In one of his many great articles, Steve Pavlina talks about the approach anxiety. Among other things, he says:
“The truth is that working on overcoming “approach anxiety” is largely a distraction. It’s not actually a problem that needs to be solved to enjoy a socially abundantly life. It’s an imaginary obstacle that makes people feel inadequate…
…In my experience the people who become good at approaching and starting conversations with random strangers on the street, turn around and become “approach coaches.” In order to sell people on this skill set, they drum up feelings of inadequacy in people, making them think that this is an important and critical skill to develop in order to enjoy a socially abundant life. But the reality is that it’s more likely to lead to an endless treadmill of shallow connections with low compatibility.
Yes, you can get a high from facing your fears and doing random approaches. Yes, overcoming this hurdle can yield other benefits. If you buy into these benefits, then go do it quickly. You’ll make tons of progress within a week of dedicated practice. And then you can move on to more important matters…”
Everyone Experiences Approach Anxiety
Even though that article doesn’t specifically talk about dating and approaching women, I like how the writer calls it an “imaginary obstacle”. It seems like one of the common strategies in marketing dating advice products to guys has been trying to convince them that they should be able to approach any woman, anywhere at any time, and if they can’t, there must be something wrong with them and their confidence level, and therefore they should be buying this book or that program. In other words, these materials tell guys that approach anxiety is some kind of illness or anomaly. In reality, however, every guy experiences some fear and some anxiety when approaching and trying to talk to women. It’s simply part of our nature. It is how we handle it that makes big difference to whether we are able to advantage of the opportunities with women that we are presented with.
You Can’t Beat Approach Anxiety By Setting Unrealistic Expectations With Regard to Meeting Women
Talking to every woman who walks by you, and who is likely preoccupied and stressed out with work or school or both at that moment, is neither realistic not necessary. Your goal should not be standing on the street and harassing women who go about their business in hopes of sweeping them off your feet with your incredible confidence and charisma, as appealing as this idea might sound. Your goal should be learning to take advantage of the real opportunities that you are presented with. These opportunities usually include that girl who walked by you and smiled at you at a coffee shop before she sat down, or the one who sat next to you on a bus, or the one who sat next to you in a room waiting for an oil change. Being ready to take action right then and there, when the moment is right and when the “target” is stationary rather than walking in a hurry somewhere, is what you need to practice in order to make your dating life as exciting as you want it to be.