Connell, it’s so hard for me to approach women. I can be so confident around my friends, but when I see a cute girl I want to meet, I become a puddle of nerves. How do I fix this?
—Roger, 34, Portland, Ore.
Roger, let me answer you with a thought experiment, in two scenarios.
No. 1: You’re in your favorite coffee shop, and you see an attractive woman. Your only goal? Walk over and ask her for the time. As you go up to her, how comfortable and confident would you feel, on a scale of 1-10?
No. 2: Same coffee shop, same woman. Except now your mission is different: “Approach” her, use a clever opener, be charismatic, spark attraction, and get her digits for a date. If this was your goal, using the same 1-10 scale, what’s your confidence level?
Odds are, when you compare the two numbers, in the first scenario your confidence lands in the 7-10 range, while in the second it nosedives to about 1-4. (“Put me down for minus-100,” one client told me.)
Now, both situations involve identical actions: You walking up to an attractive female stranger and talking. But one context gives you confidence, and the other makes you anxious, perhaps petrified.
Why the disparity? It’s all in the mind—specifically, the stories you tell yourself based on your beliefs.
You likely imbue the two situations with very different meanings. Asking a stranger for the time carries no risk to your ego. Your self-worth is not on the line.
But “hitting on her” has high stakes. In this story, success means that you’ll feel attractive and land a date with a beauty who might be The One. Yet if you approach and fail, you may feel humiliated, rejected, creepy, and learn that the worst is true: Women just aren’t into you.
This second interpretation—“Failure means I’m not enough”—triggers fear and anxiety. It turns talking to a woman into an existential reckoning on your worth as a man.
It’s these stories, these beliefs, that govern your actions and emotions and determine your dating destiny.
So keep reading, to learn how to build a bullet-proof confidence, so that anxiety-inducing actions like approaching or moving in for the first kiss become almost as easy as asking for the time. You’ll also learn the 5 Beliefs that Assure Success, while destroying the limiting belief that most holds you back.
In my 20s, I worked as a waiter at a steakhouse. I had a huge crush on Tina, a smart, sassy, doe-eyed waitress. One night, I was leaning against the break-room wall and sucking on a cherry lollipop when Tina walked up to me, pulled the sucker from my mouth and slowly put it in hers. “Yum,” she cooed, holding eye contact.
Every atom in my body was aroused, but despite her bold, flirtatious move, it never occurred to me that she liked me, so I didn’t ask her out or flirt back. I was CERTAIN that I wasn’t attractive to women, so I figured she just wanted my lollipop. I had no idea she, ahem, “wanted my lollipop.”
A limiting belief about your attractiveness can blind you to opportunities, and stop you from taking the actions that create connections with women.
This leads me to some bad news and some good news.
The bad news: If things aren’t working in your romantic life, it’s on you.
Everything you love, hate, feel, fear, think, believe—it all shows up in your interactions with women, for better or worse. Your dating life is a mirror that reflects what’s happening inside you. It comes through in your voice, words, eye contact, actions, emotions. Take me and Tina. It wasn’t that I was afraid to ask her out; asking her out never entered my mind because I was sure that women like her didn’t want me.
The quality of your love life correlates to the quality of your mindset.
Saying that your dating struggles are “on you” may sound harsh, but it’s actually excellent news! You can’t change the externals—women, society, Tinder’s algorithm. But you can change your mindset, which will change your emotions, actions, and outcomes.
To be clear, there’s nothing broken in you. You don’t need fixing. But you do need to fix your mindset.
What’s a belief? It’s a feeling of absolute certainty about what something means—a story you repeatedly tell yourself. Many beliefs are true and empowering (“Mom loves me”; “hard work pays off”), while others are false but fairly harmless. (“I’ll have one more beer”; “That Bruce Willis can really act!”)
Then there are limiting beliefs—disempowering feelings that are either totally or partially false but that constrain you, damaging the quality of your life. In dating, a limiting belief can keep you from taking the right action, and also hurt your results when you do take action. And they can crush your confidence.
For example, a guy might believe, “I’m not good-looking enough to date beautiful women,” even though he’s never even tried. Therefore, he doesn’t pursue the women he’s attracted to, effectively turning a made-up story into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here are some common limiting beliefs:
When you replace a limiting belief with a new, empowering, and TRUE belief, it changes how you feel, makes dating fun, and propels you toward what I call an Amazing Outcome—a dating life of confidence and connection.
The most destructive disempowering dating belief? It’s some version of “I’m not enough.” Not tall enough or handsome enough or charismatic enough for the kind of woman you want to date. And getting so-called “proof” that you’re not enough—a woman ghosts you or friend-zones you or turns down your approach—can make you feel like less of a man.
But when you destroy the beliefs that hold you back, you’re free to take new actions—even if those limitations seem, well, truly limiting.
