Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

In simple terms what is the difference between harmless flirting and harassment?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (20608points) October 27th, 2017

Please and let’s be civil.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

syz's avatar

The power dynamic, the setting, the content…so much.

If you are a supervisor/boss/loan officer/or in any way have authority over, power to influence, or power to control – don’t flirt.

If you see someone that you think is cute who is alone in an isolated location – don’t flirt.

If you’ve smile at someone or said hi and they turn their eyes away, or go back to reading their book, or put their earbuds back in – don’t flirt.

Don’t comment on physical attributes. That’s not flirting.

In a social setting, when they’re with a group, when they smile back – go ahead, flirt.

Aster's avatar

I’m now beginning to doubt that “harmless flirting” exists anymore . I think it can get a guy fired or shot. I don’t recommend it.

josie's avatar

It apparently depends on if it’s a girl or guy doing the flirting.
If it’s a guy, he might fired.
If it’s a girl she might get a free drink or at worst be ignored.
She certainly won’t get fired.
It’s sort of like attitudes about divorce.
If the guy leaves he’s an asshole
If the girl leaves it can only be because the guy is an asshole.
I don’t flirt anymore.
Not that it ever worked anyway.

ucme's avatar

Harmless flirting can only work between like minded individuals who are familiar/comfortable in each others company & are acutely aware of well defined boundaries that are set in stone & trusted without question.
Anything else can be considered unwelcome, inappropriate & therefore harassment.

cookieman's avatar

Flirting always seemed dicey to me. Too many potholes.

I suggest just talking to women. Ya know, like they’re human.

kritiper's avatar

Simply put, flirting = no touching with “vague obscenities”. Harassment = unwanted touching with specific language.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think the problem with this question, and with the whole harassment issue going on, is that there is not a shared definition or understanding of what flirting is. Just look at all the answers above.

Until there’s shared (not imposed) understanding, then harassment is subject to argument and he-sad, she-said unprovable allegations.

Rarebear's avatar

There is no such thing as harmless flirting in the workplace.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Let’s be frank:

I’m not good at people-ing. I’m just not. I don’t pick up on social cues well. If I’m interested in talking to someone, I might stand too close to them, in order to compensate for the fact that I have issues with background noise and selective hearing. I might not notice if I’m “too close”. I’ve been informed by my husband on more than one occasion that I appeared to be “flirting” with someone with whom I honestly thought I was having a perfectly innocent, friendly discussion on the history of the Weinstephaner brewery (or some such).

So I totally understand that someone might not realise that they are making someone else uncomfortable.

The best thing you can do is, when informed of the fact that you’ve made someone uncomfortable, apologise sincerely, and make a note to not repeat those actions.

johnpowell's avatar

This isn’t really about being socially awkward.

One time is understandable. And by that I mean getting too close and touching a shoulder to get attention.

What is going on is repeat offenders that are in a position of power over their victims. And that is fucked.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I agree that crossed signals and personality disparities make this one of those slippery judgement questions about the “foggy line”. To me the line is crossed when the “flirting” persists after notice is given that such attentions are unappreciated.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’m in @josie camp here. Gender seems to be the most relevant variable.

I remember the first/last time I reported a female coworker to a female manager for grabbing my genitals repeatedly. I was 21 years old. A 50ish year old female bar tender had made a habit of grabbing all the male waiters wherever she wanted. I was laughed out of the managers office. It was so futile, and embarrassing, that despite of maybe hundreds of similar incidents, I have never pursued any other harassment.

Apparently, if you’re a man, you just get your dick grabbed all the time. I know I do. It just is what it is…

Unofficial_Member's avatar

It all depends on the recipient of the flirtings. We all have different perception toward what’s acceptable and what’s not.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Rarebear I agree it has no place in the work place harmless or not.
And I would never do it ,like one on one,or to make the woman feel uneasy, I do things like flirt with all the tellers at the bank,saying like I love coming to the bank and talking to all the lovely ladies.
And nothing ever really sexual, or like after getting my order at the deli and a woman is next saying things like thanks now I will let this lovely lady have you now, even I may not even know that woman’s name.
I am worried now how fucking silly this world has become is what I described harmless flirting or harassment?

imrainmaker's avatar

I agree with @ucme !

cheebdragon's avatar

The line is crossed when a person refuses to accept that you’re not interested.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t see the point in flirting unless you’re available and seriously interested in the person and in that situation why not just talk to them and get to know them?

