Flirting makes me seriously uncomfortable. Why? Probably because I am autistic and can’t actually tell when most people are flirting, unless they say something blunt like “I want to do you” (which has happened to me, I guess I didn’t catch their subtler hints or something so they decided to just go for it…sadly, it didn’t work for them).
Anyhow, back to the subject of flirting, whenever a male stares at me for uncomfortable amounts of time or keeps flashing me smiles, I do wonder if they are flirting or if they are just being outgoing and friendly. I really don’t know the difference. It puts me in a rough spot, because as a happily married woman, if they are genuinely flirting, I don’t want to encourage their attention or make them think I’m interested in return, but I also don’t want to be rude or mean if they are just being friendly. I also don’t want to seem presumptuous by assuming someone is flirting with me if that is not their intention.
For me, this issue of being oblivious to what the opposite sex wants has been lifelong. Even before I was married, I never really thought anyone was interested in me unless someone told me they were. Even then, I often thought they were joking. Sometimes not taking it seriously or not recognizing flirting got me into some awkward situations, or made people think I was interested back simply because I was kind to them, which then meant I had to hurt their feelings and let them down, which I hated. I know this all may seem weird to non-autistic folks, but I wonder how many Aspies can relate to my experiences?
*Art by Maranda Russell