Student Voice


February 2, 2023



Ask Colleen: The flirty male friend

April 5, 2017

Dear Colleen,

I met this guy while I was out, and right away I asked him what his intentions were. He said just friends, so I gave him my information. I have a boyfriend, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't crossing any lines before talking to him. Lately, we have been talking on and off, and I think he may be flirting with me, but I am not sure. I don't want to give him the wrong idea either. I also think I am feeling guilty because I am attracted to him. Should I stop talking to him? Do I need to ask what his intentions are again?

Don't want to lead him on

Don’t want to lead him on,

This is a tricky question for many reasons. One, just because a guy approaches you while you are out doesn’t mean that he is trying to be your next boyfriend, but at the same time, it can be hard not to think that. Right?

It’s good that you set your boundaries right away with him by asking what his intentions were. I don’t think talking to another guy would necessarily be considered crossing boundaries with your boyfriend, but it all depends on the boundaries you and your boyfriend have created.

If you think he’s flirting, chances are he is 100 percent flirting. There really isn’t a way around this. Honestly, I could go on to tell you what I think is appropriate or isn’t appropriate, but it doesn’t matter what I think. That’s between you and your boyfriend. As a couple, you may have never had to talk about these types of situations.

Maybe this is the perfect time to talk about it. Just tell him what’s going on and see what his reaction is. He’ll probably think he’s flirting. I’m pretty certain he doesn’t want another guy talking to his significant other, but this forces you two to have this conversation and put you guys on the same page in case you run into this type of situation again.

I totally get that you don’t want to give the guy you met the wrong idea. This can sometimes be problematic. There is a very thin line between being nice to someone and flirting. Let’s be real, it’s really hard to spot the difference from both perspectives.

You say you are feeling guilty because you are attracted to him, and I’ll tell you straight up that isn’t a good sign. Feeling guilty about talking to someone leads me to believe that you think or know you are crossing a boundary you shouldn’t be. No biggie! It’s good that you are aware that this is happening. Being aware is the first step in changing this from flirty conversation to just friends.

If you feel like you need to clarify his and your intentions, talk to him about it again. If things keep crossing a line you don’t want to, then maybe his intent was always to be more than friends. Either way, it doesn’t matter what he wanted; it matters what you want.

Maybe being friends with this guy isn’t plausible, or maybe he has no idea that he’s sending you flirty vibes. Just keep your ground and stick to the boundaries you want.

I do think it is important to talk to your boyfriend about this. Obviously this is a concern for you, and keeping your boyfriend in the loop with make things less complicated in the end. Remember, boundaries can only be in place if you set them.



Colleen Brown is a student at UW-River Falls.