How can you tell if a man is flirting with you as opposed to just being friendly? Especially when said man works in a coffee shop and could quite easily just be doing his job.
I have had a number of jobs in my time. I have worked in a shoe factory, packing and labelling boxes ready for national distribution; I have waited tables and tended bars at both high- and low-brow establishments. I have been a science-based children’s entertainer in the Yorkshire and Humberside area; I have been a pianist for a ‘Allo ‘Allo-style faux-French cabaret act. I have been a receptionist, a copy-editor, a dental nurse and a relationships columnist and let me tell you this:
Not one single one of those jobs – NOT ONE – has required me to flirt.
I won’t deny that flirting has helped me with some of them (notably the table-waiting, the bartending and the column writing) but as it was not a mandatory condition of my employment – merely something I did to make my day a little brighter – I decided only to flirt when the whim took me, when I felt like I wanted to.
Now, I am no expert on employment law, nor do I have much experience of drafting contracts, but I imagine that this coffee shop employee of whom you speak has no written obligation or signed commitment to flirt with anyone – particularly people he doesn’t find attractive in any way.
His duty manager may encourage him to take an informal approach with the patrons. Head office might have sent him on a customer relations course as part of his training. But when it comes to flirting, he is his own boss.
Whether or not he is a picky flirt or whether he’ll flirt with absolutely anyone is another matter – I would need to study his behaviour in order to give you an authoritative answer – but I can guarantee you that he will know what he’s doing and you can rest assured that he won’t be doing it on the instruction of his employer…
So to answer your question, how can you tell when a man is flirting with you? The answer is simple. When you feel like you’re being flirted with.
I have since received an email from Pret A Manger’s customer service team (who, I’m sure we all agree, would be the coffee shop most likely to make flirting a mandatory requirement if such a thing was ever introduced) which categorically denies such behaviour is a condition of employment.
“We do not have a formal stance on this or encourage flirting. We simply encourage that our staff are themselves and do not hide their personalities.”
So there’s the official line on it. Other coffee chains are yet to be approached for comment.