Difference Between Flirting and Friendly

Main Difference – Flirting vs Friendly

Flirting can be simply defined as playfully demonstrating one’s sexual attraction to another person. However, sometimes, some people find it difficult to tell the difference between flirting and friendliness. This is because some people use flirting as a friendly mode of communication. The main difference between flirting and friendly lies in the intention of the person who is flirting. The main intention of flirting is displaying sexual attraction and interest whereas being friendly does not intend to display attraction.

This article looks at,

1. What is Flirting? – Meaning, Intention, and Characteristics

2. What is Friendly? – Meaning, Intention, and Characteristics

3. What is the difference between Flirting and Friendliness?Difference Between Flirting and Friendly - Flirting vs Friendly Comparison Summary

What is Flirting

In most societies, making open sexual advances are socially disapproved, so many people use indirect and suggestive advances to express their desires and wishes. Flirting is a social interaction that involves behaving in a way that shows a sexual attraction for someone. Flirting can suggest interest in a deeper relationship, but if done playfully, it suggests amusement. Flirting involves verbal or written communication between two people as well as body language.

The body language of flirting can include eye contact, flicking the hair, brief touching, winking, open stances, proximity, etc. Flirting can also include teasing, flattery, double entendres, etc. Flirting behaviour can vary across different societies and cultures due to different modes of social etiquette.

According to social anthropologists, there are two types of flirting: flirting with further intent and flirting just for fun. Flirting with further intent suggests sexual attraction, and it plays a major role human mate-selection process. But, flirting for fun does not intend to lead to a romantic relationship or sexual intercourse; it increases the bonds between two people. It can take place between friends, co-workers, or complete strangers who want to get to know each other.

Main Difference - Flirting vs Friendly

Friendly – Meaning and Characteristics

Being friendly is entirely different from flirting. The main difference between being friendly and flirting is the relationship between people involved; flirting often takes place when two people are sexually attracted to each other whereas being friendly does not involve any attraction. Being friendly merely involves being pleasant, kind and helpful to another.

However, sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between flirting and friendly. A friendly conversation between two people may also sometimes involve some signs of flirting such as smiling, teasing, and eye contact. However, factors like physical proximity and touching can help you to understand the difference between two.  A friendly conversation will often be more open and free.

Difference Between Flirting and Friendly

Difference Between Flirting and Friendly

Sexual Attraction

Flirting: Flirting is often a sign of sexual attraction and interest.

Friendly: Being friendly is not a sign of sexual attraction and interest.

Body Language

Flirting: Flirting may include eye contact, flicking the hair, brief touching, open stances, proximity, etc.

Friendly: Being friendly may include eye contact, laughing, smiling, etc.


Flirting: The intention of flirting may be to show sexual attraction or to increase the bond between two people.

Friendly: The intention of being friendly is to increase the friendship between people, being helpful and pleasant to others.

Image Courtesy:

“Eugen de Blaas The Flirtation” By Eugene de Blaas – Art Renewal Center

“9746” (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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