The Cure For Approach Anxiety
Your brain isn’t much different from the brain of early humans who lived hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Our ancestors weren’t the strongest animals on the planet, but they were the best at working together. Early humans were only able to survive in the harsh environment by living in tribes of 50-150 people.
A prehistoric man was doomed to a swift death without the support of his tribe. We evolved to be terrified of social rejection because our ancestors would literally die if they were disowned by their tribe.
It’s no coincidence that when people are surveyed, they report to be as afraid of public speaking as they are of dying.
The belief that social rejection must be avoided at all costs is encoded into our very DNA. When you think about approaching a girl, your brain floods you with anxiety because it believes if you approach her and she rejects you, some guy will walk up to you and bash your head in with a club.
Approach anxiety is natural, and it’s almost universal. But just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it can’t be overcome.
The Cure For Approach Anxiety: Gradual Exposure
By default, we subconsciously believe that if we approach a girl something terrible might happen. This belief contradicts reality. Once you start approaching women, you will have no choice but to realize there was nothing to be afraid of.
At worst, a girl might tell you to fuck off. But even that’s rare, most rejections are nothing more than a woman telling you, “It was nice to meet you, but I have to go find my friends.”
If after you approach a girl, you’re still standing – unharmed – your brain is forced to realize that the fear it was pumping you with was unnecessary. You’ve given your brain proof that there are no real consequences to approaching women.
Of course, there’s a catch-22 here. Approach anxiety makes it hard to approach, so how can you be expected overcome approach anxiety by approaching?
The solution to this predicament is what psychologists call gradual exposure.
It’s not fair to expect that you’ll be able to force yourself to approach women through sheer willpower.
That’s where gradual exposure comes in. Gradual exposure allows you to break down an overwhelming goal into manageable steps.
If you haven’t approached a girl in the last 3 months, don’t expect to approach 10 women the first time you go out. Start with a much smaller goal.
Accomplishing your small goal will allow you to build momentum that will allow you to accomplish increasingly difficult goals – until eventually, your approach anxiety will dissipate.
The following is a list of progressively challenging steps you can take to overcome approach anxiety:
Curing Approach Anxiety, Step 1:
The smallest step you can take towards approaching women is leaving your house and going to a location where attractive women congregate.
This step might sound so insignificant that it’s not worth mentioning, but it can actually be extremely helpful to lower your bar for success to be something that requires almost no willpower.
If approaching women isn’t something you’re used to doing, the idea of going out and potentially getting rejected can be intimidating.
When I first learned about game, I was so resistant to the idea of approaching women that I just stayed at home and watched videos instead of going out.
If your bar for success is simply to go to a public place where women congregate, it’s much easier to get out of the house and, therefore, one step closer to interacting with women.
Unless you’ve approached women within the last few weeks, I recommend you set a goal to simply go out and attempt to approach women for at least 15 minutes.
You may not talk to any girls the first time you do this, but you that’s not a loss – so long as you went out and tried to approach, you took an important step towards reaching your goals.
When we set goals that are unrealistic to our current skill level, the process of self-improvement becomes extremely stressful.
Getting out of your comfort zone is important, it’s necessary to push yourself to grow. However, expecting yourself to make a drastic change in a short amount of time usually backfires. It’s like trying to bench press 200 lbs on your first trip to the gym in several years: setting a goal to make dramatic progress is one of the most common reasons we fail to follow-through.
Instead, start small, and build up on your small goal over time. Progress will be slow at first, but each small win will motivate you to push yourself a bit further every day.
Conversely, if you start with an unrealistic goal and are unable to keep up with it, you’ll become discouraged by your inability to meet your inflated expectations.
Curing Approach Anxiety, Step 2:
Once your out, start giving girls compliments as you walk by them (I.E. “I like your style.” “I like your shirt.” “I like your shoes.” etc.) You don’t have to commit to the interaction, you’re allowed to say your compliment and continue walking.
One of the reasons we get approach anxiety is that we think we’ll run out of things to say after we open a conversation. To diffuse this anxiety, let go of the expectation that your first approaches should go anywhere. Just saying a compliment to a girl as you walk by is a win, you took a step towards approaching a girl and getting her number.
Each time you give a girl a compliment, you’ll realize there were no consequences to talking to stranger (if anything she’ll be grateful for the compliment). Do this several times, and your social confidence will build to a point where you’ll be able to do a more committed approach.
Curing Approach Anxiety, Step 3:
Once you’re comfortable with giving women compliments as you walk by them, the final step to overcoming approach anxiety is starting actual conversions with women.
Your goal here is simply to ask one basic question after giving a girl a compliment.
A few examples you can use are:
“What do you do for a living?”
“Are you from here?”
“What do you do for fun?”
You might not be able to think of anything to say after the girl answers your first question. That’s okay, just say, “Cool, it was nice meeting you.” Consider every small step you take towards approaching a girl and getting a date with her a success.
Imagine you’ve decided to start playing basketball. On your first day of practice, most of your shots are wild misses. Those misses might be frustrating, but they’re teaching you how to calibrate your shot: each miss brings you a small step towards greater accuracy.
The same is true in dating. Your first approaches will likely be wild misses: at first, you may not be able to keep a conversation going for more than 30 seconds.
You could see these short interactions as a failure, but really, they’re teaching you how to calibrate your approaches. Each interaction takes you a small step towards the long-term goal of becoming a man who can effortlessly attract women.