Approach anxiety is the term used to explain the feeling of fear of going up to someone you find attractive and saying hi. Or more specifically, trying to meet and talk to someone you find attractive for the first time. But you can’t, because it’s terrifying and you’re frozen on the spot. Here’s my guide on how to overcome approach anxiety.
First of all, speaking to new people is hard. I get that. It’s a thing. It’s a very, very common thing. Now upgrade that to speaking to a new person that you find really attractive, and it becomes hard mode on Dark Souls. You’re probably going to die after your first step, as the big bad boss takes you down with just a look.
Only life is Dark Souls, and girls aren’t big bad bosses. Well some of them are, but not in that way. This idea, that approaching an attractive girl, is a challenge that you’re pretty sure you’re doomed to fail, is one of the biggest reasons for approach anxiety I’ve found when speaking to my friends that have it.
Fear of Rejection
In relation to my video game analogy, the big bad boss is the hot girl you’re considering of speaking to, and the death blow is her rejecting you. No one likes rejection, rejection sucks and makes you feel bad.
What it shouldn’t do, but does do a lot is make you feel inferior. It makes you feel like a failure. Somehow, rejection manages to cut people up until they’re tiny and undesirable.
But like I said, it shouldn’t do. At leas, not in this scenario.
First of all, the chances of hitting it off with someone you randomly approach on the street is really low. This goes for even the smoothest of pick-up artists. A lot of people make the mistake of approaching girls in the wrong setting, and as a girl that’s had that happened to me, seriously, it’s not your fault. It’s more of a “wrong time, wrong place” sort of deal.
That doesn’t reflect on you as a person. Look at it this way, that girl doesn’t even know you. You’re just some guy who’s walked up to her and said hi. She doesn’t think you’re a monster, or a loser, or a weirdo. Those aren’t things that a girl thinks when this happens.
The thing I think almost 100% of the time is “I don’t have time for this.” and that’s got nothing to do with the guy. I’m mostly busy, in a bad mood already, or just not up for flirting. Anyone short of Benedict Cumberbatch would get the same “sorry, I’m not interested” response from me, and even then he’d have to be in his Sherlock Holme’s outfit.
Girls aren’t angels
Here’s another thing I’ve noticed guys do. You put women up on pedestals. As if we’re some sort of mythical, magical creatures who walk around followed by a chorus of cherubs.
Girls aren’t angels. They’re normal people. Sometimes a guy will see a girl, maybe someone he’s seen a few times, and he’ll think she’s amazing because she’s attractive. He’ll come up with all sorts of stories, creating a whole personality and history for her. In his head, she’ll become such an amazing, larger-than-life person, that she’s totally out of his league.
Yup. Sometimes, guys build up girls they’ve never even said hi to, into someone out of their league. Stop doing that! She’s not out of your leagues! There’s no leagues! This isn’t football!
She is a normal person. The chances are she’s a really nice person. But there’s also a chance she’s a horrible person, probably steals lollipops from babies or something. Fact is, you won’t know until you go up, say hi, and find out about her.
Overcoming Approach Anxiety
Some people will tell you there’s a method to walking up to a girl on the street and getting her to give you her phone number. I have no idea who these guys are, but I imagine they’re wrong. They sound like con-men.
Let’s get a few things straight.
- Approaching a hot girl is not a boss level of a video game, this is not a challenge
- Girl’s aren’t angels out of your league
- Rejection won’t kill you
- Rejection won’t make you less of a man
Once you’ve got those facts into your head we can move onto how to overcome your approach anxiety.
There’s no quick and easy way. It’s mostly just about practice. Possibly not the answer you want, but there’s no other way of doing it properly.
Of course, you don’t have to do it with the girl of your dreams straight away. There’s ways to practice, leading you up to that moment.
First of all, try and meet and talk to more people. Do you know the “Humans Of New York” guy? He goes up and talks to people all the time. It’s fascinating. A lot of people have amazing stories to tell.
But you don’t have to be him. You just have to be more open to the idea of talking to someone. I remember I met my best friend because I used to see him in my local comicbook shop, and then realised we got on the same bus in the mornings. So we started chatting on the bus in the mornings.
Going up to a stranger and starting a conversation is hard. The setting helps though. For example, meeting people in a bar is much easier than grabbing them off the street. Meeting people in places where you might share a common interest (sports event, museum etc) will also makes things easier.
And yes, when you see an attractive girl you like, go up and introduce yourself. Don’t come up with cheesy pick up lines. Be yourself. If she rejects you, no big deal, there’s like millions of other girls out there. Don’t take it personally, move on and get ready for the next one.
With practice of talking to new people, and making the initial approach, you should become less afraid of approaching girls you like.
Of course, as always, do things in your own time. Yes, there’s a bit of a push needed when facing your fears, but at the same time, never force yourself if you are truly uncomfortable. Do what the most you know you are capable of and build yourself and your experience up from there.