What's the difference between playfulness and flirtation?

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 15,533
Its a pretty fine line between playfulness and flirting. If there is a woman who I am interested in romantically, i am going to try and talk to her in a playful way to build some rapport before asking her out. But then there are women who I might find fun to talk with but I am not attracted to them romantically. I may be playful around them because I find them witty and fun to talk with.

I'm not the kind to flirt for a long time before asking someone out. But some guys wait a lot longer before advancing.

So, I guess I didn't really answer the question because the question is pretty tough. You just have to go with your instincts when trying to read the guy.

I remember my sister telling me the story about a guy who flirted with her forever at work (she is a nurse and he was in hospital administration). And she finally asked the guy one day "so when are you going to finally ask me out." they went out after that and she ended up marrying the guy. So, if you really want an answer you need to be direct.
Originally Posted by MedStudent1
This is what I suspect is happening, since I don't have the nerve anymore for the suggestion of action.

Nice to have a guy's input, though. And please don't forget I bid on you as a cougar last week.
NEA, do you use any products with simple names? I was just reading your list, and it's very complex (in a good way). Why don't I use Nunu anything? Why can't I have any Hair Shebang stuff?

Okay, maybe the collar grabbing is too much (too much like a prelude to a kiss, imo). But I'm going to ignore it until he says something that really gets to me, and my guess is, he knows exactly what that might be.

I am now officially sick of thinking about this guy and this subject.
Originally Posted by ninja dog
Hahaha...HA!!! But you can use NuNu and Hair Shebang too!

Okay, I'll leave it alone.
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Please don't think I'm not grateful for your input --- and everyone else's, as well. I just.....have a limited ability to focus on emotions. I feel drained easily by the subject.

In other words, it's me, not you. Really.
Please don't think I'm not grateful for your input --- and everyone else's, as well. I just.....have a limited ability to focus on emotions. I feel drained easily by the subject.

In other words, it's me, not you. Really.
Originally Posted by ninja dog
Lol...you don't have to be "grateful" for my input. I'm now focusing on the hair product names comment...which was totally hysterical! No explanation necessary.

I can send you some Vanilla Chai Buttercreme by Hair Shebang...makes an excellent foot and hand cream (in addition to a great hair cream).
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Nah ---- I have a love/hate relationship with vanilla. I have to ration myself on anything that smells of it so I don't get sick of it.

But thanks.
I hate this.

Usually I look back on situations like this years later and realize I was being flirted with and possibly missed out on a good opportunity.

I always assume flirting and playfulness is never serious.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
I know what you mean: it's a passive aggressive way of getting away with speaking your mind, as if adding "just kidding" is a disclaimer. Is that what you're saying?
Originally Posted by ninja dog
Yup, or the classic, "No offense, but..."
About the guys who say, "I don't want anything from you...I'm not trying to get in your pants...you are my friend?" You're right. They want you. But after you shoot them down a few hundred times and they move on and meet someone else....all that "friend" crap usually goes right out the window. Hollatcha!
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000


Oh I am SOOOO sick of that! ^^

It has been such a repeated issue for me. Except in my case the guys are like, we're just friends, but ya I DO want to get in your pants (probably just in case I change my mind).

So you're "friends" meaning you're trying to be friends while they're trying to get into your pants by being friends. But they don't know how to have a friend relationship with a woman. So they get a girlfriend and they feel like they're supposed to "dump" the girl friend.

I've actually said to my guy friends "hey, clueless, we are NOT sleeping together. You don't have to blow me off or dump me b/c you have a girlfriend. Stop treating ME like the ex girlfriend!"

I have a friend who I became pretty close to. We talked often. We went out a few times. I repeatedly turned down his advances. He promised me the world if I would leave my husband for him. I would not. I kept the relationship 'friendly'. Eventually he couldn't take it anymore, got back with his extremely jealous ex, and practically dropped me overnight.

I gave it 2 months before he started back up again. He began texting me again within 2 weeks. Must've had a night off from the gf or something.

