Flirty touch vs friendly touch: 12 ways to tell the difference

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Touching is a powerful way to establish a connection with someone. 

This is why flirty touch can really steal your victim’s heart. And friendly touch is a good way to break the ice without turning them off. 

But, unfortunately, not many people are familiar with how to tell the difference between flirting and friendly touching. There are plenty of telltale signs that you can learn to spot before it gets too late. Here they are!

6 ways to tell if this is a flirty touch

Flirty touch can be hard to decipher if you are not familiar with it. There is such a thing as friendly touch, and the two can be very similar.

Here are 6 ways to know if a touch is flirty.

1) Flirty touches are usually more fleeting

Have you wondered why flirty touches are often brief? 

It’s because people don’t want to be too obvious. They don’t actually want to scare the other person away. It’s because they’re actually testing them out, mostly in a subconscious way.

In order not to go overboard, flirty touches are usually light and fleeting. Like a brush on the arm when you’re explaining something, or a tickle from behind when you’re browsing at an exhibition.

I know you’ve probably been on the receiving end of those touches at least once in your life. Usually, you found them sweet and even exciting!

2) Flirty touches are more intentional 

This just goes along with what we’ve just talked about. A flirty touch is always an intentional act. The person doesn’t really want to simply touch the other, but actually wants something from them.

Let’s dig a little deeper:

Casual playful touch is generally for everyone’s pleasure. It’s not just for you, but also for the other person. Touching is just a way of communicating, and touching is a rule that can be broken as long as it’s done in moderation.

But if you’re making flirty touches, chances are that only the other person will experience the pleasure. They’ll feel that something is up, yet still, be drawn in by your charms! 

You might want to keep these in mind when making flirty touches!

3) Flirty touches are often accompanied by eye contact

Eye contact is a big deal when we talk about flirting. 

In fact, they’re often the opening moves of courtship. The moment you catch someone’s eye comes the moment you intend to get them in a conversation! 

That’s why if an accidental brush happens in the subway, or if you have your hands full and accidentally bump into someone, eye contact is nowhere to be found. The act is either unintentional or accidental. And hence, no eye contact.

When you’re flirting, it’s a whole different story. A flirty touch is usually followed by eye contact and vice versa. 

Eye contact is a way to tell the other person that you’re attracted to them. So, when you’re stealing glances at someone while casually touching their arm, they’re bound to get the message!

4) Flirty touches can include brushing against a leg or arm

This might seem innocent enough, but there’s a difference between this and a friendly touch! 

Friendly touch is a means of touching that’s just for the sake of getting to know someone. Usually, it’s not meant to make someone uncomfortable or even directly seductive. Friendly touch is just something that everyone does all the time, and is therefore not very intimate in nature.

But flirty touch involves more than brushing against someone’s arm! It also includes brushing against their arm while they’re standing upright.


Because this will have them unwittingly lean towards you to maintain the connection. And you now have a whole new range of touching possibilities.

5) Flirty touches are often accompanied by verbal flirting

A flirty touch is more than just skin-to-skin contact. Besides physical contact, flirty touches often involve verbal flirting

It can be anything from compliments and well-meaning advice to the smallest of hints that the other person should be more attracted to you. Most importantly, verbal flirting makes the other person more receptive to your touch.

So, if you’re about to make a move with someone, remember that a few words can go a long way!

But also keep in mind that it’s flattering when the other person feels flattered, not when you’re forcing them! 

6) Flirty touch is often touched in a more lighthearted, playful manner

There’s a reason why flirty touches are often playful. It’s because they’re meant to be a fun game! 

I know! A bit weird, right? 

However, the truth is that flirty touches can sometimes feel much more intense and intimate than friendly touches. But this is only because the other person usually feels flattered when your touch lingers on their skin for more than just a second or two.

For example, if you’re about to make a move on someone, hug them lightly but not too tightly. Lean in and whisper something flirty into their ears. 

All you’ll have to do is playfully touch your hand against the other person’s waist, or tease them with a light tickle under the arms. No matter what you choose to do, remember that it should always feel lighthearted!

6 ways to tell if this is a friendly touch

Now that you know what a flirty touch is, you might find it hard to tell the difference. But this is understandable! Even though they feel very different, they’re often accompanied by the exact same feelings. They both feel fun and inviting. So, how can you tell them apart? 

Here are 6 ways to tell this is a friendly touch.

1) Friendly touches often are accidental

Let’s face it, friendly touches happen all the time! 

They happen when we’re delivering messages to our partners. They also happen when we’re just being silly and playful with our friends. Because they’re so common, they often feel very natural to us.

