"I'm unable to approach a girl, it terrifies me."
"Do you think that progressive desensitization is the best way to deal with anxiety?"
What Is Approach Anxiety?
Approach anxiety is a disease raging on amongst even the toughest, hardest PUAs in a variety of forms. There are guys who can approach almost any chick... unless she walks around with resting bitch face or more or less permanent scowl. They pass if they know that there is a high probability of the set blowing up in their face.
It's the fear of a hard blowout but it's also an approach anxiety. It doesn't matter what is the reason you're unable to approach a girl. For a new guy it's "I don't know what to say" or "she's going to reject me" but for a seasoned player it's "I never had any success with that type of girl".
It is still the good old approach anxiety - it's the stress of being rejected by a girl, fear of not knowing what to do to succeed. It's a debilitating and totally and thoroughly false feeling. It might seem real but anyone who did his share of daygame knows that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Because it really is the fear of unknown. In time and with experience that feeling goes away and is replaced by something else - fear of well-known. Then it’s the stress of knowing exactly what will happen - the bitchy girl is going to completely and utterly destroy you. Or at least she'll try to do that.
If you can have fun or even make fun of the girl when she tells you she's not interested (never in those exact words) then you have no reason to fear the rejection. I get it - it will use some of your courage and willpower but avoidance will make you feel even worse. Especially if it happens regularly.
Approach Anxiety Never Goes Away
If you ever had approach anxiety (fear of talking to a girl to pick her up) then I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that anxiety will never go away. There will be time when your AA will be weak and you won't even notice it. But sometimes bad things will happen in your life and your confidence will crumble. That's when AA will come back with vengeance.
The good news is that you can deal with approach anxiety in two ways. One - with more experience, your anxiety will be less severe. You will go from sweaty palms and racing heartbeat to "fuck it, here we go". Thus, it won't bother you that much as in the beginning.
Second way in which you can conquer AA is to improve your ability to overcome fear. When you practice saying to yourself "fuck it, I'm going to do it" or "if you can't - you must", overcoming anxiety related to approaching girls will become easier.
The old advice is true - do a lot of things that scare you and you will become used to conquering your fears.
So on one hand you can train yourself in overcoming AA, on the other - the anxiety will become much less severe as you go. Those two combined will look like "you don't have any AA" but in reality it will be just a mild inconvenience that you know how to deal with.
Frequency Over Quantity
Story time. Back in 2013, when I found out about PUAs and daygame, I was determined to get over my annoying fears and limitations. As an introvert, I was drawn to daygame, just as most extraverts are starting with nightgame. I set aside two hours after work on every working day to "daygame".
At first I started just with saying hello to strangers and then, asking them for directions. Then I moved to asking attractive girls the very same thing. Then I transitioned to indirect game ("to be honest, I just wanted to talk to you because you're cute") and then to London-Daygame-Style-direct. I wrote about that process in How To Start Picking Up Girls On The Streets. It took me one month and less than a hundred approaches.
But I wasn't done fighting my AA. When I transitioned to direct daygame, there was no going back. I wasn't going to take a step back and ask for directions. And I had a rule - I do not come back home with 0 approaches unless the streets are empty. Sometimes it took me 30 minutes, sometimes 3 hours. Sometimes, after 2 hours when it started to rain I was going home with a zero.
I'm not saying you should stay past midnight looking for that one receptive girl, that's stupid. I'm saying: set aside 1 or 2 hours and do not come back home unless you did something or that time expired.
After few weeks of wasting time, something changed inside me. I became irritated because I was wasting a lot of my precious time doing nothing. And then, I started to approach regularly. The key was that I pushed myself almost every day.
You will never get rid of your approach anxiety if you only game once a week.
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Warming Up Is Wasting Opportunities
If you need to "warm up" when you go out to do some daygame you're doing it wrong. If you think first 3-5 sets are always worse then you're wrong. It just means you are half-assing them and you are giving yourself permission to do sloppy game.
