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"Dating Sucks But You Don’t"

Dating coach Connell Barrett gives exclusive tips on his book, Dating Sucks But You Don't. In addition, he answers your questions on the right way to approach, how to defeat self-doubt, and online-dating openers that work.

Dating Sucks But You Don't

So psyched! I’ve just launched my new book, DATING SUCKS BUT YOU DON’T: The Modern Guy’s Guide to Total Confidence, Romantic Connection, and Finding the Perfect Partner.

Here are three common dating problems guys have—and three practical fixes taken directly from my book!

How do you approach women in a way that’s charming, rather than creepy?

-Leif, 27, Ohio

When I started learning how to attract women, I was at a trendy hotel lounge in New York City one night. My wingman challenged me to approach a table where a cute brunette and her blonde friend sat with a muscular guy.

At that point, I was still nervous about talking to women, let alone dealing with a potentially pissed-off boyfriend. And this guy was huge, like a bottle of Muscle Milk made corporeal. But I summoned the courage, walked over, grabbed an empty chair, and offered a warm hello.

The brunette’s eyes widened and she leaned forward. “Oh my god! You came right up and talked to us. Do you know what you are?” (I thought, Umm, a creep who’s about to get his butt kicked?) “You’re normal!” She tilted her head toward a fellow sitting a couple tables away. “That guy’s been staring at us all night, and it’s creeping us out!”

Oh, and the hulking dude I was worried about? Super friendly.

I traded numbers with the brunette, who was as charming and friendly as she was pretty.

Most men don’t approach women, often from a fear of appearing creepy. But it’s much creepier to want to approach yet do nothing and stare instead.

Confidence does not come free. You have to pay for it. How? With courage.

Courage is the currency that buys you confidence.

If you want the confidence to approach and attract beautiful women, you have to start doing it first, and the confidence will come… in time.

Your move? Follow the three-second rule.


When you’re in a social environment and you see a woman you’d love to meet, approach her immediately. Begin walking toward her within three seconds of spotting her.

The longer you wait, the harder it gets.

The longer you wait, the heavier the wait.

Use the three-second rule. Three, two, one… go!

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The Secret to Dating Confidence

I lack confidence with certain women. I feel they’re out of my league. How do I get to the point of feeling attractive and “enough” for them?

-Bill, 33, Knoxville

the secret to confidence. "Dating Sucks But You Don't"

If you feel “not enough” for certain women, it’s because your Lower Self is running your love life.

As my decade studying dating successes has revealed, you, me, everyone—we all have dual selves. A Higher Self and a Lower Self.

Your Higher Self is the hero of your life. In any arena that brings you joy, fulfillment, and results, your Higher Self is in charge. He’s confident, focused, and totally authentic.

He’s you operating at full potential. The job you love, the biceps you’ve sculpted, the great kid you’re raising—it’s the superhero inside of you running the show.

But every superhero has an arch-villain, a mustache-twirling bad guy. And that’s your Lower Self.

This is the fearful, doubtful part of you who’s been botching up your love life. It’s the voice that whispers, “Don’t approach her—she’s out of your league.”

The pain and frustrations you’ve felt—from settling to the friend zone to feeling unworthy of quality women—that’s all the fault of your Lower Self.

Higher Self = You at Your Best

Lower Self = You at Your Worst

There’s great power in understanding your enemy. On the first day of their training, I have my clients give their Lower Selves a name—a nickname to make them cringe. Fred, an attorney in his late thirties, came to me because he would feel a lot of stress and fear when he wanted to say hello to an attractive stranger—what’s called “approach anxiety.” His hands would shake at the thought of walking up to a woman and saying hi, so he named his Lower Self “Frightened Freddie.”

Me? My Lower Self is “Connie,” a grade-school nickname that I hated and that now reminds me of the pain my Lower Self caused.

Next, I have my clients recall a specific moment of awesomeness—a time when they felt fulfilled, confident, and present. These mental snapshots can really be anything, from crossing the finish line at a marathon, to playing electric guitar in a band, or laughing with close friends or family.

Then they give that guy a name, because he’s their Higher Self—and he’s capable of doing incredible things. “Frightened Freddie” became “Frederick the Great,” a guy who could soon successfully approach women almost anywhere. My Higher Self’s name? It’s so stupid that it’s brilliant: I went from “Connie” to “Connell Fuckin’ Barrett,” a bold man of action. (You can call me CFB for short.)

