Got Approach Anxiety? You’re not alone. Approach Anxiety is an issue that tens of thousands of guys deal with on a daily basis.
And it’s definitely one of the most common issues I address as a dating coach.
You stroll towards the busiest area of town, excited to do some approaches.
Then, out of nowhere, you cross paths with a real, bonafide stunner. Your perfect 10.
She has the looks.
She has the vibe. The fashion sense. Even the walk.
You catch her making eye contact with you. And there’s only a split second for you to react and do something about it.
And what do you do?
The most common answer is: Nothing.
You’re completely off-guard and out of “state.” Your brain is blank, your palms are sweaty, and the knot in your stomach is almost physically painful.
You walk by her without uttering a single word.
Nothing comes out of your mouth. Nada.
You look back hoping she looks back too, but she doesn’t…
Who knows what could have happened if you had talked to her.
But you’ll never know because you didn’t give yourself the chance to find out.
Your anxiety and lack of initiative won. And you lost. Again.
Or is it?
Approach Anxiety: A Fight or Flight Response
What I just described above is known as: Approach anxiety.
The symptoms are: a knot in the stomach, sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, nervous voice, hesitation, and last but not least: the beating drum of negativity inside your skull.
Your body is creating a “Fight or Flight” response because of the situation (more flight than fight). The reason you feel this (aka approach anxiety) is because approaching goes against evolution. It goes against your instincts. Your unconscious desire to protect yourself and your ego.
But you’re not alone.
Why It’s NORMAL To Feel Approach Anxiety
Thousands and thousands of years ago we lived in small tribes in the wild.
And being accepted in the tribe meant the difference between life and death.
Getting expelled from your tribe meant that you would’ve had to survive by yourself, in the harsh reality of the world, with all the dangers that surrounded you.
Men couldn’t just walk around the tribe cold approaching women. Trying to “pick them up”.
If by mistake you “gamed” the head hunter’s wife, he could’ve gotten a tad upset and perhaps even tried to kill you. Not a great outcome.
Or if you pissed off the wrong girl in your tribe by being a tad too confident, you could’ve gotten permanently kicked out of the tribe… left to wander the desolate world trying to survive.
You probably wouldn’t be having a ton of sex if you’re not around any other humans.
Here’s the thing. These consequences are not only logically devastating…
…your brain unconsciously knows them as well. Even in 2019.
That combination of tension and excitement every time you think about approaching a girl?
That’s that fight or flight response kicking in.
And that’s what approach anxiety is at its core.
The very existence of Approach Anxiety is GREAT news for you.
Let me explain:
The majority of men don’t have the balls to cold approach women, and will never take the time to learn how to do it properly.
(The majority of men also barely get laid and have next to zero choice when it comes to quality women).
So if you know how to deal with approach anxiety and can actually approach in ways that women find attractive and enticing, you will have a tremendous advantage over the majority of men.
Which leads me to my next point…
Why Cold Approach Is A Cheat Code (If You Do It Properly)
As I’ve said before, cold approach has been an absolute CHEAT code for me when it comes to women and dating (and it can be the same for you).
For the past 19 years I’ve gotten results that are way outside of what I deserve: I’ve dated models, hot athletes, famous actresses. I’ve had EVERY type of woman I’ve ever wanted.
Not to mention great long term relationships (like the one I’m in right now).
All thanks to cold approach.
But before I could get all those results, I had to deal with the natural, biological tendency to FEAR approaching women. Ie. Approach Anxiety.
Which is why I did something about it.
I created simple solutions and frankly, mind-hacks, that I could deploy whenever approach anxiety stopped me from doing what I knew was right.
And now, I’m giving them to you.
Strategy #1 – Be Scared To Death Of NOT Approaching
It’s normal to be a bit scared about approaching women. Rejections can hurt sometimes. But what if you’re scared of the wrong things.
The truth is you should be more scared of what your life will become if you don’t learn how to get good at this.
Be scared of:
- Settling for (or even marrying) the wrong woman.
- Being clueless about women for the rest of your life.
- Never being able to attract the caliber of women you want.
- Leaving your dating life to faith.
