How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

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Winking is an ambiguous and unexpected gesture, and it can be hard to figure out how to react when a guy locks eyes with you and sends you one. Depending on how you know him and where you are, there can be a lot of different meanings behind the wink and even more ways to respond to them. Sometimes it’s just playful or part of a joke, but other times it can be flirtatious or even a little mischievous. Keep reading for a handy list of go-to responses for winks of all scenarios.

Steps

Method 1 Method 1 of 13:Smile at him.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

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A warm smile is a great way to acknowledge a wink. It’s a simple, natural response and shows that you’re open to continuing the conversation (or flirtation). Even if you’re not 100% receptive, a small smile is a way to acknowledge the guy without directly shutting him down or leading him on.

  • A noncommittal grin is also a neutral way to react if you’re unsure what the motivation behind the wink is.

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Method 2 Method 2 of 13:Wink back at him.

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How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

Returning his wink is a great way to flirt or play. It lets him know that you saw it, you liked it, and you want to know more about him. The two of you will probably laugh or smile afterward, which can break the ice or make things less awkward if you don’t know each other very well yet.

  • Mirroring someone’s movements is a great way to show you’re into someone, but be careful. If you do it too often or over-the-top, it might come off as insincere or mocking. If you winked at him first, he might be mirroring your movements too.

Method 3 Method 3 of 13:Go flirt with him if you’re interested.

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How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

A flirty wink means he wants you to interact with him. If you’re intrigued, go for it! Walk over and engage him to let him know you saw his wink and want to get to know him. No one winks accidentally, so he’ll feel validated when he knows he’s flattered you. Here are some signs his wink is flirty:

  • His feet are pointing towards you or he’s close to you physically, meaning he’s attracted to you.
  • He winks at you and then looks away, suggesting he’s thinking of leaving and wants you to come with.
  • He uses open and inviting posture when he’s interacting with you.

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Method 4 Method 4 of 13:Laugh if the wink is part of a joke.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

You’ll be able to tell pretty easily if the wink is meant to be goofy. He’s probably doing it to get a positive reaction from you, so humor him and laugh along. For most younger guys, a wink is meant to be funny or novel. Hopefully he was actually hilarious, but give your best fake laugh if you need to. Some signs that he’s just joking around can include:

  • Multiple winks in a row or big, exaggerated winks
  • A big, open-mouthed smile or laughter while he winks
  • Big gestures with his head, arms, or hands

Method 5 Method 5 of 13:Make playful eye contact if he’s fibbing.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

A guy might wink to let you know he’s telling a white lie. He probably wants other people around to believe him, but wants to let you in on his secret. Look him in the eyes to say, “I see what you’re doing here.” You can even flash him a wry smile or a small wink back.

  • Keep your response subtle so he doesn’t get busted by the people around you.
  • A good indicator he’s being dishonest is if he winks at you after making a bold or exaggerated statement, or while telling a wild story.

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Method 6 Method 6 of 13:Raise an eyebrow at him if he’s being mischievous.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

A playful wink might mean he just got away with something naughty. If you think he’s up to something playful and mischievous, give him a wry smile or raise an eyebrow at him to show you’ve caught on. If you can, lean in and ask him about it, or playfully admonish him for being “bad.” This kind of wink usually follows some kind of action. Here’s an example scenario:

  • Say you’re on a date and decide ahead of time to split the bill. If he hands your server something discreetly and then winks at you, it might mean he slipped them his card and is going to cover the whole thing to pull one over on you.

Method 7 Method 7 of 13:Give him a nod to show you’re OK.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

A guy friend might wink at you at a party to make sure you’re safe. This is a discreet way to check in with you without drawing attention to your situation. Give him a nod or a thumbs up to let him know if you’re alright, or a subtle head shake or eye roll if you need to get out of an awkward situation.

  • Decide ahead of time which signals you and your friends will use to check in with each other at parties or other crowded places. Winks, head nods, shrugs, and hand gestures are all subtle ways to communicate.

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Method 8 Method 8 of 13:Continue as normal if the wink is just friendly.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

Sometimes, a wink is just a wink. If he just said something sarcastic or made a corny joke, he probably just wants to let you know he wasn’t being serious. Other times it’s truly just a friendly gesture (yes, there are people that do this!). If he’s a frequent winker and there’s no flirty subtext, you’re probably safe assuming it doesn’t have a deeper meaning.

  • Conversational winks are especially popular among elderly men trying to be cute or friendly and usually don’t mean anything.
  • If a friend who’s never winked at you before starts doing it, it might be a sign that they want to be more than friends with you. You don’t have to react right away, but think about how you want (or don’t want) to go forward if that’s the case.

Method 9 Method 9 of 13:Ignore it if you’re not interested or unsure what it means.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

There’s no rule saying a wink has to be acknowledged. If you’re unsure what he’s going for and don’t want to send any mixed messages, just ignore it. Chances are that if he’s trying to flirt with you, he’ll show it in other ways with his body language, eye contact, or corny pick-up lines.

  • If he’s just being friendly or joking around, he probably won’t be offended if you don’t react to his wink.
  • Ignoring is a great way to show you’re not receptive to winking, or that you’re generally uninterested in flirting or chatting any more.

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Method 10 Method 10 of 13:Keep a straight face in professional settings.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

It’s best not to draw unwanted attention to yourself at work. A wink from a coworker could be flirty, but it’s probably just a way of saying “I’ve got you covered” or “don’t worry, I’ll handle this problem.” It might even just be a playful way of showing you he’s bored during a meeting too!

  • If you’re friendly with your coworker, you can laugh or joke later about whatever made your him wink when you’re off the clock or have some downtime at the office.
  • If a workplace wink makes you at all uncomfortable, consider asking the guy not to do it again or speaking to an HR representative.

Method 11 Method 11 of 13:Ask him what his wink means if you’re not sure.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

There’s nothing wrong with clarifying what his actions mean. Misinterpreting a wink as flirtatious or mischievous can lead to some awkward situations if those weren’t his intentions, so ask away! Clear communication will never let you down. Try phrasing it playfully or curiously:

  • “So do you wink at everyone, or was that one just for me?”
  • “I noticed you threw me a wink earlier. Do you do that often?”
  • “You’re like the only person I know who winks. What’s it mean?”

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Method 12 Method 12 of 13:Tell him to stop if you’re uncomfortable.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

You don’t have to keep receiving winks if you don’t want them. It might feel uncomfortable to do, but setting this boundary will make you feel better in the long term and help define your relationship with this guy going forward. This is especially helpful if you’re at work or another setting where you want to avoid any mixed signals. Try phrasing it like this:

  • “Hey, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t wink at me anymore. It’s a little uncomfortable.”
  • “Please stop winking at me. I’m not sure what you mean when you do that.”
  • “I think it’s a little unprofessional to be winking at work. Would you mind stopping?”

Method 13 Method 13 of 13:Leave the situation if you feel threatened.

How to Respond when a Guy Winks at You

Follow your gut when it comes to personal safety. If the wink is accompanied by aggressive behavior or coming from a stranger you don’t trust, remove yourself from the space. This is especially important if you are by yourself or in a secluded area.

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