You’re walking and then you see her. She’s beautiful. You want so badly to say hello. Your heart is pounding and you’re frozen in your spot. She gets away. You feel terrible for the rest of the day. We’ve all been in this situation. It’s approach anxiety, and it’s evil.
Want to overcome it? Read on.
“How to overcome approach anxiety” is an oft-done topic on pickup sites and forums, mostly because I think everyone needs to work on this in their own way. As in most things when it comes to interacting with women, everyone will likely have their own style.
In my experience (and my experience was a struggle), I’ve found that there’s two components needed to overcome approach anxiety: an inner confidence and an outer, social component. Your inner confidence is in short, your identity – the nexus of interests, hobbies, thoughts, habits, etc. that compose who you are. The social component is your behavior around women and more broadly, your social skills in general.
Note that the system I am about to lay out assumes that you are already “normal.” That is to say, you have at least a few interesting things going on that will make you somewhat intriguing and you are not socially inept. If you are not normal, you better work on becoming normal. Take heart though, that “normal” can be a pretty loose definition. As long as you aren’t sitting around playing Call of Duty all day, you will likely be at least somewhat interesting, and you may be nervous in social situations, but it doesn’t mean you are socially inept. In many ways you might be your own worst critic. I used to think that I was socially awkward too and that no woman would be attracted to me. This was obviously wrong. In truth, very few people are so uninteresting or have social skills so far down the gutter that this system shouldn’t work for them, and in even better news, the inner confidence component of this system will make you more interesting.
I believe it’s worth mentioning my own history before I go into this. I used to have very bad approach anxiety. It seemed like there was an unbreakable wall that stopped me from going after the women I wanted. At times I felt like I would never overcome it. I saw her, but I couldn’t get past this invisible barrier and I’d leave feeling bad all day. And for this guy, this guy that I used to be, simply telling him to go out and approach isn’t usually going to help because he’s lacking in confidence. His entire way of thinking needs to be addressed and this negative coding in his brain needs to be rewritten by a new program. This is that program.
Now let’s get to the inner confidence system. Note that you need to make these into habits (at least at first). Doing them sporadically will not be enough to rewrite your brain’s programming. Once you approach consistently and have mostly overcome your anxiety you can slack off but it’s still not something I would recommend.
Your Inner Confidence:
1. Don’t Overwhelm Yourself with Seduction Literature
Yes, you need to know the basics of what to do, and more importantly, what not to. But once you know these basics, you are rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns. Reading any further is only taking precious time that can be devoted to something more productive and getting you too far in your own head. Reading will not help you overcome approach anxiety very much. Take a few refreshers here and there if you think you need to, but stop reading and start acting.
2. Start an Exercise Program
In my opinion, this is the most important step, and it is the one that brings the most rapid results. A vigorous program of exercise will not only make you look better and thus increase your confidence, but it will elevate your testosterone, which will make you hungrier, more aggressive, and more motivated (which carries over not just into approaching, but in all aspects of life). Perhaps most importantly, you will impose self-discipline, which is crucial to every other step on this list and your ability to overcome fear and doubt in the moment.
3. Watch What You Eat
“You are what you eat” is a truth. I will not give specific dietary advice because I’m not qualified to (and I cannot know what each man’s body chemistry is like). But I can tell you what’s helped me. Simple steps I took were to at least severely reduce my consumption of processed sugars and white flour, and I make sure I eat a good breakfast every morning that consists of animal protein and fats (eggs, egg whites, and organic bacon or sausages are my main staple). Foods such as these will repair the muscles in your body after a workout and will increase your testosterone further (though do be careful to not overdo it on protein, as that can lead to decreased testosterone). In addition, try to avoid products that mimic estrogens, and eat cruciferous vegetables, as they have been shown to cleanse the body of these estrogenic chemicals (broccoli has been a staple of my diet for a while). Do not heat foods in plastic if possible (this releases estrogenic chemicals). Use glass instead. As a matter of fact, avoid plastic containers entirely as much as you can.
Here is also a good resource if you want a clear, step by step meal plan to increase your testosterone.
Having good testosterone levels also means you need to keep your body fat low. And let’s be honest, if you’re fat girls aren’t going to like you no matter how good your “game” is. Here’s another specific meal plan to shred body fat, which in turn will not only make you more attractive, but increase your testosterone levels to make you feel good.
There is also some evidence that turmeric can mitigate feelings of depression or anxiety, but I’m not a doctor, and you should definitely consult with a physician before consuming any supplements.
4. Stop Watching Porn
Really, just don’t do it. By watching porn you are training your mind to be satisfied with pixels on a screen. After a mere week of stopping its intake I looked at girls very differently, and my motivation and energy to approach them was on overdrive. Naturally, I had much more of an incentive to overcome my fears. This rule applies to both video and still images.
