Is Sticking Your Tongue Out Flirting? (Answered & Solved)

Sticking your tongue out can mean many different things depending on the context, relationship, and other factors.

Is sticking your tongue out flirting?

Sticking your tongue out is often flirting. If someone sticks their tongue out directly at you in a fun and friendly way, they are probably engaging in a form of flirting. Depending on the context, sticking your tongue out can also mean silliness, playfulness, disgust, or concentration.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about sticking your tongue out and flirting.

Is Sticking Your Tongue Out Flirting? (5 Ways To Know)

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Woman's face breaking through blue background and sticking out tounge—Is Sticking Your Tongue Out Flirting
Image by the author via Canva—Is Sticking Your Tongue Out Flirting?

According to published research, sticking out your tongue is part of the evolution of human communication.

It can mean so many things.

Pigeonholing the gesture of sticking out your tongue as flirting is probably oversimplifying a complex nonverbal gesture.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to know how to interpret if sticking your tongue out is flirting or something else entirely. So, here are five “sticking tongue out flirting” signs.

1) The Person Is Sticking Their Tongue Out Directly at You

This is one of the biggest signs.

If someone sticks their tongue out directly at you, they are most likely flirting with you. You can also think of this as being forward or courageous.

Directed communication—verbal or nonverbal—typically holds more meaning.

Contrast this with the situation where someone sticks their tongue out generally to anyone or to no one in particular.

2) The Person Sticks Their Tongue Out with a Smile

Another sign is a cluster of “flirting” cues.

It’s hard to tell if someone is smiling because they’re laughing at your joke or trying to flirt with you.

However, when a protruded tongue comes with a smile and twinkling eyes, it probably means the person is flirting with you.

Look for these other “flirting” cues:

  • Touching you while sticking out their tongue
  • Nervousness around you
  • Preening themselves
  • Playing with their hair
  • Playing with a glass or other object in their hands
  • Angling their body and feet towards you
  • Standing or sitting very close to you

3) Does the Person Generally Like You?

If the person sticking out their tongue at you is friendly with you, then odds are they are flirting.

The reason they like you could be because of your personality, good looks, or something else. In the context of a friendship or friendly interaction, sticking your tongue out is usually playful and silly.

On the flip side, in an unfriendly situation, it can mean disapproval.

4) What Is the Person’s Intent?

If someone is sticking their tongue out at you just because they’re thinking about something else, then it’s unlikely that they’re flirting with you.

There’s also a chance that the person is unaware of what they are doing.

Take note if their eyes are darting around or looking elsewhere. What were they doing before sticking out their tongue at you?

If a stranger across the bar has been glancing in your direction all night, then they stick out their tongue, they are probably flirting.

Most of the time, the intent is pretty obvious.

5) You Are in a Flirting Location

People can flirt anywhere, but it’s more likely to occur in certain locations.

If you are playing pool together at a bar, the person is usually flirting.

However, if you are in a board meeting with senior executives, it could just be a silly passing gesture to lighten the mood.

Location really matters when interpreting body language.

What Does It Mean When a Girl Sticks Her Tongue Out at You?

When girls stick out their tongue at you, it can mean a couple of different things.

In a friendly context, it’s similar to when a man sticks his tongue out at you. It can be used to flirt or as a simple silly gesture that doesn’t mean anything at all.

However, it could also mean she is attracted to you and is subconsciously or consciously thinking about physical intimacy with you.

Especially if she transitions from sticking her tongue out to licking her lips.

The best way to know is to ask her.

If a girl sticks her tongue out at you, looks serious, and then takes a few steps toward you—and if there’s no other cue for flirting—it could mean that she wants to confront you over something that has made her angry or upset.

For example, if a guy is aggressively hitting on her, sticking out her tongue towards him means stop flirting with me and go away.

What Does It Mean When a Guy Sticks His Tongue Out at You?

When a guy sticks his tongue out at you it almost always means that he is flirting. Most men do not stick their tongues out at people to which they are not attracted.

Of course, it could also be a subconscious gesture of concentration.

He could also just be a goofy or immature person.

So much depends on the context of where, why, and how he is sticking out his tongue at you.

If the two of you are close friends or friendly, he probably likes you (platonically or romantically). To riddle out which one it is, look for other body language clues.

Is Sticking Your Tongue Out Flirting In All Cultures?

