Men can be confusing, to say the least. The problem is, you think you’re getting signals, but you can’t really tell if he’s just being nice or if he’s actually interested and flirting with you. Worse yet, if he’s one of your close friends, you definitely don’t want to misinterpret his actions and make things awkward between you. Flirting can look pretty different depending on the guy and your relationship to him. The next time you aren’t sure if someone is flirting with you, keep some of this helpful information in mind.
First of all, let’s talk about your relationship to him; did you meet him at a bar or at work, is he your acquaintance or lifelong friend? And, most importantly, is he flirting with you? Let’s find out:
Flirting looks different in different places—let’s look at a couple.
Out In The Club
At a club or bar, some guys might try to garner any kind of attention from women. In this setting, flirting behavior is more obvious and goal-oriented.
Some guys might act loud (clearing throat, talking loudly, bragging, etc.) to get women to look over and gauge their reaction from there. If he gets a response or signal from you and comes over to start a conversation or orders you a drink and gets your name and number—he’s most likely flirting with you.
A loud, bustling bar scene also gives guys the opportunity to lean in close. It’s pretty evident when a guy is flirting with you if he’s inches from your face. So, the question at that point might be whether or not you feel a spark.
Guys don’t usually go to a bar to find female friends so if you think someone is flirting with you in a bar, the answer is almost certainly yes.
Many companies have policies that don’t allow dating between employees to protect them from being sued for workplace harassment. As a result, a guy from work who might be interested will have to keep his flirting subtle.
Here are some telltale signs of flirting at work:
- He finds every opportunity to speak with you and sometimes makes up reasons to come over for a conversation
- He happens to be in the lunchroom at the same time as you every day
- He asks you out to lunch or brings you coffee
- He hand delivers messages to you
- He listens to you intently.
If you can check off a lot of these behaviors, chances are he’s being flirty.
Now, let’s examine how close you are to this guy.
Under normal circumstances, you don’t have much contact with acquaintances or casual friends (unless you’re hanging out in a group), so their flirting behavior might not be so obvious to you. But don’t fret! Here are some ways to detect if one of your male acquaintances might be interested:
Sometimes, men aren’t creatures of communication. I’m sure you have a “Man of few words,” in your life. However, if he is flirting with you, he’ll make the effort to initiate texting with you when you’re not around.
According to a survey, once a guy is interested, his texting habits change. He’ll stay in constant communication with you and won’t be afraid to text you when he comes across something that reminds him of you — for example, seeing shows you might be interested in, memes you might find funny, pictures of baby animals you might find cute, etc.
From there, he might keep the conversation going by asking questions, even down to the minute details like what you ate during your lunch break. He may also follow up with messages you don’t immediately respond to.
On the other hand, if your acquaintance is just being friendly, he won’t be initiating conversations constantly or going out of his way to answer all of your messages if he sees your text while he’s in the middle of something.
Guys who are interested will do everything they can to make you a priority.
Whether he goes out of his way to drop by at the cafe you’re working at or if he’s eager to come to you no-questions-asked when you need help. He won’t have a problem planning his schedule around you, even if he has to shift or cancel plans or appointments.
When you’re with a group of people, he may look at you from across the room while he’s conversing with others, and flash you an infectious smile. In this case, he’s likely interested and trying to be flirty.
A guy that’s just being friendly will still likely catch up with you, but he will spend a similar amount of time catching up with others, as he has no reason to monopolize your time.
In order to keep a conversation going, a guy flirting with you will try to center the conversation around your interests and hobbies. The goal is to find commonalities between the two of you so that he can become someone you would consider dating.
He might also try to find out any dislikes that you have so that he doesn’t bring up those topics at the risk of boring or offending you.
If a guy is just friendly in general, he won’t likely steer the conversation towards your interests in particular. If someone is just being friendly, they’re more likely to talk about anything and everything. He also might not be overly interested in any mutual interests you may share.
Verbal flirting signals are more obvious but can still be missed if you aren’t expecting someone to be flirty.
A big part of flirting is the compliments he gives you, even about the smallest things, like your earrings. He may also use his sense of humor in an effort to make you smile and laugh, or even jokingly give you a hard time.
The boundary between friendly and flirty is definitely being broached if he uses pick-up lines to break the ice.
Someone just being nice to you will have a regular conversation with you and let it flow naturally without trying to sustain the conversation as long as possible, and pick-up lines definitely won’t come into play.
Someone with an interest in you will ask more in-depth questions during a conversation, with the goal to get to know you on a deeper level and getting closer to you. Personal questions like whether you’re seeing someone, or what you look for in a partner may also pop up.
