If you’re like me, you want to “crack the code.” What do guys—particularly Christian guys—think of flirting? I asked some godly guys I know, and here’s what they had to say. (Something I learned from their input: it doesn’t take much to get their attention!)
Interest in flirts is fleeting. Attention for girls who don’t flirt starts slow but lasts. Even flirting guys respect girls who don’t.
Love and pursue Jesus as your number one priority, and guys who want a godly wife will notice. But that’s not really a good reason to pursue Jesus . . . it’s just a side benefit. —Ben
Don’t be afraid to be friendly to a guy you may be interested in. Nothing wrong with making conversation and being cordial. Don’t get carried away, and don’t over-think everything. —Mat
Interest in flirts is fleeting. Attention for girls who don’t flirt starts slow but lasts. Even flirting guys respect girls who don’t. —Sudhir
When is flirting helpful?
Flirting is usually helpful within the context of an already-established relationship. However, I don’t mean that flirting is all the relationship is made of. When I see a “relationship” that consists of nothing but bantering back and forth, trading sarcastic comments, pretending to overreact to something the other person said, and alternating between clinging to each other and pretending to be mad, I know it is not a good relationship. You need a foundation of honesty to build a good relationship on, and flirting is almost all pretending. —Andrew
How is flirting harmful?
If I am flirting and then not pursuing her, I am playing with her heart. Shame on me. Unfortunately, I do this sometimes without meaning to. —Matt
It can make you act differently than your real personality, until you don’t know how to be real anymore.
It will attract guys to someone who isn’t real.
It can be a waste of time.
It makes you look shallow/desperate.
It is self-focused, rather then Christ or others-focused.
You don’t really learn to communicate.
What do you think of a girl when you see her flirting with another guy?
Ugh! It’s fine to have fun with guys, but don’t lead them on. Don’t use guys to get a need in your heart satisfied. Be satisfied in Christ fully, and then have a great time with the guys. —Matt
What do you think of a girl when you notice she’s flirting with you?
I am torn. I so love the attention, but I know it’s superficial. I know at the end of the day I am not really cared for; I am possibly being used to have her needs met. —Matt
Personally, I don’t always notice flirting unless it’s really obvious. At that point I would say it’s not very attractive. —Justin
First, I like it! A lot! God has created a desire for emotional closeness with others of the opposite gender, and it is fun! However, God has created us to enjoy the opposite gender within the context of marriage, and I want to be careful to not arouse those feelings too soon.
Second, it causes me to be wary. I don’t want a girl to get emotionally attached to me, and flirting is usually a sign that she is emotionally needy. I will almost always pull away more, because I want to be friends with girls that know to run to God and not guys.
Third, I want honest, meaningful, and fun conversation. Flirty conversation is rarely honest or meaningful, even though it can be fun. If a girl seems to only be able to relate to me in a flirty way, I don’t really see any point to it. It is certainly not going to keep me around her as much as a good conversation would.
Have you flirted with girls? Do you? If so, why?
Yes, I have. I try not to. It’s fun to stir up the emotions of a girl and fun to get my emotions stirred up . . . but in the end it doesn’t help anything. I like the attention, and she does, too. Where is the line between having fun and goofing off with someone of the opposite sex and flirting? I don’t know. I love to have fun, and I love to have fun in the company of girls. —Matt
Flirting has been a confusing thing to me . . . and something I tend to enjoy more than I would like to admit. —Micah
I struggle with flirting. Flirting is so easy to do, especially when you want someone you like to notice you. But at the same time it often has a self-seeking reward. I want her to notice me, so I flirt with her. We need to be careful that we are treating people in a respectful and God-honoring way. Flirting should not be the basis for love—it is a risky thing to place your hopes in. —Brad
I want honest, meaningful, and fun conversation. Flirty conversation is rarely honest or meaningful, even though it can be fun. If a girl seems to only be able to relate to me in a flirty way, I don’t really see any point to it.
What do you think girls should know about flirting?
