Flirting can put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
Flirting is an innocent interaction that lets people realize that both find the other attractive, without an agenda. The Merriam-Webster definition is “To behave amorously without serous intent.” There is no promise of intimacy or anything else. Europeans often have a more relaxed attitude about this. Some Americans that I interviewed for this article, seemed to think flirting was a prelude to a sexual encounter. I had a short flirtation while in the queue at a post office in London. The parting wink was lovely too. More often I have these flirtatious moments in France or Italy. Be open to them when at home or on the road.
What are the parameters?
Are you in a safe place (public)? Are you where one of you has to stay put (like on a city bus or behind a counter)? No overt sexual remarks or references to body parts (breasts) are made. You both feel comfortable with the interaction. There is a café where the staff are also writers, singers, therapist and so forth. I flirt shamelessly with one guy who works there and is quite charming . We laugh a lot. Would we ever go out? No way. The bonus is I take more care with my appearance when I am out and about – which is beneficial when running into colleagues and potential buyers for my book.
Flirting with someone at a bar or club can be an invitation to something more. Flirting at a party can be iffy. You are amongst people, yet the other individual may think that they will get lucky. There is a balance of power between equals – not a boss and subordinate engaging in this activity. Be careful of being flirtatious at your workplace as you do not want to be accused of sexual harassment.
Having boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not, is important. Here is an example. On a Nile Cruise in Egypt, sometimes the manager would help out at the front desk during the busy times. When he handed me my key, he often said “That is my cabin too.” I laughed, said something, knowing it was just in fun. This was mild flirting. A young staff member must have overheard this and one morning he called me “Baby.” I firmly put him in his place and told him I was a mother of two sons. I matter of factly changed the conversation to what sights I would be seeing that day. He got the picture and was respectful the rest of the time. Had he not been, I would have spelled it out to him in a stronger manner. I enforced my boundaries.
A seventy-year-old woman bristled when I asked her if she did any flirting. She denied any, saying that was what her ex did when he was having an affair. I was surprised a week later when I got her phone call, “Oh Wendi, I thought about your question on flirting. I had the best time doing a little bit this afternoon.” Now I get periodic updates on this new activity. She is bubbly and enjoying this innocent pastime. Consider giving flirting a go.