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Does She Love Me Or Hate Me? It's The Flirting V. Fighting Debate

And I don't blame for you feeling confused about play flighting versus fight flirting.

By Ellen "Jelly" McRaePublished 7 months ago 7 min read

Most of us are relationship dummies. 

We have no idea when someone is flirting with us. Or when they aren't flirting with us. Or when we've stuffed up a chance with an attractive person that we will never get back again.

I don't want you to feel offended by the dummy comment. I include myself in this when we think we have the people in our world figured out and then, like a slap in the face, we don't.

And then, just to confuse everything, we have the fighting. I know from a woman's perspective, we can get very heated with people without taking our clothes off. 

We can argue, debate, verbally push and shove a man about any topic under the sun. We can seem combative and deliberately argumentative. We women speak our minds.

Sometimes we're fighting with genuine frustration and hate. But sometimes, there's a messed up confusion between love and hate. 

And you're the poor sucker who has no idea which one it is. When a woman is speaking her mind, is she flirting with you? Or is she really fighting?

Let me help you answer that.

Finding a fight versus starting a fight

This isn't a hard and fast rule, but as a general guideline, women don't pick fights because they're bored. Or because they have nothing better to do. It's either they have a problem with you or they're flirting with you.

When they have a problem with you, it can seem like a deliberate fight. 

But when you delve into the signs, you will see the fight has genuine merit. It didn't just get plucked from thin air. Genuine fights will be about:

  • An interaction between you that didn't go well - You offended her, or you said something controversial. Or you said something deliberately hurtful.
  • You clashed over a common goal - She's your work colleague and your interference stopped her from finishing a task. Or landing a client, or getting a promotion.
  • You clashed over inaction - You didn't clean up as you promised to do. You didn't go to visit a sick friend when you should have, and she is admonishing you.
  • She's responding to your behaviour - She picks a fight with you because you got drunk, blacked out and threw up on her favourite pair of shoes.

Everything on this list is traceable back to an event or altercation between you and her.

Deliberate fights, or flirting fights as I like to call them, are often over things that aren't pertinent to you or to a situation you've been in. These, by comparison to the other list, seem plucked out of thin air. 

It could be any of the following:

  • Who's sports team is better - She starts an argument over who is better; Ferrari or Red Bull.
  • What's the best restaurant, bar, or cuisine - She thinks Mexican food is better and challenges you to prove her otherwise.
  • Who of you is better, stronger, faster at something - She challenges you to a game of pool, or cards, or race to a finish line.
  • Who has the better house, car, or fashion - She debates whether her brand new Tesla is better than your new Mazda.

My theory on why women pick deliberate fights instead of conventional flirting is about positioning. She wants to be there. She wants to find herself in the argument. She wants to become engaged in a conversation or battle of wills with you.

It keeps you in this person's life and in their brain. It's reverse flirting, but the results are the same. The other person can't stop thinking about you.

Public versus private fights

The location of where you two argue is important to analyse. Though flirting doesn't generally have a location that works best, it's important to realise fighting does.

Fighting in public seems undignified. For some, it's taboo in polite situations. Whether it's with a perfect stranger or someone you know well, a heated argument, playful or genuine, also attracts unwanted attention. And in some situations, you find yourself in legal trouble.

A flirter and a fighter are aware of these issues with public fighting. It means that a fighter who has a bone to pick with you often won't wait, instead having the argument in public. 

If it means that much, and if the topic is that urgent and contentious, that is. That's when you know it's not a planned, playful argument.

Flirters will use more discretion. If they think the argument could become heated, they will wait for the quiet, less public scenario. 

And if you think about it this way, if they're flirting in the hope it will turn romantic, being in private allows their flirting to turn into more. You have less chance of that happening in the public arena.

Flirters also know how many distractions exist within public settings. These could be:

  • Other people weighing on the debate - Which can then escalate the innocent fight into an all-out war
  • Other distractions - People, events, uncontrollable disasters.
  • Someone calling them out - No one likes having their flirtatious behaviour put on blast. Despite the fact everyone flirts, it's like breaking wind. No one wants to admit to doing it in a public setting.

Insecurities fights

In this scenario, you're not necessarily fighting with someone. It's more like the schoolyard cliche. A woman picks on the insecurities, nuances or habits of the person you're interested in.

She teases them but not in a harmful way. It's playful jesting, which is appropriate for how well they know each other. Some of this teasing may include:

  • An inside joke - Something you and your friends tease each other about, but the flirter uses it more often than not.
  • A physical trait - They tease you about your hair, whilst using it as an excuse to touch you or bring your physical proximity closer.
  • A behaviour joke - They keep teasing you about tripping over because that one time you did it.

All this teasing is a behaviour you might engage with them in return. It's a type of love language you have together. Or perhaps not love, but an intimacy that's bringing you closer together. 

Though it seems counterintuitive to the end result, neither of you feels insulted or hurt by this innocent ribbing.

From a stranger's point of view, it might look like fighting. And if you weren't sure, I wouldn't blame you for interpreting it this way.

We have to be careful of the flirt who does this. It's not a type of flirting that mixes well with our current values about life. As we try to become a more inclusive and respectful society, teasing each other isn't something that translates well.

It's also a reason to be wary of someone who flirts like this. Because we're trying to move away from this behaviour, it becomes less likely they're actually flirting. 

Yet, it doesn't mean it doesn't happen anymore. Some people, of all ages, have learned this is what you do.

If you can't figure it out, don't assume

Sometimes, you will never know. You might use everything I've said, analysed her behaviours, asked her loved ones, and you will still never know if she's flirting. Or fighting. 

And, just to confuse things even more, she might not ever tell you.

It's not a female problem, by the way. It's a human thing. It's what we do.

You can't control her behaviours and whether she tells you if she's flirting or not. 

But what you can control is your assumptions or lack thereof. Don't assume anything.

You can't be the fool who assumes she's flirting when she's fighting. And then act upon these assumptions. Because in reality, you end up looking like the jerk who couldn't figure it out. And insulted her in the process.

In some ways, you're kind of screwed with the flirting versus fighting situation. But if it makes you feel any better, we all are.

Misery loves company, right? Well, that's what we keep telling ourselves.


About the Creator

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

I’m here to use my wins and losses in #relationships as your cautionary tale | Writes 1LD; Cautionary tale #romance fiction |

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