First and foremost, a guy can’t meet your needs. Only Jesus can. Love Him with all of your heart. —Matt
That if she wants real, honest, mature friends, she needs to be a real, honest, and mature friend. I would tell her that flirting is not a good basis for a friendship, and certainly not a relationship, and even when it can be added, it should be added in small amounts. —Andrew
Don’t. Enjoy their company, but don’t seek to get your needs met through them. Let them pursue you. Respond to their attention, but don’t give your heart away. —Matt
What do you think of a girl when you see her flirting with another guy?
Usually it causes me to stay away from them. I want real relationships in my life, and it is hard to get past the pretending stage of a flirt. I also don’t want to be distracted; it is very alluring to have a girl focus on me, even if I know it isn’t real, and I like it. I don’t want to use her to satisfy my desire to get attention.
When your friendship consists of nothing but flirting, you end up in a relationship based on neediness. This is not solid ground for a friendship or a relationship. This is not a healthy way to relate to others. The purpose of a godly relationship is to glorify God and point others to Him! —Andrew
How do these guys’ thoughts change your outlook on flirting? Do you still feel like you need to flirt in order to get guys’ attention?
(If so, come back next week for “But If I Don’t Flirt, How Will He Ever Notice Me?”)
You’ve asked about flirting. And asked. And asked.
I Can’t Hear You!
I’ve pretended not to notice. Not because I don’t care, but ’cause:
I feel disqualified to answer. I mean, if you only knew. In high school, I remember leaning forward so my (male) biology partner would . . . (you can figure it out.) Yeah, I wish I had a do-over!
As a teen, I’d regularly attend a summer camp where my aunt served as the cook. She’d watch my interactions with guys and accuse me of being a flirt almost every year. (I always denied it adamantly, by the way.) I’m a huge fan of being friendly and have always loved to make people feel welcome—regardless of their sex. So I dismissed her concerns.
Flirting is foggy. How are we supposed to know when we’ve crossed the line from being friendly and having fun with a guy to . . . flirting with him? And is flirting even necessarily wrong?
I fear making you feel paranoid about whether others (like my aunt) think you’re flirting or not. I want you to be yourself; I have no desire to make you feel self-conscious whenever you’re around a guy.
But it’s an important question. You want to know, and I want to know. Is flirting harmless—could it even be chivalrous—or is flirting . . . plain ‘ole wrong? There are a whole lot of different opinions out there.
But Flirting Is Natural. And Fun!
Let’s face it. Flirting comes naturally (please tell me I’m not the only one!). And flirting is fun—especially when it’s returned.
Well, I should clarify. It’s fun in the moment. Afterward, it’s usually plain ‘ole depressing ’cause (let’s be honest) we did it to get a certain result and then . . . nothing. Nothing really changes.
And let’s be honest: Just because something’s “fun” and “natural” doesn’t mean it’s best. I mean, when you were little it was “fun” and “natural” to:
pull your little sister’s hair.
refuse to eat your peas.
stand on your chair.
say “no” instead of “please.”
But that didn’t make it right.
So today I’m taking the plunge. I’m going to get a conversation rolling about . . . flirting.
What Is Flirting, Anyway?
First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when we throw around the word “flirting.” For the sake of this discussion, we’ll go with the Dictionary.com definition. Flirting is to:
toy or play with another’s affections.
deal playfully or carelessly.
Ouch. Sounds a lot like, It’s all about me, doesn’t it?
As fun and “natural” as flirting is, it’s also contradictory to who I now am in Christ.
Funny, though, how we can convince ourselves we’re actually building that guy up with our smiles, words, and playfulness. We can almost think our flirting is . . . chivalrous.
But based on this definition, here’s one conclusion I’ve reached about flirting:
Chivalrous Flirting Is an Oxymoron.
Huh? Come again, you ask?
Okay, let me break it down for you.
Chivalrous means “considerate and courteous.”
But based on Dictionary.com’s definition, flirting isn’t considerate of the other person; it’s completely self-centered. (If you’re not sure about that, read through the definitions again, and ask if you’d want a guy to treat you like that!)
