Reading other people’s cues is always complicated, but flirting takes the confusion to a whole new level. Some girls are naturally outgoing, and their friendliness could easily be mistaken for flirting. At the other end of the spectrum, some girls are very shy and it is easy to overlook their attempts at flirting. Although no system is foolproof, pay close attention to how a girl treats you, compared to other people in the room.

Body Language

According to Match.com’s Happen magazine, girls generally demonstrate interest through their subconscious body language. She might point her toes in your direction, play with her hair or find a reason to playfully touch you. Even a simple smile shows interest, although without more information it is tough to tell whether she is being friendly or flirty. If she fidgets but maintains eye contact, she is probably flirting, but if she keeps looking around the room, she might be looking for an escape route.

Verbal Cues

Girls also give off verbal cues that they are interested, suggests Happen magazine. She might ask you to help with something, such as reaching a high shelf or suggesting a restaurant. She might give you meaningful compliments or even begin playful banter. Pay attention to how interested and engaged she seems in your conversation. Girls who are uninterested tend to stay relatively silent, while those who are feeling flirty go out of their way to sound energetic and involved. Of course, if the girl is shy, she might be quiet because of insecurity. Decoding signals is an art, rather than a science.

Invading Your Space

When a girl feels flirty, her bubble of personal space often shrinks. She might stand closer to you than necessary, lean in to whisper in your ear or encourage you to squeeze in around a crowded table. On the dance floor, she might pull you close. Look for these and other subtle signals that she is marking her territory, sending a signal to other girls to back away.

Misreading Her Signals

In an article for PsychologyToday.com, psychology professor Ira Hyman, Jr., notes that some men overestimate women’s interest in them. This risk seems to increase, depending on how the woman is dressed. Remember that flirting is not foolproof, and it has nothing to do with clothing. If a woman is wearing a short skirt and deeply engaged in conversation with you, she might just be a friendly person who likes short skirts. Compare her behavior with you to her behavior with others, rather than making assumptions.