Don't try to overthink it. They're more predictable than you're making them out to be.
Late the the party, but: I often have trouble telling the difference. I tend to assume playfulness unless they come out and say something pretty blunt. I think men tend to be a little more direct than women, but not always. If you are friends, he may feel that there is a comfort zone and he can be more playful with you without it being serious. On the other hand, if you're vulnerable, he may be interested but holding back more than usual out of respect for your feelings -- waiting for you to make the first move so as not to take advantage.

I don't think men are all the same. I stubbornly cling to the idea that they don't all just try to get into the pants of every woman they find remotely attractive, regardless of what they do or don't feel for her. I believe that men, like women, differ in regard to their attitudes about casual sex, or how soon in a relationship they seek it out, how many partners, etc. Therefore, I cling to the idea that men do not always have serious sexual intent every time they engage in playful banter.

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Modified CG since 2008.
Late the the party, but: I often have trouble telling the difference. I tend to assume playfulness unless they come out and say something pretty blunt. I think men tend to be a little more direct than women, but not always. If you are friends, he may feel that there is a comfort zone and he can be more playful with you without it being serious. On the other hand, if you're vulnerable, he may be interested but holding back more than usual out of respect for your feelings -- waiting for you to make the first move so as not to take advantage.

I don't think men are all the same. I stubbornly cling to the idea that they don't all just try to get into the pants of every woman they find remotely attractive, regardless of what they do or don't feel for her. I believe that men, like women, differ in regard to their attitudes about casual sex, or how soon in a relationship they seek it out, how many partners, etc. Therefore, I cling to the idea that men do not always have serious sexual intent every time they engage in playful banter.
Originally Posted by wavycurly40+

while I agree with the beginning part of the bolded - The latter I still stick to my belief.

For the most part, it IS playful banter, but men do not burn their bridges with the possibility of sex.

If they view you as attractive enough to flirt (or play around) with, they're not going to turn you down if you make a move.
Late the the party, but: I often have trouble telling the difference. I tend to assume playfulness unless they come out and say something pretty blunt. I think men tend to be a little more direct than women, but not always. If you are friends, he may feel that there is a comfort zone and he can be more playful with you without it being serious. On the other hand, if you're vulnerable, he may be interested but holding back more than usual out of respect for your feelings -- waiting for you to make the first move so as not to take advantage.

I don't think men are all the same. I stubbornly cling to the idea that they don't all just try to get into the pants of every woman they find remotely attractive, regardless of what they do or don't feel for her. I believe that men, like women, differ in regard to their attitudes about casual sex, or how soon in a relationship they seek it out, how many partners, etc. Therefore, I cling to the idea that men do not always have serious sexual intent every time they engage in playful banter.
Originally Posted by wavycurly40+

while I agree with the beginning part of the bolded - The latter I still stick to my belief.

For the most part, it IS playful banter, but men do not burn their bridges with the possibility of sex.

If they view you as attractive enough to flirt (or play around) with, they're not going to turn you down if you make a move.
Originally Posted by iroc
Yep I agree with all of this. That's why I don't care for male/female 'friendships'. I do have male friends, but not very close ones, and I don't hang out with them alone now that I'm in a relationship. I'm not saying that I won't, but I don't see the need to.
Late the the party, but: I often have trouble telling the difference. I tend to assume playfulness unless they come out and say something pretty blunt. I think men tend to be a little more direct than women, but not always. If you are friends, he may feel that there is a comfort zone and he can be more playful with you without it being serious. On the other hand, if you're vulnerable, he may be interested but holding back more than usual out of respect for your feelings -- waiting for you to make the first move so as not to take advantage.

I don't think men are all the same. I stubbornly cling to the idea that they don't all just try to get into the pants of every woman they find remotely attractive, regardless of what they do or don't feel for her. I believe that men, like women, differ in regard to their attitudes about casual sex, or how soon in a relationship they seek it out, how many partners, etc. Therefore, I cling to the idea that men do not always have serious sexual intent every time they engage in playful banter.
Originally Posted by wavycurly40+

while I agree with the beginning part of the bolded - The latter I still stick to my belief.

