I'd like to think that everyone has had moments of obliviousness wherein they'd don't realize that somebody is obviously flirting with them — that is, until it's way later.
So, to help realize those moments in real-time, a now-defunct user asked, "People who are good at flirting, what are some social cues us oblivious people should watch out for?" In response, knowledgeable flirts chimed in with everything from funny tips to profound insights. So take a look for yourself and find out if you've been oblivious this whole time:
1. "If they look directly at you while talking to their friend, it's a good sign."
2. "Good at flirting also means recognizing when the other party isn't receptive. If they're answering briskly and killing conversation, cut your losses and move on."
3. "Does their body turn toward you or away from you when you talk? Do they mirror your body language?"
4. "Physical contact. Granted, not everyone flirts the same way, but a good sign is if they touch your arm (or the like) or if you find them smiling the whole time that you're talking to them."
5. "I read once that if someone looks at you after someone (doesn't have to be you) said something funny, and everyone is laughing, they like you. From personal experience, it's true."
6. "Seriously, tell a bad joke — look for laughter and smiles that should not be there but are. Then it's you they are into, definitely not what you said."
7. "One time, I got the courage to look someone in the eyes and said, 'I need one of those hugs that turn into sex.' He laughed, said, 'Me, too,' and then continued talking about what we were previously talking about. I thought about running face-first into a wall."
8. "Complimenting you over things that are sort of arbitrary (like you're brave for doing something not even scary or difficult). They're taking any chance they can to make you feel good."
9. "Does someone spend a lot of time around you? I'm terrible at flirting, but that's my method. Hang out. Be with this person. See if you vibe."
10. "Be wary of a one-sided conversation. If your responses are met with mostly 'yep' and 'uh-huh' and nothing with meat, it's probably not going well."
11. "I remember going on nine dates with a girl who 'just got out of a long relationship and just wanted to be friends,' to which I had said, 'Cool, let's just hang out then.' One night, she was dropping me off at my place after a movie. She turned the car off and put her arm on my headrest as we chatted before I got out. I was fully in the mindset that we were just friends, so I. Shook. Her. Hand. Goodnight."
12. "Generally, there's no one thing that gives it away. Everyone says to look for eye contact, look at posture, look for mimicry, etc. And, sure, there's some truth to that, but no one should be expected to keep track of all of those things, and not everyone exhibits any particular one. In my experience, almost everyone can get a sense that someone is into them, but most people second guess themselves until they convince themselves it's nothing. I say trust that sense. It's based on all of these factors that we pick up consciously and subconsciously, and, almost always, it's not a coincidence. When you think someone likes you, you can test that theory in a few ways."
13. "A few examples of things that have helped give away someone's feelings for me: Telling their friends about me. Remembering my schedule or other similar information. Telling me about their previous interest with striking similarities. Bragging about themselves in ways that would make a potential partner happy (i.e. 'I give great back massages,' or, 'I cook a mean omelet'). Asking what my plans are at the end of a party/gathering instead of their friends. Looking for or grasping onto shared interests."
14. "They make a lot of eye contact. They are interested in what you have to say and ask you lots of questions. They laugh at your jokes, even the lame ones. They initiate physical contact. They try to find space where you can talk more privately (this does not always mean sex, but it often means they wish for more quality time with you). However, do not take these as signs that a worker is interested in you. They literally get paid to seem interested in the concerns of every customer and client."
"Furthermore, any of these one signs alone is NOT confirmation that someone likes you. Everyone flirts differently, and some may not even use any of the above. These were simply some traits that came to mind based on my limited experience.
I have never been an expert at reading signals (I was always shy), but I think the most important aspect of flirting is demonstrating that you take a keen interest in the other person and want as much one-on-one time to get to know them better as a person. Some people will rush the sexual aspect of dating, at which point their flirtations become more physical and obvious. But for most dating adults, signals are more subtle and revealed through conversation."—u/TheSurfingRaichu
15. "When a person is making relatively sensual physical contact, please — and I mean PLEASE — get flustered or at least mentally flustered. Do not ignore them because you've known them for a while. Do not pass it off as jokes, look for some signals. You'll regret not doing so."
