Dear Straight Talk: Recently, some girls wrote in asking how to tell whether guys liked them or just wanted to hook up. Well, my guy friends and I can’t tell whether a girl likes you or is just flirting. We’re 16 and the girls are all so flirty, but then you find out they aren’t actually interested. How do you tell flirting from real interest? — Clueless in Toledo, Ohio
Maddie, 15, Cotati: Many flirty girls are clueless themselves about what flirting actually means. And today, many do it for the sense of power. Others are just really open and trying to increase their odds of getting a boyfriend. Try reading what kind of flirt a girl is. Then put yourself out there and see what happens!
Gregg, 23, Los Angeles: Flirty girls in high school touch you a lot and get really close. Don’t move away or toward them, just widen your stance, fold your arms and maintain warm eye contact. They’re looking to throw you off balance. Don’t stammer or act nervous, just answer their questions simply (don’t elaborate), and if you don’t know the answer, just say, “I don’t know.” Best is when you walk away first (the less you care, the more they care), so answer their questions and walk away with a warm smile.
If you like a girl, find ways to show her. Always say, “I’ve got that,” not “Let me get that,” which sounds passive (if she wants to do it herself, let her). Facebook and texting are fine for asking about something after school, but movies/dates should be asked in person — but not in front of her friends! Wait for the opportunity, then be specific, “I’m going to the game Saturday, wanna go?” not, “Hey, wanna do something?” You be prepared with time, place, etc. (or taking the rejection lightly). You bring the water, food, extra jacket. You pay for the first date. If you’re broke, do free things after that. Ask questions and show interest in her. It’s PC and I’ve definitely asked, “Can I kiss you?” but I always cringe. It sucks asking and girls say it sucks being asked (if they like the guy). Better: Know your audience, and create the mood.
Rachel, 22, Corte Madera: Most relationships begin today at group hangouts. It’s tricky figuring out if someone likes hanging with you — or the group. You’ve got to test the water!
Collin, 17, San Diego: Men have forever asked, “Is she really into me?” Truthfully, the signs vary drastically — especially at 16 when everyone’s inept at this stuff. The only sure-fire tactic is asking her.
Breele, 20, Dana Point: Self-analyze! Realistically gauge your league in terms of looks and personality. If a really pretty, out-of-your-league girl is flirting, unless she’s constantly calling you and sitting by you, trust me, she’s just being nice. I caused so much confusion by flirting! After high school I realized it sends the wrong message to be talkative and attentive to a guy you’re not interested in. Unless you have an amazing personality or tons of money, don’t go after a “10” if you’re a “7.” Plenty of “7” girls would love a “7” boyfriend! Exception: A plain girl who becomes pretty and doesn’t realize it. Tip: Don’t act desperate. “Desperate” guys go after the slightest attention and of course, the girl pulls back. Then they go for another girl and she pulls back. Then nobody wants to be with you.
Dear Clueless: You’ve helped lots of so-called “clueless” guys today. Gregg’s and Breele’s advice is as straight-talkin’ as it gets. But don’t worry. Most significant relationships start after high school, when everyone’s less “inept” at this stuff :). — Lauren
Ask a question or go deeper in today’s conversation at www.StraightTalkAdvice.org — or write PO Box 1974 Sebastopol, CA 95473. Straight Talk Advice.org is a 501c3 nonprofit. If today’s column has been useful, please consider a donation!