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Flirting Part 1: What Is Flirting?

Flirting is how we communicate when we want to try to appeal to someone in a romantic or sexual way. It’s meant to signal to another person that not only have they caught our attention, but also that they might want to pay attention to us.

Just because that sounds pretty simple doesn’t mean that flirting is easy for everyone. Flirting is often not the most direct way of communicating interest, which leaves lots of room for people to second-guess how they are understanding someone else’s words or actions.

In this series we’re going over  how people might want to think about interacting with a crush. This post will cover ways we can understand and define flirting, with future posts covering what isn’t flirting, and ways people can try to flirt with their crushes. Let’s go!

What is flirting?

Flirting is communication. It’s what you say, your body language, and even things you do for other people. And just like how we talk differently to our best friends than we do to our grandparents or a doctor, flirting  might look different depending on where you are, how you know each other, your cultural backgrounds, etc.

Here are some of the different categories people use when talking about flirting styles:

Flirting is always done for a reason. Maybe that reason is to start a relationship, or to have fun, or to lead to sex, or to get free snacks at a movie theatre. Whatever the motivation is, people tend to keep their true reason or feelings to themselves. Some people find this helpful when trying to gauge someone’s interest in relationship/hookup/etc. Some people find the lack of openess hard to interpret. It can be helpful to understand what works for you, so you can bring that knowledge and energy to your future flirtations.

Remember, flirting is a way of communicating between people who are romantically or sexually attracted to each other. The goal of the people involved is to stand out to each other, and also to demonstrate that you’ll enjoy spending more time together. On top of showing off, flirters need to show that they are able to listen to each other, be respectful of boundaries, and be aware of how they’re impacting the people around them. If you feel unsure if someone wants to flirt or what their boundaries are, it’s always a good idea to ask!


If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]