As she walked out of her neighborhood coffee place, Melissa was surprised when she suddenly realized she’d been flirting! There was a nice man in line ahead of her and it just…happened.
Later she told me about it, “It just happened!” She went on to confide, “The biggest shock was realizing how attractive he found me, and how charmed he was. That was a huge boost for me!”
Don’t for a minute think that because you are no longer a kid that flirting is not a thing. It’s a HUGE thing. Trust me, flirting is, in many ways, even more important to the mature dater. And flirting is not the same for us as the often flightier or more overt flirtation that takes place among the young.
No woman in her 40s, 50s, or 60s will respond to a heavy-handed innuendo about her body, for example. Mature men are unlikely to be charmed by an eye-roll or a giggle. So what kind of flirting quickens the pulse of a mature single?
- Direct looks and genuine smiles. Your face is what they see. A closed, preoccupied expression will capture no one’s attention. Your gaze, your smile, invite people in. Smile from the heart and look into their eyes. You are a confident, fabulous person. Don’t shy away—eye contact is sexy as hell. A few things can happen. Someone will gaze back, smile, and you’ll strike up a conversation in the coffee line. Or, at the very least, you’ll make someone’s day.
- Subtlety. Ladies, men admire an understated approach, and men, women do too. The ladies don’t want the pick-up lines that may have worked in your youth. (But did they really? A topic for another day, perhaps.) Coming on too strong is not sexy, and neither is desperation… which people can smell a mile away
- Sincerity. Everyone likes a compliment—as long as it’s genuine. Be real, not random. Notice something unique about the person. She’s reading an Anne Tyler novel. He’s wearing a Declaration of Independence tie. Say something sincere.
- Body Language. Whatever else you do, rock the body language. Your body, like your face, sends out huge messages loud and clear. For a complete rundown on this topic, check out my body language blog. The basics: remember to keep your body open (no crossed arms or legs, maintain upright posture etc.), face the person you’re speaking to, and use your head and hands to convey interest.
- Touch. A gentle hand on an arm as you laugh or listen closely. An attentive gesture (sometimes a woman’s brushing a piece of lint off a man’s jacket sleeve can seem so warm and caring that his heart skips a beat). The delicate touch of a man’s hand on the small of a woman’s back as he helps her through a crowded shop. These are all powerful uses of subtle touch. But use your instincts. Some people are very protective of their personal space and if you move it when it’s not welcome it can be a complete turn off.
- Conversation. Ask a question. Share an anecdote. Combined with good eye contact, these serendipitous conversations, no matter how brief, can be most alluring.
- Humor. Not to be underestimated! As we navigate our middle and later years, sometimes just having someone to laugh with is what we want most. If you have the wit and humor to make someone laugh—use it.
- Attention. Put down the phone. We’re talking undivided Enough said.
- Departing gracefully. Leaving someone wanting just a little more can be delicious… for both of you. Know when that moment arrives.
There are great ideas for using a text message or phone call to flirt, too. Remember to use texts only for the light stuff—there is too much ambiguity possible and crossing wires with a bad text early in a friendship can derail the best foundation laid by good flirting! Use a text to brighten someone’s day. “Thinking of you.” Or send a photo: “This reminded me of what you said the other day.” Simple. Clear.
On the phone, modulate your voice for the intimate nature of the communication. Mirror his or her tone, be open and interesting, and, of course, give undivided attention. If you are on Amazon buying bathroom accessories while you talk, you won’t be present, and that will translate as lack of interest or attention. A turn-off.
But more than anything else: have fun. If you are enjoying the exchange, chances are you both are. Flirt with abandon, know how desirable and interesting you are, and don’t try to control the outcome. Flirting fills the world with smiles. Be part of that and see what happens!