Is your new date sincere or merely flexing?

If you hang out on social media, you’ve probably noticed people flex others or otherwise behave in an overly boastful manner. Essentially, flexing occurs when one attempts to impress someone they see as more than just friends but are not quite a declared couple. It is a way of bragging or promoting yourself to another through flirty, self-promotional texts or posts.

Often not considered genuine or a mature form of communication, flexing someone new may cause them cringe, but it can also be flirty and fun. Even couples who have been married for years may engage in it. However, with a new partner or potential relationship, it’s difficult to know whether the texts are sincere or merely someone seeking your attention. Below, I have listed four common examples of flex texts. If you’re on the receiving end of these, assert yourself and discuss their flex to avoid potential miscommunications.

1. Sending over-the-top flattering selfies. Does your new partner flood your phone with excessively flattering selfies, showing off their lifestyle? They may be desperate for approval or hope to impress you.

What you can do: Explain to them directly that you feel overwhelmed by the frequency of flattering selfies. You’re into their natural appearance and prefer less photos and more one-on-one conversations.

2. Bragging about their accomplishments. If your new partner seems to brag about their awards and accomplishments, requiring recognition for their hard work, it may be innocent. They may want you to know they value a strong work ethic or may feel you’re overlooking their accomplishments.

What you can do: Acknowledge their success while explaining that the way they express themselves comes across as bragging. Ask how you can support their strong work ethic without them working so hard to self-promote.

3. Boasting of their popularity. If your partner sends excessive photos or complimentary messages about themselves, they want to impress you with their social skills. Ignoring them may increase their frequency.

What to do: Be frank with them and discuss the character attributes you authentically like about them but receiving their popularity updates annoys you. The very same people who are popular on social media often lack normal face-to-face communication skills.

4. Texting as a know-it-all or connoisseur. Receiving texts full of "know-it-all" advice about everything under the sun can be a turn-off. Many "know-it-alls" suffer from an underlying low self-esteem issue or often feel left out.

What to do: Evaluate if this is a person you really want to get involved with. Know-it-alls have trouble being vulnerable due to their low sense of self-esteem and fear of rejection. Talk to your partner about your needs, someone who can be vulnerable and honest without fearing rejection when you are unable to offer a solution.

Flexing isn’t all bad. Sometimes the only person who can sufficiently promote you in life is yourself. However, you’ll experience greater success in the dating world through authenticity. Flexing may get you noticed but being real gets you a second date.