Should Christians Flirt?
Haley's Halo, a Christian game blog that I enjoy reading, posed this question: Should Christians flirt at all?
The short answer? An unequivocal YES.
Here's a brief summary of the argument on both sides:
Cons of flirting: Leads to confusion, could be easily misconstrued as an indicator of romantic interest, members of the opposite sex could lead each other on and send inappropriate signals, can be a barrier to deeper intimacy, a can lead to pain, heartbreak, and rejection
Pros of flirting: Indicates a sense of humor, comfort with others, ability to build rapport, social ease and comfort, demonstrates romantic interest, can help begin/grow a dating relationship, is enjoyable and fun
And here's my argument for why Christians should flirt (with some observations):
1) Flirting builds relationships. It is a social skill. Like any social skill, flirting helps strengthen a relationship. Flirting has the specific intent of building rapport. It greases the social skids. It breaks the ice. It demonstrates higher value - especially if you flirt in a way that presents insights about another person (see example below). One's ability to flirt evidences a sense of humor, confidence, creativity, and the ability not to take one's self and others too seriously.
If you don't know how to flirt, you likely don't know how to make small talk, you're probably not very funny, or you lack confidence (and of course all the above).
2) Flirting is intentionally vague. One of my good friends, in his single days, would go to bars and clubs pretending he was from a foreign country. His accents, mannerisms, and made-up stories were priceless. Women found him bold, hilarious, and charming.
Flirting involves misdirection, evasion, and joking around. That's not necessarily a bad thing. See if you flirt with members of the same sex (no homo), it's called playful banter. When my guy friends and I put each other down, we're expressing affection through insults. It's a sign that we know and accept each other's weakness. It's an indication of comfort with each other. More importantly, it's fun. It's not always clear whether we mean exactly or there's some bitterness or whatever, but just like flirting, playful teasing can cross the line.
3) There are two flirting standards - one for men and one for women. Men and women are different and therefore flirt differently.
For teenage girls, flirting is the way they flip their hair, giggling, laughing at cute guys' unfunny jokes, and dipping their heads slightly and gazing upwards at a guy while smiling coyly. The purpose of female flirting is to indicate interest.
But for guys, it's totally different. It's about initiative, doing cocky funny, and light teasing. Male flirting is more complex. The purpose of male flirting is more than indicate interest - it is to demonstrate that as a male that you are worthy of a female's interest. Let's take a look at a great example of a male flirt.
4) Jesus flirted. John chapter 4 takes place at Jacob's well. It is a type scene that was understood by Jews as a courtship ritual (see Genesis 24, Genesis 29, Exodus 2).
John 4:7-9 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
[approaches and initiates the conversation, breaks social norm with an unconventional opening]
John 4:10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
[misdirection, evades her question, demonstrates higher value by teasing her an offer of something more substantial than physical sustenance]
John 4:11-14 "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" 13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
[the Samaritan woman challenges Jesus but he is not defensive at all and again evades the question, elaborating on his previous offer]
John 4:15-18 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." 16 He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back." 17 "I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
[Jesus toys with her - commands her to call her husband knowing full well she doesn't currently have one and then offers a prophetic insight - demonstration of higher value]
Of course flirting can go wrong. But done well, in an appropriate context, it is such a powerful way to disarm someone.