What Does it Mean When Someone Winks at You?

What Does it Mean When Someone Winks at You?
Winking is a fairly common, yet somehow controversial, act that conveys many "hidden" intentions, both in a harmless and/or an offensive manner. Depending upon the situation, this eye movement can connote many things. SocialMettle explains what it means when someone winks at you and more ...
SocialMettle Staff
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Winking and Controversies!
Winking has got many renowned celebrities into some serious trouble. Right from Sarah Palin winking on television during the vice presidential debate platform, to Australia's Tony Abbott, who's on to becoming the world's most hated prime minister for this act. However, the most controversial wink title has to go to Cristiano Ronaldo's in the 2006 World Cup, after Wayne Rooney was given a red card due to an argument between the two. They would think twice before winking, wouldn't they?
Maybe once upon a time, winking wasn't a gesture one would see commonly, but now, with social networking having the winking emoticons, the wink feature used in online dating, and people being more open to the "wink-worthy conversations," it has become a fairly common act among the masses. But, as we can clearly see from the controversies listed above, it is not 'always' taken as smoothly as we presume.

Winking is one gesture that denotes many things, therefore, it wouldn't be wrong to call it one of the most mind-boggling acts in the human world. A gesture that is by far the most difficult to decode, and all the more difficult to ignore. If some winks have been gaining your attention lately, then the following section will help you decode what the eyes secretively try to tell.
Interpreting the Different Meanings of Winking
There is no standardized acceptability of what winking denotes, and it drastically varies from cultures to cultures. In the West, winking wouldn't always be taken negatively, but try doing this in the Eastern countries such as India and China, and see how you see stars in broad daylight.
In fact, a lot of its interpretation depends upon how one winks. Yes, there are different ways of winking. There is this slow wink, then there is a fast wink, a double wink, winking with a click sound done with the tongue ..., so yes, there is a lot of winking happening around! Click on the following links to know the different meanings associated with this act.

Have you ever wondered who was the first person to actually wink? When we naturally tend to blink both our eyes, which genius would have wanted to blink with just one eye? Apparently, the act has been controversy's favorite right from its very origin. The word has been mentioned in the Bible and is linked with sin and sorrow. Proverbs 10:10 in the King James Version of the Bible states, "He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow:" and there are many other verses that link the act with being against God. Nonetheless, let us go through the different connotations of winking in the world in which we live today.
Secret Intentions
A wink is often accompanied when words tend to say otherwise. Meaning, the conversation either has a double meaning, or is a lie told with a purpose of some hidden, secretive intentions. The recipient of the wink, in this case, is either the person from which the secret is hidden, or, it could also be a third party who is aware of the hidden intentions of the giver against that person.
man winking
While in the former case, this wink gives a hint against the "brewing mischief" within, in the latter case, it denotes a form of trustworthy bond and mutual agreement. It would be interesting for you to know that a double wink, that is, winking two times in a row, should definitely be taken as a hint against some trickiness. Often, in this case, people also say "wink wink" instead of actually winking.
Flirting
This is perhaps the most widely accepted interpretation of winking. We often tend to presume that when someone winks at us, especially someone from the opposite sex, it means that he or she is interested in us. Well, this notion stands true in most cases. Perhaps this is the reason why online dating websites have named the feature that shows someone is interested in you, as "wink." This is just a way to get noticed or approved for further communication.
couple resting in cafe
Flirting can be both harmless, or may connote an explicit invitation. In both cases, winking is widely used by men and women, mainly to convey that "you are interesting/attractive in some way." In order to differentiate whether the wink is sexual or asexual in nature, note how and when the person winks at you. The words uttered immediately before the wink, the body language, and the atmosphere is what will help decode the accurate intention behind this act. If an unknown guy winks at you, it most likely means he wants to make sexual advances at you. We wouldn't be surprised if the same stands true in case of women. Like we said, the body language matters.
Joking/Teasing
Winking is quite commonly observed in social gatherings or groups, especially when the topic of conversation is to tease or joke with an intention to (jokingly) annoy a particular person in the group. Some potentially-mean remarks are uttered jokingly with a wink, simultaneously conveying the person not to take the words seriously as all that is being said and done is just for fun. Whether the recipient takes this wink sportingly is a different story altogether!
businesswoman smiling
Many times, the wink is directed to a third person where both the giver and recipient of the wink share a private joke that nobody else is aware of.
Comfort and Bonding
Many times, winking is just a way to say, "You know what I mean, right?" or "You get me, don't you?" This act also brings a person to ease in unknown or uncomfortable situations. Imagine when someone winks at you while saying something trickily funny, and you connect with the connotation quite instantly, unlike others in the group. It's just a gesture to make the environment lighter and approachable with a little playfulness ..., with a little winkfulness!
Comfort and Bonding
Trust/Agreement
Do you remember the 2004 movie, I, Robot, where Sonny the robot learned winking from humans, as a sign of trust? Yes, winking can also be indicative of mutual trust and dependence. In certain cases, a wink is synonymous with a thumbs-up gesture, indicating approval or agreement, especially when a secret plan is about to be executed. Often, a clicking sound is also made along with the wink. As mentioned earlier, this sound is made using the tongue and the gums.
This combination of wink and sound is indicative of mutual agreement or a sense of satisfaction.
Other Meanings in Different Cultures
As mentioned earlier, winking in the West wouldn't be taken the same way in the East. In countries such as China and some conservative parts of India, winking at the opposite sex isn't something that'll be taken jokingly, or as harmless flirting. It will be interpreted as a full-on sign of sexual advance. Speaking of Eastern countries, did you know that when World War II veteran, Frederick Spencer Chapman went to train Chinese guerrillas in Malaya, he found that most of them could not wink, or close one eye to shoot a rifle?
Winking has an all together different connotation in Africa. Here, this act is done by parents to their children in order to indicate them subtly to leave the room, especially when there are adult guests in the room. This is because it is considered improper for children to be in the same room where adults are having a conversation.
If the aforementioned interpretations have helped you solve the puzzle of 'that' particular wink gesture that has been in your thoughts lately, then great. If that ain't the case, then we would suggest to just let it go. As sweet as its name is, this gesture is equally misleading at times. For all you know that at the end of it, the main reason behind that wink was nothing but some dirt that got in his/her eye! If there's something really cooking up, you'll smell it soon. "Wink wink!"