That’s why “chivalrous flirting” is an oxymoron—it’s completely contradictory. And as fun and “natural” as flirting is, I’d have to say it’s also contradictory to who I now am in Christ. Why do I say that? Philippians 2:3–5, for starters:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
The next time you catch yourself flirting, I dare you to ask yourself why.
Why Do I Flirt?
I asked a few people why we flirt. Here’s what three people had to say:
Panic that no one will pay attention causes the urge to flirt.
While we flirt, someone is positively responding to us and accepting us, so we’re encouraged to continue.
I think part of it is the thrill of the chase. Flirting is not just to get a person, but to get a reaction. Sometimes girls flirt even with a guy they don’t really want.
How about you? Why do you tend to flirt? When you dig deeper, what’s really going on in your heart?
You notice him right away. The new guy at youth group.
He’s seriously good looking. You try to focus on the open Bible on your lap, but the letters blur together.
He answers a question, and you listen carefully. He nailed it. So he’s model material AND he knows God’s Word, you celebrate.
But only for a second. Pull it together. You shake your head and force your attention back on what the youth pastor is saying.
After a few minutes you raise your hand, share a thought, and . . . Mr. Model catches your eye and smiles!
You don’t get much out of youth group that day; you’re too busy praying the new guy will ask you out or at least talk to you. Hey, you’d even settle for him following you on Twitter!
It’s hard, isn’t it? Christian guys can seem like an endangered species. So when one day the heavens open and an eye-turning Christian guy is dropped into your life, your brain instantly jumps into high gear trying to figure out how to get his attention. (Let’s be honest, you know the other girls’ antennae are up, so you want to snag him before they do!)
In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to think of the new stranger as more than a potential boyfriend. But let’s face it. He is more . . . a whole lot more.
He’s your forever brother. If he trusts in Jesus’ righteousness rather than his own, he’s your blood-bought brother in Christ. You’ll spend forever with him, right there along with Jesus Himself.
So will you ask God to help you view the Christian guys around you as more than potential boyfriends—as forever brothers in Christ? Here are a few practical tips:
Pray for them. Pray the very best for them. Pray that they’d be kept from temptation. Pray that their enjoyment of Jesus would grow like crazy. Pray whatever the Spirit leads you to pray for them.
Encourage them. Rather than admiring them from a distance, let them know when you see Jesus in them.
Don’t dress to distract them; dress in such a way that they’ll be able to worship Jesus without extra temptation and distraction each Sunday.
After all, that’s how we’re told to relate to guys—even the really cute ones!—as brothers, in all purity:
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity (1 Tim. 5:1–2).
How can you treat the Christian guys near you as more than potential boyfriends?
Whether you caught The Hunger Games opening weekend (and contributed to making it the biggest November opening ever!), or whether you have no idea who Peeta and Katniss are, I’m guessing you can relate to this girl’s bottom-line question:
I finished The Hunger Games series, and I am so envying Katniss. I mean, I know they are just fictional characters, but seriously! Peeta loves her so much and so unconditionally. This guy is SO perfect. I know I have God and all, but is there gonna be a guy that really loves me THAT much??
Will I ever be loved like that? Even if I’ve never asked that question out loud, it’s been the silent question behind the tears filling my eyes after dropping yet another novel into the library dropbox or watching the credits roll by after yet another chick flick. Could that ever happen to me?
But as the books and movies have been released and the tears have fallen and the years have passed, I’ve come to believe that even if . . .
Even if Peeta actually existed in real life . . .
And even if I were his “Katniss,” the woman he lived and breathed for . . .
It wouldn’t be enough. Not for long.
That’s because the hole in my heart—and the hole in your heart—isn’t Peeta-shaped. Or Gale-shaped (Katniss’ other love interest).
A God so big the waters of the earth fit into the palm of His hand. A God of nearly 500 billion galaxies. A God who has no weaknesses, who never trips or falls or needs you to rescue Him (like Peeta). A God who not only talks about dying for you (like Peeta), but a God who actually sacrificed His life for you.
So you—a poor nobody from the dark, outer district—could enter into the closest relationship you have ever known with the kindest, most powerful King who has always been. So there could be no distance or discord or disconnectedness between you and Him.
How do I know?
