Is flirting ever okay? Are you being impure in your mind if you choose to flirt? Every flirt has battled with these questions at some time or the other in their life. And almost everyone has flirted, says REENA SINGH
Admit it – almost all of us have flirted merrily whenever the chance has presented itself. ‘Nothing wrong with it,’ you tell yourself as you continue matching wit to wit, repartee to repartee, each sentence perfectly innocent, yet so full of double innuendoes with a friend, casual acquaintance, colleague, fellow traveller or someone, perhaps, in your neighbourhood.
Which brings us to the question: Is flirting okay? Are you being impure in mind and body if you flirt? Are you betraying your partner who thinks you are innocence personified if you do? Every flirt has battled with these questions at some time or the other. ‘It is okay,’ a voice whispers from deep within you, for you are doing nothing physical, just talking…. And really, if you think deeply enough, flirting is not even plainspeak. In a way, it is saying things that on one level are innocent, and on another, can be full of loaded suggestions. So, are you really doing anything wrong?
These questions are not dilemmas when you are single. There is nothing to stop you then. Go ahead, enjoy yourself, lighten up the mood and be an outrageous flirt, if that is what you want. Forget guilt trips, for you are single and have every right to want to mingle.
The trouble begins only if you are married or are in a committed relationship. If so, then you might enjoy flirting for the moment, but that spoilsport that you call your Conscience may rear its judgemental head and trouble you sooner or later. And then, wilting under its questioning gaze, you are riven with guilt and ask yourself, ‘Did I do right by playing along?’
Here is some feel good news for those who think this way. When I googled the benefits of flirting, several sites popped up singing praises of this unputdownable trait in people, both young and old. Here are ten reasons to continue flirting all your life:
1. Reduces stress
2. Boosts your self-esteem
3. Stimulates you to be witty, smart, well-dressed, perky and spicy
4. Improves your looks
5. Keeps you wanting to be updated about everything, current affairs included
6. You eat healthy, because you want to look good, always
7. Brings a smile to your face when you recall the witty things that may have been said
8. You work-out and you have the confidence to speak-out
9. Makes you value yourself and acts like a confidence-booster
10. Increases your communication skills
If these 10 points don’t shake you up to work on your flirting skills, then you might as well take sanyas. By the way, I personally believe no one is above flirting. It’s a universal and human skill that is kind of inborn. Says Joy Nordenstrom, founder of Joy of Romance, “If you are single or in a relationship, it is paramount that you know how to flirt. It not only improves your relationships with others, it also improves your physical and emotional health.”
She suggests that flirting starts when we are born and says that “as a survival mechanism, babies are master flirts. …Our bodies are built to connect with others and gravitate towards pleasure and happy faces. Something as simple as a flirtatious smile has an incredible ripple effect.”
Nordenstrom is a relationship expert and one supposes that she knows what she is talking about. So, then why is flirting often looked upon as something incorrect, unethical and a form of cheating?
On one level, flirting is perfectly fine – it is light-hearted banter meant to be a conversation starter between two people. If you think it is going to hurt someone, then step back and take stock of who you are going to hurt. If you think it is not going to harm anyone, go ahead and enjoy the moment. And of course, if you consciously look out for someone to start a conversation, time and time again, know that you subconsciously want all this loose talk to lead to someplace more concrete – into the bedroom, for instance. In that sense, you are treading on dangerous ground and must run away from temptation.
I remember once sitting across my attractive young married colleague and ticking her off playfully for flirting outrageously with another colleague who sat a few seats away from her, just down the bay. She looked up, eyes just a wee bit resentful and said, “So, what’s wrong? It’s not as if I am alone with him.”
Try googling to find out if flirting is wrong. It is, and it isn’t. It isn’t if you are the natural, gregarious kind of person, dishing off compliments to all and sundry. But it is if you are flirting so wickedly with someone that your partner feels uncomfortable or feels disrespected. In that case, you are doing more than flirting and are definitely cheating. It is such kind of people who end up with sleepless nights later or feel as if they were not fair to their partners.
Ultimately, flirt if you must, but know your limits. Here are Osho’s thoughts on flirting: He once said, “Flirting has nothing to do with religion. It is natural, human. It is not a conditioning of the past; it is just intelligence that one wants to taste all kinds of things….”