Sexual Harassment vs. Flirting

Distinguishing between sexual harassment and flirting can be difficult. Below are some characteristics of each that may be helpful in distinguishing the two.

Sexual Harassment

  • feels "bad"

  • is one sided

  • makes you feel unattractive

  • is degrading

  • makes you feel powerless

  • is power-based

  • may include negative touching

  • is unwanted

  • is invading

  • is demeaning

  • makes you feel sad or angry

  • produces negative self-esteem
  • feels "good"

  • is reciprocal

  • makes you feel attractive

  • is a compliment

  • makes you feel in control

  • is based on equality

  • may include positive touching

  • is wanted

  • is open

  • is flattering

  • makes you feel happy

  • produces positive self-esteem