An Approach to Approach Anxiety

January 26, 2009 by  
Filed under AFCAdam, Articles, Featured, Guest Authors

Hey Guys,

For the new year I thought I’d tackle one of the first problems people experience within game and slowly move through the topics throughout the rest of 2009.

Are you afraid of approaching someone you like through a fear of rejection?

Do you get that horrible feeling in your stomach and begin to formulate 100 reasons why someone wouldn’t want to talk to you?

This is a lot more common than you would believe. There are a number of different products out there which will supposedly “fix” the fear of approaching strangers, especially ones you are attracted to. However, few of them take the time to understand why we have that fear in the first place. If you understand why you have this fear or anxiety, you can take steps to counter it. This is probably the biggest topic when it comes to understanding attraction. Well, that is to say, it is the one that most people have the biggest problem with. I constantly receive the same excuses time and time again when it comes to this subject.

1) I’m scared of approaching

2) I have a fear of rejection

3) They aren’t in the mood to be spoken to

4) She won’t think I look good enough

5) I can’t meet people in a park/cinema/night club

6) I’m not good enough for him/her

7) There’s no point, it won’t work

These are probably the most common reasons I am given as to why someone can’t approach, or the feeling that is preventing them from approaching. The fact that these are so prevalent is because they are all based on very real psychological factors to do with learning and behaviour.

Anxiety is defined by Seligman, Walker and Rosenhan (2001) as a physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components. These factors essentially make up the feelings that we experience as fear, apprehension, and worry.

There are some physical sensations that you will probably be aware of such as heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, shaking and perhaps headaches. These may be common to you. Some people will disguise these by making a decision not to approach. This will relieve the sensations and instead leave a sort of “numbness” to the situation.

Sigmund Freud himself believed that these anxious feelings were created by an association between a past negative experience and the current situation. These associations are often false and not related through causality – the idea that one situation directly affects another, but through correlation – one thing “tends to affect another over repeated attempts.”

When people begin to see this correlation as a fact, it is commonly referred to as “Magical Thinking.”

There are two governing principles behind magical thinking. The first is the law of similarity which is the notion that things that resemble each other are casually connected in some way that defies scientific testing.


For example:

Diagram 1

Here people will typically see vertical columns of squares and circles as opposed to horizontal mixed rows of squares and circles.

The second law is the law of contagion which is the belief that “things that have been in physical contact or in spatial or temporal association with other things retain a connection after they are separated.” Contagion effects have been noted to be more effective with negative associations than with positive ones. This is probably best explained by the notion of getting “bad luck” or having a bad time every time you go to a specific venue.

Freud believed that the anxiety or fear was maintained through a form operant conditioning. Essentially the feeling of anxiety is reinforced every time you are in a similar situation. You then “learn” to remove the negative feeling of anxiety by not approaching. These connections of patterns, or “magical thinking,” are common throughout all the human societies across the world. The human brain is adept at forming these patterns, though we do not have a particularly good system for distinguishing between real and perceived connections. Theoretically this is due to a simple survival tactic. If we notice rustling behind a bush it is better for us to assume it is some form of threat and begin to prep our bodies to defend ourselves rather than ignore it and risk being eaten.

Our fear or anxiety response is actually designed to help us survive in a fight or flight scenario. Believe it or not the symptoms detailed earlier are all beneficial to us in times of survival. Perspiration occurs to help cool us down, heart rate increases to improve blood circulation and muscles tighten as they are filled with oxygen in preparation for use. Unfortunately these are not particularly beneficial when we are looking for something witty to say during a conversation with someone.

In short we learn the fear through a number of negative experiences and then reinforce them by not doing anything about it. The bodies natural reaction towards a fearful situation is the feeling we associate with approach anxiety or the fear of the approach. The way to overcome this is to reverse the learning.