5. Severely Limit Masturbation
In a related vein, I recommend limiting masturbation. Once a week at the very most. After a few days you will start to become very horny, and that motivation and sexual energy will naturally translate into approaching girls. Sometimes you will feel as if you are being literally guided by your dick and there is no stopping you. Trust me that this energy is far more powerful than any anxiety, and will be, in the moment, the best way to overcome it.
6. Consciously Focus on Your Body Language
While your exercise regimen will greatly help you in having naturally good body language, try and focus on this until it becomes ingrained. Remember at all times: shoulders back, head held slightly up, feet shoulder-width apart, and move slowly. Body language alone can make a huge difference not just in how other people perceive you, but in how you perceive yourself.
7. Train Your Voice
Good body language is important, but so is having good vocal tones. If your voice is weak and nervous, don’t be surprised if you don’t get anywhere. Fortunately there’s a rather easy way to train yourself to be a good speaker, and I got good at it long before I came into this. Train your voice by continuously engaging in speaking projects – this can be public speaking, making videos, podcasts, etc. With a few months of consistent practice, you will be amazed at how much better you sound, and your voice tones will be naturally good. You will therefore speak well when approaching a girl, because speaking well is ingrained in your nature.
8. Read these Two Books
Hey now, I didn’t say that all reading was bad. Read The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, and Think & Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. These two books completely changed my outlook on life. You will learn how to overcome mental blocks, how to have a vision and implement it, and the rules of smart social interaction. These internal mindsets will help you be a more confident man with less anxiety. They are on Roosh’s list of ten recommended books for a reason. Get to it.
9. Be a Conscientious Observer
A crucial skill to develop in any case, it will also give you more confidence. You will realize just how pathetic most human beings in this world are and how easy it is to excel them. Claiming a crown is about being above the crowd, and it is a lot easier than you think. Be above average, and you will be paid in dividends.
10. Do the 20 Men Exercise
All of us need powerful role models to look up to. They motivate, help us overcome anxiety by their examples, and give us valuable lessons. Unfortunately, these are hard to come by in modern society. So, carefully select a list of 20 men, living or dead, that for whatever reason, you admire and seek to learn from. Write them down, and write your list of reasons why you chose them. Then read their works, and read about them. Associate with them (however remotely) and you will start to be like them.
11. Find a Community
A similar step to the previous one, you should find a community of guys that want to get ahead in life and associate with them. You will start to think like them and you will be able to get good advice to overcome blocks in life. You will also, crucially, have people to hold yourself accountable to. In an era where the male sphere is under constant assault by the forces of political correctness, this is absolutely crucial. In my opinion it is second in importance to finding a good exercise regimen. Roosh’s forum has helped me a lot. RVF may not work for you and that’s fine. Just find a forum that does.
12. Find Your Optimal Look
Knowing that you look good will reduce anxiety and build confidence all on its own. You should be experimenting with different styles to find one that fits you. Find out the shape of your face and get an appropriate haircut from a good stylist. And I emphasize good because most barbers are not known for being that great. Find some cool accessories (a ring, a pendant, a belt buckle, etc.) that convey a part of your identity. DO NOT WEAR RUNNING SHOES UNLESS YOU’RE AT THE GYM (or…out running). Experiment with different facial hair lengths. The shape of your face and the color of your facial hair will be most important with this. Be careful not to look like an emasculated hipster). And please, take care of your skin with a good cleanser, moisturizer, and facial scrub (if you click those links, you’ll come across the ones that I use).
13. Desensitize Yourself to the Presence of Beautiful Women
A lot of us simply aren’t exposed to beautiful women enough, even if we think we are. Don’t worry, you don’t need to approach just yet, but when you start to master some of the previous steps, it’s time to get out there and observe the women around you that you want to talk to. Through repeat exposure, you will begin to desensitize yourself, which will reduce your anxiety and help you figure out ways to overcome it and break through the final approach barrier.
Consistent application and devotion to this program will start to rewire your brain. Your confidence and motivation will soar, and you will begin to work, slowly, to overcome your approach anxiety and getting into the game.
It might take months. It might even take years. How long should it take you may ask? Well, I’ll quote Victor Pride’s attitude on a lot of the challenges in life.
It will take as long as it takes.
I’m sure you want to sleep with beautiful women, but you will not be able to do that unless you can approach them. To approach them, you need to overcome approach anxiety. It’s that simple.
Once you feel comfortable with your inner confidence, you can begin the social component, which is fortunately, far simpler.
