Dr. Sarah from Sarah's School of Dating is back for all of your relationship needs. Today's topic came from a suggestion in the comments section on a previous post in this series. Yes, it's taken me nearly a year to get around to posting on this but better late than never...right?
The biggest issue for me is what "I" do to 'flirt or show an interest often ISN'T meant that way when a girl does it to me...but because its what I do I can't help but think 'are they interested in me?'
So let's talk about flirting.....
- What do you do when you think someone is flirting/interested in you but you don't return that interest?
- Is flirting wrong or part of the process of being 'chased' or doing the 'chasing'?
Let's start off with a scenario:
Jade is interested in Mike and being not very subtle about it. In fact, she's so obvious that a lot of her female friends and acquaintances have noticed even though she hasn't exactly told many of them. Meanwhile, Mike is oblivious to what's going on and he thinks Jade is just being friendly. Jade is trying all sorts of things to get Mike's attention including suddenly becoming very interested in golf (a passion of Mike's) and has started organising 'golf days' even though she has never been interested in golf before. In fact, many of Jade's friends are getting a bit cheesed off as they suspect they're only being invited so Jade can call it a 'group activity' and she doesn't care less whether they're there or not.......she just wants to get close to Mike.
As a bystander who has noticed what is going on, what would you do?
a) Nothing, it's none of my business. Let them sort it out.
b) Confront Mike and let him know (politely) that Jade is interested in him and he'd have to be blind not to notice what's going on.
Okay, pretend you're Mike and one of your friends has just chosen option B. After finding out about Jade's interest in you, what would you do next? (We'll presume that Mike does not return Jade's feelings)
a) Confront Jade and let her down gently, saying you're sorry but you just see her as a friend.
b) Confront Jade and tell her you're not impressed at her manipulation of using his favourite activity to get close to him and that you're not interested.
c) Ignore it, stick your head in the sand and hope she gets over it.
d) Flirt madly with her even though you're not interested. It's just a bit of harmless fun, right?
I think it's true to an extent that girls know other girls' sets of tricks (probably because they've used those tricks themselves) and guys can tell who other guys are interested in.
For the first scenario, I'd be tempted to choose A and do nothing but in certain circumstances it might be okay to confront one of the people involved if they are getting themselves into dodgy settings. I've seen the following scenario before and it often ends badly.
Sally is interested in Nick and decides to organise some activities to get closer to him. First she organises 'group activities' of things that he likes (like Jade did). Nick seems completely oblivious and thinks Sally is just being friendly. Then she invites Nick over to dinner at her place when no-one else is home. Nick goes along happily (alarm bells should start sounding right now). Sally continues to organise 1-1 activities between her and Nick, believing that since he is accepting her invitations, he must be interested. Meanwhile Nick has no such feelings for Sally and eventually she finds this out. Then she gets really angry at Nick for not turning down one of her 'dates' earlier and letting her know that he never felt that way. Sally doesn't speak to him again.
So who's wrong - Sally or Nick? Well, although Sally is organising some pretty dodgy 'settings', it really is up to Nick to be honest and not just go along with it because he enjoys the attention. Since he is a bit naive, that's why option B (the quiet word in his ear from a friend) may be helpful. It's not about being cruel and humiliating Sally...but it's far kinder to set her straight early.
Back to Mike and Jade. Say a friend chose option B and mentioned to Mike that Jade is interested in him. Should he ignore it or confront her. Confronting is definitely the scary option. I would probably only do it if their behaviour was really inappropriate e.g. touching etc. But then I reckon we all feel rather uncomfortable approaching someone and asking them if they're interested in us. To me, it feels kind of arrogant.
I think it's important that everyone has their own set of boundaries in regards to places they go with members of the opposite sex. Some guys I know would never have accepted Sally's invitation whether they were interested in her or not, because the setting screams dodginess. You need to work out your own boundaries and stick to them. That way if someone asks you to cross them, you can politely decline.
So is Jade wrong for using Mike's favourite pastime to get close to him? Personally, I think yes although I'm sure some people will disagree. Jade was never interested in golf before she started liking Mike and it's doubtful whether her sudden interest in the sport will continue when she stops liking Mike. Don't get me wrong, it's good to try new things - who know you might start to like them. But I think it's far better to be yourself. I wouldn't be that impressed if someone suddenly became a big Eagles' fan because they were trying to get my attention ;)
Is flirting wrong then or is it just part of the 'dating game'? There's no doubt it can be fun but like in the Sally and Nick scenario, it can turn sour very quickly. Sally eventually expected Nick to express interest in her or 'ask her out'. When he didn't make a move and it turned out he wasn't interested, she became angry at him for going along with her. Sometimes the only kind thing to do is to let someone down gently.
It's wrong to flirt with someone if you're not interested in them. Those of us who have been 'led on' by someone will understand. If we are to love each other, then it's not very loving to lead people on. No-one wants to end up married to a serial flirt who is always in need of attention from the opposite sex.
Even if ARE interested, don't flirt for ages with them before making your move/initiating a relationship.
If you're not sure if someone is flirting with you or not and you're definitely NOT interested in them, don't ignore them or be rude. Just be friendly but set firm boundaries for yourself.
What are your thoughts? Share your experiences (if you're willing - you can be anonymous) If you were the characters in the scenarios, which option would you choose?
Perhaps I should submit this for Dolly ;)