What Is Approach Anxiety?
Approach anxiety is probably the most common of all technical game-related issues. I don’t agree with much of what is written in the Pick Up Universe, but a lot of what has been written about approach anxiety and how to overcome it is absolutely correct. However there are some gaps which I will try and fill in here.
Please note: if you’re past approach anxiety and want to know how to approach a girl you don’t know, please check out the linked article.
Base Level Approach Anxiety:
The first thing to note (unfortunately) is that approach anxiety never completely goes away if you are cold approaching i.e. approaching a girl you have never met, with no prior introduction.
However, there is a “base” level, or residual approach anxiety which may fluctuate depending on a number of factors. Over time the trend is for this base level to get lower and lower.
The primary reasons for this are:
- Increased experience with approaching women.
- Decreasing fear of “what do I say” and fear of the unknown and terrible things happening.
- Positive reference experiences.
- An increased understanding or rejection – and therefore, the fear of rejection is nullified.
- Increased confidence and self-esteem (this only applies if you take the right path with pick-up).
Me eating lunch on Kreshatyk street, Ukraine. By evening it is packed with hot girls – so you need to conquer approach anxiety!
Real Time Approach Anxiety:
Every time you approach you still have to overcome approach anxiety, right there and then. When you’re in your comfort zone, sitting in a bar talking to friends what happens if you see your perfect girl walk in? You might look at her and desire her, but right now you just don’t feel like approaching.
It’s a form of inertia. Something holds you back. It could be any number of things (or most likely combination of things), which depends on a variety of factors. Here is a list of positive and negative factors to explain:
Positive: Beats AA and compels you to approach
+1. Sexual desire, lust, wanting to get laid.
+2. The approaching ladder and social lubrication.
+3. State shifting to “snap” into approaching.
+4. Ten recent approaches.
+5. The environment – is it generally friendly, are the girls beautiful and open?
+6. A promise you made to yourself or others.
+7. Belittling the impending approach by telling yourself it’s only “practice”.
Negative: Increases AA and prevents you from approaching
-1. Fear of rejection.
-2. Social pressure.
-3. Fear of real-world repercussions if you approach e.g. getting beat up.
-4. Poor reference experiences (may be caused by +6 or +7).
-5. Satisfied with what you currently have. -6. Morals e.g. currently dating another girl.
-7. “She is not hot enough”.
It’s like a see-saw. On the one hand you have all the reasons to approach, on the other the reasons not to. The strength of motivation to approach has to outweigh the reason for not doing so.
Put another way, the potential pleasure that can be gained needs to outweigh the perceived pain of doing so. Our subconscious is constantly making on the-fly calculations about whether approaching is worth the bother.
So our goal is to tip those equations into our favour by lessening the impact of the negative factors and tap into the power of the positive reasons for approaching. If you can do both you’ll be able to approach more consistently with the girls that interest you most.
I believe in keeping things simple, real, natural. I believe the reasons not to approach -5 through to -7 are valid reasons to abstain if they are sincerely-held (as opposed to just “making a virtue out of scarcity” and using them as rationalisations to avoid admitting you feel AA).
Don’t make pick-up part of your identity, approaching because you feel you have to. Similarly, I do not believe +6 and +7 are valid reasons to approach nor effective ways of overcoming approach anxiety.
I’m not saying you should be lazy, far from it, but approach because of a deeply-felt motion towards the girl, not due to an intellectualisation you learned on the internet.
She wants you to approach her!
Short Term Immediate Approach Anxiety Fix
Here’s a quick tip which you can action IMMEDIATELY if you want to know how to beat approach anxiety.
I am obviously not a doctor and this tip comes from my own personal experience. You should always consult a doctor and understand fully what you are getting into before you take any advice you hear on this podcast.
I used to suffer from social anxiety and depression. At one particularly stressful part of my life I went to the doctors about it.
He recommended a Beta Blocker called Propranolol.
Beta Blockers like Propranolol affect the heart and stop it racing. As a result, they control and manage the symptoms of anxiety.
When I took Propranolol I found that it definitely controlled the symptoms of anxiety.
I am sure many of you who suffer from approach anxiety are familiar with these symptoms:
Going red in the face
Feeling unable to speak
A sudden feeling of being smacked hard in the head and feeling a little faint
Finding it hard to breathe
I had symptoms like this at particularly stressful moments. Once was in a high pressure meeting in front of the directors of the IT apartment.
When I took Propranolol, I found the following:
It made me feel that I had loving arms wrapped around me wherever I went.
The nerves stopped jangling.
