When Is Flirting a Good Thing?
Have you ever "flirted" with someone?
Most of us have flirted in one way or another with another person.
It's fun, exciting and even if we don't recognize our motivation at
the time, it's a way we can get our needs met when we do it.
The question becomes--Is flirting harmful or healthy?
When one of our newsletter subscribers wrote in to ask us what we
thought about flirting, we thought it was a great topic that many
people in committed relationships have challenges around, especially
when it involves co-workers, friends or people you meet in social
The dictionary defines flirting as "to behave amorously without
serious intent" and "to deal lightly." We define flirting as focusing attention on another person with the intention to get some need of yours met.
In our opinion, in most cases when you flirt, you are sending out
"feelers" to find out how receptive the other person is to you and
whether this person will and can give you what you are wanting.
Maybe it's just a smile, laugh, a stroke for your ego, or
conversation (it could be sexual stimulation) that you are wanting--whatever it is, we all flirt to get something in return whether we know it or not.It could be that flirting helps you feel alive.
If you are not violating agreements in a committed relationship and
not violating any boundaries of the person you are flirting with, it
can be healthy and fun. The challenges begin when agreements
are violated and/or the flirting becomes unwelcome attention.
So what's the difference between flirting and just being friendly?
When you are being friendly, the intention may be to connect
with the other person on some level without a sexual agenda
or without having a strong desire for your personal needs to be
met--except for the need for friendship.
When you are flirting, there is an unspoken (or spoken) need
of some kind that you are wanting the other person to fill.
We both have flirted with other people when we were single
and when we were in our previous marriages.
For her, as Susie looks back on those times, she realizes
that she flirted to ultimately get her previous husband's attention
and to feel attractive. There was a lack within her that moved
her to attract the attention of other men. She was trying to fill
herself up by looking outward to others instead of finding
it within herself.
In hindsight, Otto now understands that he flirted to get
unmet wants and needs met. In many cases, he didn't even
realize what he was doing.He just thought that he was having
some innocent fun and a good time. Sometimes this flirting
turned out to create some challenges for him that took some
You may find it interesting to know that as in love and connected
as we are, the two of us do not wear wedding rings. Rings
symbolize commitment but also we think they are meant to be an
outward signal that the person wearing one is unavailable for
a committed or sexual relationship or whatever the couple has
When we made our marriage commitment to each other, our
intention was that we would move through our lives in such a
way that everyone we came in contact with would know that
we were committed to each other. In other words, the rings
wouldn't be necessary as an outward symbol of our love
and affection for each other.
The point is not to encourage you to throw away your rings
or to not include them in your commitment to each other if
you are in a committed relationship, but to encourage you
to look underneath at your intentions and motivations for
all of your actions, including flirting.
If flirting is a problem for you, you might want to ask yourself
these questions to help you sort out what's going on inside
--Are there needs and desires within me that are unfulfilled?
--Are there wants, needs, desires or interests unfulfilled and
missing in my committed relationship?
--Why am I flirting, how do I feel when I'm doing it and what
do I want to get out of doing it?
--Are there some other ways I can get those needs met?
If you are in a committed relationship and you are flirting
with others or your partner is flirting with others and this is
causing distance and disconnection between the two of you,
take this opportunity to focus on your needs and how they
can possibly be filled in ways that strengthen your relationship
instead of possibly destroying it.
So, when is "flirting" a good thing?
--Anytime you want to build passion, mystery and intrigue
to a relationship.
In our relationship, we "flirt" with each other all the time.
We think it makes our relationship more alive.
What we've discovered is that flirting can mean adoration,
honoring and can build passion between two people and
can be very healthy. It can also serve as a wake up call if
you are in a committed relationship and are violating
agreements within your relationship.
The challenge with "flirting" is to always make sure that it's
appropriate to be building passion, mystery and intrigue with
the person that you're flirting with.
Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books on relationships, including "Communication Magic" and "Creating Relationship Trust." In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit:
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