- Having an abysmal, depressing sex life. (If you even have one).
Answer this question:
Are these consequences scarier than approaching one pretty harmless girl?
Of course they are.
And that’s the trade off.
You can take an action that is a little bit scary (approaching a girl), or you can deal with a much scarier long term prospect if you don’t take the action at all:
- Having a shitty dating life.
- Feeling like a loser.
- Wondering “what if”.
When approaching, you should be thinking about your long term goals.
And every interaction, even the ones that don’t go well, gets you closer and closer to reaching those goals.
Not to mention building a skillset that gets you the kind of women you ultimately want.
Strategy #2 – Change Your Definition of Success
You may suffer from approach anxiety because your definition of a successful approach is too ambitious for your current level.
If you’re a beginner who defines a successful approach as getting the girl to go home with you, you’re probably going to feel like a failure pretty damn often.
If your definition of success is too high for you (at your current level), then that constant disappointment will actually INCREASE your approach anxiety.
If instead, your criteria for a good approach is: physically walk up to a girl and utter a sound.
Now, that’s much easier.
That’s something anyone can do.
And through that constant cycle of success, you’ll eventually learn that approaching isn’t nearly as scary as it seems at first.
If you’re struggling to even start with cold approach, start by lowering your criteria of what a successful approach even is.
For most beginners, simply approaching IS a success. It already sets you apart from the vast majority of guys.
Which leads me to my next point…
Strategy #3 – Progressive Desensitization
Let’s get tactical.
Now that you’ve decided to lower your criteria for approaching success, it’s time to step it up, and that’s where progressive desensitization comes in.
Using progressive desensitization, you gradually turn up the notch on your fears, until they are completely erased.
Challenge #1: Walk up to a girl and make a sound – Hey, nice weather today! – and that’s it, you’re done. You’re free to leave.
Once you’re comfortable, you turn it up a notch.
Challenge #2: Walk up to a girl and ask for directions – “Hey, quick question, do you know where the best coffee shop around here is?” – have a ten second interaction, and you’re free to leave.
Once you’re comfortable with that, you step it up a notch.
Challenge #3: Go over to a girl and ask for an opinion – “Excuse me, I have a question, which of these colognes do you like better?” – ten second conversation, and you’re free to leave.
Once all of the above are second nature to you, turn it up even more and start doing actual game.
Challenge #4: Open a girl with a compliment and an introduction:
“Hey, you look cute, I’m Todd nice to meet you” (please, use your own name).
You’ve now done a proper cold approach.
You’ve instantly created a premise to the interaction ( a pretty direct one, which is something I recommend for beginners).
Progressive desensitization works like a charm for approach anxiety because it very rapidly gives your brain evidence that talking to girls isn’t really that scary.
Note: Feel free to introduce more or fewer steps depending on your level in game.
Strategy #4 – Trade Fear For Excitement
Have you ever ridden a roller coaster?
You remember that feeling you get in your stomach when you hop on and buckle up? It’s a mix of fear, excitement, anguish, and euphoria.
And when the ride starts you end up yelling your lungs out and having a lot of fun.
You can turn your approach anxiety into the same exact feeling.
Instead of being scared to death and thinking:
Oh god, I hope I don’t mess it up.
Oh god, I hope I don’t embarrass myself.
What if she rejects me?
Oh wow, this is an opportunity to see if she’s cool. Maybe this could lead to awesome things. I want this to happen!
Reframe that fear as excitement.
And honestly, if you do mess it up, no one is going to care in 2 minutes. The girl will almost instantly forget about it, and you will forget about it sooner or later.
These days, if an approach doesn’t take off for me, I instantly forget it and move on to the next approach.
Think about this:
In 10 years, are you going to regret the approaches that you did (even if you failed)?
Or are you going to regret the ones you didn’t do?
My guess is the latter.
Re-frame your thoughts of fear into thoughts of excitement.
You’re on a roller coaster. Embrace that adrenaline rush.
If anything, it’s a sign you’re moving in the right direction.
Strategy #5 – Get Confidence Through Competence
Let’s say you want to learn basketball. You’d probably spend some time learning to dribble, shoot, learning the rules, etc.
