Sometimes, it can feel like the difference between successfully flirting and being a creepy weirdo is a very thin line.
There are obvious differences, of course. Being a stalker or inappropriately touching someone without their consent is a hard 'no.'
But in some of the more grey zones like a fresh wink or a gentle arm brush, the difference between creepy and flirtatious can be very subtle.
In a popular Ask Reddit thread, people shared what they consider separates flirtiness from creepiness.
Flirting is showing interest and seeing if you get any back. Perversion is when you don't get any back and won't stop escalating your own interest.
How discrete you are + being ready to take a step back if you make the other person feel uncomfortable.
Consent and being able to read the room/social cues to know what's acceptable. By consent I mean if someone is indicating through body language or telling you they're not interested in your advances then don't continue doing it.
It's not an invitation to push harder, you're going to just come off as creepy if you push past someone's boundaries.
Perversion can be flirting if the subject of desire is into that. They're two different, non-mutually exclusive things. You might be thinking of flirting and 'harassment.'
Reading the room. There's a difference between 'Hello, you look nice today' and 'Gorgeous tits madam, may I have a quick sniff of your panties?'
Appreciation of the scenario, like, if it’s a workplace maybe keep it toned down vs what might fly at a club. Appreciation of the target’s response.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with flirting with someone (provided you’re not gratuitously sexual) up until the point where they’ve indicated they aren’t interested.
Let’s say you’re exchanging flirty banter with a colleague in a more casual workplace. You find out later they have a partner, but they still reciprocate in and seem to enjoy your banter.
It’s mutually understood it’s not going anywhere but you both get a little buzz out of joking around and feeling attractive. I’d say no real harm.
But if you were in this scenario and your coworker clams up and seems uncomfortable, or starts avoiding you, even though you know they’re single, then you should absolutely stop flirting. No ifs ands or buts.
Respect for the person you're attempting to flirt with.
Flirting is using a feather, perversion is using the whole chicken.
In all honesty, attractiveness. Someone attractive flirts, it's flirting for sure. Someone not attractive flirts, its creepy and perverted.
I think flirting is a little more subtle, like a mutual smile or a simple hello. Perversion comes into play when the first words that come out of your mouth are all about the person's body features. Like their a**, boobs, pen*s.
Perversion: Me telling a complete stranger at the grocery store...that I occasionally keep my BF's balls warm in my mouth on cold nights 🙃 Flirtation: Me telling the 'costumed' Santa at the grocery store that I hope I'm on his Naughty list. 🙃
Just watch the Always Sunny episode “times up for the gang” and listen to Dennis’ lecture LMAO.
Reciprocation and feedback. It's flirting if she flirts back or tells you she's not interested and you stop and move on. It's perversion if it's one way and/or the other person is uncomfortable.
Consent and safety.
A person can flirt as long as the other person flirts back, that's consent.
A person can flirt as long as I know how to respond without compromising my safety. A waiter? Flirting bc of his/her job, they will not berate or follow me. My boss? Perverted bc I may not be safe to say no.
An unknown man on the street? Depends if I feel safe to say no, and/or want to say no. A person which is not in my peer group? Maybe unsafe bc we communicate differently.
Most times, saying no is what puts us in a vulnerable place, because that's when their behavior becomes unpredictable...will they become angry about the rejection? Will they hurt us physically or mentally?
Will they expect us to behave in a certain way? Then flirting becomes perverted.
Consent, body language, intensity. If you're intensely staring at someone and breathing intensely with a hunched posture, against their will, you're creepy.
Those very same actions when done with finesse (looking at someone playfully with a confident breathing and posture and a perception that it's welcomed) gets into flirting territory.