Help For the Flirting Challenged

Dear Toni-

I am a divorced mother in my mid-forties who has not dated anyone in a long time. I have recently become very interested in a divorced man whom I have known for approximately seven years. His two-year marriage ended about a year ago. He has gone out with several women that I know about, but tells me he isn't seeing anyone steadily yet. I would really appreciate it if you could give me some tips on how to "flirt" with him and become that special woman in his life. --Retro Mom

Dear Retro Mom--

In a situation such as yours, you have the advantage of already knowing this man and being on friendly terms with him. Therefore, the real challenge lies in moving the relationship from one of being just friends to becoming his one and only. In order for this to happen, you will both need to feel the right kind of chemistry, and this is where the flirting comes in. In other words, the two of you can't really know if the sparks are there until you make some changes in the way you interact and relate.

Before I get into specific techniques here, I need to emphasize the importance of the environment around you. It may be necessary to change this in order to help him "see" you in a different light. In other words, if you are parents of children at the same school and only encounter each other at concerts and PTA meetings, ask him if he would like to go for coffee or lunch afterwards. If you live in the same community and talk to him occasionally on the street or at neighborhood parties, consider inviting him over for a home-cooked dinner one night. If you work together, suggest getting together after work or on a weekend to pursue an activity or mutual interest. Changing the environment will help you to see the different faces and sides of each other. It can also help you avoid being the subject of gossip or speculation if yours is a work or other professional relationship.

In order to become an effective flirt, you need to learn the language of gentle seduction. This is where you "say" you are interested with your eyes, facial expressions, hands, posture, etc. Your non-verbal cues should be subtle and sensitive to the signals you are receiving back from him. The following are examples of moves that are sure to get his attention and leave him with little doubt about how you are feeling:

* Maintain constant eye contact when he is speaking.

* Show your interest by asking questions and keeping the focus on him.

* Sit or stand a little closer than usual and touch his arm when his says something that is funny, sad or of significance to him.

* When engaged in conversation, always keep your body pointed in his direction and lean just a little towards him.

* Use your facial expressions to emphasize your interest in what he is saying, feeling, etc.

* Make sure the tone and timbre of your voice is low and has a hint of intimacy to it.

The next time you are together, try one or more of these. Then make sure you listen carefully to his non-verbal responses, for his words could be a distraction or blatantly misleading. You will be able to read his feelings in the way he looks at you, how closely he sits or stands next to you and/or the feelings of warmth or tension that you sense in his presence. Be patient as he may be very surprised or caught off guard by the change in your dynamics and remember that all relationships need time to grow. Lastly, don't forget that you knew how to do this once, before your marriage and years of being a mom. It's like riding a bike, with a little practice it all comes back.

(from December 2005)

Want to read other columns on this subject?

"Do the clothes make the Man?"
List of more
"Attraction and chemistry"

"Falling For the Man She Sees Every Day"


Toni Coleman, LCSW
Phone: 703-847-1768


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