There are countless times when you are not "daygaming" but you see a really hot chick looking at you. If you believe in "warming up" you should probably quickly approach a couple of girls and then come back to that one prepared. I strongly suggest that you just approach her.
If you focus on high frequency of gaming, you will have a lot of "first sets". You will be used to them. Going out 5 times a week and doing 3-4 approaches every time will result in 15-20 approaches per week, out of which 5 will be "first sets".
If you set aside 2 days per week for daygame and do 10-15 sets on each day, you will approach more chicks (20-30) but you will do only 2 "first sets". Guess which way will help you with your AA more.
Weak first sets are not "standard" and don't let anyone tell you that this is how the things are. You can train yourself in first sets and it will make all of your game easier.
The Good Old Hit-And-Run
The only instance of "warming up" I find useful, especially for beginners, is the hit-and-run. If you're feeling uneasy and you are not sure that you can approach a girl today, do a quick hit-and-run on any semi-attractive female.
Go over to her, start with your usual opener, tell her the compliment and add "I'd really love to talk to you but I need to go. Have a nice day!" and walk away. You are not giving her any chance to reject you. In fact, you are rejecting her. And because of that she will always be both happy and a little bit disappointed. She likes to be approached by confident men and someone told her a compliment but didn't want to pick her up! She's confused!
That works to your advantage - you will get a positive reference experience, you will see that she wants to be approached and you will realize that you can do this today. But don't abuse this technique! Not every day should be like that.
Why I call this "a mind trick"? Because when you do it, you allow yourself to eject from the conversation. That makes you more relaxed. And more often than not, when you see the smile on her face and you will say "I'd really love to talk to you but... I only have a couple of minutes". You will continue anyway and a hit-and-run will become a regular approach (not a warm-up set).
Make yourself accountable. Keep a diary or a spreadsheet documenting every day you went out with the intent of approaching girls, how many approaches did you do and what were the outcomes. It will also help you to see how you progress and when you achieve a stable ratio of one number per 3-4 approaches.
You can also go out with a wing but you have to pick a good one. It should be someone who is actually helping you approach girls and not bothering you with his problems and bitchy when you spend more time talking to girls than to him. Rivalry is in order.
But most importantly - approach. Approach a lot and as often as you can.The more you train yourself in overcoming anxiety, the easier it is. The more you approach, the lesser the anxiety.
Gather positive experiences and don't worry - most guys are feeling anxious when they have to approach a girl. But they do it anyway.
I don't think blowout anxiety is anything different than regular approach anxiety. It's just a different manifestation of the same issues. It's the big crybaby inside who just doesn't want to feel bad after a girl completely ignores him or rolls her eyes. Oh boy, that's a real disaster...
Can you really say you don't have approach anxiety if you have no problems with approaching only specific type of girls or you've found yourself a small niche where your thing works? You can backward rationalize it all you want but if you repeatedly see a girl that gives you a boner and don't go after her - you've been lying to yourself.
I'm not saying you have to go and expect a great reaction from the type of girl that usually isn't impressed at all. If you've done hundreds or thousands of sets you know that it will probably will a blowout. But in some way you have to do it, to remind yourself why you're in the game.
You Can't Avoid Rejections
Are you doing all this to get the girls you really like or just to get laid with anyone? If it's the latter then by all means - go only for the girls you're sure that are into you and will be impressed by your approach. But that usually means going for the girls below what you could get if you weren't so fragile. See why this is exactly the same old approach anxiety?
Some complain that the game used to be about getting hottest chicks and now it's just about getting any girl. It's different for everyone but I think if you're trying to learn game then you should be going after the girls that you personally like. So why not approach those girls and learn how to decrease the rejection ratio?
There are certain types of girls that will just almost never react well to a daygame approach. The keyword is "almost". I'm not even going to mention (or am I?) that there is a real chance that the interaction might actually go surprisingly well and you'll get a number/date/lay. But I don't think you should expect that. Especially with those sets it will only help to go and expect nothing.
