Flirting with Danger

Flirting with the wrong person can be bad for your health.

Yet, what constitutes flirting? Someone thought I was flirting with them a couple of weeks ago and I cluelessly continued talking to them, recognizing their growing discomfort but oblivious on what could be causing it. Once I realized they thought I was making a move, which I wasn’t, I stopped to consider what about my own behavior was coming across wrong.
Turns out there is a ton of how to articles, wikihow, blogs, etc. on flirting. Lots of free advice that boils down to these five steps.

1. Make Eye Contact – Here in the states this includes a friendly smile to indicate interest.

2. Initiate Conversation – Pick up lines are for joke telling only. Nerdy advice articles suggested commenting on the person’s obvious interest in comics/movies/scotch or whatever is on hand. Even if they don’t like X it gets the ball rolling.

3. Have open body language – especially posture or poses that show off your best traits.

4. Touch – Brushing against someone, touching their arm to direct their attention, pushing their hair out of the way. All simple and deceptively innocent.

5. Mirror – Mimicking the other person’s motions, body movement shows your interest but it is even better when they start to synchronize with your body. It means they are interested in you.

Perhaps an oversimplification of how both men and women flirt but a good starting point to figure out where my actions came across the wrong way. Eye contact. That’s right, step one. I’ll have you know that I give great eye contact. I was raised that you should look people in the eye to show honesty and that you are listening to them. I’m also German, which I’m told uses the highest level of eye contact. (⅛ of my hienz 57 mutt)
Now, think about adding a different culture to this messy mix. Asian, Native American and Middle Eastern cultures see eye contact as either aggressively sexual or hostile. I think that paints a clear enough picture of what happened.
I won’t stop using as much eye contact as I do now so I need other ways to indicate TAKEN: NOT INTERESTED.

Suggestions? Ideas? How have you politely turned down someone who was flirting with you?