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How to Tell if a Guy is Flirting with You – A Guide for Awkward People

Do you ever wonder whether a guy chatting you up is being flirty…or just friendly?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell. He could just be complimenting you because he’s extroverted and has no qualms about possible rejection. Or he could just be reporting an observation, or stating his opinion without much thought. The thing is, you kind of wish he was flirting with you because he has a non-creepy and genuine smile, and, quite frankly, you haven’t kissed, let alone had sex with, anyone since…ever. You kind of want to be intimate, but you don’t know where to start. Especially because you can’t read social cues.

I’ve been in your shoes before. In fact, I still struggle with the art of social interaction. However, I have come a long way and I can safely say that I am much better at it than I was in high school. I generally use these rules of thumb when identifying whether a member of the male specimen has the ulterior motive of seduction, or if he’s just making small talk.

1) Eye Contact

There’s a reason why this one’s at the top of the list. Why? It doesn’t seem very obvious at first (at least it didn’t to me), but if a guy looks at you for most of the conversation, he is interested in what you say and how you react to what he says. This wasn’t obvious to me at first because I thought that normal people looked at each other when speaking to each other. However, I observed that when friends are talking to each other, they don’t always stare into each other’s eyes. Eyes reveal all, so if he’s constantly looking into your eyes, he’s trying to gauge your reaction to whatever he’s talking or inquiring about because he wants to know how you feel.

Also, if he’s looking at you constantly, he thinks you’re attractive. Guys do not spend their time maintaining eye contact with someone they do not find attractive.

2) Proximity

If you and a guy happen to be speaking very close, it’s not because he wants to smell your breath. Well, I’m sure he would appreciate a minty, fresh smell, since that would encourage him to kiss you. But anyway, if he’s speaking close to you, say, less than a foot away from your mouth, it’s almost painfully obvious that he’s flirting with you. His proximity to you indicates that he’s comfortable with you and he really, really wants to kiss you. He wants to preview the air between you before you guys start (hypothetically) engaging in a sexual relationship.

3) Generosity

“Do you need help carrying your bags?” he asks when you’re carrying at least four grocery bags. If you’re absolutely struggling with those bags, then he’s not necessarily flirting with you. However, if you pretty much have the bag-carrying covered and he still asks if you need help, then he’s definitely flirting with you. When people assist us, there are usually going to be awkward silences and, depending on if you’re a nervous-talker or not (which I am), somebody is bound to start the conversation. Not only does helping you increase the likelihood of interaction with you, but, in his mind, it also increases the likelihood of you thinking better of him and you possibly starting a conversation if you run into him again.

4) Inquisition

When a guy asks you what year you’re in or what major you’re in, it doesn’t **necessarily** mean that he’s flirting. It depends on the context. If he approaches you because he needs to advertise for his club’s event or to gain more signatures to be student president, then he’s not flirting with you. However, if he seemingly approaches you out of his own volition and then begins to ask questions, that’s when you can begin to suspect that you’ve caught his attention. If he asks you more personal questions, such as where you are from or what your interests are, I’d give it about a ninety-nine percent chance that he’s flirting with you. In addition to that, if the conversation dwindles and he asks you other questions, that means he’s curious about you and he very much wants to keep the conversation going. Asking for your number at the end of your conversation solidifies that he’s hitting on you, especially when he could attain information through another source.


5) Facial expression

This one is hard for most of us awkward people. We tend to underestimate the salience of facial expressions in our everyday interactions. Twitching mouths, raising eyebrows, biting lips, flaring nostrils, squinting eyes… we’ve all done these and seen people do these unconsciously. Unfortunately, most of us rarely pay attention to these cues because we focus most of our attention on what we’re saying and doing, not what others are saying and doing. As long as a guy smiles (or laughs) at least three times in your conversation, he’s flirting with you. If he looks at you at any point while he smiles or laughs, that’s a great indicator as well.

There are probably more rules of thumb, but, in my opinion, these are pretty important. Good luck identifying social cues of the male specimen!

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Natalie S.


I'm Natalie! I am double majoring in Economics and Psychology at Northeastern University. I like to play piano, watch T.V., paint, draw, read, write, and dance! I speak fluent Spanish as my family is from Argentina and Uruguay, and I have a wonderful twin sister whom I absolutely love.