The waitress is flirtatious, and I don’t know what to do

DEAR ABBY: I’ve read your column for years, frequently taking advice you provide to others and applying it to my circumstances.

I have developed a mutual bond with a woman who is 30 — 28 years younger than myself. She’s a waitress at a diner I frequent.

I’ve seen her children grow over the past six or seven years. We have had many meaningful conversations and shared our highs and lows. She’s naturally friendly.

Three or four years ago, she began sharing casual side hugs when I arrived. I never ask for them. Over the last year, these hugs have become more intimate — not in a sexual way, just a deeper bond of friendship. We occasionally IM when she’s off work, but I don’t see her socially.

Lately she has been teasing that she’ll be my next ex. I reciprocate the flirting and teasing. I believe there is a mutual attraction. If not for the age difference, which I’m OK with, or the fear of causing issues with our friendship, I’d ask her out.

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