you better is a sign of flirting.
      By: shotsstudio
      A simple interest in wanting to get to know you better is a sign of flirting.
    • A brief smile can be indicative of flirting.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      A brief smile can be indicative of flirting.
    • Flirting might occur in all kinds of situations.
      By: imtmphoto
      Flirting might occur in all kinds of situations.
    • Posture might indicate attraction.
      By: iofoto
      Posture might indicate attraction.