By Dr. Joel Block
In these politically correct times, flirting has gotten a bad rap. Women are afraid of encouraging unwanted sexual advances. Men are afraid of being labeled “sexual harassers.”
We need to lighten up. Flirting is a light-hearted form of communication between the sexes. It is about letting another person know he or she is attractive and appreciated with no demands or expectations stated or implied.
While flirting may be inappropriate between boss and subordinate, it is totally appropriate between co-workers who are friendly equals and attuned to each other’s meanings.
The Business of Flirting
Flirting has a definite place in the business and social world, even between men and women who have commitments elsewhere. In fact, flirting can bring some hot benefits to a committed relationship. Consider Bill’s experience:
“I’m in a committed relationship and I have one of those crushes never meant to go anywhere on a married co-worker. She’ll ruffle my hair when I get a fresh haircut. I’ll tell her how beautiful she looks. Our harmless exchanges rev up our engines and our partners enjoy the benefits.”
It’s Good for You
The benefits include boosting our sexual feelings by reassuring ourselves that we are still attractive to people other than our partner. It may even boost our partner’s interest in us. If they see us successfully flirting, it reminds them that we still have that “sexy something.”
Not a bad thing
Flirting with others can add sexiness to relationships that too easily become mired in the everyday business of living.
Flirting innocently is largely carried on through eye contact, body language, and light bantering that has gentle sexual undertones. Like many things, moderation is the key. In other words, keep it fun and frothy, like a dessert.
Not only does flirting keep the spark alive, as Bill said, “it revives the engine.”
My Rx: Take that revved engine home and let it roar!
Joel Block, Ph.D. is a psychologist and author of more than twenty books on relationships and sexuality. His website is www.drblock.com