I didn’t find it hard to breathe
No sudden pangs of anxiety
I took propranol a few times prior to approaching and it smoothed the edges off any nerves. As I have said repeatedly over the years, the first 30 seconds are where you experience the most approach anxiety, and are the most nerve wracking.
I found that when I took Propranolol, I exhibited no anxiety prior to approaching or in the first 30 seconds.
This tip is intended for those who have crippling approach anxiety, and who simply cannot manage it no matter what they do.
If you want a quick leg up to conquer approach anxiety and give you a chance to start approaching, then look into it.
Longer Term Fix For Approach Anxiety
Approach anxiety and fear of rejection
This is the central reason for AA. To overcome it will require you to internalise the omnipresence of rejection and what it really means. I will arm you with the knowledge to maximise your chance of success but here is the truth: Everyone gets rejected.
It’s just a fact of life that when you cold approach, there will be rejections. There are some key principles that you can learn to handle rejection and use it to propel you forward instead of adversely affecting you when the inevitable happens.
Even movie stars and other famous people would get rejected if they were to approach women “cold”, out of the blue. Men tend to invest too much emotional weight to their abilities with women, treating the reactions from women as direct measures of their own worth as a man.
Therefore a lot of guys go for a “safe” option, meeting women at work, or through their immediate social circle. This is partly because it is easier (or at least they think so) but also because they don’t need to go through the pain of subjecting themselves to the knock-backs that will come if you start approaching women you don’t know.
For the average uninitiated man, rejection is painful. If you start cold approaching with the wrong mindset, you are in for a world of hurt. You will be rejected a lot and you’ll apply your instinctive (faulty) intepretation to that feedback. How you process and handle rejection determines how quickly you can overcome this pain period.
Over time you will need to get used to this
First and foremost, rejection doesn’t really say anything about you. I’ve been in situations where this has been brought home to me very clearly and vividly. I’ve had nights where I have approached a woman and had an initially lukewarm or even hostile response – but talked to her later and ended up getting with her!
This might seem counter- intuitive but there are factors beyond your control which influence how she reacts to you.
Stack the odds in your favour by building yourself to the highest level you can get to, but there could be a host of different reasons why she may reject your initial approach:
- She has been continually hit on by lecherous or drunk guys that night (stalling-out or ruining your chances).
- She is in a bad mood.
- She is in a hurry to go somewhere and cannot talk.
- You remind her of her dad, brother, ex, or dog.
- She is on her period.
None of these factors are within your control.
So the first order of business is to get your head in the right place about this and do not let rejection affect you emotionally! If you invest too much weight in her initial opinion of you, and you are in some way dependent on the outcome, you can ruin your whole night within the first minute of arriving at a new venue.
So you need to get desensitised to rejection and not take it personally, whilst at the same time evaluating if you are doing something wrong or off-putting which would generate a habitually bad response.
Aside from a few technical errors on the way you actually make an approach (which are easily fixed and pretty inconsequential), there are five related reasons why you may find yourself getting rejected again and again.
They all relate to bad sub-communications. How you feel about yourself will make the difference between whether she will reject straight away, or have a pleasant interaction with you – and a guy who she will actually take seriously and eventually want to have sex with.
How you feel about yourself should always be put above anyone else’s opinion of you. This is why I have said you need to be brutally honest with yourself, with others, and strive to live with integrity – so that you can hold your head high and build your self-esteem.
This takes time, so I will break down here five related areas where you may be failing. Then, I will point out the mindset you need to be adopting to try and turn the ship around.
Five Common Reasons You Get Rejected – And What To Do About Them
1. You are not manly enough
She cannot take you seriously as a man because you do not represent a sexual “threat”. Thus she cannot entertain the notion of sleeping with you. I’ve tried to break down all of the characteristics and attributes that you need to build up to become more manly and represent someone she should take more seriously.
Whilst you should attempt to build these characteristics, do not try to fake it, or put on a façade- this leads to the second reason why you may be blown out consistently or not attractive to her.
2. You are behaving inauthentically, masking your true feelings
When you approach a woman you have to mean it, with real intent. Recall the cornerstone characteristic on loving women and desire (I’ve listed this as number one ). When you approach you should try to remember this, remember the original reason why you approached.
When you see her, do you feel an instinctive desire for her? Don’t go for women towards whom you feel nothing or are ambivalent about when you first set eyes on her. That’s doing both of you a disservice.
Before approaching, hold onto that desire. Try to clear your mind of buzzing thoughts. Focus only on the attraction you are feeling, in that moment. Don’t try and put on a façade. This is just a way of masking your real intent and comes across as weak and disingenuous.