Whereas, if he was just being friendly, conversation topics will be more casual with general questions like asking how you are.
Does he seem extra nice and accommodating to your requests? If so, he’s probably trying to flirt with you.
Is he also:
- One of the first to cheer you up and will always be up to hang out with you?
- Offering to personally send you home when it’s late and be willing to be your dedicated driver for when you need to run errands?
- Always going out of his way to help and support you?
If yes, chances are he’s interested in you.
Someone being nice could still offer to help you out, but wouldn’t purposely drop everything to come to your rescue for non-urgent tasks if he already has previous plans.
Actions can speak louder than words when it comes to communicating, especially when someone is interested. Paying attention to body language and non-verbal cues is the quickest indicator of flirting, and someone who’s drawn to you may not even notice they’re subconsciously doing so.
- Physical Contact: What seems like a subtle touch from the guy can be an indication that he’s flirting with you. He might help you brush off some imaginary fluff, or rest his hand on your arm when you’re engaged in conversation. He might put his hand on your back when crossing the room, and his hugs might linger for longer than usual. Whether the contact is intentional or not, he’s being flirty with you.
On the other hand, if someone is more reserved, (ie, not the touchy-feely type) you can also tell if they are being flirty by how they mimic you and reciprocate your playful actions.
A guy who’s just friendly will have little to no intention of physical contact
- Eye Contact: This may be harder to distinguish friendly from flirty. However, if you pay close attention, you’ll be able to see distinct eye contact flirting techniques. He may be flirting through a longer gaze with a tilted head, or if he’s across the room he’ll flash a flirty smile when you make eye contact. He might be subtle, but his longing glances will definitely be detectable. Finally, if he gives you an eyebrow wiggle from across the room — think Jim from The Office— this could also be a sign that he’s flirting with you.
- Distance: When someone is interested, they’ll naturally gravitate towards you. They’ll likely always end up by your side in group settings. If he’s already next to you, he may even try to make the gap between you even smaller by sitting with his shoulders touching yours, leaning in when in conversation with you, walking right beside you, etc.).
Someone that’s just being friendly won’t end up beside you during social gatherings, dinners, etc. If he’s not romantically interested, he’s more likely to keep his distance.
- Drawn Toward You: When standing in a group, people subconsciously point their feet towards what they’re most interested in. If you catch his feet constantly pointing your way, you can almost be sure that he’s harboring some kind of attraction for you. But don’t read too much into this one, if you’re talking to someone, their feet are most likely pointing in your direction.
- Smiling: When it comes to knowing whether or not he’s flirting, it’s not if he smiles at you, but how he smiles at you. He may shyly smile back at you when you catch a glimpse of him looking at you and look away quickly. If someone is being genuinely affectionate, he’ll have an open smile with a visible sparkle in his eyes.
If you’re already close with someone (like inside-jokes close), it may be hard to detect if they’re flirting with you because you already have an established relationship with them. But if you have a feeling one of your close friends may want a relationship upgrade, here are some of the telltale signs to look out for.
If you suddenly notice your close friend is stealing glances in your direction when you’re not looking, or if you often find him idly staring at you even when you haven’t said anything particularly exciting or changed anything about yourself— that could be a clear indication that he’s interested in you. If your friend tends to be shy, he might also look advert his eyes instantaneously when he realizes you’ve caught him staring. Double points for blushing.
A close friend that is in no way romantically interested probably won’t suddenly start staring at you in a different way—unless you have something between your teeth.
If one of your close friends suddenly becomes more attentive to your messages, it may be a sign that his feelings have changed. Sometimes he might even casually make flirtatious comments to test the waters and see how you respond.
A regular friend, or a guy that’s just being nice, will probably only text you to organize gatherings or catch up. He probably won’t respond as eagerly — and might even forget to text you back until a few hours later.
When a guy is interested in you, he will make it clear that he wants to spend as much time with you as possible. If he initiates hangouts frequently, that means that he’s trying to spend more time with you one-on-one, which he probably wouldn’t do if he wanted to stay “just friends.”
You may also notice more non-verbal cues from him, such as leaning closer than usual, casually reaching out to touch you, or lingering in a hug longer than usual.
A regular friend may initiate hanging out because you haven’t met up in a long time, but would not purposely free up more time in their busy schedules to hang out more.
Annoyed By Other Guys
An obvious sign that your friend has developed feelings for you is the change in his attitude when you talk about other guys you’re attracted to. He might get uncomfortable, act annoyed or jealous if you ask for advice when he wouldn’t be fazed at all in the past.
Regular friends that aren’t interested in you would be able to offer advice without getting worked up, and would be happy to give you tips on how to win a guy’s heart.
