How to Tell if Someone is Flirting?

Whether you want to know how to flirt or wonder, "Is he flirting with me?" it's essential to know the difference between flirting and friendly conversation. 

Flirting is defined as "behaving as": Though attracted, or trying to attract someone, but for amusement rather than serious intentions." But that's not much help when it comes to checking out your cute officemate's purposes.

To figure out if someone is flirting with you, you'll have to do a little detective work since it's not always readily apparent. Read on to learn the signs that men and women give out when they're flirting.

What Does it Mean to Be Flirtatious?

Flirting is a way for people to signal interest and attraction. It lets people indicate interest in small amounts and gauge whether the other person is receptive before making a big move. People often flirt to let someone know they're interested in them, but there are other reasons people flirt as well, including:

  • Just for fun or to spice up an otherwise dull day
  • To gauge if someone is interested in them
  • To find a romantic partner
  • To encourage someone to complete a task
  • To build or reinforce their self-esteem
  • To find a sexual partner

What Are the Different Types of Flirtation?

How you flirt may depend on your personality. Researchers have identified five different styles of flirting based on nature. These include:

  • Physical. This style includes expressing interest or desire through body language, touch, and other nonverbal methods.
  • Traditional. People who use this style stick with conventional gender roles, with men making the first move and women signaling interest through more subtle cues like making eye contact.
  • Playful. In this flirting style, the goal is to have fun, not necessarily to start a relationship. This fun flirting style is associated with lots of laughing, joking, and teasing.
  • Sincere. Sincere flirters form an emotional bond by being friendly, making people feel comfortable, and establishing a good rapport with them.
  • Polite. The polite type of flirting is marked by caution. People who use this style of flirting tend to be reserved, often so that they won't embarrass themselves, avoid rejection, and be selective.

What Are the Body Cues Associated with Flirting?

someone is flirting

It can be hard to tell if someone is flirting with you, so here are some signs to look for:

  • They look for reasons to touch you. They may brush your arm or feel your hand when they are near you.
  • They tease you or jokingly pick on you. They may be testing the waters to see how you respond before showing overt interest.
  • They play with their clothes. Playing with their sleeve or fidgeting with a button could indicate interest.
  • They send you a lot of glances. Catching your eye might be flirtation rather than pure chance.
  • They make prolonged eye contact. In addition to lots of glances, if someone is holding eye contact, they may signal their interest in you.
  • They let you catch them checking you out. It's easy enough to be discreet, so chances are if you see someone sizing you up, they want you to know they're interested.
  • Their body language is open. Their body and feet are facing you. If their feet are turned away when they're talking to you, they probably aren't flirting.
  • They're always the first to like or comment on your social media posts. Flirting doesn't have to end just because you're not together.
  • They try to get closer to you. If someone looks for chances to get closer to you by moving their chair closer to you or leaning in, they're probably expressing their interest.
  • Their eyebrows lift when they see you. This is a quick, unconscious way that people signal romantic interest.

What Are the Cues that Women Display when Flirting?

If you're wondering how to tell if a woman is flirting with you, there are some distinct signals that women send when they're flirting, including:

  • A short, sideways glance at the person they're interested in
  • Eye contact for more than three seconds
  • Tossing her head and lifting her face
  • Leaning in closer
  • Smiling, laughing, or giggling
  • Flipping her hair with her hand
  • Tilting her head 45 degrees and exposing her neck
  • Nodding her head in conversation

What Are the Cues that Men Display when Flirting?

men flirting

How do guys flirt differently than girls? If you're wondering how to tell if a guy is flirting with you, here are some signs to look for:

  • He'll try to attract your attention
  • He'll play with his hair, either to smooth it down or mess it up
  • He'll smooth his lapel or stroke his tie
  • He'll pull up his socks
  • He'll stand taller and lean closer
  • He'll let you catch him checking you out
  • He'll spread his legs when he sits opposite of you
  • When he's looking at you, he'll touch his face a lot
  • He'll button and unbutton his jacket
  • He'll sit on the edge of his seat to get closer to you
  • He'll roll his glass in his hands
  • He'll "accidentally" touch you a lot
  • He'll put his hand on your back or arm to guide you
  • He'll loan you his jacket

What Are the Cue Differences Between Being Flirtatious and Being Friendly?

It can be challenging to tell if someone is flirting or just being friendly. Both men and women are often confused about flirting, although for different reasons. Men tend to overestimate women's sexual interest when just being nice. On the other hand, women tend to think men are just lovely when they're flirting.

Friendliness and flirtatiousness often look the same, so you must look at things in context. However, here are some signs that can help you know if someone is flirting with you and not just being friendly:

  • Prolonged eye contact is often a hallmark of flirtation. If you want to know someone's intentions, look for eye contact that is direct and lasts longer than normal.
  • Physical contact is another sign that someone's feelings go beyond just friendliness.
  • They'll talk about sex. If they're interested in you romantically, sex may playfully enter the conversation.
  • They ask more in-depth questions when they're talking to you.
  • They let you know they're single.
  • They act like you're the only person in the room. If someone is flirting with you they'll give you all of their focus.  

While there's a fine line between friendly and flirtatious, definite cues point to one intention or the other. You may also display these cues when you're interested in being more than friends. The next time you're chatting with someone you like, pay attention to the signals they give off to determine if they may be interested in taking the next step. 


Flirt. Oxford English Dictionary. 

Flirting. Psychology Today. 

What Is Your Flirting Style? How Do You Flirt? (December 2020). Psychology Today. 

10 surprising signs that someone is flirting with you. (November 2018). Insider.

11 Major Flirting Techniques for Women. (June 2017). Psychology Today.

18 body language clues that say he's interested — definitely. (March 2018). Today. 

Here's How To Tell If Someone's Being Friendly — Or Flirty. (May 20Mauricio Sordille18). Bustle.