Don’t Play Yourself: When Is The Right Time To Tell A Guy Who’s Subtly Flirting With You That You’re Taken?

February 8, 2013  |  


By Noneyabiznass

You’ll have to excuse me if this question has an extremely obvious answer that I’m not aware of. I’m actually relatively new to the post-collegiate dating world, where relationships are a lot more serious and the flirting never seems to end. But I had an encounter with a guy recently that I don’t think I handled all that well, so I thought I’d get YOUR advice. (Crazy right?)

While helping a girlfriend and her man move some things into her apartment, I had the chance to meet a guy, a nice fellow, who was also lending a hand, in the process. When I think back to it, the minute he and I actually had the chance to come into contact with one another while I lugged a box up the stairs, he was ON. He turned the charm up and while I headed back downstairs to help my girlfriend some more, he proceeded to ask me a wide array of questions, including the obvious, “Where are you from?” When I told him that I was from Chi-town, he made a joke about the fact that I was probably “packing heat” as a reference to all the gun violence that’s occurring in the city (on second thought, I don’t know why he thought that was a good thing to say…) and proceeded to quickly hit me around my waist where my pockets were as though he was mock patting me down.

In my mind I quickly thought, “Uh uh, I know he’s not trying to flirt while we’re moving all this s**t…”

To be honest, I came dressed and ready to help my friend move, therefore, I thought I looked a mess (no makeup, glasses on, HUGE coat, beanie hat on–nothing “cute”), increasing my confusion as to whether or not he was flirting. I shrugged it of as another guy being a bit too friendly and kept it moving. But when we were finished, and were resting from our work, he wanted to continue to get to know me better. He asked me about my natural hair, my experience as a newbie in New York, and my work. When the conversation changed to the latter and I told him about my work as a writer and for Madame Noire, he told me that he reads the site because of an ex-girlfriend who used to follow our page often. He could even name recent published work that was on the site. I was impressed, and it made the conversation all the more enjoyable. But then he confused the hell out of me when he said, “Cool, I’ll check out your work and email you what I think. Put your information in my phone!” As he handed over the phone, still living in a state of naïvety, I held the phone and was ready to give him my work email, only to finally come to my slow a** senses and realize, UH, I DON’T THINK THIS IS RIGHT GIRL!

I realized very slowly that he was trying to mack on me, and seeing as how I have a boyfriend that I love to pieces, I couldn’t let that happen. But what did I do to stop this situation? Honestly, a whole lot of nothing. I quietly put the phone down, exited the room to tell my friend about the flirtatious shenanigans, came back a few minutes later, and because he and her boyfriend were engulfed in conversation, when I handed his phone back, he didn’t bother to check to see the nothingness I’d left in it. Whew! I escaped that awkward situation, but I obviously felt that I could have handled it all better.

You’re probably thinking, “Why didn’t you tell him straight up that you had a man?” Well, I’ve always had this fear of being vain and assuming that a man was trying to hit on me when in fact, he’s not. And this type of confusion because of subtle flirting has occurred more than once with me, including with an old coworker who I naively thought just wanted to innocently chat over lunch at Wendy’s or something…until he said he would pay to and that we should hang out OUTSIDE of work hours sometime. When a man doesn’t come straight out and say, “We should meet up,” or give me a bunch of compliments and ask for my number like the dudes on the street, I’m the type to not realize anything out of the ordinary is happening aside from two people being friendly. Sad, right? So because he didn’t come out and say that he was feeling me, I was blind to it all. And once I got an inkling, I didn’t want to be the girl to say, “UH I have a man so  this isn’t happening,” only to have him say, “Uh, sweetie, I was just being nice….” Plus, I didn’t want to embarrass him or vice versa while we were in front of our mutual friends.

So with that in mind, I wonder, how do you go about shutting down a guy’s attempts without embarrassing yourself? I decided that including my boyfriend somewhere in the conversation (“Oh you know that place? Me and my man go there all the time!”) would help, but if you have any other smooth ways of laying the hammer down, let a sista know, especially if you’ve found yourself in a similar situation…

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