A decade ago, I was in London on a sunny Sunday afternoon, taking a dating boot camp as a student. I’d spent two hours approaching women in Trafalgar Square. At the time, I was still battling the doubts that triggered anxiety: “What if I’m not good-looking enough? What if I’m too introverted?” In other words, “What if I’m not enough?”
My coach was offering some pointers when he spotted a past client of his in mid-approach. “There’s Alex,” my coach said. “Looks like he’s doing great.”
I turned to see a tall, slender brunette woman wearing aviator shades, a form-fitting trench coat, and a wide smile. Alex looked relaxed. At one point, she laughed and threw her hair back.
I couldn’t hear their words, but she was clearly loving him. The look on her face said, “Damn, you’re confident.” It didn’t matter to her that Alex was in a wheelchair. He was all smiles and smoothness, bound to his chair but not to his limitations.
I want to share five powerful beliefs that, if applied, will make great dating results a veritable lock for you. Follow these North stars. Here they are.
When I was a junior in college, I wrote a weekly humor column for the campus newspaper. It was a popular feature, but I was painfully insecure about my writing.
One day, a fan letter from a journalism professor appeared in my mailbox. “You may not know how good you are,” Professor Hale said of my writing, before telling me about the promising career that awaited me. That letter, that sentence, was a booster shot of confidence that I badly needed.
You may not know how good YOU are. If you wonder whether or not you’re enough to date wonderful women and get a great girlfriend, you absolutely are—in ways great and small. Buy into this. Because when you believe it, everything shifts.
Accept the truth that a great partner WILL be in your life. It’s a done deal—a when, not an if. This is about focusing on what you want, rather than what you fear. Anxiety and inaction come from playing a horror movie in your mind.
So play a different flick, one that shows you a compelling outcome.
I’m not talking about a ruthless fixation on success. Don’t go all J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash” on yourself. Simply soak in the certitude that an incredible love life awaits. It will happen.
This is not woo-woo, “law of attraction” mumbo jumbo. It’s practical psychology. When you commit to a compelling goal, your subconscious says, “Let’s do this!” And to keep you honest, your brain does a dickishly-cool thing: It gives you stress if your actions don’t align with your goal. To avoid this pain, you act in accordance with your desires, and your mind eliminates many of the shitty thoughts and behaviors that hold you back.
Also, this kind of fierce focus helps you perform at a higher level. This is what great athletes do. In his prime, on his way to winning 15 majors, Tiger Woods would stand on the tee and picture the blade of grass on which his ball would land some 350 yards away. By focusing on where he was going, he worried less about sand traps and lakes. This relaxed him, facilitating his best play.
See and feel your outcome—the confidence, the romantic connection—and your psychology will find a way.
Love handles or washboard abs? Being dead broke or Richie Rich wealthy? Unlucky in love or honeymooning in Hawaii?
Our progress, or lack thereof, comes from our rituals, the actions we take consistently. Daily action will propel you toward the romantic fulfillment you desire.
You can visualize and meditate and get your kumbayayas out all day long, but if you don’t take consistent, ritualized action, your chance of failure is high. Vision boards and goals scribbled on paper—it’s all dead wood without the discipline to act.
But don’t think you need to improve in leaps and bounds right away. Yes, you can have big breakthroughs, but don’t underestimate the power of steady, incremental improvement.
With apologies to FDR, the only thing we have to fear is ignoring fear itself. Fear is a friend, a powerful force to harness, a call to action.
If you’re afraid to approach that girl or go for the first-date kiss, that’s fear telling you exactly what you SHOULD do.
Your love life is like a boat, and fear is the ocean wind. You can use those gusts to reach your destination, or do nothing and be lost at sea. As Tony Robbins said at a seminar, “You can’t control the wind, but you can control the sails.”
If you do one scary but necessary thing every day, you’ll see incredible results faster than you ever thought possible.
Thomas Edison failed to invent the lightbulb hundreds of times. Abraham Lincoln failed to win almost every election he entered, until 1860. J.K. Rowling failed to sell her first Harry Potter manuscript 22 times.
So-called “failure” is part of the path to achievement. The secret: Fail big and often. Then fail again and again and again…
Until you succeed.
As you can see, the secret of how to appear confident and attractive to women is by looking within. You have everything it takes to succeed. You just need to allow yourself to do so. I know, I know, easier said than done. If you need help with how to be confident around beautiful women, book a free call with me.
Connell Barrett is an acclaimed dating coach for men who has helped men all over the world attract the women of their dreams. He's appeared on Goodmorning America, Access Hollywood, and The Today Show to name a few. His podcast on how to get a girlfriend and book Dating Sucks But You Don't provide dating tips to help men succeed while being their authentic selves.
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