That’s just being friendly.

What’s worse, too much unwanted romantic attention or no romantic attention at all?

When a relationship ends, your head and your heart can lead you in a few directions. Take some time out and look after yourself, dive straight into something serious with someone else, or even sleep with as many people as you want to with no commitment offered. Any choice you make is okay for you, but you want to try and make sure that you don’t hurt or lead anyone else on. No rocket science is involved, it’s just making the right decisions at the right times.

It gets awkward though when someone of the opposite sex mistakes kindness or politeness for flirting. You don’t need to ask for, court or invite attention, hopefully if you act as you always do, them people will treat you in a way that we’d all like to be treated. Chivalry isn’t necessarily a choice that every man makes, sometimes you just know what the right thing to do is. Always hold the door open for others. You give up your seat for a lady on a bus or a train, no questions asked. Make someone feel comfortable in your company, always behaving in a friendly manner and never crossing the lines of decency is how things should be. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being courteous.

Always good to have rules, especially with your closest friends, right?

If your job means that you have to wear a shirt and tie, your tie must be darker than your shirt, otherwise you will be called out on it if you end up looking like a waiter, no offence meant to hospitality professionals. No three-piece suits are allowed, you don’t play snooker for a living. No birthday cards are ever sent, shit, you’ll be lucky if we even remember that you’ve just turned a year older. You will be bought alcohol if someone reminds us, it just won’t be on the day. If we’re all together and it’s looking like we’re about to run out of beer, rock paper scissors will be played to decide who heads out for more. It’s also automatically understood that if any change is leftover, it stays in the pocket of whoever went. Sadly, sisters of friends are out of bounds. No moustaches will be grown unless it’s for Movember, a fantastic cause. If you get your hair cut, it won’t be commented upon, unless it’s ridiculous and you know that picture of it is being shared freely. No one expects an unanswered call to be returned, we’ll see you again at some point, you can just tell us then. No voicemails ever. Skinny jeans and turtlenecks are a no. If you invite people out for dinner, you always pick.up the bill, regardless of how many people are there. If you’re lucky enough to get a girl to go out with you, she never ever pays. Ever ever.

Do all of your rules apply though with someone you don’t know?

I’m a boy and she’s a girl. A tweet gets posted about a thing and she slides into my direct messages to ask if I’m doing okay. I respond politely, thanking her for her concern and wish her well. She chooses to keep the conversation going by asking more questions, and stupidly I answer them. My replies are always respectful but her messages start to go in a direction that I should beer away from.

I’m not sure if I should read between those lines.

Mistaking someone who’s being nice to you as being flirtatious is dangerous, especially if you’re emotionally vulnerable. If I’m accommodating and thoughtful with you, that’s just being friendly. Sure, sometimes a friendship can develop into something more but not if you start sending unsolicited things that you know you shouldn’t. The decision to hit the block button is an easy one but the courtesy remains as far as everyone else goes.

An email arrives a while later from someone I never knew existed. Clearly, we’ve never interacted, spoken to each other, far less met, but he wants to know how I know his girlfriend. Uh oh. It’s okay to be unhappy in a relationship but don’t you try and remedy that first either way, before looking for validation or an ego boost elsewhere? Do I reply, do I tell him?

What am I supposed to do?

@TheSamMcLeod