I do not understand the signals of flirting.

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dyadiccounterpoint
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15 May 2019, 10:01 pm

It has always been enigmatic. I've gotten confused many times, both mistaking friendly interaction as romantic interest and being oblivious to interest only to find later they were trying to pursue me, waiting for me to see it.

Even though I have made vast improvements from years ago in terms of interpreting the subtext of social interaction and developing a better sense of cognitive empathy, this is one aspect that is still a complete mystery. I just don't get it.

I found myself constantly wishing that the game was more obvious. I wish it was as simple as "We're both single. I think you're attractive. Do you think the same of me? Ok let's proceed." I really dislike that it always has to be subtle, because I will either not see your interest or I will be afraid I am misinterpreting it.

I started my first relationship last October. It was under pressure in a way. They were obvious, which is why I said yes even though I did not feel physically attracted to them. I appreciated their blunt approach. I'm not enjoying it, however. I think I am aromantic.



Benjamin the Donkey
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15 May 2019, 10:11 pm

It used to be a complete mystery to me. Now, after many years of observation, I mostly understand the signals--but from the outside, the way an ornirtholgist would understand an ostrich's mating dance. It's still not intuitive, the way I think it is for most NTs. So when a woman flirts, my thought process is something like, "Now the female is signaling her receptivity! Immediately scan list of appropriate responses!"


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Rustifer
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16 May 2019, 1:45 am

I can't get past the fact that, in regard to strangers, I never feel certain enough about anyone's intentions that I do not know.

All that gets much easier, albeit AFTER I am already in a relationship.

I just can't get into that type of play with strangers because I always see ALL the variables then.



treefiddy
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16 May 2019, 5:16 am

When I was younger I was oblivious to people flirting with me and thought they were just being friendly, but now I can pretty much tell. Not with AS men though. My husband is on the spectrum and I had no f***ing clue whether he liked me or not. I asked my best friend (also a man on the spectrum) "do you think he likes me?" and my friend couldn't tell either.
And I am the same - I have never flirted with anyone in my life; I don't know how to. My friends always thought it was the strangest thing, but maybe it's just an AS thing.


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nick007
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16 May 2019, 6:32 am

I don't understand flirting either. I've only knowingly flirted with my girlfriends but that was after we were in a relationship. I've also unintentionally flirted with teens online when I was really just trying to be friendly. However when I tried to flirt with women online or offline who were not already my girlfriend, I came off as being friendly weirdo or creep.


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dyadiccounterpoint
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16 May 2019, 11:23 am

Benjamin the Donkey wrote:
It used to be a complete mystery to me. Now, after many years of observation, I mostly understand the signals--but from the outside, the way an ornirtholgist would understand an ostrich's mating dance. It's still not intuitive, the way I think it is for most NTs. So when a woman flirts, my thought process is something like, "Now the female is signaling her receptivity! Immediately scan list of appropriate responses!"


I've tried to rationalize it like this, but I still fundamentally misinterpret the signals. The difference between being friendly and flirting seems to be one of those "grey area" kind of things.



jimmy m
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16 May 2019, 11:24 am

This question calls to mind the Senior High School Prom. This is one of those magical times in a young persons life. It is almost a practice-run on getting married and walking down the aisle. Girls will spend upwards of a thousand dollars on one dress [a prom dress] that they may wear only once in their lifetime.

I never went to my senior prom. I was just to shy to ask a girl out. But I watched my daughters go through the process. The interesting thing is the importance of their group of friend in the process. When a guy ask a girl to the prom, he wants to feel that he will not be rejected off hand. He wants to know she is available. That some other guy has not asked her out already and that she has accepted the invitation from this other guy. That takes a lot of research. He broaches the question first among his friends and his friends discuss it with her friends and then relay the answer back to him. The other thing that comes into play is that the friends if they are true friends will not leave anyone hanging. So if the guy decided very late in the process and was too late in asking his number one or two choices out and they already have dates for the prom. The friends of the boy or girl will step in and take on the role of matchmakers. They know who has been asked and who hasn't and they will try and arrange a mutually acceptable match.

