Member Rara Avis
Although, it did start out on a kidding level within the group of us ...
Isn't that often what happens, though, when people joke about something that is ultimately very serious?
You see, the problem is that most aren't really kidding. What's ha-ha humorous about flirting, after all? Like the little boy dipping a girl's braids in an ink well, the harmless fun is a smokescreen. It hides different things for different people, I think, but it nonetheless hides. Why should we be surprised, or even offended, when one person, perhaps less socially graceful than others, mistakes what is being hidden? Misunderstandings, I think, are relatively rare when everyone is up front and honest.
Fun? Personally, I'd much rather see people play with loaded guns. It's substantially less dangerous.
As to John's original question, the answer is quite simple.
If you don't know the person well enough to know whether the advance will be welcome or unwelcome, then you don't know the person well enough even if it does turn out to be welcome.