16. "Everyone is giving good advice, but flirting didn't click for me until I heard it described not as a set of behaviors to look out for, but as an escalation of suggestive behaviors couched in plausible deniability. Put practically, if someone is doing something to engage you that feels extra — lots of touching, looking at you in a way that feels a bit too long, or doing a lot of poking fun and complimenting you — then that might be flirting or it might not. That's the whole point. Plausible deniability. They can safely disengage at any time. If you want to know if someone's flirting, you need to test it. You do that by escalating things, but just a bit, so that now you have plausible deniability — touch them back in a comfortable way, maintain eye contact, or joke-compliment them back. If they escalate back and continue to do so as you escalate in turn, that is flirting."
17. "Take it from me. We were in a club she wanted to go to, and she was checking the girls out and asked which one I liked. I told her the girl with the hair to one side. Now get this, my dumbass noticed she put her hair to one side but thought nothing of it. I'm sure she sent out more hints and cues, but, being a guy with poor self-worth, I brushed it all off — there's no way she's into me. I was so wrong. It took one of her guy friends telling me that she hasn't shut up about me all night to realize that, hang on, she does? Long story short, if you think there's a chance, don't be a dumbass and wait for luck to punch you in the face as it did me. Take the chance."
18. "When people go out of their way to do something for you or say they really like spending time with you."
19. "It really depends on who you're talking to. My advice is to be observant. Some prefer to banter. Usually, when coming up with something witty, they return back what you said but in a playful or opposing manner or playfully challenge your views. Some are a little more lowkey and show their more playful side when you're alone. So, it could also be a sign if they change their aura from normal or serious to playful when it's just you."
20. "If you're in a group of friends (new or old), find a natural opportunity to hang back. Someone who's interested in you will notice and take the opportunity to talk to you in private. Now, this isn't foolproof, but it'll at least give you the opportunity to feel for any chemistry between you."
21. "Mirroring body language. This is a tactic employed by people who work in sales, and it's not always conscious. This is a psychological disarmament tactic that we, as humans, deploy on each other. In the case of someone who likes you, while interacting, watch for repetitious patterns and mimic their body language. Eventually, if you cross your arms and the person whose attention you are seeking does the same, you can rely on that being a good sign."
22. "When someone who is usually composed in conversations gets nervous and mixes up words when talking with you. For example, I met a girl and her friends the night before her birthday. I didn't speak much to her, but when we were departing, I wished her a happy birthday for tomorrow, she replied, 'You, too,' and then got all flustered as she left the train. I watched her on the platform get teased by her friends."
23. "Everybody's social cues are different. Some may be more extreme than others, so don't take 'flirting cues' too seriously. Some people are just really friendly."
24. "Mirroring. Take a look at your texts and see if they try to use the same emojis or same words as you do. They could even mirror some of your mannerisms if you meet up."
25. "I tend to lean in a lot. If you are the flirter, talk A LITTLE quiet so that they lean into you."
26. "I've noticed that women will make a little adjustment to you, like brushing off a little piece of lint off your lapel or moving a stray hair off your face while talking to you — or at least they did back in my rogue days."
27. "When you're bad at flirting, it's not that you don't see the signals. It's that you don't interpret the signals correctly, or you convince yourself that it cannot possibly mean that when you see the signal for what it is. At its root, it's a confidence issue. So it's not fixable by other people being more obvious or knowing what to look for, you have to fix yourself."
28. "Trying to get close to you or orbit around you. They'll try and stand or sit near you, perhaps even hover a bit. Similarly, hanging around to leave at the same time as you do. They may just pretend to look at their phone or take a really long time packing their bag, and they'll happen to start leaving when you do (consistently) so that they can converse with you on the way out."
"These could be signs of friendship for some people, so it's definitely not foolproof. However, these are things I myself use to flirt or have been used on me." —u/BrickCake