Should Christians flirt at all?
It seems like flirting is generally frowned upon in contemporary Christian thinking, now that “intentionality” and its close cousin, “not defrauding”, are the orders of the day. The thinking goes something like this: we shouldn’t flirt because someone might misconstrue the flirting as more interest than is intended, which would be defrauding a brother or sister in Christ, and if you’re careless about misleading someone, you’re not showing intentionality. So flirting is out, and serious earnestness is in.
The problem is, flirting by its very nature is supposed to be unserious. It’s not supposed to be taken as an indicator of anything serious, yet in this culture of “intentionality,” flirting actually is VERY serious, because if everyone is seriously looking at others only for marriage potential, and no one is supposed to flirt with anyone they’re not interested in for fear of defrauding them, then any flirting MUST mean serious interest or some implied promises of affection. I think this is why Christian girls get all of their hopes up if someone flirts with them – and then wildly dashed when the flirting is only that.
That said, flirting does often lead to confusion. People have a hard time distinguishing mere flirting from genuine interest – I have a hard time with this, because most of the time, flirting falls under the umbrella of plausible deniability. Someone could flirt with you, but you’re not sure if you should flirt back in reciprocation of implied interest, because maybe that person was just being friendly and doesn’t actually have any interest in you. OR you choose not to flirt back because you’re afraid that if you do, that person will get the wrong impression and think you’re more interested than you are. So, I get why Christian advice tends to discourage flirting – there’s often too much broken-hearted and confused collateral damage involved.
Still, all of this adds up to a bunch of Christian singles awkwardly trying to show interest in each other without flirting and instead trying to be direct and “intentional.” And that sounds about as exciting as brushing your teeth.
If anyone has any solutions, please comment!