Marie's Answer: Some women flirt to get attention, while others find that flirting helps them get what they want. Gregarious, sociable types can easily appear to be flirting when they’re not. Here’s how to assess your own behavior:
• To differentiate flirting from friendliness, consider one simple question: Do I communicate with men the same way I do with women? If you smile, laugh and flip your hair with the guys, but adopt a more businesslike attitude with female colleagues, that’s a pretty good clue.
• Since self-assessments are notoriously biased, solicit objective feedback from trusted friends or co-workers. Ask them the above question and have them describe any behaviors that might be sending the wrong message.
• If the “flirt” label seems appropriate, you would be wise to change this perception. Flirting can produce unintended consequences ranging from unwelcome invitations to stalking. Try to drop any words or actions that seem like a come-on.
Don’t go too far in the other direction, though. You want to keep your outgoing personality, because friendliness is a wonderful asset.
To consider what may happen when flirting turns serious, see Dangerous Workplace Romances.
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