What exactly counts as flirting? (Please give examples)

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AspieSparkle
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04 Jul 2019, 2:07 pm

Firstly, I want to point out that I'm an aromatic asexual and I am happy being single. There is an autistic guy I chat to online and I consider him as a friend. I've never met him in real life (3 main reasons - I'm nervous of the safety implications of meeting up with people from the internet, he lives hundreds of miles away, and my family wouldn't approve).

I've known him for a couple of years and we have a lot in common. We often joke and tease each other.

Yesterday, he messaged me saying he is confused and doesn't know what I want him to do, because "you keep flirting but you keep saying you don't want to meet in real life". I replied saying that I don't always realise how I come across to others (he knows I'm autistic) and that I don't even know what does and doesn't count as flirting.

He then gave me one example - it's from a few days ago when he shared a funny meme on his Facebook page that featured a picture of a busty woman. I joked to him about being the woman in the meme (it's not really me and he knows that as he's seen my photos on Facebook and I don't look like that woman). He didn't really say anything about my comment at the time, other than posting a shocked face emoji. But yesterday when he was talking about flirting, he said he thought my comment meant I wanted to show him my boobs! I was surprised he took it that way, but I explained that i was only joking and that i don't really want to show them to anyone (he knows it's nothing personal against him, as I've explained in the past that I don't want to be in a relationship with anyone).

I'm now wondering what other comments I have made in the past which might have caused him to think I want to do naughty things with him! A few weeks ago, he mentioned in a chat about how when he was a kid, adult relatives would often say he was handsome. So I replied that he still is handsome. Would that count as flirting? I thought I was just being kind, and obviously I believe it's true that he's handsome otherwise I wouldn't have said it.

I do find him nice, but I don't want to be in a relationship with him, because I'm aromatic asexual. But if I wasn't asexual, maybe I would, if you know what I mean?

Also, does the fact that he brought this up in conversation mean that he's interested in me in that way? When I explained to him that I was only joking about the boobs comment, he said "it's ok, i don't want to see them" but he put several funny zip-mouth emojis after it, and he also added "maybe I'm disappointed :p" And he still said he wants to meet me some day.

What do you make of this?



synchromystic
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04 Jul 2019, 2:31 pm

To me, it does sound like he wishes you had been flirting with him. Otherwise why would he suggest that he was disappointed?

In my admittedly limited experience, people who view you in a romantic way are more inclined to interpret what you say as flirtatious, even if you don't mean it that way. You don't always have control or awareness of the context they're bringing to the conversation. I've told male friends they are funny/great/handsome/etc. in the past and had it interpreted as flirtation, even though I was just trying to give a sincere compliment.

As for the meme of the busty woman, I can see why your friend would read some flirtation in the joke you made. You compared yourself to a sexualised image, so that kind of made it a sexualised joke. I'm pretty sure I'm asexual too and I always miss stuff like this, so now I try not to make this kind of joke as I it can be misinterpreted.

A lot of flirtation is context-based, so it's hard to define what exactly flirtation might be. For example, some people believe that making eye contact with a person then shyly looking away and blushing might be seen as flirting 8O ! Sometimes just saying 'hey' can be seen as flirtatious. We can't always have control or awareness of the context the other party is viewing our interaction in when we are talking. Many behaviours which are simply congenial or perhaps even a byproduct of being autistic or socially awkward could be seen as flirty.

I say just keep the way you are and expect to run into the odd awkward situation every now and then. If you told your friend you are asexual, aromantic and not looking to meet up, he likely read some of the comments you made as flirtatious because he wants that kind of relationship with you. Also, remember that it is especially hard to gauge tone when you are communicating through text.



AspieSparkle
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05 Jul 2019, 1:47 am

Thank you for your reply - it makes complete sense to me! I'll be a bit more careful about my jokes in future.

Although I'm aromatic asexual, I still have dreams and fantasies, but I wouldn't want to act on them in real life. I can imagine what I like, and maybe it's better than the reality. I wouldn't tell him this though, as I don't think he'd understand and it would make me feel really awkward. He would probably wonder why I don't want to try those things in real life. The reason I suspect he wouldn't understand is because when I told him I don't want a relationship with anyone, he said "how do you know that if you've never been in a relationship? " I didn't know how to answer that!



quite an extreme
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05 Jul 2019, 8:48 pm

In the end flirting is trying to get the attention of each other and to cause him or her to like you even more by amplification of his or her positive feelings towards you.

But I think he just wants sex. That's not a problem but rather normal. Having sex with the right partner is great. The real problem is that he will have to care a lot about you a and how you feel and what you like or dislike otherwise it could become quite disgusting or nasty for you instead of a great thing. The other thing is once you are cold and emotionless and don't really like him or the way that he is towards you this could also turn him totally off and it ends as a disaster too. Just as a hint because you call yourself being asexual.


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06 Jul 2019, 12:05 am

For starters I think a lot of people interpret flirting as an indication of something of meaning/substance. It is often how we will determine if there is a possibility of a amorous connection. The literal meaning of flirting, however, is "to behave amorously without serious intent", or at best: "to show superficial or casual interest or liking". And there are many people that behave by the literal definition. So even if you were flirting with intent it wouldn't actually mean you were looking for anything more than just the flirting - especially if you've already made it clear before that romantic/sexual relationships aren't something you want.

Of course with all this ambiguity it's not surprising that he or someone else might get confused or think there is more to it!

From what it sounds like though, it seems he may be putting some wishful thinking into it. I agree with synchromystic on that.

