The Flirt Test
Is he flirting with me or just being friendly? Sometimes it's impossible to tell, but fear not, Tracey Cox is here with some expert pointers.
'How do I know if he's flirting with me?' is one of the questions people ask me most often. And I can see why. It isn't that easy to figure out if someone really is flirting with you, or just being incredibly friendly – especially if it's someone you don't know.
Some people flirt so often, they do it in their sleep. They don't care if it's a man, woman, dog, cat or ladybird. If it's got a pulse, they'll flirt with it. Needless to say, if someone like this aims some killer smiles your way, it could mean absolutely nothing.
For someone who's quite shy, simply standing still and talking to you is their equivalent of flirting outrageously. And that leads us to this main question: Do they always act like this, or is this behaviour just for me?
Once you've figured that out, another question immediately pops up: What kind of flirting is it? What's his intention? Is it a bit of harmless fun, designed to give both of you an ego boost and a giggle? Is he thinking of a your-place-or-mine-type scenario, or maybe a ride-off-into-the-sunset situation?
Is it any wonder, a lot of us think, 'Oh I give up!' at this point and head straight for the bar? (And that only confuses the issue even further! You think your judgment's iffy now? Wait until you've had a couple.)
Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to give you a surefire guide on whether someone's flirting with you or not. People are far too individual for that. But I can give you some pretty good tips that should well and truly point you in the right direction. So here goes.
Forget about what he's saying, and focus entirely on his body language. If possible, let him rattle on while you have a good look at what's going on. What clues is he giving? Is he standing close, looking at you a lot? Does he seem to be focused entirely on you, or looking around as though he's just passing time?
Check your own body language. Are you giving off the right signals to the guy you're interested in? Are you facing him with your body square? Are you sending the right eye-contact signals? Standing close? Leaning forward with your upper body?
Look at his body language and apply 'the rule of four'. To be pretty certain someone fancies you, he must show a minimum of four positive body language signals (directed at you obviously, as opposed to the gorgeous blonde standing beside or behind you).
Deliberately change your position and see if he follows you. It's the mirroring thing again. If we're keen on someone, we try to stay on the same level as them. So if you change your position, he should follow by imitating whatever new posture you've adopted.
A word of warning here: Make sure you don't do this too abruptly or shift into negative body language, or he'll think you're suddenly not interested. People mirror bad body language, as well, and if you suddenly sit back, cross your arms and look down your nose at him, chances are he'll think the game is over and do the same!
Instead, try something like leaning over and swirling a straw in your drink, placing a hand, palm down, on top of the table closer to his side than yours – something he could easily mirror without looking silly.
Finally, flirt more intensely. The best way to find out if he's flirting with you is to assume he is and flirt back. At this point, forget being subtle; intensify all the body language signals you've learned. Try leaning in really, really close and see if he leans in to join you.
Touch him on his upper arm and leave your fingers there for a minute or so. Does he pull away or seem comfortable with your touch? Wait for a pause in the conversation, then hold his eye contact for four seconds with your sexiest eyes without saying a word.
Then let a slow smile spread across your face. This very obviously says, 'I think we're flirting,' without you having to say anything out loud.
If he smiles back and continues doing all he's been doing, rest assured, you've hit a home run. If, however, he makes an excuse to leave at this point, that means he was just flirting for fun and not for an end result – and you just upped the odds to stakes that were too serious. (Never mind, better to find out earlier in the game than later!).
If all else fails and he still doesn't ask for your phone number when you're about to part, take a deep breath and ask him for his! It could simply be a case of him being shy or thinking you're way out of his league.