When flirting is good clean funThe truth is, people flirt all the time in order to get help in social situations. Have you ever flirted with a mechanic in order to try to get a discount on getting your car fixed? What about the time you chatted up the waiter in order to get better service? Flirting is a social game we play in these kinds of situations and it's considered an "acceptable" form of flirting by most people.
There are benefits to innocent flirting, even if you're attached or married. Flirting can be a huge booster to your self-esteem. People like to hear how good they look and if they catch someone checking them out or smiling at them, it's a compliment.
When things get grayThings get a bit more complicated when it comes to flirting with colleagues of the opposite sex. A UK research found that casual flirting in the office is rife, often with the motive to hand work over to someone else. Coined "functional flirting" by the researchers, the study found that nearly half (48 percent) of office workers admit to flirting to get their own way in the workplace. Twice as many women as men admit to flirting with their bosses, while men are more likely to focus their attentions on their junior colleagues. "As long as you keep your conversations and actions appropriate, office flirting is really no big deal because everybody does it and it makes my job simpler when others like me," says Jamie, 29, a PR consultant.
But some relationship experts warn that all kinds of workplace flirting (including functional flirting) has the potential to turn friendship into an emotional affair. These intimate relationships are usually not based on physical attraction or sex; rather they tend to be based on a strong emotional bond that persists without the complete knowledge and consent of your current spouse. "When a spouse places his or her primary emotional needs in the hands of someone outside the marriage, it breaks the bond of marriage just as adultery does. An emotional affair can be just as dangerous to a marriage and often a more complicated situation to remedy," explains marriage counselor Gary Neuman, author of Emotional Infidelity. And the crux of an emotional affair is that many times, these persons involved are totally unaware that they are being unfaithful, say experts.