What to Do When You Think Your Friend's S.O. Is Flirting With You
It's less easy, however, when they start flirting with you right out of the gate. How should you react? Should you tell your friend right away? And are they even flirting with you, or are they just super nice?
It's not always an easy situation to navigate. However, we have some steps you can take to make sure you say and do the right things, and that you protect yourself in the process.
Be Absolutely Sure
While in some situations it's extremely clear when someone is actually flirting with you, there are others where you might want to think twice before jumping to any conclusions. Some people are just nice and ultra-complimentary, which can come off as flirty, but they don't intend to actually flirt. To find out, first see if your friend's S.O. is this "flirty" with everyone, or if that behavior seems exclusive to only you. If they're generally flirty with all of your friends, that might just be their personality. However, you're still allowed to assert yourself and your boundaries and let them know if their behavior is making you feel uncomfortable. If they refuse, that's another red flag. And if you're ever unsure, you may want to ask a third party for their opinion to clarify the situation.
Shoot Them Down
In the face of any kind of unwanted flirting, you should shoot the person down. Don't flirt back, and don't just smile and let it happen if you don't like what's going on. Whether you're aggressively complimented or they're trying to touch you, tell them specifically what they're doing, that it bothers you and that they need to stop immediately. Take that moment to set some boundaries so you can let them know precisely what it is that crosses the line, and remind them that they're in a relationship and that you stand by your friend. And if they don't stop immediately, avoid being alone with that person and do what you can to get out of the situation.
Tell Your Friend
While some people may disagree, we think you should always let your friend know if their partner refuses to stop flirting with you. The earlier on you tell them, the more time they have to think about it and come to their own conclusions. After all, no one wants to hear that their partner is flirting with someone else, but as a friend, it's the right thing to do, and they deserve to know.
However, you should also be ready to expect blowback. They might disbelieve you, claim you're trying to ruin their relationship or even blame you for the flirting, and all you can do in that situation is be the best friend you can. Let them know how the situation made you feel and remind them you're only looking out for them and you want them to be happy. You can't make the decision for them, and can only give them information, and then the time and space to deal with it in their own way. With a little luck, they'll come around to the truth before too long, and you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing.
See If It Continues
Unfortunately, as with any situation, you can only control your own actions, and how others respond is up to them. Ideally, the person flirting with you will stop the minute you ask them to stop, or even if that behavior continues, your friend will see through them and either set them straight or leave them. However, that won't always be the case. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you look out for your own safety and comfort. Confide in people who do trust and believe in you, and remove yourself from situations where you'll have to deal with any unwanted flirting.
On the lookout for more friendship advice? Click HERE for tips on navigating a friendship when your friends break up.