Every time you will do such a thing, you'll be glad that you did it. That you did went for what you want, even if you failed. And if you're lucky, you'll learn something and get better.
What Is Stopping You?
If you try to avoid hard rejections that means you’re aiming at getting at least a good conversation every single time. It’s impossible as you have no control over other people. And sometimes you simply cannot predict how the set will go regardless of how bitchy the girl appears.
If you still have approach anxiety in any form then you’re still trying to protect your ego. You think about what you can lose and not about what you can gain. You’re not conquering, you’re merely defending yourself.
Have fun with daygame, pursue girls that you really want, don't care about the blowouts. If she didn't even stop for you then she probably wouldn't have stopped for anyone.
So why do you even care? Approach another one!
Learn Daygame And Get Rid Of Approach Anxiety
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Spotlight Effect Isn't Real
The spotlight effect a ridiculous and unfounded notion that other people will judge you when you’ll try to pick up a girl. Like they would even notice you... Look at any single infield you can find and pay attention to all the people around.
They don't fucking care about no one. Spotlight effect doesn't exist. Everyone is selfish and they only think about what's going on in their own life. You're not a part of any stranger's life. Yes, even the girl's you're trying to pick up.
I keep saying this over and over: when you’re talking to a girl you should start by talking about her. Because she cares only about herself. Other people aren't that different. They care about themselves, not some shmuck trying to pick up a girl.
To be of any interest to anyone you have to be important to them. Do you really think that any person would stop just to listen to an interaction of two total strangers? The maximum amount of attention you'll get is a single glance.
Spotlight Effect Or Another Type Of Approach Anxiety?
All daygame anxieties come from a very simple place - fear of being rejected. If you'd know that the girl is going to be impressed and she'll react very well you wouldn't care that someone hears your pickup attempt.
This only shows that you're thinking about others too much whereas you should be thinking about the girl. Your attention is all over the place. Focus! There is an attractive women standing in front of you and she should be the center of your world for the next few minutes.
The only worse thing you can do than thinking about everyone else is think about yourself. But that's not spotlight effect anxiety, it's just a regular approach anxiety.
Everyone can handle a one-on-one conversation. So focus on the girl, stop thinking about the audience. And stop thinking about yourself, you selfish bastard!
Embarrassment Is Short-Lived
Try to recall the most embarrassing thing that you did. Avoid childhood memories, those can be too heavily imprinted on your memory. Go for something recent. Having hard time, huh?
The pain of a harsh rejection from a chick lasts few seconds. Another interaction with a girl wipes out the previous one, especially if it was in any way better. The easiest way to recover from a bad set is to do another one.
Do things intelligently, if you don't have much luck with a particular type of girl then maybe - just maybe - you shouldn't focus on those without changing anything. Approach them when your vibe is high, when you feel like you can conquer the world.
Your staple should give you endless stream of positive reinforcement.
Those Who Notice, They Root For You
The only people who are going to approach you after either successful or failed pick up attempt are other guys who know what's going on.
"Bros" will never laugh or make fun of you. They'll high five you. Approaching a girl during the day is still considered a brave feat and you're a hero.
Whether they're seasoned players or just enthusiasts that know of the game they realize that it requires balls of steel to do what you've just done.
Everyone respects men who go after what they really want, especially if they soberly go after hot girls. Those guys might offer you their insight or advice and they even might become your wings or travel companions.
Nothing bad will ever come from strangers around you. The spotlight effect isn't real and you should stop looking around you. Focus on who’s in front of you.
Get Rid Of Spotlight Effect Approach Anxiety
If you really are worried about spotlight effect then deal with it gradually. Start with open spaces and then do more crowded streets and malls. Then game girls inside shops and on the bus stops.
Force yourself to daygame in situations where other people can't help but to listen to realize that a) they don't even want to hear you b) they won't react in any way.
Or just ask someone to record your approach and see for yourself that no one gives a flying fuck.