Maybe it's due in part to my lack of confidence, but I rarely notice when girls are flirting with me. Even when I do, I typically don't trust the intentions of the flirtatious lady. Recently at lunch, a girlfriend of mine pointed out that our food server was getting a little flirty. I just assumed she was gunning for tips, and then pretended to be mildly upset that a cute girl would try and manipulate me using her sexuality. "This is a restaurant, not a strip club," I told my friend, feigning annoyance.
It never occurred to me that an attractive woman would expend the energy to pay me any attention, until my lunch pal assured me it was possible. She also set me straight on the ground rules of flirting, and passed on some helpful hints so that I'll know if it's happening in the future. I separated her advice into two categories: flirting myths and flirting signals.
Watch out for over-the-top flattery, such as, "That is the funniest thing I've ever heard," or, "You are the most interesting person I've ever met." You might be funny and interesting, but c'mon. You're not that great and you know it. If a woman uses absolutes, she's getting her flirt on.
If a woman keeps touching your arm or hands (or anywhere else) while chatting you up, chances are you're in flirtcon level 10. It's true, some people are more touchy-feely than others, but if a girl casually reaches out and gently taps you on the hand while laughing hysterically at something mildly funny you've said, she knows what she's doing.
If you have an eerie amount of things in common with a woman you've just met, she might be in flirt mode. As my friend explained to me, really flirty women are kind of like fortunetellers or mediums who claim they can communicate with the dead. They will wait for you to reveal something about yourself, and then use the information. That's what our server did to me at lunch that day. She asked me a lot of personal questions, and could somehow relate to every one of my answers. Crafty.
Just because a woman is flirting with you, doesn't mean she wants to jump straight into bed. Some people thrive on interaction, and will just flirt for the hell of it. You should take it as a compliment, but don't go picking out wedding china.
Some jobs foster a flirty environment. If your food server or bartender is being flirtatious, don't get too excited. And don't hold it against them. For better or worse, that's how they've been conditioned to behave. Guys who go to bars and think the bartender is into them just because she charmed them are just as gullible as the guys who think the stripper they've been spending money on really likes them.
Some people are just nice. So watch for the signals and a woman's body language to help identify definitive flirting. There's a big difference between, "So how long have you worked at your company?" and "Oh my God, you are so deep and intellectual!" Learn the difference.