Seeking your advice, thoughts, opinions, whatever. The flirtatious edition.

I attended a going away party this past Thursday night.

We gathered at a bar. Naturally.

There was a lot of drinking involved. Naturally.

After the obligatory tequila shots, I watched as a friend proceeded to flirt with most of the men there. I’ve worked with this girl for a while now and have come to know her fairly well. She’s rather introverted (I think I know a little something about that) and definitely comes out of her shell with the aid of alcohol (I might know a little something about that, too).

As she happens to be married (her husband wasn’t in attendance), I have mixed feelings about her behavior. To each his (or her) own, certainly… but I was intrigued and couldn’t help but watch her throughout the evening.

Well, as much as I could while I went back and forth between the restroom where our guest of honor paid homage (if you know what I mean) and the outside patio where my favorite couple proceeded to pick a fight with each other. (And, let me tell you, the fight? It was like getting an unexpected glimpse into their innermost secret life together, a glimpse I was never meant to see. It was disturbing.)

But I digress. The flirting. It was so interesting. (I really need to get a life.)

As time ticked away, there was one man with whom she flirted with more and more. There was eye contact, a lot of smiling, playful teasing. There was no touching and, from what I could overhear, nothing inappropriate was said. They talked about work, some sports, his upcoming move to San Francisco.

Then it was midnight and, after more eye contact, he left and she approached me with a perturbed expression.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Men. They’re so stupid.”

No shit. “What happened?”

“I told him he should stay and have another cocktail and he kept saying ‘you have a husband at home.’ Over and over. ‘You have a husband at home.’ I told him to stay and have a drink! Not come home and go to bed with me!”

“He’s a man,” I said, “I’m pretty sure all he heard was ‘let’s have sex.’ Especially with those eyes you were making at him.”

“It was flirting! What’s wrong with a little harmless flirting?”

And, really, I do believe it was harmless. They weren’t huddled up alone in a corner together. They were definitely mingling with other people, but frequently throughout the evening they’d find themselves in another conversation, making jokes, poking fun, laughing.

It got me thinking (seriously, it’s been three days and I can’t let it go) about what’s appropriate and what isn’t. I have incredibly mixed feelings on the subject, so… I’m doing the only thing that makes sense to me. Opening the topic to discussion.

What do you think? When you’re in a relationship, is flirting okay or not? How far can you go before you cross a line?

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18 Responses to Seeking your advice, thoughts, opinions, whatever. The flirtatious edition.

  1. MichelleSG says:

    Light flirting is ok. As long as the marriage is a very solid one and neither the husband or wife have ANY insecurities. And that, of course, is a rare one. As in this case I'm not so sure. If that guy was feeling uncomfortable then obviously she was crossing some boundaries and, on top of that, not getting the hint. Plus why would a guy waste his time flirting with a married woman? What if there was someone else, single, that he wanted to flirt with? She was being rude if you ask me. She needed to get a hint.

  2. kerryanne says:

    A tiny bit like what Michelle said is okay but it sounds like your friend was really getting into it. That's too much…Personally, I only flirt with good friends. And particularly if they are gay 🙂 I would definitely feel as though I were doing something uncool behind my husband's back.

  3. Mia says:

    I personally don't like it. If you're in a relationship that it. If she's out there flirting she needs some attention she's not getting, but not fair to her man. It may have only been the eyes this time, but what next time?This world has gone totally and completely crazy. Amen.

  4. She sounds like she loves the attention………maybe something she's lacking at home. If her marriage was rock solid and she's “in love” with her “soul mate” then spending an evening flirting with another man is a no-no.

  5. TheresaG says:

    I don't think flirting is a good idea. perception can too quickly become reality, and next thing you know you're having the, “it's not what it looked like” fight. Still, a good conversation can contain some aspects of flirting, especially among friends.

  6. Chelsea says:

    COMPLETELY inappropriate. If you're doing something that you wouldn't do with your husband there, it's not okay. There's no other way around it.

