We all do it, sometimes without even thinking about it, but when does it cross the line?
I remember an incident last year when I was standing in line to buy a drink. I could not help but overhear the guy in front of me tell the quite fetching girl behind the counter, with perfect pronunciation it has to be said, that it was not only Mount Eyjafjallajokull that was smoking.
While I was standing there I thought to myself, if we have a finite amount of space in our head for information, what did this guy have to forget in order to remember that name? Where he put his car keys perhaps?
From the look on the girl’s face I would say the art of flirting might have been the thing he lost, but then again, maybe she was just not all that familiar with Icelandic geography.
Not everyone fares that badly
For the rest of us flirting comes naturally, whether it is a compliment we give someone, the way we smile or just the way we give someone a look.
Psychologist Michael Brickey writes on his website that flirting can be harmless fun. We use it to get sympathy from a colleague, to make our partner jealous at a party, or to get people to be more helpful.
But most of all we do it to boost our self-esteem.
You have to know your audience though
Being overly friendly can be dangerous in the workplace.
Imagine if you have a naturally flirtatious personality, you touch your manager on his arm and say you really enjoyed the meeting you just had. In his mind, he just heard that you like him more than your next breath and you want to do the rumpy-pumpy in the boardroom as soon as possible.
Picture then how difficult he could make your life if he eventually found out you like the company of mosquitoes more than you like him and you were just being overly polite.
The same goes for flirting with married people. Many men are only as faithful as their options and I promise you, sometimes we really only hear what we want to hear. Watch the joviality in these two situations to protect yourself.
There is one other area that can be dangerous too
I, for one, love driving fast – there is nothing like it. For those few moments you feel free, it heightens your senses and you feel alive… that is, until the flash goes off in your rearview mirror and you are slapped back to reality with the feeling of utter regret.
It is exactly the same with flirting that went too far. It is one of the worst feelings in the world when that flash goes off in your head and you realise someone developed feelings for you because of your â??harmlessâ?? flirtation.
Here is the weird part though, you would think that once that line has been crossed we would ease off, but we donâ??t. We will still crave that attention for all it is worth, and will drag the other person along on our own self-esteem-ride for far too long.
Never play with someone elseâ??s feelings; it is one of the worst things you can do to someone else.
With great power comes great responsibility
Itâ??s natural to flirt and there is nothing wrong with it, but if you are flirtatious and quite good at it, donâ??t put yourself in danger or hurt someone along the way and you should be just fine.