If your friend suddenly starts giving you compliments, more often than not, it could be a sign that he’s hinting that he’s interested in you. Compliments can range from commenting on your outfit to your artistic skills to your smile.
He also notices little changes about you, like getting a new haircut, a new manicure, or even changing your perfume, and will comment on it. This is a sign that he’s interested, especially if he never picked up on these things before.
A regular friend that’s trying to be nice will probably still give you compliments (you deserve them, of course), but they may not be as pointed, or as frequent.
Jokes About Dating
Envisioning the future in a relationship with you is a big telltale sign that he’s interested. He’ll jokingly ask if you can imagine dating him to see how you react to the idea. At the worst, if you think it’s weird, he can agree and say he was joking. On the flip side, he’s probably also holding out hope that you’ll be on the same page as well and answer accordingly.
If these signs fit with what your guy friend is exhibiting, there’s a high chance that he has developed feelings for you.
Personality And Flirting Style
So, we’ve established how to tell whether or not someone is flirting with you based on your relationship to them—now on to the specifics: his personality. Everyone is different, so there’s no flirting formula to lean on when it comes to determining whether or not he’s flirting or just being nice. But that didn’t stop us from trying. Read on to find out what different personalities and different flirting styles mean for you:
The Funny (Confident) Guy
There’s always that one guy who lights up a room when he walks in, and thrives in the spotlight at parties. He’s usually the life of the party and isn’t afraid of being a clown to make people laugh.
He may first start flirting through his humor to see who’s paying attention and then approach to survey your personality. He’ll then use physical contact to gauge if you’re interested. Be sure to let your thoughts be known if he oversteps his boundaries.
The Shy Guy
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the guy in the group who’s quiet and soft-spoken. He’ll probably have a more passive approach to flirting. So watch out, this type of flirting might be harder to detect. While he shows that he’s attentive and supportive through active listening or acts of service, he may be anxious around a woman he’s interested in, and find it hard to keep eye contact or smile.
Oftentimes, the shy guy prefers establishing a friendship and building a platonic relationship before revealing his feelings. In some cases, he may be content enough with the friendship and end up hiding his feelings instead because he doesn’t want to risk ruining your friendship.
5 Flirting Styles
A study conducted by Jeffrey Hall and Chong Xing, revealed that verbal and non-verbal behaviors correlated to five flirting styles. Here’s how you can identify them:
- Traditional: Men who are traditional flirts are more likely to nod and say yes at the beginning of the conversation. They tend to lean towards the woman of interest during the entire conversation and will speak in a high pitch at the beginning. They also tend to tease more often, leading the conversation to become more like banter.
- Physical: Physical flirts are less likely to give compliments during a conversation, but also don’t gaze flirtatiously as often. They are usually flirt nonverbally (eye contact, smiling, etc.) and are more comfortable in places such as bars and clubs where the setting is more consistent with their flirting style.
- Sincere: Men who are sincere flirts are less likely to tease the woman of interest and would fidget less during the conversation. They would also have a more open body posture by crossing their arms and legs less often and tend to lean toward her as they get more comfortable. They also speak in a higher pitch when conversing with a woman they’re interested in.
- Polite: Polite flirts are also less likely to tease and fidget less when interacting with the woman of interest. They have fewer questions at the beginning of the conversation and tend to speak with a lower pitch. They would also nod and say yes more often but won’t lean much towards the woman of interest during the conversation.
- Playful: Men who are playful flirts tend to protrude their chest and have better posture during a conversation, give more compliments, and are being obviously flirtatious. However, they are also more likely to be flirting without any romantic interest.
Beware Of Predators
As seen in playful flirts, there is still the off-chance that a guy isn’t interested in a relationship even if he ticks all the boxes of flirting. They could just be flirting to gain attention or to boost their ego. Worse yet, they may have an ulterior motive.
If a man starts off with flirting and quickly proceeds to get uncomfortably physical with you, try to steer clear of him as soon as possible to keep yourself safe.
Friend or Flirt?
When it comes down to it, who’s to say? While we’ve outlined a lot of factors that come into play when trying to determine whether or not a guy is flirting or just being nice, like signs, personalities and flirting styles of men, really pin-pointing their motives can still be hard and confusing. Some friends are really touchy-feely, and some flirts are reserved and soft-spoken. Every guy is different, so they’ll have different flirting styles and ways of showing that they’re interested in something more.
When you’re really stuck, be sure to use all of the information we covered: your close friend might want to change your relationship status, or a stranger at the bus stop may be interested in sitting down for a coffee. You never know! But, remember, when it comes to the daunting world of reading emotional cues, make sure to keep an open mind and always trust your gut.