There is a thick line that differentiates friendliness from flirting. But some people still confuse the two. Even after it has been made clear that flirting was never their intention.
Women have often been on the receiving end of this confusion. Talk to any woman in your life and you’ll come across funny as well as scary stories of how some man took her friendliness for flirting and would not back down even after she made it clear. We found a Reddit thread where women discussed the behaviours they have adopted to ensure that their friendliness does not come across as flirting. Here are some of the responses.
1. “I don’t care. Honestly, if you are so human interaction deprived that you think me saying ‘good morning, how are you?’ is flirting, that’s on you.” – onlytexts
2. “I have a pretty close group of guy friends and to make sure none of them gets the wrong idea (best friends to lovers arc? no, thank you), I usually talk to them with a slightly deeper voice and use more masculine gestures and postures. Subtle, but I think it completely takes any potential for flirtiness out of it.” – bambi_gaming
3. “Honestly, even breathing can get confused for being flirtatious sometimes. I give up. There’s always going to be that one guy who will convince themselves that you’re flirting with them even if you were staring into space thinking about your next meal.” – WalkingAnimation
4. “Casually mentioning my partner as often and as early as possible in a conversation, minimal eye contact, and body turned away from whoever I’m talking to.” – Banana_boof
5. “No eye contact. No smiling. Being funnier than them, lots of guys hate that.” – chillingismybusiness
6. “Throw in a ‘bestie’ or ‘bro’ every once in a while. I picked up ‘so true, bestie’ whenever I agree with someone and now I have to stop myself from saying it on dates.” – 21ratsinatrenchcoat
7. “Talking about my partner a lot in a positive light. Even if we are having issues at the moment, I don’t want someone thinking they have an in. I don’t get close to their personal space. I keep my smiling and eye contact in check. If you smile too much at a guy, not only do they think you want them, other people think so too.” – ConcreteKeys
8. “Talking about the boyfriend I don’t have.” – Ok_Ad_5658
9. “Saying ‘as a friend’ when starting a sentence, or throwing in an insult here and there.” – Luna__tic
10. “I correct men. If they think I’m flirting, I tell them I’m not. If they take an observation as a compliment/a gateway into flirting, I also shut that down. It comes off as rude sometimes, but I’m not trying to give anyone the idea I’m interested in them. It’s better to be clear the first time.” – Upset_Bee_2052
11. “Being absolutely disinterested in their feelings about certain things. Not in a mean way, but just not asking too many personal questions. I’ve found that simply being a listening ear and friendly and asking about deeper opinions sometimes makes people (mostly, men) think you are flirting. The feeling of garnering unwanted, unsolicitied attention or expectations makes me feel so uncomfortable. I’ve learned to basically grey-rock in those situations. Honestly learned to do that from a young age, sadly.” – SmoothConfidence
12. “I just stopped smiling unless I was genuinely laughing about something.” – HiveFleetOuroboris
13. “I think, a lot of it is in the eyes. I probably led guys on unintentionally with my eye contact when younger, I watch that now. Some guys won’t take the hint, no matter what you do though.” – anon_mg3 ·
14. “No flirty emojis or texting them all the time.” – ls913
15. “This is something I don’t worry about as much after being married – because, for some awful reason, men respect other men over respecting me.” Delicious-Humor-2019
16. “My resting bitch face.” – incognitobunnie
17. “So grateful for this post. Two days ago, I said ‘Hello!’ to a stranger at my hotel. Apparently, he took that to mean I would be interested in ‘watching a movie’ in his room. TF?!?!” – ywarren1
18. “I’m a generally touchy person – a pat on the shoulder, a quick hand squeeze to show empathy, a playful elbow nudge when funny, always with hugs. I’ve had to cut that out entirely when working in a male predominant field.” – onlyalittlebitneedy
These answers only paint a sorry picture. It is unfortunate how women have to mould their behaviour around men to ensure their kindness does not brush off otherwise. It’s sad how women have to resort to these measures because some men cannot understand basic kindness nor take a no for an answer.