  7. Alias Mother says:

    I can sometimes catch myself flirting, but it's totally dependent on the guy and whatever vibe we seem to have. I consider it “fun flirting” and I never take it seriously. My husband does the same. Over time, a married relationship does lose that fun-flirt vibe, so I think it's okay to go along with it if you find yourself in that atmosphere. It's part of the social experience, in my world. Call me crazy, but at a party I occasionally get sick of in-depth discussions about health care reform or whatever.But, because your friend complained about not being able to keep him there, I suspect she was taking it more seriously than was appropriate. Married flirting needs such a light touch to stay on the proper side of the fence. It sounds like she (helped, no doubt, by booze) crossed over.

  8. Poindexter says:

    well, everyone has their own moral compass. but if you would alter your behavior in the presence of your significant other, then it's inappropriate.

  9. Gayle says:

    I'm with all the other commenters that it sounds like she went too far with the flirting. If it had been totally innocent on her part, I don't think she would have been annoyed when the guy left.

  10. If you have a significant other in your life, and your flirting with the same man over the course of an evening…there is something to it. Believe me…the man you speak of knew where it was leading…so did she, or rather where it could have led. Just the fact she was upset over his comments, and that he left earlier than she wanted speaks volumes. Disclaimer ~ this comment has been made by a guy, read at your own risk and take it with a grain of salt.

  11. I think if you would feel comfortable doing it in front of your husband/wife then it's fine. But anything that you would do only when your partner isn't there is NOT ok. Do you think she would have acted this way if her husband was there? If this was me and I was told about my boyfriend “harmlessly flirting” with a co-worker, I would feel hurt. Theres no reason to for someone to act this way if they have a significant other at home. I think it's unacceptable and hurtful. But it sure does make you think…what do people think is ok?-L

  12. WebSavvyMom says:

    –>Flirting is fine (and fun) if you would act the same way WITH your significant other nearby. Old dating rules still apply – don't get your honey where you make your money.

  13. rory says:

    If the guy was picking up that vibe, she was definitely putting it out so he was being a good dude by getting out of there before he started thinking with the little head.If you're married a little social flirting can be fun but it sounds like she was waaay over the line.

  14. Debbie says:

    Pretty much in agreement with the other comments….if you are in a relationship, maybe “drive by flirting”. You know, a little bat of the eyes…a little laugh, then move on. But to spend an entire evening flirting with the same individual….I beleive that is a line crossed and could definitely send out the wrong signal to the recipient.

  15. Anne Marie says:

    That guy was so honorable. Instead of trying to make the most of her behavior and seeing how far he could run with it, he left after reminding her that she had a husband at home.And it sounds like she's an, ahem, attention whore. She might not have gone to bed with him, but she didn't see anything wrong with provoking him. That's so rude, imo.I don't see anything wrong with a little fun conversation, but guys are guys. Why would you purposely try to wind it up if you know you're just going to shut it down?

  16. Anonymous says:

    No extra marital flirting is acceptable. Period.

  17. Oh dear, I'm a friendly flirt and I don't want to lead someone on just for the sake of having a little fun, but yes, I flirt when I'm in a relationship. I COMPLETELY agree with the fact that there are some topics that are entirely inappropriate to be talking about with someone if you are married or in a serious relationship. If the conversation goes from “my job blah blah blah” or “living in blah blah blah” to “what's your favorite sexual position?”, that is NOT okay!!! Especially with a stranger and even with a mutual friend. Touching is not okay either.

  18. SaraReno says:

    Having been where she was, I get it. If you tell a woman they look nice (and I often do) then that's okay but if you say the same to a guy they seem to hear you say “sleep with me”. And you're left thinking “Um, no, that's not what I said (or meant)…”.The question that should be asked is if she would still flirt with her husband in attendance and if she would be okay with him flirting similarly. And did they keep it “clean” (meaning no inappropriate subjects and no touching) which, from your description, they did. If it works for them and she doesn't mean anything by it then more power to them (her and her husband).The fact that she didn't want him to leave doesn't necessarily mean that she had bad intentions. I work with a group of about 13 people in a typically male profession. If we all went out I would try to convince any one of them (male or female) to stay longer if we were all having a good time and be a little bummed if they left.

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