To Flirt Or Not To Flirt?


To Flirt Or Not To Flirt?

My sisters and I once read in a women’s magazine that girls are taught flirting from their mother’s knee. That one made us laugh.

Our mother was a staunch Catholic New Englander. She’d sooner knee us from behind than teach us to flirt. Besides, I’m pretty sure she didn’t know how herself.

The only thing she ever deliberately taught us about it was: Never do it!

From such extensive training, it seemed clear to me that flirting is something you do on purpose. Otherwise, you couldn’t decide not do it, right?

Wrong! My freshman year at a staunch Catholic New England college, I committed the act of flirting without even knowing it. I was standing in a parking lot on a moonlit night talking to a nice looking, manly guy. I had no designs on the guy but gosh it was pleasant to talk to him. Then he started acting weird. He kept raising his right shoulder, cocking his head and grinning.

“Why are you doing that?” I asked.

“Because you are,” he said.

Oh dear.


After a slightly profound moment of embarrassment, I thanked the moonlit guy for letting me know. “Now if you’ll excuse me,” I said, “I’m going out to buy a neck brace.”

Here on CatholicMatch, there are no moonlit nights to blame for unplanned flirting. But members sometimes complain that they’ve been burned. Someone acted interested in them and then abruptly stopped communicating. They are frustrated and feel they’ve been lead on.

Since I’m not privy to any of those exchanges, I can only imagine why. Could it be that one person was interested in getting to know the other but not as intensely as appeared (or hoped)? Since this is online, understandably, some people will want to be slow and careful. Not only that, they will often want to talk to more than one person at first and get exclusive later.

Are they flirting and then not following up? OR, are they more like me and they just never learned the finer points of flirting? Or even what it is!

Clearly, a definition is in order. Since Webster was a New Englander, what would he know? So I tried the Urban Dictionary. Here is their top definition:

Urban Flirting

“You dinking around with the opposite sex.”

What’s “dinking around?” Sounds like something my mother would beat me with a rosary for.

I scrolled down further:

“You have to say something that peaks their interest without giving them any concrete ideas.”

No concrete ideas. Check. No clue how to spell piques. Check.

But if you really want to talk confusing, how about:

“Even if you don’t like someone, it’s a fun thing to do. If you like someone, this shows that person that you like them.”

I gave up. Maybe mom was right. Just don’t do it. All this time I thought she was telling me it was a sin. Maybe it’s really just too complicated to figure out. Unless…

Help me, Uncle Webster! What. Is. Flirting?

Flirting by Webster

“To behave in a way that shows a sexual attraction for someone…”

Okay, keep talking.

“… But is not meant to be taken seriously.”

Wait, it’s not serious? Ever?!

Nope. So don’t feel betrayed if flirting comes and then goes. That’s its nature. It’s not a sign of commitment or deep interest. Sometimes it’s an involuntary response to an interesting person—moonlit guy. Other times it’s a purposeful way to see if someone would be interested in you.

But—sorry to disagree Mom—do use it. Flirting is supposed to be playful and fun. It’s supposed to pique someone’s interest. And after that, their interest might even peak.






  1. Anastasia-1180096 May 29, 2017 Reply

    I liked a guy at work and my sister told me to flirt with him. But after she gave me the suggestion, we both google “how to flirt with a guy.” It just made me even nervous. I realized that in this day and age, being friendly could easily be mistaken as flirting. I mistaken somebody who was being friendly that he was flirting at me!! I decided that I will not flirt with the guy I am interested in, but I will simply tell him stories and ask him questions! I gave up on learning how to flirt haha. I am still looking for my Boaz, but at least when I find him, I will show my interest by befriending them with an engaging conversation, pray for me Susie!

  2. Maria-1428987 May 21, 2017 Reply

    I recently was texting someone; however, it turns out that I was texting his sister who was answering for him my inquiries. This wasn’t the only concern I have with this situation. He also had a mental health issue; never mentioned it and wouldn’t have had I not noticed something off on our first meeting.
    He did some flirting, which does pique someone’s interest. I also learned that photos may be rather old.
    I learned to be on my guard more now.

  3. Dave-975259 May 16, 2017 Reply

    These days just a smile can be turned in to sexual harassment . Look up MGTOW guys and read the post with an open mind .

  4. Ume S. May 16, 2017 Reply

    Depends on the flirting aspects, if it morally is justifiable but rervse is the case I totally forbid it

  5. Miles-814 May 10, 2017 Reply

    My experience has been that, unless you are going to follow through all of the way, it’s best not to flirt. We were taught in the Church not to flirt at all. Instead, one must respectfully and patiently get to know those of the opposite gender who are around you. That way, others get to know you and can see that you don’t flirt with just anyone. It is, both, a matter of respect and solid foundation-building.

  6. Gregory-1082518 May 9, 2017 Reply

    Poised and elegant flirting is a gift to men: it makes them feel sexually attractive without any of the unfortunate sinning. I do agree that it takes skill from both parties not to cross over into mixed signal territory however.

  7. Jordan-1441801 May 7, 2017 Reply

    Thank you for the pique/peak jokes. That typo always drives me nuts.

  8. Stephanie-1368834 May 7, 2017 Reply

    I suppose flirting is like a teeter-totter; it could go either way. On one hand it’s playful and fun, yet on the other hand, you could shatter someone’s heart, as Joseph shared above. I’m probably old-fashioned and thusly, would prefer to not flirt lest I know there’s a mutual attraction for each other.

  9. Laura-56149 May 7, 2017 Reply

    I like your play with words. A fun and enlightening read.

  10. Joseph-1167946 May 7, 2017 Reply

    I’ve had a woman give mixed signals to me and it has left a bitter taste in my mouth.

  11. Nina-1231969 May 7, 2017 Reply

    I was beautiful but innocent, he was older, wealthy, prince in disguise, only flirting. I didn’t know, it broke my heart, i died of it. — the story of the ballet Gisele.
    Be careful of who you’re flirting with and why. “Never do it” because you might hurt someone. Especially if you underestimate your own attractiveness to the person or their susceptibility.

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