Before you start approaching you need to take note of one thing, however: a successful approach is just that – you successfully opened your damn mouth and began to make a conversation with a girl you hope to eventually have sex with. The ugly truth is that most of your approaches are going to “fail” in the sense that they won’t lead to sex.
But the person afraid of this has the mindset of a loser. Every approach is a success – not only because you are doing something that very few men are capable of doing, but you are gaining experience and ultimately having fun doing it. You are also keeping your anxiety low through repeat action, the biggest key to overcome it for good.
So now that that’s been covered, there is also something crucial I want you to keep in the back of your mind at all times:
Approach anxiety is complete bullshit.
It is a faulty perception, nothing more. Your goal is to overcome it and make sure that this perception does not become reality. In all my approaches, I have never had a bad experience. I’ve only encountered slight bitchiness on three or four occasions and I just walked away, smirking about it as I did so. Most women are friendly or at least congenial, provided you don’t look and act like a loser, and that’s not exactly a hard benchmark to clear.
1. Find an Opener
Yeah, yeah, I know. The old adage that it doesn’t really matter what you say is true. To her. Most of the time. However it does matter to you. Approach anxiety (in my experience) mostly comes not from a fear of rejection, but a fear of the unknown. There are a lot of uncertainties (in your mind) that are present when you approach a stranger, so you need to be certain about something. Your opener is that certainty. It is a small one, but a completely adequate one, and it will incentivize you to overcome your fear. Having a certain opener drastically reduces the anxiety that is coursing through your brain and trying to get you to pussy out. So, when you see a girl you fancy, find an opener. I don’t care what it is, just find one.
As a note, I prefer direct openers for this reason. Not only are they more ballsy and congruent, but they are far simpler to come up with than actively having to think of a situational opener which will likely give you more anxiety to overcome. With direct openers, you do not have the “what do I say?!” hesitation. My go-to opener in most situations is to simply approach a girl with a polite “excuse me” and tell her that I thought she looked nice/attractive and I wanted to come over and say hi. Simple, direct, socially appropriate, and certain.
When you see a girl you like, and you have your opener ready, move your ass towards her. Unlike the first point, this is not merely a psychological trick you need to play on yourself. It is absolutely crucial to a successful approach and overcoming anxiety, and is grounded in solid science arising from millions of years of human experience. The first physiological reaction in our body’s response to fear is to freeze.
Back when our more primitive hominid ancestors were running around on the savanna, they needed to be careful to avoid predators. We weren’t always the dominant species on Planet Earth. Back then, our ancestors were rather puny and with little to make up for it. It’s a known fact that predators give chase. When facing off against a lion, the thing you don’t want to do is run away. So how did our ancestors react – at least the ones that survived? Easy, they froze.
While it seems silly that our brains fear that hottie over there with the high heels and a skirt in the same way that they used to fear lions and other fearsome predators, that is essentially what they are doing. When you freeze, that anxiety is only going to increase and your brain is going to think of nothing else. You see a predator. You want to avoid its attention and then get as far away as possible.
To counteract and overcome this fear, you must stay in motion. A funny thing happens when you approach an object that you fear – your brain starts to get less afraid because it is filling up with adrenaline. You are entering the fight response. Simply put, you are going to have more anxiety just sitting there and looking at her than by actually walking towards her. It sounds contradictory, but other guys that approach consistently will tell you the same thing.
So once you have that opener ready and certain, move your butt over to your girl. At this point something almost automatic happens – you successfully overcome your deep-seated fear, you deliver your opener, she responds well, and amazingly, you are now in a conversation with this hottie. You thought it wasn’t even possible, but here you are.
Once you begin to do this, and if you have a rudimentary knowledge about the principles of seduction and an interesting personality, something amazing happens. You’ll begin to realize that you had it in you all along, and it was only this fear, this one little fear, that was holding you back.
A couple of concluding thoughts…
The more used to an environment you get, the easier your approaches and the lower your anxiety will be. One of my favorite venues is Central Park and so approaching women there is very easy. There is not much fear to overcome. Approaching on the street for instance, is a bit harder, because I have less experience and so there is a more elevated fear to overcome.
Your overall experience will make approaching less difficult in general, but your experience of approaching in distinct environments will make it much less difficult and lower your anxiety further. For this reason, it makes sense to have a few spots that you specialize in to get the most bang for your buck.
Also, approach anxiety never fully goes away. You will overcome the worst of it, and it becomes more and more manageable as time goes on and you experience success, but you will always have it, and it will vary in severity depending on how often you approach. Sometimes you will wind up not approaching. That’s fine. Just take it all in stride.
See also, the companion video to this article:
[This article first appeared in the archive on October 29th, 2014]