Research says, “Healthy flirting helps workers remain happy & increases camaraderie”. The playful chuckle, the ‘I find you attractive’ vibe, the cubicle visits, the private jokes, the delirious giggle, the impish movement of the eye, things said/understood without words exchanged, the witty remarks – are, by & large, harmless & does happen in every office. It acts as a welcome break in a rather frenzied & stressful work environment. People even make efforts to look their best & don’t grudge getting ready for the ordeal called office.
However, the right attraction leading to just a light-hearted banter is a rarity. Some spread themselves too thin & abuse this relatively harmless office distraction. It turns distasteful when used in exchange for official favors; when you flirt with someone in a position of authority, and use your sexuality as your weapon to get what you want. Doing it over-the-top & with hidden agendas is what makes it tacky. “Some women flirt more with what they say, & some with what they do” said Anna Held. Once the physicality takes center stage, the flirtation takes on an altogether different hue.
Men openly & proudly wear the badge of a Casanova. They flirt to show off their masculinity, the ‘I am so-cool-I-can-chat-up-any-girl-I-want’ assertion, to confirm that their “market” is still alive. As for women:
“All women are flirts, but some are restrained by shyness & others by sense”.
Having seen the way some women have mastered the art, & indulge in it with consummate class, it makes me think it must indeed be a special skill, not easily given to everyone, & those that lack, are the ones who crib & turn moral police or don the role of the custodians of social decorum. At the other end of the spectrum, even the “sati savitri” type aunties flirt - during family functions, parties, marriages, in shopping centers & vegetable markets. What irks me is when they crucify only the young girls. You like it, you do it; why raise eyebrows when someone younger than you does it?
“No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to know that, there is a nice man who wishes, that she were not” - Henry Louis
Someone finds you attractive, pays you some attention – take it lightly, don’t take it to heart; don’t take it home either! The line between light flirtation & coming on too strong is very thin & it’s sometimes better to steer clear of disaster than playing with fire. One way to know if it has crossed any limits is to see if it makes you uncomfortable. If yes, be vocal about it to the person, through words & gestures & discourage it altogether to save yourself from unnecessary headaches in the future! Someone said it well:
“Flirting is the art of keeping intimacy at a safe distance”.
It makes one feel attractive, lends positivity but it takes two very mature individuals to set the boundaries & not cross the line.