Otherwise, you’d be clueless when it’s game time.
Getting good with women is pretty similar.
Being clueless about what to do and what to say makes it even harder.
Answer this question:
Are you scared to approach or is it that you don’t know what to do?
I bet it’s a bit of both. What I’ve found in my years of coaching, is too many students mistake approach anxiety with not having a plan.
If you had a plan and knew what do, the mental confusion of approaching would vanish almost instantly.
And with it, a lot of the anxiety.
My recommendation if you don’t quite have the skillset yet:
Have a couple of openers and conversational lines prepared. (For the record, I still use these).
Here are some openers for you try out:
Hey, you’re adorable, I wanted to meet you.
Hi, I’m [NAME]
Hey, you seemed like you wouldn’t be boring.
I need your opinion on XXXX
Wow, that’s the most ridiculous look I’ve ever seen.
Hey, you look like you might be fun so I thought I’d come find out.
Even beyond the open, prepare a couple of teases and flirtatious lines. Just in case your mind goes blank.
Think of it as your playbook. The best teams and players in the world memorize plays, and so should you.
(For the record, even a lot of naturals I know repeat the same openers again and again).
4 Exercises You Can Do Every Day To Take Your Game To The Next Level (And Get Rid Of Your Approach Anxiety)
Game is like a sport.
If you don’t practice and hone your skills, you’ll be near clueless when it comes to actually executing in the field.
That’s why I’m a big believer in exercises and practicing game even when you’re NOT in the field.
The following exercises will take away some of the mental burden of approaching and talking to women…
…and help you eliminate approach anxiety as a result.
Worried about not knowing what to say? This is for you.
Exercise #1 – YES And…
This is a simple one…
“Yes and…” is based on creating value-offering content in conversations.
Here’s how it goes:
Agree with the world as it is (or with what the girl says) and then add value with your words.
When most guys talk to girls, they ask question after question after question… which is value-taking.
Not to mention gets old for the girl after a while.
“Yes and…” adds value on the other hand.
Next time you’re in a set, give it a try.
Say: “Yes and…” and finish the sentence with the first thing that comes to mind.
Trust your brain, you have decades of social experiences behind you that will help you out with this.
You’d be surprised by the conversation topics your brain can come up with in the moment.
How to practice with partners:
Partner: says any sentence. Like “I love potato chips…”
You: Yes and… (the first thing that comes out of your mouth) they go great with a delicious cold beer.
Partner: Yes and…
You: Yes and…
And so on…
You can do this with 3 or 4 people and go around in a circle.
Overtime, you’ll understand that “yes and” is a value-adding attitude and you will not have to literally say it every single time.
Exercise #2 – I Love & I Hate:
With this technique you’re going to be in an interaction and blurt out:
“You know what? I love…” And let your brain finish the sentence (DON’T PLAN AHEAD).
And at some point you’ll also say:
“Listen, you know what I hate?…” Then let your brain figure it out as well.
“I love & I hate…” will force you to take strong stances, which is a pretty alpha behavior (women love it), and it’s going to make you way more engaging in general.
This shows the girl that you’re actually polarizing, that you have an opinion, and that you’re not afraid to stand your ground.
FULL DISCLOSURE: When you do this: You’re going to be either loved or hated.
In general, the hotter the girl the more you should lean towards “I love and I hate” instead of “Yes and…”
How to practice with partners:
Just blurt out either:
“I love…” or “I hate…” to your partner and then let your brain figure it out.
And then switch.
How to practice alone:
Take lines from any media available to you (TV, radio, YouTube).
Pause at the end of the line and say “I love…” or “I hate…” and finish the sentence.
Exercise #3 – Question, Answer, Tease (No more boring questions)
This is a great technique to use when you’re stuck in a boring conversation.
Let’s say you end up asking a semi-boring question like:
“What do you do for a living?”
Usually, when this happens you end up asking a bunch of other boring questions, and the conversation turns into a platonic interaction.
Do this instead…
After you ask a boring question, take the information that the girl gave you and turn it into a story, an opinion, or a tease.
You: “What do you do for a living?”
Her: “I’m a secretary.”