Because God thought up marriage—the most committed love relationship we can experience as humans—to give us just a taste, a tiny taste, of the oneness we can and will know with Him, through faith in Jesus Christ:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church. . . . This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it [marriage] refers to Christ and the church (Eph. 5:25–32).
You are loved. So much more and so much better than Peeta loves Katniss. You are loved by this God who makes Peeta look . . . well, puny.
Vacationing alone just isn’t done. Even eating out alone has a stigma in our culture. I wasn’t the only one who considered this; More than one person asked if I’d be okay, vacationing by myself for a whole week.
But should the fear of loneliness cause me to turn down a free timeshare on the Atlantic Ocean? Isn’t that same fear of loneliness causing my friend to stay with her abusive boyfriend? And am I ever really, truly alone? More
Call me crazy, but I don’t believe in pursuing guys. (Was that a gasp I heard?) Yes, you might want to sit down for this. Today, I’m sharing seven reasons I’ve given God control of my love life. Are you ready? 1. I’m not actually waiting on a guy to pursue me, I’m waiting on God.
Whenever you’re frustrated over how long it’s taking a guy to notice you, remember that God is in control of everything:
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it wherever he pleases (Prov. 21:1).
If the Lord can move the heart of the most powerful man in the land, He can turn any guy’s heart. Wait for His perfect timing.
2. I want a man to prove through his pursuit that he is a godly man who will lead and love me well after marriage.
Let’s just imagine that you do capture that special guy’s attention. You begin dating, and then he pops the question. Before long, you’re a wife! Now what?
Well, Ephesians 5:22–33 says that as a wife, you are to submit to your husband as to the Lord. The question is, have you modeled and practiced a different pattern in the months or years leading up to your marriage? Did this man lead and pursue you, or did you pursue him? Don’t wait until marriage to hand over the reins of leadership. It won’t work well. Start now, and wait for him to step it up and pursue (or not).
3. I am already loved completely and unconditionally.
I no longer have to fight for attention or find my worth in a boyfriend. Neither do you. Listen to how deeply—and how long—the King has loved you:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jer. 31:3).
4. I don’t know what is best for me, but God does.
Have you ever set your sights on a guy only to realize later that he is totally wrong for you? I’ve done that more times than I care to count. That’s because:
Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way (Prov. 19:2).
God, unlike us, knows everything. Including the hearts of all guys (1 Kings 8:39b). You can trust Him to lead and protect you, His daughter, even when you don’t realize you need protecting.
5. God has nothing but good in store for those who wait on Him.
You can rest easy. Psalm 25:3 says:
None who wait for you shall be put to shame.
That’s a fact you can count on from Your God who makes promises and keeps them. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’ll always get what we want when we want it. God tells us that in this world we will have trouble. But ultimately, in the end, He will work everything together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).
6. Marriage won’t secure my happiness.
I am often reminded of this as I spend time with married friends. Marriage just presents new opportunities to continue to trust and submit to God. In fact, God has made it clear that marriage isn’t about you or me (sorry to burst any romantic bubbles!). We were created as women to help men (Gen. 2:18). And in a greater sense, we’re created for God, whether married or single. If married, it’s to give others a tangible picture of Christ’s amazing love for the church, and the church’s grateful submission to Him.
“I want you to be free from anxieties . . . the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:32–35).
7. I need this time of waiting in order for my faith and trust in God to grow.
Waiting isn’t easy. But, life will never be easy, and I will always find myself waiting for . . . something. I have a feeling this is training ground for even greater ways I’ll need to trust Him in the future.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust—there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men” (Lam. 3:25–33, emphasis added).
Having said all this, I feel like I should say . . .
1. Trusting God with your love life doesn’t mean everything will work out beautifully, or that you’ll get what you want. This isn’t about some sort of way to manipulate God.
2. The fact that you and I aren’t pursuing guys doesn’t mean we can’t be friendly to them!
3. There are no formulas. This is about growing in your relationship with God. Be sensitive to His Spirit’s leading.
Now that that’s clear, I’d love to learn from you. Which point means the most to you personally? Do you have any additional reasons or verse to add to my list?