I've had friendships with male and females where occasional (sometimes more than that) flirtation took place but there's an understanding that while we hold actual affection for each other it's platonic and the flirting is just silliness and jokes. We were on the same page, but he doesn't seem to be with you. So unfortunately you may have to watch yourself more, and set clear boundary lines for him.

Quote:
I told him I don't want a relationship with anyone, he said "how do you know that if you've never been in a relationship? " I didn't know how to answer that!

You don't have to have had something to know it's not something you want or that you don't feel is for you. I've never sky dived before but I know I don't want the experience. I've never played hockey before and I know I don't want anything to do with that either. It could be fun, it could be enjoyable; having teammates and the like but I have zero interest in it. If you have no desire, interest, or earnest curiosity in something then it is quite safe to say it's not something you want.


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traven
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06 Jul 2019, 2:31 am

flirting
or not flirting isn't the question
another covert trick is guilt tripping you into the blame for alledged aroussal (or flirting) (or saying no)



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06 Jul 2019, 11:29 am

There's a possibility he was frustrated with you seeming like you're his girlfriend/interest so he doesn't feel like other people would jump in and he wants them to, so you seeming like flirting could keep others away.

I do believe he likes you, he seems to be flirty/playful on the idea. Some people get more attracted to people they cannot have, unreachable

As examples for flirting: petting someone's face, touching someone's leg, cuddling them in bed/sofa, laying your head in their lap, holding their hand, saying you like them, saying you love them (without adding as a friend), sitting in their lap, not rejecting or clarifying their touch/advances (hugs are ok), looking at their lips when youre close, looking at their bare chest/abs, sending songs or content with lyrics/text about sex, talking about sex especially if they get descriptive about the act and ask you personal things


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TheOther
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10 Jul 2019, 11:37 am

The denotation of flirting is just engaging in activities that are for the purposes of attracting someone else romantically.

That's too vague to really be helpful, though. Here is my working idea for the mechanical process of flirting.

Flirting works by doing and saying things that suggest that two people are closer than is warranted in any given context.

So, in the context of just having met someone, simply spending more time talking to a single person than anyone else in the room could be flirting.

Among people who already converse regularly, small physical gestures such as a pat on the back, or a knowing nudge to the side could be flirtatious.

Among friends, gestures that imply deeper closeness can be flirtatious. For example, a lot of people who are close will tease each other. The idea is that the subtext communicates something like, "We are so close and secure in our friendship that we can make a joke at each others expense, and know that in spite of that we remain friends". It's almost the emotional equivalent of cats showing their vulnerable underbellies to close human friends as a sign of trust and closeness. If we combine this concept with the original concept of 'doing things which suggest a deeper level of closeness than expected', you could see how teasing someone could potentially be a form of flirting, especially if the two people involved in teasing don't have that sort of friendship pre-established.

The way the 'game' works, is that two people who are flirting are trying to figure out if the other person views them as a potential romantic partner. So if two people are flirting, they will, over the course of time, continue to slightly escalate the implied level of closeness through a series of 1000 mini-actions, until you reach a tipping point where it becomes obvious that romantic intentions are had. Usually, people will test the waters a little bit with subtle flirting methods (like teasing, slight physical gestures, etc), and then when they reach a certain confidence interval that their feelings are mutual, they will make a big 'move', like asking for a date directly, or sometimes going in for a kiss unexpectedly.

The whole system is designed to allow people to test out the waters of figuring out if someone is interested in them while also allowing them some level of plausible deniability to save face in case the romantic feelings aren't shared. People who are good at flirting can filter through people who are interested or not without a lot of embarrassment, as they can figure out with a decent amount of probability whether someone is interested or not before doing anything overt.

On the darker side, a lot of people will flirt with others as a form of validation. They want to know that other people find them attractive, even if they don't personally desire a romance with them. So a lot of unhealthy people will flirt up until just the point before it becomes obvious/overt flirting just to feel good when their subtle flirtations are subtly returned. These types of people confuse a lot of poor souls who think they are genuinely interested.

I hope this was helpful/informative.



StayFrosty
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10 Jul 2019, 3:53 pm

Don't tell people about your private parts if you don't want to have a relationship with them.



AspieSparkle
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07 Aug 2019, 2:12 pm

Thank you for your replies. I understand it a lot better now and will be careful not to say things that might be misinterpreted.



StayFrosty
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08 Aug 2019, 1:23 am

I had a chick touch my arm all the time. I saw that she would burp all the time and say it was vomit. No Thank You.



Rexi
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08 Aug 2019, 5:23 am

StayFrosty wrote:
I had a chick touch my arm all the time. I saw that she would burp all the time and say it was vomit. No Thank You.

It's called Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. Keep away from acidic stuff and acidic meds(NSAIDs, etc) if you dont wanna get it.



sly279
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08 Aug 2019, 5:26 pm

There’s non. Anything that could be seen as flirting can just as well be just being nice.


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ProfessorJohn
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13 Aug 2019, 10:57 pm

Since most of us Aspies can't really read non-verbal cues, I would guess we are really bad at picking up flirtatious signs?



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14 Aug 2019, 1:22 am

I am going through that right now(I'm in the position of your friend.) Almost anything can count as flirting it's just whether you and the other person are on the same page or not. Even something as simple as "hi".

If you feel guilty or anything don't. Your friendship might get a little awkward for a while and he will probably go through phases of denial(I just went through one...) But, hopefully he will be able to recover from it. He might have to take a small break to sort things out since he's on the spectrum like myself he probably was building up on that feeling for a while.

If he makes anymore advances, keep to your boundaries and tell him you don't feel that way. The feelings and denial will probably wear off eventually...