A little Monday hilarity to kick off your week! Rachel Maude, author of the Poseur series, about four very different high school divas and their fabulous fashion line, is on Figment to solve your toughest issues every Monday. Need some advice? Email Miss Maude at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ten sentence max, please!
Dear Miss Maude,
There is this guy who keeps flirting with me. Normally I would be OK with this, seeing as I kinda like him, but this particular boy is dating my best friend. We used to like each other before he dated her, and I don’t know if he is purposely flirting or just acting out of old habits. I do know that I don’t want to be the reason they break up. Is there anything I can do to make him stop flirting?
P.S. I already pointed it out, and the flirting has continued.
Dear Confused Girl, OMG:
FLIRST OF ALL:
I’m pretty sure “purposely flirting” and “acting out of old habits” are the same thing. Not that I’m saying flirting-by-accident doesn’t happen. For instance, I knew this guy once who really laid on the charm. I mean like constant unwavering eye contact, super cute smiles, and an almost physical incapacity to keep his hands off me. I know!!! I was 100 percent sure he was ABSOLUTELY ON-PURPOSE FLIRTING WITH ME.
Turns out he was a COMPLETE INFANT.
My point is, unless this guy of yours happens to be a deeply un-self-aware “Baby Justin-type,” then yes: he’s very intentionally flirting with you.
Now, in my experience (and I’ve been around the block, bébés!) THERE ARE TWO FLAVORS OF FLIRT-TANG: ego-oriented flirt-tang, and goal-oriented flirt-tang.
Let me ’splain:
Ego-oriented flirting is relatively harmless. Flirting is a skill, after all: the more you do it, the better you get. It’s important to keep yourself in fighting shape, so when you do meet the guy or girl of your dreams, you’re ready to CONQUER and DESTROY them.
Whoops! Hahaha. I mean captivate and delight. 🙂
It’s a balance, of course. You don’t want to flirt ALL THE TIME with just ANYONE because then, in the words of Karl Marx, “your flirt-tang loses value.” In other words, when the time comes to flirt with the guy or girl of your dreams, he or she won’t feel, you know, special. And making your object-of-desire feel special is a key part of CONQUERING and DES… splagh!!! Sorry, sorry…
A key part of captivating and delighting them. 🙂
FLIRT-TANG FLAVOR #2: goal-oriented flirting. Now, don’t get me wrong. The ego’s still involved here. The fundamental difference is this: you’re no longer flirting just for kicks. You’re no longer flirting so you can wink at yourself in the mirror and say, “Ya still got it, you sexy son-of-a-scrumpet!” No. You’re flirting to forge a romantic bond (that’s the “goal” part). Now, forging a romantic bond is totally cool if you’re single.
Totally GROSS if you’re not.
So! Back to Confused Girl’s question:
Sweet, devoted, and loyal Confused Girl seems to think her BFB (Best Friend’s Boyfriend) has crossed the line from ego-oriented to goal-orientated flirting. In other words, he’s out to forge a romantic bond. So. What will she do to stop this derailed locomotive of lust? This roaring rocket of passion? This Segway named Desire?
Step #1! You can’t just take BFB aside, “point out” he’s flirting, and expect him to stop, okay? (He knows he’s flirting. No need to inform him). If you truly want him to stop flirting you have to explicitly say: “Stop flirting with me.” And you can’t say it like a sweety-poo push-over, either. No. You have to say it like tough-as-nails, do-not-mess-with-me, wack-as-crack cowboy.
Step #2! Remove yourself from situations and environments in which flirting may occur. In other words, do not hang out with him one-on-one: no choosing him as your lab partner, no forming a study group of two, no swinging by the GAP BODY where he works as Head Associate Panty Man just to say hi, no getting into rickety row-boats with him so you can drift-together-as-one across picturesque lakes and feed the fuh-reakin’ ducks, and, of course, no returning flirtatious texts, phone calls, emails, notes, or bat-signals of any kind.
And you know what? Even after all that he still might find ways to flirt with you. Which is why—when it comes down to it—what he does is not your problem. You’re only responsible for your own behavior. And as you didn’t write to ask, “What can I do to stop myself from flirting?” (BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT FLIRTING BACK, ARE YOU???), then cut yourself some slack. Sounds to me like you’re a pretty solid friend.
Tellin’ it like it is, bébés! One Monday at a time,