Don’t try and rationalise anything. Approach with the goal in your mind that you find her attractive and would love to fuck her. Don’t hide this most basic fact from yourself, don’t excuse it, and don’t be embarrassed about it. It is perfectly natural and you are entitled to feel this way! Revel in it!
Now, I am not saying you should be crude, aggressive or pester her. Have some social graces but remember your desire at the back of your mind and go for it. If you let your desire flow through you, and put your focus on her, it will filter through into your behavior.
This is what turns her on at a primal level, creating the undercurrent of sexual tension. I want to point out here that this is under optimum conditions (you have a good state, are feeling positive, horny, etc.).
It is perfectly okay to be nervous, tired, moody – whatever – as long as you act authentically. I have attracted women by being moody, miserable, angry, anything – because she can see that I am not afraid to show it, and it is real.
Women respond better to authentic behaviour than a guy who doesn’t put himself on the line and has no intent. If you place too much importance initially on her opinion of you and hence try to impress, this puts pressure onto both of you immediately.
Think of it in the following way. If you approach a woman and are too caught up in how it will turn out, you will automatically start trying to “convince” her that you are a good bet. On some level it is similar to approaching her like a beggar with an empty cup, except in this case you are asking her not for money but for her validation and confirmation that you are an attractive man.
This shows you are not secure in yourself and that you crave the favourable opinion of a woman to make you feel good about yourself. You are putting the responsibility of your own self-image upon her shoulders! It is a form of emotional leeching and a woman’s instinctive response is to get away from you as quickly as possible.
Of course you want it to go well, and if you are approaching girls you feel an instant attraction to, then you have desire for her. This is a good thing to feel but at the same time, you need to be secure enough in yourself that you will not foist on her the responsibility of making you feel good by showing you that she likes you in return.
Think about what a responsibility that is, and how it leeches from the vibe you can build. When you approach a girl there is really nothing at stake and only something to gain.
A man should be centred in himself, with a strong enough sense of self that he doesn’t need a woman to tell him he is worthy or good enough. If you approach from a position of lack or of emptiness, it becomes very clear very quickly and she will probably not want to be around you for long.
3. You have a bad appearance
This is a catch-all category for problems with your clothing, lack of effort in your aesthetic, attention and care in your appearance, and body odour.
As I’ve stated this set of problems is the easiest to fix. In and of itself slovenliness is unattractive but even more so, it says terrible things about your self-esteem.
4. You have bad body language
Read back through my earlier advice on body language. Remember when you are out and about to stand up straight, and if necessary, occasionally stretch yourself out. Stand tall, hold your head high, keep your eyes looking straight in front of you.
Fix your posture
5. You have a meek presence
This is where the girl feels you are lightweight and can blow you off easily, usually due to a combination of bad posture and body language, a quiet or timid manner, and a quiet or trembling voice. These characteristics signal the very opposite of strength and masculinity.
This is a technical game fix and is easily addressed. Open up your body language and talk louder! During my training sessions, I often say to the guys:
If someone was in a building across the road, with a sniper rifle trained at your skull, ready to blow your head apart like a tomato if you don’t get that girl to stop, what would you do? It never fails! They always get the girl to stop.
It is nerve-wracking when you first cold approach but I promise you it is an eminently learnable skill. Those first difficult approaches, you’ll be faking it until you make it, but there is strong evidence and research to indicate that this is a valid way to learn true competence in this area (confidence and mastering the art of approaching women you’ve never met before and having the tools the get them interested, on dates and so on).
For more on the effect of body language changes and how it affects you internally, watch this excellent TED talk here:
There are various forms of social pressure each with varying degrees of severity, which also contribute to approach anxiety.
I’ll note some here:·
Proximity of other people to you when you are talking to a girl (“they can hear what I am saying”). This triggers the “spotlight effect” of feeling like you’re the centre of attention. · Having to “perform on demand”. · Being in a closed in environment where the girl can’t “escape” (unlike on the street where she can merely walk away). ·
Being filmed on video while approaching (yes it does add social pressure!). The last one is a note to myself and not something the majority of you will have to worry about!
Most people can get around all of these with a congruent and calibrated opening strategy. Some environments lend themselves to a direct approach, some a more indirect but flirty approach, and so on.
Approach Anxiety : Conclusion
With all of the motivators below, the objective is to just get you moving to do something! I cannot stress enough that you can never really predict with accuracy who is going to respond well to your approach and who will not.
With practice you will get the ability to influence that greatly in your favour but fundamentally you need to just go up and do it, and let the chips fall where they may. There is no way around the hard fact that you must be cold approaching. If you’re not, you’re not doing pick-up.