Ask Dr. Joy: The world of flirting

By WEEK Producer

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 8:05 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Was that look saying more than just a glance? On tonight's Dr. Joy, we look at the world of flirting.

Whether you are single or happily married, male or female, there will be times in your life when you may find yourself being flirted with or wanting to flirt with someone.

What exactly is the definition of flirting?

* Romantic behavior that is goal oriented
* Behavior that is used to attract someone without commitment
* Behavior that is ambiguous and implies something
* Actions that test the water
* Actions can be a smile, glance, compliment, bantering or teasing, a touch of the hand, toss of the hair, or an open ended comment

Why do people flirt?

* Finding a mate: Most thought of reason where people are evaluating if someone is interested in them and potential dating partner
* Boosting self esteem: Getting a little attention drawn to yourself is a common way to build your confidence, feel a little more important, and create some happiness
* Attending to a relationship: Keeping a little heat and interest in your partner, flirting tends to be playful, minimize conflict and keep the relationship bonded
* Having fun: Flirting for fun is enjoyable and a little like tennis: it is fun unless someone gets hurt in the process.
* Getting what we want: Flirting can be a somewhat subtle method for getting someone to do something we want, or to get our needs met.

What is real and what is manipulative?

* Assess: If you are uninterested in a romantic relationship stay off the field and don't dress for the game-be fair to yourself and the other person.
* Bantering: If you feel uncomfortable then stop. It's better to be safe and establish a boundary in the relationship
* Secrets: If you are having difficulty talking about this with your partner, then it is time to move back because it is flirting and purposeful
* Jealousy: Yes, it is manipulative and it doesn't enhance a relationship to create a situation using flirting to make your partner jealous- in fact, it just might push your partner further away
* Power: If there is a power difference be careful. Lots of work flirting can have dangerous effects, so think twice about touching at work and creating mixed signals in relationships.

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