For the most part, it IS playful banter, but men do not burn their bridges with the possibility of sex.

If they view you as attractive enough to flirt (or play around) with, they're not going to turn you down if you make a move.
Originally Posted by iroc
Yep I agree with all of this. That's why I don't care for male/female 'friendships'. I do have male friends, but not very close ones, and I don't hang out with them alone now that I'm in a relationship. I'm not saying that I won't, but I don't see the need to.
Originally Posted by Josephine

Totally understandable. I have a few male friends. Yes, the conversation often turns sexual. I do hang out with them one on one, but I have an understanding husband, and he's open to my 'distractions' or boyfriends as he calls them.

If we were younger, or the relationship were newer, I'm sure he wouldn't be so confident to accept that.

while I agree with the beginning part of the bolded - The latter I still stick to my belief.

For the most part, it IS playful banter, but men do not burn their bridges with the possibility of sex.

If they view you as attractive enough to flirt (or play around) with, they're not going to turn you down if you make a move.
Originally Posted by iroc
I like how you stated that -- and yeah, that does make sense to me -- that they would keep their options open.

The trouble I've run into is thinking that, if I they are in a relationship and therefore unavailable (and/or if I am), they must not be serious. Uh... not exactly. Some keep their options open even while they're supposed to be committed to one. And that's been disillusioning, which is why I become emotionally attached to thinking -- ok, well, they don't all do that. (Which they don't... right? Please? Hoping?).

But that's a whole 'nother issue, sorry Ninja. I have a feeling this guy is leaving it up to you. I know it's hard for you to make choices right now without second-guessing yourself. {hugs} It's understandable. But I think you will move through this stage.

while I agree with the beginning part of the bolded - The latter I still stick to my belief.

For the most part, it IS playful banter, but men do not burn their bridges with the possibility of sex.

If they view you as attractive enough to flirt (or play around) with, they're not going to turn you down if you make a move.
Originally Posted by iroc
I like how you stated that -- and yeah, that does make sense to me -- that they would keep their options open.

The trouble I've run into is thinking that, if I they are in a relationship and therefore unavailable (and/or if I am), they must not be serious. Uh... not exactly. Some keep their options open even while they're supposed to be committed to one. And that's been disillusioning, which is why I become emotionally attached to thinking -- ok, well, they don't all do that. (Which they don't... right? Please? Hoping?).

But that's a whole 'nother issue, sorry Ninja. I have a feeling this guy is leaving it up to you. I know it's hard for you to make choices right now without second-guessing yourself. {hugs} It's understandable. But I think you will move through this stage.
Originally Posted by wavycurly40+

Sorry babe, hate to break it to you, but ya, they do.

I've played that game many times. I've gone right to the line and held back using the excuse "but you have a girlfriend" which is responded with "not anymore" -

I'm married, and I frequently go out without my husband. Men do not care that I'm married. Nor do they care if they have a girlfriend. If they stay out of situations that could get them in trouble, they will probably stay out of trouble, but when it comes down to it, I think everybody has a price.
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 15,533
Oy, yoy, yoy.

My view (now that I've gotten such good input) is that he's just engaging in playful banter with me. However, if it goes too far for comfort, or confuses me further, I will say something; something nice, but confrontational nonetheless, such as,

"Hey, R., you know I'm coming out of some rough times, right? And that vulnerability makes it easy to confuse a person's intentions? You get that with me, right? Because I'm feeling a little confused here, frankly."

Other than that, I don't think there's a need to address the issue. He knows I love language, and it probably makes him feel good to get a smile or a laugh out of a girl (sorry, RCW --- woman) he once said he wished he'd met before his friend did (frankly, so do I). But people say things like that ---- when they're safe (I was already in pretty deep with his friend by that point).

But you know, it stopped raining, my dogs are fine, (and it's a pretty good hair day!), and I've got a small paying project to work on, so I'm going to try to put all this confusion out of my head.