Your Lower Self contains all the pain and doubt and approach anxiety that contributed to your sucky dating life. But your Higher Self has bottomless confidence and can get lots of dates, and in time connect with one incredible woman.

To be clear, your Higher Self is not a persona or a mask. Nor is he you after a couple stiff whiskeys. He’s the inner you buried beneath layers of doubts and fears—that priceless, gleaming diamond encased by worthless igneous rock.

Dating Sucks But You Don’t is about how to drill down to that Higher Self and put him in charge of your dating life. It’s time to hand your Lower Self a cigarette and blindfold and let your Higher Self run your love life.

Your Higher Self is in EVERY woman’s league.

Open All Night: Dating App Openers that Work!

I get matches with women on Tinder and Hinge, but they almost never reply to my openers. Help!

-Charles, 36, Atlanta

opening lines for Tinder

Here are three fun, effective ways to write your openers.


1: The Compliment + Question

Look at her bio and see what strikes you as quirky, interesting, or cool—say, her style, her love for hiking, her fondness for Steve Carell movies. Tell her what impressed you, and ask her a question that she would enjoy answering. A great way to approach a question is to makes her an expert. (We all love being experts.) Use her name, and limit yourself to two emojis.

“Katie… I see you’re a Steve Carell fan. Awesome. OK, lemme ask you. Do you think he’s better in comedies or dramas?”

You’re making her an expert in a topic she’s interested in, while also showing that you read her bio. She’s likely to reply.

2: Compliment + Tease

You pay a sincere, specific compliment—but instead of asking a question, you tease her about something, such as her favorite TV shows or a silly accessory she’s wearing in a shot. (Never tease about anything she would likely take offense to, such as her weight, other bodily features, or anything that’s too personal.) Let’s say her bio mentions traveling in Europe, and in one shot she’s wearing a bold, colorful hat.

“Katie, wow! You’ve back-packed all over Europe? I’m impressed. But I’m curious… did the fashion police in Italy arrest you for that giant hat?”

A compliment paired with a tease can be very engaging, enticing her to spar with you.

3: The Knock-Knock Joke

This comes courtesy of “Great Love Debate” podcast host and fellow dating expert Brian Howie. Your opener is simply: “Knock-knock…”

That’s all! Believe it or not, this type of opener has a crazy-high response rate. She’ll likely reply with “Who’s there?”, and you proceed with the knock-knock joke of your choice. It sets the perfect playful tone. (I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to date a woman who didn’t reply to a knock-knock joke.)

I prefer personalized openers, but here are five one-size-fits-all ice-breakers that also work well. (Make sure to include the woman’s name so it feels more specific to her.)

  • “So, how does this online-dating thing work? Are we, like, engaged now?”
  • “Whattaya think? Should we exchange small talk for 3 weeks & then never meet?”
  • “I know this is a fake profile and you’re probably a dude, but can you get me the name of the model you used for your pic? I’d love to meet her.”
  • “How do I get laid on Tinder?” Then, your second text: “Oh, shit! This isn’t Google…”
  • “Stop looking so damn, distractingly cute. I’m trying to get some work done.”


No. 1 Amazon bestseller Dating Sucks but You Don’t is available wherever books are sold. To order it, or to learn how it will transform your confidence and love life, go to

Want some tips on what to say when asking a girl out or where to go on a first date? Read Connell's column here and subscribe so you never miss an update!

Want to be coached by Connell? Order the book Dating Sucks But You Don't, and learn how to approach women and get the girl here. It comes with incredible bonuses like live group coaching!

Connell Barrett is a NYC dating coach for men. He's helped men all over the world find the woman of their dreams with actionable advice such as how to get out of the friend zone. His work has been featured on Access Hollywood and the Today Show. In addition, you can find him in print in Maxim, O Magazine, and Cosmopolitan. Ask Connell a question below!

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Connell Barrett Dating coach for men

I'm dating coach Connell Barrett. I help men build confidence and connect with women by being authentic!

dating sucks but you don't #1 Amazon bestseller

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NYC Dating Coach Connell Barrett

106 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001

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