Question of the Week: November 21st, 2017.

How do you feel about people flirting with you? 

Does the experience change significantly if it’s a friend, a stranger, a joke, serious interest, cautious, or blunt? What other factors influence how you feel about being flirted with?

I enjoy being flirted with after I’ve developed enough sense of a person to be confident that they are respectful of boundaries. A stranger at the gym? No, but someone I’ve chatted with several times at the gym can be okay. Guys I meet on dating sites that flirt right away lose my interest. Friends that flirt, an acquaintance from class that seems decent, guys on video games, or that barista at Starbucks are fun to me.

I’ve always had a hard time understanding flirting and for me that’s actually the appeal; it’s like a game that everyone else gets, you can kind of see the rules, and you can play with. I enjoy flirting back and often even start it myself. The respect for boundaries is important because sometimes I want to go further, but usually flirting is a pleasurable end in itself.

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing Blizzard video games and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is
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16 Responses to Question of the Week: November 21st, 2017.

  1. For one thing, I tend to be pretty clueless about whether people are trying to flirt with me, unless it’s really obvious, and I have no idea how to flirt myself.

    But it tends to trigger a strong aversion response in me, because I automatically fear that people are going to want something from me (i.e., sexual and/or romantic attraction or interest) that I’m not able to give. So I tend to immediately go into a “leave me alone, get me out of here” reaction.

  2. agigabyte says:

    There are a few people I’d be willing to flirt with, but none of them seem to be the flirting type, and I’m not one to initiate an interaction. Not to mention, I don’t know how sexual the flirting would get. Like, I’m fine with vulgar humor to a point, but if it was to get explicit, I’d probably get real averse real quickly.

    • agigabyte says:

      Oh, and as has been said by others, I don’t recognize a lot of flirting. Basically, if it’s something that could be reasonably interpreted as a legitimate question or a simple statement of fact, I’ll probably get it wrong. There’s a sweet spot of just explicit enough for me to recognize it as flirting and not explicit enough that I feel like actual sex is being suggested.

  3. Siggy says:

    The only people I ever notice flirting with me are guys that I’ve just met. I believe that’s a consequence of being in a relationship; once people get to know me even a little, they can see I’m probably not interested.

    My reaction to flirting is, “Oh, this person is flirting with me. Maybe if I pay attention I can learn more about how people flirt, which could be useful for recognizing it in my daily life, or understanding it as a social phenomenon.”

    I used to worry more that I wasn’t responding to flirting correctly, but now I think it’s difficult to actually go wrong. I can just act like I didn’t notice, and nobody can complain.

  4. DasTenna says:

    I don´t get whether people are flirting with me or not. If there´s any hint it MIGHT be a flirting situation, I´m nervous, feeling uncomfortable and want to be elsewhere, because I can´t be sure a) what this person wants or expects from me and I feel b) not treated with respect or honesty.
    There have been some rather obvious and creepy situations, too.
    It doesn´t matter how well I know the potentially flirting person; it´s not wanted and I hate it when people don´t speak their mind.

  5. luvtheheaven says:

    I think we need to better define flirting here. If I get a hint a guy is interested in me and is treating me as if I was straight, I feel like they should know I’m not interested/I’m too asexual for them even if I barely know them. Because even then, I know that much. I have very rarely gotten that hint at all though. Once I also had a queer woman asking me about my identity and what asexual meant and I got this feeling maybe she was interested in me and that was why she was asking. And it just makes me feel like I need to be a little guarded, like a person I might otherwise be able to develop a friendship with doesn’t actually want to be my friend.

    But I’m not sure what counts as flirting anyway. So…

    I just don’t feel like flirting is compatible with my version of (sex-averse, pretty aro leaning) asexuality.

    • Rivers says:

      Flirting is pretty abstract, so I think that could definitely count as them flirting with you unless we do get a more concrete definition of flirting.

      I also have gotten that uneasy feeling where, even though it’s not really spelled out in any particular way, someone is romantically interested before even getting to know me. Which just really puts me on edge. I tend to refer to this as being romance zoned.

      I had a pretty big friendship of mine burn like Rome because once the guy found someone else he liked romantically (and could actually flirt with him), I wasn’t needed anymore. Apparently the whole friendship part of our friendship wasn’t important to him. At all. It really sucks to think that in all our conversations he might have actually just been flirting with me.

  6. Rivers says:

    I am a big fan of friendship flirting, but I try to shut down anything else when it’s happening. Unless it’s explicit, flirting is just kind of abstract and confusing for me. I’ve been asked once or twice if I was flirting with strangers by people I’m not out to because I was just being friendly. Most of the time I’m too clueless to pick up on it, but when I do, I agree with DasTenna.

  7. Alex Black says:

    I don’t know, I can’t tell when people are flirting with me. I’m pretty confused as to what flirting even is.

  8. Mx. Whipstitch says:

    I am fine with it as long as it stays away from suggestive touching and saying anything they want to do with me (like date or sleep with me). I am more comfortable with acquaintance and friend flirting then an average Joe/Jane/Xan because I am into banter and smartass quips; which are easier when you know a person’s “buttons” a bit. I just have an innate aversion to overt sexual flirting. I also have a problem picking up on a “drive by flirting”. Some how I never am aware I was hit (on) by a stranger until my friends or family say something to me. But I can tell instantly if someone is a f*ckboi/gal that just wants to be crass. My skin starts to crawl just when they say, “Hi”.

  9. astarlia says:

    I like being touchy and playful with people, and I think that sometimes counts as flirting? I’m a massive brat though, and I like to give people shit as a way of showing affection, and I love people that I can be playful and fun like that with. I feel much safer doing it with people where I know they won’t take it seriously.

    I try and be careful about not getting into situations like that with people that I think are actually interested in me, bc that is a world of awkward for everyone.

    • luvtheheaven says:

      I still want to know if it can count as flirting if it’s unintentional and is just how you act with people you feel comfortable with or a way to act which to you, the “flirter”, is just being friendly. I now think with a squish there can be such a thing as friendship flirting where flirting is intentional but with a different end goal… But I still wonder how others conceptualize this. Can you be flirting and not know it? Is there objective flirting? Or if it wasn’t intentional is it then a misinterpretation.

      • Coyote says:

        “Is there objective flirting?”

        Reality Is An Illusion and Objectivity Is A Lie

      • Rivers says:

        Flirting is an intentional thing. If it’s not intentional, it wasn’t actually flirting. It was you being a nice person or having an interesting conversation, which is not the same thing as flirting. The whole thing is so ambiguous unless it’s really overt that the only thing that really ties it all together is intention. In general, people who tell you that you can flirt without knowing it/without any intentions to flirt are just trying to guilt-trip you. You can’t accidentally flirt with someone, they can only accidentally interpret you as flirting with them. Doesn’t mean you were.

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