Friendly touches are usually caused by spatial closeness or even just a brush! It can be the result of two people bumping into each other on their paths, or simply brushing against each other on crowded subways. Friendly touches are often unintentional!

Flirty touches, on the other hand, are more intentional. They’re usually accompanied by a hidden agenda. And because of that, they’re bound to stick out!

2) Friendly touch is often touched in a more nurturing manner (head on shoulders, hand on back)

Here’s an interesting fact:

Friendly touch is usually targeted at the body parts that are used for nurturing and comfort. A friendly touch might be a hand on your back or a head against your shoulders.

These touches might seem innocent, but they’re actually very intimate in nature! They’re often used to express care, concern, and support. But they don’t have to be limited to just these categories! Friendly touch can also be done in a way to show love, or even just in a way that makes you feel safe and protected.

Flirting touch, on the other hand, is usually targeted at body parts that are used for sex or affection. 

In short, a flirty touch is usually done in a way that makes you feel sexual and attractive. And this is the reason why people who are flirting make the deliberate decision to touch someone under the arm or on their waist!

3) Friendly touches involve more areas of the body

As we’ve mentioned before, friendly touches are not as intimate as flirty touches. Because of that, they happen more frequently. And hence, they’re often touched on more areas of the body.

For example, friendly touch can be a hug or a high-five. It can be a hand on your back or a pat on the shoulder. Basically, it’s anything that makes us feel good and connected to someone else!

Also, friendly touch is usually used to express comfort or connection. So, it’s often not as focused on the body part itself.

Flirting touch is usually limited to smaller areas of the body. Because of this, it’s usually done in a way that makes you feel sexy and attractive. It’s usually the purpose of a flirty touch, so it’s bound to be seen more often!

4) Friendly touch is often in a more reassuring manner

Friendly touch might seem very similar to flirting touch. After all, both often involve a certain level of physical closeness. And both are meant to make you feel special and attractive.

However, friendly touch is often only used to reassure us that the other person is still there with us.

Let me explain:

Friendly touch is often done in a way that instantly makes us feel better. For example, friendly touch can be a comforting hand on our shoulder or a reassuring pat on the back.

And this is why they often feel very different from flirting touches. Flirting touches can also make us feel better. However, they’re usually done in a way to make us feel sexually desirable.

So, the next time you’re on a date, pay attention to how your date is touching you. If they’re touching you in a way that makes you feel more attractive, they might actually be flirting with you!

5) Friendly touches are often playful and involved in a joking mood

Friendly touches and flirting touches both can give us the same feeling of excitement and joy. However, the way we interpret them is very different.

Friendly touches are often playful in nature. For example, friendly touches might involve a lot of laughing and joking around. They’re conducted in a way that makes you feel accepted, included, and loved!

And this kind of touch happens between friends, family, and even co-workers. Friendly touches can make you feel like you belong!

Trust me, it’s not hard to find a friendly touch when you’re going on a date, family reunion, or hanging out with your friends. You’ll often see friendly touches in the middle of a joke!

Pro tip:

The next time you’re having a conversation with someone, pay attention to how they’re touching you. Do they touch you the same way when talking about funny things as well? If so, that’s a clear sign that you might actually be friends.

6) It is often part of a routine

Friendly touch is often part of a routine. They might occur in a certain order. Or they might be used to signalize something.

For example, you might always give your friends hugs when they come to visit. Or you might pat your partner’s back whenever they tell a joke or good news. Routine-friendly touches like these are really common!

If you want to maintain the same kind of friendship or love that you currently have, you need to keep up the same kind of routine, you’ll want to keep your routine-friendly touches intact!

Flirty touch, on the other hand, is not predictable. 

It’s usually done in a way that makes you feel sexual and attractive.

Another way to tell when a touch was friendly or not is by looking at the situation where the touch occurred. If it was an accidental touch in a public place, then it isn’t flirty or sexual. However, if it was done in a private place, then that is much more likely to be flirty or sexual.

Final thoughts

We’ve covered a lot of information about the differences between friendly touch and flirty touch.

And just like everything in life, friendly touch and flirting touch are not rigid categories. A friendly touch can be used in a flirty way. And a flirty touch can be used in a friendly way.

However, if you pay close attention to the way the other person is touching you, you’ll be able to tell the difference between friendly and flirting touches.

And it’s incredibly helpful to know the difference! Knowing if someone is trying to flirt with us will prevent us from misinterpreting their touch. It also allows us to set boundaries and reject unwanted advances.

So use this guide to navigate the dating world as smoothly and happily as possible!