Ask Jono: Do Guys Flirt Insincerely?
I thought of this question while reading your response to guys' feelings (I'm still completely unconvinced they know what those are).
Anyway, my question: do guys flirt with girls they don't "like like"? And if so do they know they are doing it and just think whatever, or do they just think they are being normal and friendly?
Hey now, Sparkler, I'll have you know that guys have tons of feelings, such as "I feel that I want to be playing video games" and "I feel good about these video games." Sometimes they even have romantic feelings ("I love you, video games"). It's just that they tend to experience and express their feelings differently. Really, the problem isn't dude brains, it's teen romance at large—the whole affair requires having two people who are often emotional opposites successfully interact without misunderstanding each other, which is like expecting a cat and a dog to team up and plan a wedding. The point is, I know you sometimes just want to say "ugh, boys," but a lot of those boys are saying "groan, how do I even girls?" and you both find each other equally frustrating.
But you asked me if girls flirt with guys they don't like like, and my answer is that both sexes sometimes do, women probably more so (I didn't even need to look up a study to confirm this, but here's one illustrating that men typically flirt to communicate sexual interest while women typically flirt for fun or relationships). As usual, my point in citing a study like this is not to say "GIRLS ARE DUMB, PTHTBH," but to point out that we are all so confusing that it's a miracle anybody ever manages to date anybody. Also, this study assumes that the participants are dating-savvy adults who know what flirting is, and who know how to do it, instead of being high school boys (whose method of flirting is often "bumble around doing random things until suddenly you have a girlfriend somehow"). The fact that high school dudes are so bad at this leads to any number of misleading situations:
Situation 1: Friendliness misunderstood
Guy's Brain: I like her shirt.
Guy: I like your shirt.
Girl: When are we getting married??
Situation 2: Flirting aborted
Guy's Brain: I want to kiss her forever times.
Guy: I like your, umm, oh jeez I'm so nervous I forget what they are called, torso covering?? (blushes, falls down)
Situation 3: Interest misunderstood
Guy's Brain: She is really hot.
Guy: You are really hot. We should go on a date, because of how hot you are. It would be hot.
Girl's Brain: But what could this mean??
I think the stuff you're asking about falls mostly under #1—a guy's just being nice, but he has a really engaging attitude and his friendliness accidentally seems flirty. I can also see certain kinds of friendly teasing coming across as flirty (in this case, the guy realizes he's saying something that could be considered flirty—blatantly sextacular comments or whatever—but it's meant playfully, not sincerely). Most guys won't do something that qualifies as obvious flirting with a person they don't like-like, because most guys flirt as a means to an end (sexytimes). However, I'm sure there are dudes out there who will say clearly flirty stuff and then not want to act on it if given the chance.
It very much depends on the guy. Quiet, shy guys will probably have to work up their courage for two weeks and practice reading flirts off an index card in front of a mirror before ever managing to say anything to you, and when they do, they mean it double-sincerely (a super-shy guy who manages to compliment your shirt might in fact want to marry you). Extroverted, easygoing guys... well, you said it best when you asked if they "just think whatever." That is it exactly. Whatever. They're just walkin' around, sayin' stuff, no big deal, "you have a good butt, okay I'm gonna go play video games." So if the guy is easygoing and flirts with metric tons of girls, it doesn't necessarily mean anything; if it's only with you, or if he's not usually the type to flirt, it means quote a bit.