NomoreY_A's avatar

My policy has always been: dont do it, and if it happens to me ignore it. Particularly when my wife is with me. Best to play it down. My wife came to eat lunch with me at work one time, and some damn woman remarked to her that, your husband walks through the lobby and all the womens heads turn. My wife reponded, yeah, I noticed. I just said, These women act like they never saw a man before. Wife laughed and we had a great meal together, no harm done. You have to use finess with women. They can be sensitive creatures.

Muad_Dib's avatar

@MrGrimm888 – That is unconscionable. Shame on your manager, and that bartender.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Because it’s partially relevant, and I happen to be thinking of it:

Am I the only one that gets totally angry every time Alex Trebek refers to a female Jeopardy contestant as “lovely young lady”?

She is a fucking surgeon. You are a game show host. It’s “That’s correct, Doctor”. Not ”young lady.” You didn’t refer to the guy next to her as “Son” or “handsome”, did you? No. You didn’t.


I hate Alex Trebek.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Guess that’s why they call it Hollyweird.

kritiper's avatar

I suppose someone somewhere will always get pissed off with others who are attempting to be politically correct. “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Muad Dib . That specific woman probably sexually assaulted literally hundreds of young men over 20 years. She also said amazingly inappropriate things to us. Usually suggesting that I provide oral sex to her. To my knowledge, she was never once reprimanded for her actions. To this day, I am hesitant to bend over. Never know when she might come out of nowhere and grab my butt hole, or testicles.
Where I’ve mainly worked over the past 4 years, it’s mostly rich, older women who simply touch me wherever they feel like. They often laugh with each other when I get offended. I frequently feel like a slave or something. You know, someone with no rights I guess… I am currently a LEO. So, I could arrest each woman that does this. But then I’d have arrested dozens/hundreds of women. And I have no doubt that the charges wouldn’t stick. To say there is a double standard would be a massive understatement.

I know lots of females have it worse. But I think groping, and/or sexual harassment is probably something most people deal with. At least by my personal experience.

People are assholes… Both genders….

Rarebear's avatar

@NomoreY_A “You have to use finess (sic) with women. They can be sensitive creatures.”

Really? You’re going to go with this? What a silly, sexist thing to say.

NomoreY_A's avatar

@rarebear – I just meant that in the sense that my wife can be possessive and jealous so I had to play off the remark so as not to get her bent out of shape. I see you apparently have no issue with a completely unnecessary and UNSOLICITED remark made by a woman toward me. That’s not sexist? Do I detect a double standard here?

Rarebear's avatar

There is no double standard. Treat women with the same respect you treat men. Period.

NomoreY_A's avatar

I do. In the event that you misread my post, I was simply meeting my wife in the lobby to treat her to lunch. A female employee made an inappropriate remark about ME, in my wifes presence. So who was
being disrespected in that situation?

canidmajor's avatar

Did you feel threatened? Were you concerned that somehow you would be unable to conduct your business effectively because of it? Were you touched in an inappropriate manner by a stranger? Does it happen frequently?

For you, @NomoreY_A, it was very likely only a minor annoyance, once. Not really comparable.

Rarebear's avatar

@NomoreY_A You wrote, and I’ll quote it again, ‘You have to use finess (sic) with women. They can be sensitive creatures.”

Unless you can write the exact same thing about men, you are stereotyping half the population (women), which, by definition, is sexist.

Of course, you have a disparaging opinion of 8 year old girls too (question has since been deleted, thank goodness) so I’m not surprised.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But clearly the harassment accusations fall almost exclusively on males. When was the last time anyone heard of a female Cosby or Weinstein? Or is it that male victims are out there, only too embarrassed to raise a fuss?

NomoreY_A's avatar

@Rarebear That’s bull. I was upset that my granddaughter was having a rough time at school with a so called friend. How do you draw from that “have a disparaging view of 8 year old girls”? Do you always make blanket statements like that or did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed today?

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Rarebear's avatar

@NomoreY_A This answer will be modded because it is off topic but this was your question at the time: “Why are young girls such two faced, fickle little shits?”

If you had asked the question, “Why is my daughter’s friend being mean to her?” I would have been fine. But no. You made three insulting remarks in one sentence regarding children. That’s what showed me that you have a disparaging view of 8 year old girls.

ucme's avatar

@Rarebear Bet you a shiny penny it won’t be, this one however…moderated to hell :D

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