Dating After 50: How to Flirt

Dating when you’re older isn't all in your head — some of it's in your heart and hormones. Though it may be true that your hormones aren't quite as intense as they were when you were 25, they're still very much active, and you'll find that you still have a different reaction to someone when there's chemistry than when there's not. No doubt about it, chemistry is important.

But chemistry isn't preordained. You don't have chemistry with every smart person you meet or every blonde or redhead. Chemistry is partly about how people look and greatly about how people act. Connections can be made over a smile, a sense of humor, or what you see in someone's eyes.

When these signals are intentional, it's called flirting. And flirting is definitely a form of communication. It tells the other person that you're interested in her as more than a friend, that you're a sensual person, and that you can be playful.

All that information can be communicated with just a few bold looks. One flirtatious move can definitely telegraph your interest instantaneously, and the reception to that move will tell you a lot about whether someone is interested in getting closer to you.

If you haven't dated in a long time, you may have forgotten how to flirt. The good news is that it's not too hard to learn how to do it again. You can jog your memory with these core elements of flirting — and then, of course, you must practice! It's worth doing because this is the way you start the other person's heart to thump a bit faster and, in fact, increase your own heart rate as well. Here are the key moves:

  • Eye contact: Holding eye contact without blinking or looking away is so sexy that you'll find you have to look away a little just so the whole sequence doesn't become combustible. Let your eyes “soften” and smile just a little while you lock your eyes together. If your date refuses to hold your gaze, the moment won't work. But if she does, you've got something going!

  • A certain smile: The smile that works is a little mysterious, with the ends of the mouth slightly turned up — not a big, broad smile. This is a smile that promises more, if everything goes right. It's a smile that indicates the beginning of desire and availability.

  • Words: Words matter. If you're drawn to someone, let her know it, but don't go overboard. Watch her reactions carefully.

    For example, if you say, “Your hair is beautiful; I find myself wanting to touch it,” the response should be something like, “I'd like that very much” or at least, “Thank you” with a smile. If she ignores it or says, “Oh, not really…” back off. The first reaction shows that the person is willing to flirt with you. The second reaction shows that you've made her uncomfortable.

    But flirting does require playful, intimate sentiments or a bit of sexual innuendo. Such verbal flirting shows that you're attracted to the person and tests the waters to see whether the person is also attracted.

Does this sound like dangerous territory? It is. A gifted flirt is a bit scary because she can charm the socks off of anyone. But flirting isn't necessarily manipulative if the sentiments are sincere and performed to encourage a relationship rather than just a ploy to get admired or a deliberate prelude to having sex with someone.

Flirtation is, at its most helpful, a way to help move things along. It differentiates the attention you get from someone who's just being friendly from the attention you get when someone desires you in a romantic or sexual way.

It can be hard to differentiate a flirt or “player” from someone who's interested in only you. Only time will tell whether you're just getting lines or a true expression of deeply felt chemistry. Go ahead and flirt and enjoy flirtation, but take it all as just a first step toward knowing more about each other.

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