You: “Oh I’m totally in the market for a secretary. But if I hire you, are we going to have workplace shenanigans like on Mad Men or can you keep it professional?”
Now the conversation is fun again.
How to practice:
Get a friend, ask a boring question, and use their answer as the seed for telling a story, voicing an opinion, or a tease.
How to practice alone:
Here you just need to find a bunch of answers to boring questions.
Google: “list of jobs” or “list of countries” and go down the list creating teases and story lines for each one.
ONE MORE THING ABOUT THESE EXERCISES
Most guys are “good” at game when there’s decent momentum in an interaction, but if it gets stale, they don’t know how to turn it back around.
If you get good at these techniques you’ll be able to turn any boring and mundane conversation into one full of fun and flirtation.
Eventually it becomes completely unconscious and a part of your natural, flirtatious, attractive personality. Ie. Game becomes easy.
How To Get Better at Game 10x Faster
Here’s the bottom line…
Frankly, all the pickup content in world will not make you better unless you apply it.
Here’s a game plan for you to actively defeat approach anxiety and start getting results:
FIRST: You need to go out and approach as often as you can. I mean, duh. You know this already.
And after every session you need to go over the interactions, analyze them, and determine where your sticking points are. Ask yourself:
- What did I do well?
- What did I do poorly?
- What do I do poorly consistently?
- What do I do well consistently?
- Is there a trend?
- Are my sticking points connected?
You might be able to find the common thread for all of your sticking points.
For example, your opener might not get much of a reaction, you might never manage to get girls hooked, and you never seem to go for the close.
A common thread here might be that you’re not taking enough risks.
So, if you decide to take more risks, then you’ll improve in every aspect of game, instead of trying to improve each part individually.
After a while, going out becomes more about getting better, and less about overcoming approach anxiety. Eventually you don’t even think about approach anxiety but instead just focus on game itself.
You need to evaluate every single idea that you learn based on your own experience.
Don’t blindly assume things. Go out, try stuff, and then analyze. Think for yourself. Make your own discoveries.
Get coaches. Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Master Yoda.
Figuring things out on your own makes no sense! You’ll end up frustrated, making a ton of mistakes and you might even quit game altogether.
A mentor or coach can save you YEARS of frustration and mistakes just by looking at you in action. Sometimes major mistakes you’re making in field can be corrected with literally one comment. I see this first-hand on almost every program I do.
If you’re serious about learning game, find someone who’s really good and have them teach you.
Look, coaching is a cheat-code in many ways. The best athletes in the world still have coaches so why shouldn’t you? Billionaires have business and investment coaches. World class singers have vocal coaches. I can go on and on.
Another great thing about coaches is they can push you out of your comfort zone. Just like having someone shouting “One more rep” helps you get that extra rep in the gym, having someone shouting “don’t be a pussy, open her” can help you in the field.
(A program I created for a lot of guys that can’t get in-person coaching is 90-day online coaching. I even have some students that call in while they’re in the field so that they can get pushed and coached in real-time).
FOURTH: AND MOST IMPORTANTLY
Just do it. Take action.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to overcome approach anxiety is disconnect from your emotions and thoughts and just force yourself to take PHYSICAL ACTION.
Literally force yourself to walk up to her. Force yourself to open your mouth and say “Hi”. And then watch as your brain wakes up and continues the conversation.
The funny thing about Approach Anxiety is that it usually goes away as soon as you approach.
You Need To Push Through The Fear Of Rejection: What’s the Damn Alternative?
Approaching is scary. Trust me I know.
But you need to understand that EVERY guy that’s really good at game had to push through the fear at some point.
And if other men have done it. So can you!
Here’s a little tip for you, it’s called:
WHAT THE F#CK IS THE ALTERNATIVE?!
You see that hot girl and you want to approach her. Yeah, it’s scary, yeah it’s hard.
But what’s the alternative?
To sit there in your self-pity and do nothing while some other guy with balls picks her up instead?
That’s not an alternative. When you don’t take action you’re giving up on yourself, and that should never be an option (if it is, then you need help with more than dating).
Advanced guys are just newbies who didn’t quit.
You need to become the newbie who refused to quit.
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