“How can I tell if a woman is flirting or just being nice?”
Did your heart skip a beat last time an attractive waitress lingered to make conversation?
What about when your new coworker made a joke and maybe-possibly-might-have winked at you but probably just had something in her eye?
Have you ever laid awake at night wondering if the friendly woman in your cooking class who always wants to partner up might be waiting for you to ask her out?
It’s a question as old as dating:
“Is she flirting with me, or is she just being friendly?”
Today, we’ll be going over a few tips to help you tell the difference between a platonic smile and a come-hither glance.
It’s all about…
- paying attention to her words and actions,
- discerning the context around her words and actions, and
- using a handy checklist to decide whether you should ask her out or not.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a clearer idea of what she might be thinking and what you’d like to do about it.
But before we get to that…
Why is the question “Is she flirting with me?” so very common?
As a human who (likely) does not possess mind-reading powers, you’re probably accustomed to not knowing exactly what other people are thinking exactly when they’re thinking it.
You don’t know what Bob from accounting wants for his lunch order, for example, and yet that question doesn’t weigh heavily on you. You just ask him before you dial the restaurant. No big deal.
But flirting can seem like a delicate dance, mired in subtleties and context, that often looks complex and foreign if you’re not used to it.
One wrong move, and you risk the whole encounter going nowhere (or worse, an awkward conversation with Human Resources).
Pick the right moves, however, and you could end up with your soulmate.
Flirting can be intimidating because the stakes are higher and nobody follows exactly the same set of rules as anybody else.
Shy or quiet guys can sometimes get stuck wondering, “Is she flirting with me?” and find themselves confused about what to do next.
That’s why learning to interpret the signs correctly and deciding whether or not to take action is so important!
Now, let’s get started.
Pay attention to what she says and what she does.
Inherent in the question “Is she flirting with me?” is the notion that you think she might be. Which means she is doing or saying something to make you curious about her intentions.
As an introverted and likely shy guy, you’re probably not going around assuming most women are into you. So the fact that your gut is speaking up and telling you there could be something there is evidence in itself.
It’s not a definitive answer, but it’s one item you can tally under the “probably flirting” category.
To get any further, you’ll need to break down the things she has said or done that caught your interest.
Here’s a list of things women do that are probably just friendly gestures:
- Smiling and greeting you,
- Holding open doors for you,
- Complimenting your intellect or sense of humor,
- Offering to pay or split the check for a work lunch,
- Asking questions about how your family is doing, how work is going, or what you did last weekend, or
- Offering to help you with a troubling project.
If you could easily see yourself doing any of these friendly gestures for any of your guy friends, chances are that she sees you as a friend.
However, the following are all examples of indications that she could be interested in more than friendship:
- Changing her schedule so she works more shifts with you,
- Asking leading questions to find out if you have a girlfriend,
- Complimenting your physical features,
- Asking leading questions to see what you’re doing next weekend, or
- Suggesting you come over to her place to work on a project.
If she combines any of the above list with the “classic” flirting signs, she’s not only flirting, it’s likely she’s trying to be obvious about it to get you to notice.
For a more in-depth look at classic flirting signs and how you can successfully return the interest, check out this post: “How Do You Figure Out Flirting Signs as an Engineer?”
Next, take a look at the context.
There are a few very obvious flirting signs, such as the ones in the link above, but most tend to be ambiguous. And even the most obvious of flirty signals might mean something else entirely when you add in other factors.
The best way to sort out “friendly” from “flirtatious” is to layer as much context as possible on top of whatever it is she was doing and saying in the previous step.
A female friend pressing her body against yours would be an obvious indication of interest for most of the year, but if it’s mid-winter and her teeth are chattering, her motivation could be entirely practical.
There are plenty of scenarios which could affect or completely change your interpretation of her actions, but this list of questions should help get you thinking along the right lines:
- Do the two of you have a history together?
- Has either of you recently gotten out of a relationship?
- Does she have a reason to be extra nice to you (for example, if you’re a teaching assistant interested in a grad student, might she be super friendly to get on your good side)?
- Does it take any extra effort on her part, and does she go out of her way to talk to you?
This is one of those cases where no online guide will be able to tell you definitively whether her intentions are flirtatious or not (That’s what our coaching program is for!).
As you read through this and ask yourself questions to put the situation in context, you might find that things seem a lot clearer than you originally thought.
So, should you ask her out or not?
After reading the previous two sections, is your gut pushing you strongly in one direction or the other? You might have a feeling that she has been flirting with you all along, or that she just wants to be friends.
If so, you’ve probably answered your original question.
But if you’re still wondering “Is she flirting with me?” after working your way through the first part of this post, here’s the cool part:
It kind of doesn’t matter.
The reason you’re wondering “Is she flirting with me?” and reading online articles about flirting signs is likely because, on some level, you’re entertaining the thought of asking her out. You just wanted some reassurance that she’s probably going to say yes before you do so.
Sure, it’s always nice to have confirmation that a woman likes you before you make your move. We totally get that.
But a confident, handsome, benevolent badass like yourself is free to take a leap and be the first one to show interest, right? ;)
Still sitting firmly on the fence? Use this checklist to help you decide whether it’s worth pursuing a date with your lady of interest:
- [ ] Asking her out will not result in either of you getting in trouble at work. (For example, you’re not asking out your boss or starting a forbidden office romance.)
- [ ] Starting a relationship with this woman will not negatively affect any of your existing personal relationships. (For example, she’s not your best friend’s ex.)
- [ ] You can’t think of any compelling reason you shouldn’t ask her out, aside from worrying she will say no.
If you’ve checked all the boxes, then the answer is a resounding yes.
And yes, it’s okay to worry that she will say no. Just keep in mind that, absent the serious repercussions in the above checklist, the worst that can happen is that you feel awkward around her for a while.
Super not a big deal, in the scheme of things!
You’ve got this. ;)
Conclusion on answering the question “Is she flirting with me, or just being friendly?”
By now you probably have an idea of her intentions and an even better idea of what you’d like to do about it.
In the end, it all comes down to…
- learning to interpret the difference between “friendly” signs and “flirting” signs,
- applying context clues to make the situation clearer, and
- asking her out anyway, because the worst that could happen is an awkward feeling, which will pass!
If the thought of “asking her out anyway” makes you feel like a deer in headlights, don’t worry! Our free ebook, “Why PUA Doesn’t Work for Introverts & What Works Instead, is a great first step toward building the confidence to do exactly that.
Perhaps, though, your situation feels more complex. We’ve got your back! Customized, personal dating advice for your specific situation is what our Launch Your Dating Life program is all about. Apply here for a 1:1 phone call, and we can talk about whether this program would be the best fit for you.