I wonder how many conversations are the non-flirtatious equivalent of flirting.
Subjects come and go and serve as islands in an sea of unexpressed thought. The relationship is restrained by an inability or unwillingness to talk frankly. That may be driven by fear that a dishonest but viable relationship trumps a candid one that is self-destructive.
Is there a word for a non-flirtatious equivalent of flirting? If not, we should invent or modify one. So far, "filtered" may do as in, "They had a filtered conversation about the new logo."