Dating coach Connell Barrett answers your questions on how to talk to women, the secret to texting, and a simple way to escape the friend zone.
I suck at flirting! When I try to flirt—I recently told a woman at a bookstore how gorgeous she is—I get weird looks. I feel like a creep. I’m just not sure how to talk to women. Help!
—Nish, 35, Chicago
I feel your pain, Nish. It hurts to “put yourself out there” and get a bad reaction. (I’ve been there! I spent years trying just about every tool and technique there is.)
Learning how to talk to women is essential. But it sounds like you are fawning, not flirting. Flirting is good. Women love it. Fawning? Not so much.
Fawning is when you’re too impressed by a woman too quickly. Such comments might include, “You are just so amazing,” “I’ve never met anyone like you,” and “Wow, you are so beautiful!” Those things are fine to say after you’ve made a connection with a woman, but if you lay it on too thick too soon, you can come across as her groupie, not her equal. That’s a big turn-off.
So don’t fawn. Flirt. I define flirting as showing a woman that she’s affecting you but in a casual, no-big-deal way. This makes her feel sexy and attractive, without putting her on a pedestal. Here are examples of being affected by her, but not fawning over her.
To see a master flirt in action, watch this YouTube clip of comedian Craig Ferguson on his old CBS talk show, The Late Late Show, flirting with actress Kate Mara. He’s a master flirt in the action and shows how to talk to women. He always let his female guests know they were attractive—yet he did it with humor and class. And he never fawned. Watch him here!
I need some texting help. When I get a woman’s phone number, we text for a while, and then she goes quiet. Or if I do ask her out, she’s always “busy,” and we never meet up. Any thoughts?
—Chris, 44, New Orleans
Chris, to get more dates with women you match with, focus on making your texts fun and flirty. If she’s dodging your date suggestions, you’re not putting her in the right mood.
So change her mood, not her mind. That is, don’t use logic. Try humor or storytelling, or try to tease her. “Spike” the interaction by having FUN with her.
Quick story. For a few weeks, I had been trying for a first date with Annie—a kind, cute real-estate agent I’d connected with on a dating app. We couldn’t get our schedules aligned. One day she sent me a polite blow-off message.
I realized that my texting had been WAY too dull and not fun and flirty. So I decided that if she’s gonna blow me off, I was gonna have a BLAST getting rejected.
Well, only a few messages after she SEEMED to reject me, the interaction turned around, and she called ME to set up a date (a date which went great, by the way.)
Here’s how to text a girl. I went from getting blown off to dating a bright, beautiful woman.
ANNIE: Hey sorry I won’t be able to meet you. I am talking to someone I’m interested in getting to know. But best of luck.
ME: No worries at all. Glad to hear you made a love connection. But I’ll have to return the engagement ring I bought you 💍
ANNIE: Lol. Sorry I’m just an honest person… But hey, perhaps it will be a terrible date.
ME: I have an idea. How about I come on the date with you! & you can give the guy you like most a rose, like on the Bachelorette.
ANNIE: Lol! That would be different fer sure. It’s too bad that you and I never connected. I just don’t like dating more than one guy.
ME: No worries. I only spent $7 on your ring so it’s OK. A fake diamond. Diamond-oid.
ANNIE: Perfect. I’m clumsy and I probably would fall and lose the ring.
ME: Phew! Then I dodged a bullet. I mean, you’re adorable and you seem cool, but if you dropped the symbol of our eternal love down in the gutter, that would hurt. 😞
ANNIE: LMAO. I can’t help it. I’m clumsy.
ME: That is SO you. It’s why I proposed.
ANNIE: Hahaha. You’re cute. Maybe I should meet you.
ME: Lol. Thanks. If I’m cute, then you’re suuuper cute. I’m just trying keep up. You have a great sense of humor. & Don’t worry. I never propose till date no 2.
ANNIE: Haha. We should meet up. Imma call you in a min…
Seconds later, my phone rang, we talked for a half hour, and we had a great date three nights later—that ended with her spending the night. And all I did was have fun with her, rather than try to logically convince her to meet with me, which would not have worked.
To change her mind, change her mood.
Well, I’m stuck in the friend zone. I’ve had three straight dates, and three straight “thanks but no thanks” from women. What do I do?
—Ray, 41, Las Vegas
Nothing sucks more than the friend zone, with the possible exception of root canals and Adam Sandler movies.
The cause? There’s a good chance that you’re trying too hard to impress women on dates. You may be trying to “sell” yourself too hard, like a too-eager salesman.
Try something new: Be the buyer, not the seller.
Here’s what I mean. When men try to sell themselves to women, it can come across as needy or desperate, and… hello, Friend Zone. It’s better to adopt a buyer-seller vibe, with you as the buyer.
Think of it like this. If you’re at a Best Buy shopping for a new TV, you don’t try to convince the salesman that a certain model is right for you, and you don’t try to impress him. YOU screen HIM to see if the TV is what you’re looking for.
In the same respect, on dates, find out if a woman meets your standards. Ask her if she likes some of the things you’re into. See if she meets your standards for what you want in a girlfriend.
This keeps you from appearing overly eager.
Be the buyer, NOT the seller. That'll help you get out of the friend zone.
Connell Barrett is a NYC dating coach that provides actionable advice for men to find their dream woman. He helps men all over the world. He has appeared on shows such as The Today Show, Access Hollywood and more. His advice has also been featured in several magazines such as Maxim, Cosmopolitan, and many more. His new dating book for men is being released in Spring 2021. Ask Connell a dating question below.
NYC Dating Coach Connell Barrett
106 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001