All of the common problems detailed above can be directly related to either “magical thinking” in the form of a false belief that failure is almost certain due to some form of connection to a previous situation that failed. Or pure fear learnt and reinforced by not approaching. These are both forms of self fulfilled prophecy i.e. Unless you actively do something to fix it they will continue to support themselves. The good news is that this problem is far from unfixable.

The bad news is that it does take time. The easiest way to fix this is to actually go out and meet new people. The problem is that when you do this, any negative experience you receive is likely to reinforce the previous attitude or fear you had before. As I’ve mentioned before one of the easiest ways to get around this is to simply meet people for the sake of meeting people.

Most of us are actually more than happy to talk to other people, especially on boring long journeys, or when waiting in a long queue. Get used to talking to absolutely everybody, male or female, young and old. This should help you generate a great deal of positive responses to your approaches and help curb some of those negative connections.


I hope this helps guys,

Adam Lyons

(AFC Adam)

Get Your Free Guide Here!


23 Responses to “An Approach to Approach Anxiety”
  1. StormPUA says:

    Good post, man. I agree with everything in it, good stuff. The only way to get over AA is to just do it.

  2. deden luo says:

    well the idea to talk to stranger or for the sake meeting new people is really make me feel relax. I love to talk with stranger but when there is plan in my head just for approaching women is really make under pressure. I’ll try your way.

  3. Brad Jackson says:

    When I started out years ago and had approach anxiety, I would give my most trusted friend in the group $100 to hold onto for the evening with the deal that I got $20 for every approach I made.

    Of course if I locked it up early, I got the money back. That used to work like magic. Then I stared using magic and it got even more effective.

  4. Infinity says:

    Good write-up Adam. Repetition and accountability is key. It helps if you can hold yourself accountable on your own but if you need incentive from other people like Brad did before, then it’s fine too. The most important thing is that you do it as much as possible. It’s the only way you are going to be able to suppress that anxiety.

  5. Stephane says:

    Well-intended post, BUT… this post hurts the brain just reading it, because it’s all intellect and fails to take into account the MOST important aspect which is the human heart/soul, another word for this is “consciousness”… and then the big solution at the end of this post is to basically “JUST DO IT” but that does not actually solve the true core issues which have to do with the seven deadly sins (greed, lust, sloth, hatred, guilt, shame, and pride).

    Until those seven bastards are truly handled, all you are doing is REPRESSING the approach anxieties and social fears (i.e. with “just approach women anyway” kinds of advice), which is what this post (as well as the whole of the seduction community, it seems!) naively teaches men to do. Repress your feelings and force yourself to approach anyway. But that advice usually just turns men into assholes. Sure, they can approach, but they still seek to control women by attempting to FORCE attraction.

    The whole ‘approach anxiety’ problem is your ego-programming itself, which is composed of the seven “deadly sins” as it’s innate structure.

    The way out is to learn how to surrender each of the sins and therefore open to LOVE, which becomes one’s natural state of being once the seven blocks are removed. And you’ll know when you’ve achieved true inner-love when you can approach a woman from a state of joy, rather than fear. This state is accomplished by only 0.4% of humanity.

    Freud also failed in this, although his work is obviously extremely valuable, it does not solve basic problems having to do with love (and therefore the human spirit). The intellect will take you right up to the door, but the only way to enter through the gates is to transcend the intellect and LOVE WOMEN.

    “Teach only love”
    –Very wise, old quote

    And one more thing, as long as this site is devoted to denouncing me and my teachings, I might as well start advertising:

    Kiss your approach fears goodbye FOR REAL, by understanding the nature of human consciousness, which is higher-level than just mind-based understandings. No offense to Adam, of course!


  6. Johnny says:

    Here’s an approach to approach anxiety: Alcohol

  7. Flirt says:

    great post adam. looks like you’ve done your research!

    Low self-esteem?

  8. Vovan says:

    I have my own method of dealing with approach anxiety: just try switching your brain off & go on auto mode with your material.

  9. Disco!! says:

    Eric Disco has a great ebook free to all on his website that shows a good plan on appraoching any AA or anxiety.