Sticking your tongue out is interpreted differently in different cultures.

In most Western cultures, it is generally a sign of playfulness, immaturity, or flirting. In Tibet, it’s a normal way to greet other people. In China, the gesture is often seen as rude and offensive.

Therefore, sticking your tongue out is not considered flirting in every culture.

Before you stick out your tongue at someone, consider where you are and what the gesture could mean in their culture.

5 Other Reasons People Stick Their Tongue Out (According to Science)

Science tells us that sticking out your tongue is a multi-faceted nonverbal gesture rooted in biology.

In fact, research shows us that the answer to the question, “Is sticking your tongue out flirting?” is not always straightforward.

The gesture can mean at least five different things besides flirting.

1) Babies Stick Out Their Tounge To Mimic Adults

Most people have observed babies doing something called “tongue protrusion.”

When an adult sticks their tongue out, the baby repeats this gesture.

This is because they are trying to mimic what they see adults do. Babies stick out their tongues as early as 1 month old.

2) A Person Has a Large Tongue

A person with a larger than average tongue has what doctors call Macroglossia.

Someone with a tongue too big for their mouth will stick out their tongue more often.

This doesn’t mean that they are flirting.

Rather, they have a recognized medical condition that makes them more likely to stick out their tongues. This can also happen if someone is born with a smaller than average jaw.

3) It’s a Gesture of Concentration

Have you ever seen someone concentrating very hard on fixing something?

When they are deep in thought about a problem, you might notice that they stick out their tongue.

That’s because sticking out their tongue helps them focus.

Check out this video for a slightly more scientific answer:

YouTube Video by SciShow—Is Sticking Your Tongue Out Flirting?

4) It’s a Gesture of Aggression or Defensiveness

If someone is feeling threatened by you, their first instinct might be to stick out their tongue as a way of showing aggression or disagreement.

Sticking out your tongue can also indicate defensiveness and insecurity.

5) It’s a Gesture of Nervousness

People sometimes stick their tongues out when they feel nervous about an activity they’re about to do, such as giving a speech.

The gesture is thought to help them calm down before the event.

Typically, this is an unconscious nonverbal tic. They probably don’t even know they are doing it.

What Does It Mean When Girls Stick Their Tongues Out on TikTok?

Typically, when girls or guys stick out their tongues on TikTok (or any other social media), it means they are being playful, silly, and flirty. It’s a way of looking cute and building a fun connection with their followers. There are also specific “tongue” trends that go viral on TikTok.

One such trend is girls (or guys) rubbing the underside of their tongues.

The underside of the tongue is knowns as the “lingual frenulum” and is supposed to feel similar in texture to a certain private male body part.

What Does It Mean When Girls Stick Their Tongues Out in Photos?

Girls stick out their tongues in photos because it’s a cute and playful way to show off their personalities.

It can be part of a funny or silly photo, whether it’s for Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

Both men and women stick out their tongues in photos as an attention-getting technique.

What Does It Mean When Someone Sticks Out Their Tongue on a Dating App?

Men and women stick out their tongues on dating app profiles for much the same reason that people stick out their tongues on social media or in photos.

Generally, it is a way to appear friendly, fun-loving, and adorable.

Men might want to show off their less serious side.

Both men and women might want to associate themselves with qualities such as innocence, purity, and flirtatiousness.

What Does Sticking Your Tongue Out to the Side Mean?

When someone sticks their tongue out to the side, it usually means focus.

Unlike sticking your tongue out straight, sticking out your tongue to the side is often an unconscious and unintentional facial gesture.

It also is usually not directed at any one person.

Therefore, I wouldn’t interpret this gesture as a form of flirtation.

What Does It Mean When a Girl Sticks Her Tongue Out Between Two Fingers?

When a girl or guy sticks their tongue out between two fingers, it is usually a visual representation of cunnilingus.

The person places their tongue between the pointer finger and middle finger, forming a “V” shape. The V shape represents two legs.

I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

Final Thoughts: Is Sticking Your Tongue Out Flirting?

The bottom line is that sticking your tongue out is often a sign of flirtation.

Yet, it doesn’t always mean flirtation.

Nor does it always mean the other person necessarily wants a romantic relationship with you. Some people are just huge flirts.

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Slip of the tongue: Implications for evolution and language development