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Difference between Sexual Harassment and Flirting

Difference between Sexual Harassment and Flirting

Sexual harassment is a serious issue in the workplace, as well as in all other areas of life. It can lead to an uncomfortable work environment and possible legal consequences for those involved. On the other hand, flirting, when engaged in mutually and without aggression or coercion, can be a natural, healthy practice among consenting adults. The difference between these two scenarios may seem obvious but it’s important to understand why one interaction could cost someone their job while another might result in nothing more than some harmless fun. Keep reading this blog post to learn more about the distinction between sexual harassment and flirting!

What is Sexual Harassment?

  • Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and abuse of power that can come in many different forms. It can be any unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical contact of a sexual nature that creates a hostile environment.
  • Sexual harassment may range from catcalling and using explicit language to inappropriate touching and even making suggestive threats or advances. It is more than just an annoyance; it has the potential to cause great damage to someone’s personal and professional life.
  • Sexual harassment should not be tolerated under any circumstances as it can lead to serious mental health consequences for the victim. It is important to recognize when something is considered sexual harassment so we can take proper action against it.

What is Flirting?

Flirting is an increasingly popular type of communication among people looking to express admiration or affection. Flirting can involve playful joking, body language such as eye contact and touch, a change in tone of voice, or sharing something that reveals personal information.

Flirting can be a great way for two individuals to signal intent to pursue a relationship, or simply use for its own sake – for the enjoyment of engaging in flirtatious behavior. Flirting can often lead to meaningful relationships and even marriage. This ancient art remains an integral part of many cultures today and is something that involves much more than words.

Difference between Sexual Harassment and Flirting

Sexual harassment and flirting are two broadly different behaviors, yet they can often appear similar or even be confused with one another.

  • Sexual harassment, by definition, is harassment or unwanted attention of a sexual nature that creates a hostile environment for the targeted individual.
  • Flirting, on the other hand, can typically be described as playful banter and is usually welcomed by those on the receiving end.

Ultimately, when it comes to Sexual Harassment vs Flirting, it’s important to remember that Sexual Harassment is unwanted while Flirting is always consensual.


While it may seem like a fine line, there is a big difference between sexual harassment and flirting. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome advances or conduct of a sexual nature that creates an uncomfortable work environment or puts someone in an undesirable position. Flirting, on the other hand, is playful and consensual interactions with someone you’re attracted to. If you’re ever unsure whether your actions may be construed as crossing the line into sexual harassment territory, err on the side of caution and keep things professional.

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