"I don't mind stalkers. As long as they're socially-responsible stalkers." - Yellow
Question #90999 posted on 02/28/2018 4:54 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So there is this guy who I thought was flirting with me but it turns out that he has a girlfriend. Maybe he is one of those guys who is just nice to everyone an is naturally charming. I have met people like that before so I don't want to rule it out for him and I don't know this guy well I have only talked to him twice.

So I may have flirted back( is it possible to flirt back if he wasn't flirting?) or I may have been extra nice because I though he was cute.

The point is looking back now I kind of feel stupid. Has this ever happened to you? How can I prevent it in the future? Now I don't want to flirt with anyone until I know their personality well.

-Thanks!

A:

Dear You're Welcome,

As it turns out, a fair number of my guy friends are married/in relationships. And one of these friends in particular says one of the best things about being married is the fact he can be nice without people thinking he's flirting (people can just see the ring on his finger and realize he really is just being nice). 

I bring this up because it highlights how for YSA's, if we run into someone of the opposite sex and they're particularly nice to us, we assume that person must be flirting. After all, it's part of the social game of trying to date more andin Provo at leastgetting married. This social construct makes it difficult to see when someone else is playing the game, or whether they're being genuinely nice (of course there are total tools who really do flirt with everyone regardless of being in a relationship, but I'm not going to go into that). I'm not sure that I have any good pointers for how to see through this, but I do have one piece of advice: be nice. Though you can't control how people will interpret your actions, be genuinely kind to others. And if you find out for sure that someone isn't in a relationship... feel free to start flirting beyond general niceness.

~Anathema

A:

Dear Thanks,

Girl, I feel you. This is an ongoing situation for me and it’s confusing and difficult, so maybe discussing it would help us both.

I’m currently in training for a new role with Disney, and there is one particular man in my training class who flirts casually with me. It was never anything big or overt, but he would tell me that I looked pretty that day, or be especially braggy in front of me. I knew he had a girlfriend, but he didn’t really do anything to cross the line into definite flirting, so I wasn’t thinking too much of it.

Then one week we all needed to blow off steam, so we agreed to go out for drinks after work. He had been paying particular attention to me that week, and I had recently realized I was attracted to him, so I discussed it with my friend Emerald and we were curious to see how he acted outside of a work environment.

And he was definitely flirting with me. He sat by me specifically and joked with me. And he spent most of the night messaging Emerald and talking about how amazing I was. Towards the end of the night, he even messaged me about how I “came out of nowhere” and he “didn’t know how to process it.” The flirting was more defined from that point on, and despite knowing about his relationship, I couldn't help developing feelings for him. It was difficult to balance the desire to flirt back with him with the knowledge that he was dating someone, because I didn't want to mess with an existing relationship.

After a couple of weeks and many discussions with Emerald about me, he finally figured out his priorities and sent me a long message about how much he enjoyed my company and "would be lying if I said I didn't have genuine interest" but that he needed to keep his commitment to his girlfriend. Which is what he needed to do, even if it did sting a little bit.

However, that hasn't stopped the flirting.

It's not quite as obvious or specific, but he'll lean over while I'm in the middle of a work call and just whisper "You're so pretty" or he'll mention that I'm the greatest and that he appreciates me. It's all flattering stuff, and he's not wrong, because I am pretty awesome, but it's still confusing and mildly frustrating and I'm not sure what the appropriate thing to do is.

So, being in the middle of this same situation myself, I can say that I definitely do feel a little bit stupid, but it's totally possible to prevent it in the future. The simple solution? Don't flirt back. Don't flirt back unless it's someone you know well enough to know you're interested in them and know for sure that they're single. You can't control anyone else's behavior, but you can control yourself. Likewise, you can't always correctly interpret whether someone is flirting with you, but you know how you act when you're flirting, so just don't do it.

That may be easier said than done, if you're sincerely attracted to someone, but if it makes you feel any better, I'm going through it too and I believe in you.

Love,

Luciana