It's easy to mistake someone's friendliness for something else. If you're attracted to them, it can cloud your judgement even more. It can potentially be very embarrassing to accidentally put the moves on someone who's just trying to be nice. According to experts, it is challenging to figure out if someone's
flirting or just being friendly. But there are some clues you can look out for.
"It's often hard to determine whether someone's flirting or just being nice because
the nature of flirting is very subtle and incremental," David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Flirting is the way humans incrementally determine if someone is a worthy partner. It's basically slowly putting yourself out there and testing the person's response to make sure they're the right person for you. Because of its subtlety, it's very easy to mistake it for something else."
The truth is, some people are just naturally friendly. So they may say "hi" or give you a smile whenever they see you. But they may not think anything of it, because it's just how they are. Unless you're a mindreader, you can't really know what people's true intentions are. The good thing is, there are noticeable differences between someone flirting and someone who's just being nice. Here are some signs you should look out for, according to experts.
They Make It Known That They're Single
One way to truly distinguish if someone's actually trying to flirt instead of just being friendly is how often they repeat that they're single whenever you're around. "Some can be subtle and smooth while others can be blatant in their declarations," Celia Schweyer, dating expert at
Dating Scout, tells Bustle. "Try noting how often they tell you or casually drop the 'I'm single' nugget." They may be sending you a message. If they're trying to find out you relationship status, that's another big clue they're probably interested in you.
They've Started To Ask You More Thoughtful Questions
When someone's just being nice, they'll likely stick to small talk. But once someone starts flirting with you, they'll find ways to get to know you better. According to Schweyer, they'll try to dig deeper into your likes and dislikes, your hobbies, and your point of view. "Most of the time, it won't be obvious that they're stirring the conversation to get you to speak about what you like," she says. "But know that they have all ears on you and they are carefully listening to every word you say."
There's A Noticeable Change In Their Behavior When You're Around
"If you think someone might be flirting with you, but you’re not sure, it’s always worth observing how they interact with others," Madeleine Mason Roantree, psychologist and director of relationship psychology services at
The Vida Consultancy, tells Bustle. For instance, are they giving you special treatment? Do they smile or laugh more when you're around? Do they offer you compliments and not others? If so, they're likely flirting with you.
"Everyone flirts differently, and to make things even more difficult to decipher, there are also 'polite flirters' who are more subdued and flirt by leaning back and creating space," she says. "In these cases, watching their general demeanor may be a giveaway." So if they only display this kind of behavior around you, it may be their way of flirting.
They're Super Attentive And Engaging During Conversations
"A person is definitely flirting when they express a lot of interest in what you say or do, no matter how trivial it is," Schweyer says. They'll ask a lot of follow-up questions in order to keep the conversation going. They'll hang on to your every word and may laugh at every joke you make as if you were the funniest person in the world.
They Ask For Your Help A Lot
"Many times when we like someone we look for ways to make them feel needed, as well as swoop in and show how we can 'save the day' and how 'nice' we are,"
Brenda Della Casa, relationship expert and author of Cinderella Was a Liar, tells Bustle. So if someone's always coming to you for advice on the smallest things like good restaurants or bars to try, they may be trying to flirt with you. Pay attention to what they say after that. If they casually say you two should go there together sometime, they may be asking you for a date.
They Go Out Of Their Way To Say Hi Or Talk To You
"You may cross paths with someone all the time and say hello, but if you keep running into them and they start talking to you beyond a simple hello, they very well may be trying to flirt," relationship expert and
spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. It's easy to quickly say "hi" to someone when you pass by them. But most people won't purposely go out of their way to be around someone or engage in small talk just to be friendly. So if someone's making the effort to be around you, they're likely interested in you.
Their Body Language Will Give It Away
You can read whether a person is flirting or just being nice
through their body language. For instance, when someone's into you, they may lean in closer to you when you talk. They may mirror your actions, which naturally happens when someone's trying to connect with another person. But if you really want to know if someone's trying to flirt, Schweyer suggests checking their feet. "If their body and feet are angled towards you, [they are] definitely conveying initial attraction for you," she says. "Body language makes all the difference."
People aren't always easy to read, and figuring out their intentions isn't always easy. But if you pay attention to these things, it can help you determine if someone's actually into you or just being friendly.