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In A Relationship and Flirting With Disaster: How Friendly is TOO Friendly?

I came across an article from Woman’s Day magazine, explaining that men usually cheat with someone they know, with 60% of affairs beginning at work.  This begs the question:  How friendly is too friendly?  

flirting at workDespite being consumed with digital communication, most relationships flourish out of proximity, shared interactions, and interpersonal exchanges that build upon the commonality of two people.  Whether you meet someone at work, at the gym, or in mutual social circles, the familiarity of contact jogs a friendly greeting or conversation that opens the door to a friendly acquaintance-ship. The acquaintance-ship by itself is not a problem. It’s when one finds themselves physically attracted to a particular feature (pretty smile, nice legs, manner of dress, etc.) or the demeanor of the other person (funny, professional, sexy, etc.), that things have the potential to become interesting.  Once an attraction is established, Friendly Gestures (video) tend to surface.  Gestures such as:

  • compliments/flattery
  • a shared joke or funny situation
  • a hug
  • personal questions and personal discussion
  • comments suggestive of an attraction
  • an offer for “a drink” outside of your normal interaction

These types of gestures are like footprints in the sand–they leave an impression.  But are these friendly gestures TOO friendly?

A rule of thumb: If you are in a committed relationship while finding yourself having “friendly gestures” with someone else, ask yourself these questions.

  1. Am I attracted to this person in some way?
  2. If my significant other saw these “friendly gestures” would I feel the urge to lie or minimize the interaction?

Answering yes, to either of the above questions is a sign that your friendly is TOO friendly for your relationship. In other words, your relationship is not built for that type of friendly because it would introduce tension and disagreement. If you insist on being “friendly” despite the potential for tension and disagreement, then it is apparent that you are seeking some sort of validation in your interactions with others. Some need the validation of feeling attractive, or that they “still got it”, or that they are fun to be around. Everyone has a need to be validated in some way and we all have an intrinsic motivation to take care of our personal needs. What purpose do friendly gestures serve for you?

Along with validation, another word that is evident in this discussion is Intention. I believe “friendly gestures” are often used with the intention of seeing if the feeling or attraction is mutual. There may not be an intention to start an affair or have sex, but the reaction of the other party is pivotal to what happens beyond the intention. If the response is one of flattery and reciprocation, what was once interesting, can easily turn into “It’s complicated”.

Closing thought: Every affair starts with a “friendly gesture”, but every “friendly gesture” does not have to lead to an affair. If you are in a committed relationship, seek validation there, and do so with intention. :)

 

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