Dating coach Connell Barrett answers your questions on the secret to finding the right woman, how shorter guys can connect with women, and an easy way to feel more masculine.
Your tips on dating with courage, action and authenticity has changed my life! In fact, I’ve gone from settling for so-so women, to dating “Amanda.” She’s amazing—smart, sweet, beautiful, and we have such a deep connection. I think I’ve found the right woman for a LTR. But how do I know for certain?
—Brett, 36, Denver, Colo.
Nothing is certain in life, except for death, taxes, and sucky Adam Sandler movies.
But there’s a way to be pretty darned sure.
I’m stoked to hear that you’re no longer settling. The truth is, every potential relationship falls into one of four categories, depending on where you are in your search for love. Here they are, from worst to first, as laid out in my new dating book, Dating Sucks but You Don’t.
Wrong Person, Wrong Time: This is when she’s not a good fit for you, and you don’t even want a relationship. But dating sucks, and you don’t want to be alone, so you relent. The ultimate in settling.
Wrong Person, Right Time: You’re ready to commit to someone, but you have a scarcity of options, so you settle for what you can get. This is most men, I believe.
Right Person, Wrong Time: You weren’t looking for romance, but how could you not lock down such a dazzling woman? She’s awesome.
Right Person, Right Time: She’s the whole package—brains, beauty, kind, and is cool with your bad-movie marathons and likes your dorky friends (OK, that last one is just for me.) She turns you into a human heart-eyed emoji, and you’re ready to dive in for a LTR. This is the ideal.
As men, deep down we all want true love, but we tend to settle for something comfortable and convenient. Something “good enough.” But when you settle, you miss out on finding the right person.
Don’t settle for “good enough.” You want to raise your standards and go after a truly great relationship with a quality woman who is right for you.
If you feel like a woman might be the right person at the right time, ask yourself three important questions before pursuing a relationship.
Do your souls dovetail? Do you just fit? Listen to your gut.
Are you compatible in areas such as core values, wanting a family, religious views, political beliefs and cultural backgrounds? Granted, you may only want a girlfriend right now, not a wife, but a great relationship should have strong long-term potential.
You could have lots of “stuff” in common, but to make it work in the far-off future, you need most of Your Big Life Stuff to align, or else you could hit huge roadblocks.
Can you see the two of you blooming together, complementing one another? Because if a relationship isn’t growing, it’s dying. There’s no in-between.
If you answered a hard “no” to any of these questions, there’s a chance you’re not with the right person. Remember, you’re a Radically Authentic guy with an abundance of dating options. Never settle.
If you answered “yes,” then you may be ready to get exclusive and, in time, go all Beyoncé and put a ring on it.
I’m 5-foot-5, and my height hurts my confidence when I’m out meeting women or when I go on dates. I know that women like tall guys, and I’m not one of them. Can a shorter guy do well with women?
—Richard, 41, Philadelphia
I’m about 6-foot-2, but back in the day I felt about 2-foot-6, because my confidence was so low. Being tall is a nice bonus, but it’s hardly a magic pill.
One of the biggest myths about dating is that short guys aren’t attractive to women. But the truth? Women like guys of all shapes and sizes.
Dating is about connection and giving your best, truest self to another person. Do those things and you can have an abundance of romantic options. You can land a great girlfriend, whether you’re six-foot-four or four-foot-six.
Women don’t necessarily want tall guys. They want guys who aren’t shorter than them. The average American woman is five-foot-four, so if you hit that spot or above on the tape measure, you have lots of options.
And yes, you can also attract girls who are taller than you. For a woman, it’s not really about a guy’s height. It’s about how a guy’s height makes her feel: namely feminine, smaller, and safe. A shorter man can give her those same feelings by adding muscle at the gym, carrying himself with confidence, using his voice in a dominant way, or getting great at flirting.
Here’s a tip: Feature what you can’t fix.
In business, there’s a marketing concept that says, “What you can’t fix, you feature.” By highlighting a products' weakness, you turn it into a strength. In golf, a nine-holer isn’t a lesser track; it’s an “executive track.” A car isn’t too expensive; it’s a “luxury automobile.”
If you’re shorter than average, you can joke about it, turning it into a signifier of confidence.
I once went out for the night and found myself wing-manning with a cool, five-foot-four guy named Darren. He was phenomenal with women—way better than me at the time.
Not only did he not care about his height; with several girls he met, he led with it. He told one woman, “When we get married, I can be on the wedding cake,” and she laughed so hard, she spit out her drink. To another: “I promise, I’ll never look down on you.”
But what really made him so magnetic was that he decided he was gonna give fewer f*cks about his height.
So feature what you can’t fix. It tells people that you’re secure in who you are. And that kind of confidence is sexy to women of all heights.
It’s really hard for me to make a move. I can’t go for the first kiss. I can’t tell a woman she’s sexy. I’m afraid she’ll think I’m creepy or weird. I’m lonely, and I want a relationship, so I feel stuck. Once, this woman I know invited me to spend the weekend with her. We even slept in the same bed—her idea—and I never made a move. Help! What’s wrong with me?
—Douglass 47, Sacramento
There’s nothing wrong with you, Doug. You’re good! I’ve been exactly where you are.
It sounds like you have an inner conflict: One foot is on the gas, but your e-brake is on.
The source of your inner conflict? On one hand, you’re looking to date a great girl, so you want to “make a move,” in the right situation. But you fear that if your move is rejected, a given woman will see you as a creep, perv, or weirdo. Feeling that way would hurt, so you avoid taking risks—but at a steep cost… loneliness, lack of love, and crushed confidence.
You need to buy into the fact that you’re a man with desires and needs. There’s nothing wrong with trying to meet those needs—as long as you respect woman, of course.
Our job as men is to lead and take action and, in dating, make some moves now and then. And it’s the job of women to say yes or no. And either answer is 100 percent OK.
Here’s a mantra I want you to say out loud—with strong, resonant vocal tonality—five times a day for the next month. Repeat after me: “I’m a man, I have desires, and I make no apologies for them.”
Internalize this new belief every day, and you’ll soon feel less afraid of “making a move” on dates because you’ll buy into doing your job as a man.
Want some flirty tips first date tips or dating tips for shy guys? Struggling to get women to chase you? Read more in Connell's column and subscribe so you don't miss any updates!
Connell Barrett is a NYC dating coach for men. He specializes in helping men date with authenticity and provides advice on finding the right woman. Connell has a new dating book coming out Spring 2021 and has appeared in print many times. He's been featured in several publications, including Cosmopolitan, Maxim, O Magazine and others. Furthermore, he also appeared on the Today Show and Access Hollywood. Ask Connell a question below!
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