This article was first published on mindbodygreen.
When my ex-husband disappeared, I unexpectedly got divorced at 36 years old. I went back on the dating market--after a 10-year hiatus. Flirting was the best tool in my arsenal (besides an optimistic attitude). Before long, I was meeting men in all sorts of places—the subway, elevators, the gym, and airports.
In my coaching practice, I often see women and men who have forgotten how to flirt. Oh, the pity! Flirting adds spicy intrigue to the mundane. If you’re single, it’s a wonderful way to signal availability and interest. If you’re in a relationship, it helps maintain spark and fuels passion. A little simple flirting says to the world, “I’m alive!”
Flirtation is simply the art of conversation amped up a notch. I’ve always been a good flirt, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a better—mostly because I’ve grown in confidence and self-esteem. A few key tips:
1. Radiate strength.
Naked selfies aren’t sexy. Neither is telling your life story on a first date. Real sexiness stems from the ability to tickle the imagination and create intrigue. Less exhibitionism, fewer words, and more confidence fuel desire.
Smile big and often — it lights up your face and says that you’re approachable and warm. It is the green light that gives others confidence to approach you and start conversation.
3. Be playfully combative.
When we’re attracted to someone, we often veer toward being overly agreeable and conciliatory. Talk about throwing cold water on a spark! Being challenging, feisty, and a bit unpredictable (while still being nice) is very sexy. My partner and I often playfully spar with words. Intelligent banter makes for a very flirtatious (and fun) relationship.
4. Create an air of mystery.
When I was single, a stranger on an elevator once offered to walk me to the subway with his umbrella during a rainstorm. When we arrived, he asked for my number. I demurred, saying that I don’t talk to strangers. (Wink.) He offered his card. I took it but made no promises. He was handsome and charismatic, so I knew he was used to having women chase him.
I waited several days (to build intrigue) and sent him a one-sentence email. He responded immediately, admitting that he checked his email constantly for word from me. Not knowing where the other person stands fuels desire. So, hold your cards close to your chest.
We’re all a little too serious. Take a ribbing. Give a ribbing. Laugh until your sides ache. Dating and romance are supposed to be fun, after all.
6. Tap into your feminine (or masculine) energy.
I have a serious job as a lawyer during the day, so I make deliberate efforts to tap into my softer side after work. I often go home, take a bath and change clothes before a date. I love jewel-colored dresses, red lipstick, and French perfume. This little ritual “washes” the 9-to-5 off me and helps me tap into a different energy/vibration. Each person’s formula is unique, but spend time figuring out the clothing, style, and rituals that bring about the most authentic and empowered you.
7. Ask questions.
Conversation with a stranger can be daunting. My advice? Show interest in your beloved’s work, hobbies, family, and interests. Sit back and relax while they open up. You will glean key insights. And I guarantee they will remember you as an amazing conversationalist while they have performed the bulk of the work.
8. Say a person's name — often.
My game changed for the better after reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. While technically not a dating book, it’s a wonderful guide on how to be a more engaging person. Carnegie says that someone's name is "to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Pay attention when someone introduces themselves. Repeat their name back immediately. Sprinkle it throughout conversation. Be amazed at the result.
9. Show warmth.
Gently touching someone’s hand or back is a wonderful way to show interest. Be respectful of another person’s space. It’s not about draping yourself all over them (or being clingy), which is a big turn-off. It’s about small signals of interest, respectfully scattered here and there.
10. Be original.
Successful flirting is about being 100 percent you. Personally, I’m an extroverted nerd who loves the public library, backpacking through Asia, Wes Anderson films, and 1970's soul music. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Accept that what makes you unique also makes you memorable. That is the most powerful vibrational frequency you can live in — and one that will surely attract an ideal partner.