Dating coach Connell Barrett answers your questions on dating advice for men, how to improve your profile bio, and a move for instant confidence on first dates.
What’s the best opening line when you approach a woman during the day? I see cute girls all the time at Starbucks and at the grocery store, but I never know how to open a conversation. What do I say and do?
—Stevie, 27, Ottawa, Canada
Doling out dating advice for men is what I’m all about, and you asked the question I get more than any other: “What do I say?” That is, you want to know the right words to use—especially when it comes to breaking the ice with an attractive woman.
I’ll give you a killer opening line in just a second, but first let’s bust a myth. The actual words you use are WAY overrated, and the vibe you use to deliver them—with confidence and commitment—is WAY underrated.
Quick story. I dated a smarty, sexy marketing director named Nicole, whom I’d met in the frozen-food section at Whole Foods. I had a really good “opener.” She was wearing a winter hat and scarf, and I approached her by saying, “Wow, you look like the cover of the J-Crew winter catalogue.” Her face lit up, we chatted, and exchanged numbers.
On our first date, I asked her what she liked about my approach. I was fishing for a compliment about my smooth “pickup line.” But women rarely remember your opener. “That’s easy,” she said. “You stood up straight and you looked me right in the eye. That was very attractive.”
So before you worry about the words, focus on making great eye contact and having great posture—those things are much more attractive than some “perfect” opening line.
Now, if you DO want a back-pocket ice-break to use, go with this: “Excuse me, but I just saw you, and I had to say hi. I’m [name].”
That’s a great opener because it’s honest, vulnerable and simple—you can use it just about anywhere.
Just make sure that when you say it, you look her right in the eye and you stand tall.
Connell, I rarely get good matches on Bumble, and my female friends tell me that my photos are good. And when I do get matches, women who match with me never send me an opener. What am I doing wrong?
—Brett, Brooklyn, N.Y.
First things first: Do you have really good photos, with your featured pic being a portrait that shows you at your most attractive, dateable self? Yes? Well, Brett in Brooklyn, your Bumble bummer is because of your bio. (Say THAT five times fast!)
Chances are, your bio is dull. Forgettable. Boring. Way too may guys who do online dating suffer from a bad case of “I like long walks on the beach…”
So give your bio a makeover. There’s not one bio-writing formula, but there’s a fun way to write it in a way that stands out from all the other guys: a funny list.
A list that contains your winning sense of humor makes for a GREAT bio, because most everyone else is writing clichés and sharing the same old “Office” quotes.
Here’s a fun way to do it. Run a list of funny, silly quotes about you—sort of the way movie ads run sound bites from the critics. (“The must-see movie of the summer!”)
Bonus tip: End your list with a fun question that makes it EASY for your match to write you.
Here’s my recent Bumble bio, following this format:
The reviews are in! Here’s what people are saying about me.
“Connell is very handsome.”—My mom
“Me wish me had his muscles.”—The Hulk
“We ask HIM for style advice.”—G.Q.
“Just so you know, he used to sleep with a stuffed pig.”—My sister
OK, what do people say about YOU? 😉
Nice, right? Light, fun, and charming—the perfect vibe for Bumble or, for that matter, most any app.
Good photos combined with a playful bio like this will get you a LOT more matches.
I feel so much tension on first dates. My voice stammers, and my gut just churns. I’m so shoved in my head. How do you relax and just be confident and chill on dates?
—Craig, 39, Athens, Georgia
I feel you, Craig. Fifteen years ago when I first began working on my love life, I had overwhelming anxiety before and during dates. I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach. I had vampire bats. Here’s what helped me a LOT, and will help you.
On first dates, you need to embrace something called “The Essence of the Craft.”
It’s a concept that I got while working with a top mental-game coach named Jim Fannin, who’s trained elite athletes such as Alex Rodriguez. Fannin teaches a concept called “the essence of the craft.”
Fannin has top athletes distill complex tasks into one simple phrase so that they don’t overthink things. At the plate, A-Rod used to tell himself, “I hit the ball flat with an accelerated bat.” (What he told himself that won him J-Lo’s affections, I’d love to know.)
When you’re on a date or talking with a woman, the last thing you need is to try to remember 37 tips and techniques. To get out of your head and into the moment, create a short, simple mantra (less than ten words) that captures the essence of the dating craft for you. Here’s mine. Feel free to steal it:
I know it sounds simplistic, but it works. If I’m authentic and can put a smile on her face, there’s a great chance for a romantic connection. Plus, this mantra shifts my mind away from my insecurities and doubts—yep, I have them too—and lets me focus on giving her a great time.
It’s good to work on your dating life and learn some tools and techniques, but when you’re with a girl, keep things simple. Forget technique. Be present, and embrace the essence of the craft.
For more first-date tips for men, click here.
Connell Barrett is a dating coach from NYC that focuses on actionable dating advice for men. This advice has given many men the opportunity to find their dream woman. He has been featured in magazines such as O Magazine, Maxim, Playboy, and more. In addition, he has appeared on the Today Show, Access Hollywood, and several others. His new dating book for men releases in Spring 2021. Ask Connell a question below.
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NYC Dating Coach Connell Barrett
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