Credit: Paramount Pictures

Flirting is something at which I used to excel. (At least I think I did?) I attribute it to being younger and having crushes on multiple people all at once, so it was just fun. And if flirting with someone didn’t lead anywhere, sometimes I didn’t even mind because a romantically charged conversation with someone I found attractive was still an enjoyable conversation. But I noticed once after several back to back serious relationships where my flirting consisted of inside jokes with my significant other, I seemed to have lost my touch when it came to the light banter-ish flirting I used to consider a second language. I began second guessing things in my head. Whether certain statements sounded like I was coming on too strong. Or if the guy even noticed when I was flirting. If you’ve found yourself in this same predicament, let’s bond over all the things you understand when you think you’re not adept at flirting.

Is flirting different than just talking?

A friend of mine says that her sarcastic witty demeanor is often mistaken as flirting and she’s confused by it because she speaks the same way to everyone, and actually personally thinks that she has no idea how to flirt. Whereas I feel like the majority of my conversations have some sort of a naturally playful undertone but I’ve become unsure how to turn it up a notch when I’m truly interested in someone and want him to notice that I’m paying more attention to him. Is flirting creating an entirely different persona or alter ego? Like Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce? Kept under wraps until you need to be a bolder version of yourself?

Talking at work isn’t flirting…right?

After working all day with someone on a freelance job, I politely said no to giving him my phone number. He became irate and accused me of smiling and being nice all day towards him prompting him to ask. Exchanging niceties or creating a pleasant work environment is NOT the same as flirting and while it was fine for him to take a chance and ask for my number, it was wrong of him to react in a hostile manner when I said no.

Are they missing your flirt signals or just not interested?

A great deal of flirting IS subtle. So when you think you’re low key flirting, if the other person doesn’t respond is it because they’re missing your innuendo or they’re not interested? And when it’s the other way around you don’t want to assume someone is flirting if you’re not sure. Plus flirting in real life versus flirting online is different! What does that emoji mean? What tone of voice would he or she say this in IRL? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Where is the line between flirting and friendliness?

I asked a guy I like to accompany me to the movies, but that can easily be seen as a friend invite, not a flirtatious one. But sometimes the friendly invite paves the way to open the door to flirting. It’s a way of easing into it if you’re not entirely sure where things stand or if that person is going to be receptive.

Ideally, I always want my flirting to come across effortlessly and seem cool. Not give voice to the internal monologue of “omg I totally want to kiss you RIGHT NOW.” Sometimes it’s awkward holding back feelings when you know you definitely want to spend a ton more time with someone, but you don’t want to come across as too aggressive.

I’m fairly confident that communication of a romantic nature is always going to have its hiccups, its miscommunications, and its overall “I don’t know what’s happening!” Flirting is no exception, it’s a balance of trying to read someone else and opening yourself up to possible rejection or a new experience, which even in a casual sense can be daunting! And that’s why some of us aren’t the best at it, but who cares. If another person can see past our awkward attempts at flirting that’s what matters. Plus think of all the amazingly embarrassing stories we have to share with our friends.

[Image via Universal Pictures]