On Flirting

Once upon a time, I was an incurable flirt.

It was after high school, not too terribly far into my college career. I’d finally gotten comfortable enough with myself that I could be comfortable with others.

I also discovered that, hey, I’m not an unlikable troll–some women respond positively to interaction with me! (Yeah, back then that was a big revelation… I’d spent a lot of years blinded by numerous other issues.)

This was a new outlet for all those crushes I was racking up at the time. It was a way to play a little at romance without worrying about it being taken seriously. Sometimes a way to test the waters, other times just a way to have some fun. It was never anything too intense and it was always done among friends.

Flirting isn’t all that different from normal interaction. Often, if someone not involved isn’t paying close attention, it can be almost indistinguishable from any other conversation or exchange.

To those involved and aware, though, there is an intricate play of non-verbal communication and shared innuendo.

There’s tentative physical contact–a brush of hair, a soft touch on the shoulder, arm or hand. There’s “that look”–the slow, slightly downward gazing, blink and the quick direct look and glance away. Body positioning–an open posture and ever overlapping bubbles of personal space. The timbre and cadence of conversation syncs up into a smooth banter among the involved parties.

At least that’s how the typical, grown up flirting goes. Some people never quite get past the classic schoolyeard “pull her pigtails and insult her” stage. (Of course, that works for some people, it seems.)

Flirting is fun and safe. It need not ever lead anywhere and, as long as all involved understand it’s just for fun (or are all willing to take the next step if that leap is to be made), can serve as a good release for any actual built up feelings that could otherwise become problematic.

I’ve found it’s also a good way to gauge one’s self control and stability.

If you can flirt with someone you’ve been crushing on and walk away happy, you’re one step closer to being in control of your crush–making it much more likely to be a Grown Up Crush as opposed to a Destructive one.

For a long time, there were very few people I felt I could flirt with. The depth of friedship or understanding just wasn’t there. There was fear of being misunderstood. There was fear of it actually progressing past the flirting stage of things.

Now, thanks to re-learning a good number of lessons that I’d become a bit soft on and being surrounded once more by good and understanding friends (many of whom are smoking hot women), I’ve picked up some of my old habits again.

Over the next bunch of time, I plan on working more on flirting properly and, in conjunction with my normal crushes, use it as a tool to learn more about my limits, wants and needs.

  • Autumn Szabo


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