Dating advice: Learning how to flirt again

By: Jen Kirsch

Author: Canadian Living


Dating advice: Learning how to flirt again

By: Jen Kirsch
It's hard to know how to get back in the dating game after the demise of a marriage or long-term relationship. You want to put yourself out there, but can't seem to find that confidence you once had. That "it" factor has been lost over the months (or years) that you spent with your partner. Unsure of how to flirt like you used to, and fearful of coming off too strong, many of us could use some help navigating the flirting frontlines.

Allison Pescosolido and Andra Brosh are both experts in divorce recovery and starting over. They cofounded Divorce Detox, a full-service centre that helps transform the lives of individuals transitioning through divorce. Here they share some flirting techniques that will help you get back into the swing of things.

1. No pressure
The first thing to remember is that flirting is a harmless way of gauging another person's interest in conversing with you. "You are not committing to a lifelong connection or even a date. You are simply deciding in a few moments whether you may enjoy this person's company," says Pescosolido.

It's actually very simple: If you're into each other, you can continue to talk. But if you're not feeling it, you can end the conversation and move on. We're used to having to humour our partners, but flirting with new potential mates is more about scoping out the scene.

2. Simple steps

We've all heard that the best way to flirt is to make eye contact and -- rather than looking away quickly -- holding his gaze and smiling. It sounds easy, but if your dating radar is off, it can be hard to interpret if someone is interested. If he glances back and smiles at you in return, Pescosolido and Brosh suggest going for it and introducing yourself.

"Maintain eye contact for a few moments and be sure to smile," they say. Not sure what to say? "Offer a simple open-ended observation like ‘Isn't this weather wonderful?'" suggests Brosh. This is not intimidating conversation and it helps to get the interaction off on a friendly foot.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how to interpret body language while flirting, and if all goes right, how to take the next step in dating with advice on page 2

3. Body language
According to Pescosolido and Brosh, you need to give physical clues that you're interested -- mere conversation isn't enough: "Body language plays an important role in flirting and can reveal a lot." They suggest turning your body toward his, lightly touching his arm, smiling, maintaining eye contact and, if appropriate, laughing. This will give him cues that you, too, are interested, so you can take your flirting to the next step.

4. Go easy
It's important to keep the conversation light while flirting. "Talk about the weather, a hobby, sports, etc., and try to find common ground. Do not get too personal," say the Divorce Detox duo. "Questions about religion, children and past relationships are unwelcome in flirting."

5. Exit strategies
How do you end a conversation if you're picking up red flags or want to escape? "A simple ‘Nice speaking with you -- take care' is all you need to say before you walk away," Pescosolido and Brosh say reassuringly. "There's no need to over-think it or make it awkward." Flirting should always be friendly and positive. If you're not getting good vibes, then it's perfectly OK to excuse yourself from the situation.

6. The next step
If you want to take your flirting to the next step, be communicative. Tell the guy you've enjoyed talking to him, and ask if you can call him to arrange a date. By taking his number, it takes the pressure off since you're not waiting for a call. Another bonus: It also gives you the opportunity to back out if you decide you're not quite ready to move forward.

Getting back in the dating game boils down to two things: confidence and putting yourself out there. While we all like a little positive reinforcement on the dating scene and it's comforting to have friends hit the town with, just remember that if your intention is to go out and meet someone, travelling in a pack of 10 girlfriends will not increase your chances. If you're with a big group you're more likely to stick to your comfort zone and not put in the effort. Hit the local coffee shop or a charity event with one friend at the most. You'll still feel supported, but you will be far more approachable.

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Dating advice: Learning how to flirt again