Wavycurly, I like your faith. Everyone else, thank you) :

Feel free to carry on, however


Totally understandable. I have a few male friends. Yes, the conversation often turns sexual. I do hang out with them one on one, but I have an understanding husband, and he's open to my 'distractions' or boyfriends as he calls them.
Originally Posted by iroc
Yes, I've learned this in college. After a couple years I noticed that when you get closer(like normal good friendships) with guys, it's a little different and sometimes dangerous. So while I still have male friends, there is a distance that stays there. My ex was pretty understanding(I mean I went to a mostly male college) but current bf..ehh, i dont think so. That's fine with me, since I don't want him to have 'distractions' either.

while I agree with the beginning part of the bolded - The latter I still stick to my belief.

For the most part, it IS playful banter, but men do not burn their bridges with the possibility of sex.

If they view you as attractive enough to flirt (or play around) with, they're not going to turn you down if you make a move.
Originally Posted by iroc
I like how you stated that -- and yeah, that does make sense to me -- that they would keep their options open.

The trouble I've run into is thinking that, if I they are in a relationship and therefore unavailable (and/or if I am), they must not be serious. Uh... not exactly. Some keep their options open even while they're supposed to be committed to one. And that's been disillusioning, which is why I become emotionally attached to thinking -- ok, well, they don't all do that. (Which they don't... right? Please? Hoping?).

But that's a whole 'nother issue, sorry Ninja. I have a feeling this guy is leaving it up to you. I know it's hard for you to make choices right now without second-guessing yourself. {hugs} It's understandable. But I think you will move through this stage.
Originally Posted by wavycurly40+
No, I'm sure they don't all do that. But there are a LOT of married/coupled men out on the prowl! And their flirtatious overtures are not just for show.

I get hit on by married men all the time...men no one would ever expect were stepping out. There is a married guy at my job I've worked w/ for 8 years. I stupidly let it slip recently that my husband and I broke up. He was all over me in about two seconds and wouldn't stop for days until I threatened to call his wife. But some married guys prefer to target married women.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 05-19-2010 at 11:19 AM.
I hate this.

Usually I look back on situations like this years later and realize I was being flirted with and possibly missed out on a good opportunity.

I always assume flirting and playfulness is never serious.
Originally Posted by curlyarca

Yeah..well...if the guys wanted their interest to be known then they should have put it out there, instead of being vague with "flirting", which often isn't clear.

Perhaps they missed out on a good opportunity as well.
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I will add that I have a longtime male friend (he taught me to drive, back when we were teenagers) with whom there is nothing sexual at all: I've seen him in his undies, and he's assessed the ass-flattering factor of my jeans. There's just.....nothing there. I think he's a kook (various reasons), and he thinks I'm a kook (my love of animals). So I believe non-romantic male and female friendship is possible.
I hate this.

Usually I look back on situations like this years later and realize I was being flirted with and possibly missed out on a good opportunity.

I always assume flirting and playfulness is never serious.
Originally Posted by curlyarca

Yeah..well...if the guys wanted their interest to be known then they should have put it out there, instead of being vague with "flirting", which often isn't clear.

Perhaps they missed out on a good opportunity as well.
Originally Posted by NEA

But that isn't much fun. And in the interest of the 'hunter' philosophy, men like to pursue women that way. And I like to be pursued that way as well.

I'll let the flirting pursuit go on a LONG time before something actually happens. I think that's such a fun time.

It's like a kid on Christmas. They wait all year for Christmas. And then the month or so before you're getting super excited and buying presents and putting up decorations, and visiting Santa and doing all this stuff to get ready for your favorite holiday. And sure, Christmas day is fun, and it's a great time, but then the day is over, and you wake up December 26th and, sigh.

Frankly, I find the build up before Christmas to be much more exciting. Imagine how boring Christmas would be if we took away all the hoopla before it.

(and I ain't talking 'bout Christmas here.)

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