So one of the aspects in the NT world is a reliance on their network of friends to help steer them in the proper direction. It is not one set of eyes or ears but the entire herd that is involved in understanding the signals of flirting.



breaks0
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16 May 2019, 9:25 pm

I've never initiated flirting b/c I don't know how to do so (yet). What I have done is lost several women friends, some of whom were just touchy-feely, which I like b/c I've been so starved of physical contact w/women (and I'll take hugging if that's all I can get w/someone, it feels good) most of my life. I had one classmate from Brazil in grad school who was quite touchy-feely. She'd grab my arm and hold it for a while and look at me, which was emotionally confusing to me, but she was married and my head tried to keep reminding myself she was just being friendly in a culturally different way than what I as an American was used to. But my heart got the best of me so I fell very hard for her and w/o realizing it at the time, I guess I was being flirty. I ended up exceeding her personal boundaries several times. We were still friends after that, but she backed off for a while, leaving me devastated and I haven't seen her in 5 years now, which kinda stinks. I've done this kinda thing, flirting w/women friends of mine and thereby exceeding their boundaries, w/several friends (though I don't think any of the others were in a relationship at the time) and it's cost me those friendships, which again stinks.

In terms of the other way around, that's been a pretty rare occurrence in my life and hasn't happened in a very long time. But the most overt clear example was when I was at a nightclub once very late like 6 or 7AM or something and I was sitting on the side, when this girl sits down next to me. She then put her foot on my crotch and asked me something like "can I leave this here?" And I being kinda stunned said "sure". If that isn't being flirty, I don't know what is! lol Anyway I didn't do anything (I wasn't sure what to do) and about 10 minutes later she removed her foot and shortly after that some guy came along and asked me if she was w/me to which I said "no", so he proceeded to talk to her. I've also had girls put their hands on me at clubs and try to get me to dance w/them. And one time a girl sitting next to me at another club started telling me about some other guy who lived in her building or something who she was interested in and asking me for advice, before asking me to dance. I said no on both occasions, partly b/c I really can't dance (I know, the irony of going to nightclubs and being unable to dance!).

I still hope to learn, maybe when I get back into dating over the next year or so.



Mountain Goat
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Yesterday, 7:59 am

Now this is a subject that I can really relate to as I have only ever properly dated twice (Preperly as in kissing and cuddling and as in meeting each other more then the one brief occasion) and both times the ladies have had to ask me out, as I often just don't get the difference between someone just being nice to me and someone who is flirting. It just does not occur to me despite that I may find them attractive.
My mother has many times said to me "Didn't you notice the girl that was flirting with you?" Where I would be like "Why didn't you tell me?" Having issues with faceblindness often means I may not notice such people again unless I notice some key features, and if I find girls attractive I generally try not to look at them as my natural inclination would be to stare at them which would be the first thing that turns them off me! Haha! You can imagine it!
Thw last lady to ask me out... I just couldn't believe she wanted to meet me. I mean. Such a lovely lady and there's me... Someone who most girls would tend to avoid. She was different in that she actually found me attractive. Eventually I broke things up. We were dating from a distance where she came down about two or three times while on holiday to see me. For mw it aas a case of I really loved her friendship and being with her... And somehow deep down I didn't feel she was the exact right person for me, even though I loved her.
The girlfriend before that (The first girlfriend I ever had when I was 36 years old... I nearly dated when I was 17 but didn't recognise the girl on the first date, so we never actually dated and I was so upset it wasn't until the age of 36 when a lady asked me out that I accepted. Prior to this I always refused as I didn't want to upset anyone). I did feel right but found I was definately wrong! I mean... I found out the hard way. One minute we were going to get married and had got along so well it was as if (In my mums words) we were brother and sister together, and then without warning she broke all contact where I was trying my best to fathom out what I had done. No argument. No warning. Nothing. Even her sisters husband (Who I often met where I worked) point blank refused to talk about anything about her to me as if he was warned not to. I just wanted to find out if we were still an item and if she was ok etc. Nothing.
I then was planning suicide. I walked across a very busy road just looking straight ahead. Somehow not one car hit me or swerved or even slowed down. It seemed absolutely impossible. Then I had purchased a classic car. A Volvo 131 and I had worked out that a local high level car park. I was going to ram thw car straight through the wall where there aas a large drop to the ground below. As the car was very quick at accelerating having a 0 to 60mph time in less then 10 seconds, I had worked it out that as long as the carpark was clear of cars, rhat I would hit the wall at about 65mph, but when I went up there making my calculations, i noticed that the length of run was obsquered by some staggard bollards half way down the car park which also protected a street lamp, so I did not go through with it. It was then that a train driver who I worked with told me he had seen her dating a man and they were very intimate when he knew I was going to marry her, and he didn't know what to tell me. It was only after that he mentioned it. All the time I had been blaming myself thinking I had done something wrong...

Anyway. Enough of my past. What do I do about the future. I am hopeless at reading body language and shy away from girls... Ah well. I'm in no hurry. Besides, without much of an income I can't exactly aford to date...
I will get married one day though. :) Somehow I just know it!


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I do not know if I have asperges/autism or not. Waiting an assessment. Probably not on the spectrum but I need to understand things. If I am on the spectrum it is mild.