    He breaks it down so you aren’t going to “pick up chicks” but just taking one step closer and eventually conquering AA.

    Check it out. Its a good book. I don’t know much about Disco, but he’s really dedicated to helping guys overcome AA.

  10. Bruce Min says:

    Very nice insight. You’ve outlined a lot of important points here, and I’m sure people will be able to pick up on some of it hopefully.

    Good luck guys.


  11. Prefection says:

    Really really good post Adam,I got a lot out of this one !

  12. Jesse Allen says:

    Hmmm. I missed this one. Well written.


  13. Nathan says:

    here is a video about how to deal with approach anxiety:

  14. Kyle says:

    Its easy to get over approach anxiety…You just approach and approach and approach and tell your self that your the best in the world…Also affimations and visulizations work this worked very well for me

  15. I think the biggest component of approach anxiety is STATE. Approach anxiety is really just a state, just as confidence as a state. Learning how to control your state is key.

    I love what you said here, though. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  16. Hey Adam,

    I am new to this but I think you’re right about Freud’s findings. Often negative experience will correlate something similar in future and produce the same emotions of fear.

    I really need to conquer this. The other day was funny – I was at a bar and a chick walked in, I was just going to talk to her like I do some other chicks (just have problems taking it from there) and guess what?

    I counted out the 3 seconds in my head and I actually felt “it”, the atmosphere in my head, change after 3 seconds. No doubt there is something to this 3 second rule and I might use it to beat my approach anxiety.

    cheers for the tips.


  17. Jocker says:

    Hmmm, so, yeah I’m a noob (brace for uninformed comments and stupid questions).

    I have only been into this for 3 days, today I got my first email-close with a chick I knew for 2 years or something and never got beyond the friend who she is uncomfortable with.
    Today, I got her email written by her own hands, she was quite confused, it was easy, probably because I already went through much personal-growth shit during the last 2 years and studied some psychology, so I have no anxiety and quite confident socially, no problems in approaching strangers, I didn’t know the first thing about men-women relationships and now I do, after I field-tested a few techniques and it looks like it works for real! even more than I hoped possible. (currently following AFC Adam methods, Juggler methods also sound interesting)

    However, I’ve been thinking a lot yesterday and still thinking, to the point that I can’t sleep anymore…

    Becoming a PUA has drawbacks, serious ones based on my analysis, no one seems to touch on that subject or maybe I haven’t found anything about it yet, currently I got these three:

    1. Because women become so easy to get, they no longer take effort and thus you won’t really enjoy them much (from AFC Adam book, people are into things that take effort).

    2. A friend of mine in a moment of frustration said: “Everything men do is only done to make their chances of having sex better”, which included in (his opinion): studying, working, and pretty much any kind of ambition, his analysis don’t sound so far from the truth.
    So, PUAs don’t need those things anymore, there life is no more a struggle to have sex, later on when they are older, they might not see any value in living life anymore… (Mystery in Style’s book for an example).

    3. For an experienced PUA, Marriage and normal (boring) love life is no longer interesting, for me that’s the biggest issue, I want to be a stupid husband who takes the trash out, I want to raise children, sadly it seems to me becoming a PUA will take that desire and ability away,…
    Can someone somehow combine the two? being a PUA for fun and kicks, and reverting to normal-boring-man mode when he is ready to settle down, doesn’t seem to be possible from my 3 days of reading because the change in mindset is massive, from a geek to a PUA.


    (This should have better been a forum post somewhere, but all I could find is this website, and it doesn’t seem to have a forum.)

  18. Jocker, it´s Dennis Miedema from the win with women blog and I just want to ask: you´re asking some good questions there, so allow me to retort.

    1) Women become easy to get so getting them isn´t any fun anymore? I disagree. I´ve been full circle when it comes to game: first I got whatever I could get (the settle for everything phase), as I learned how to meet women I met as many of em as possible (the playboy phase), got bored so went for depth instead of width (the relationship phase = attracting one woman for years instead of several just long enough to have sex). And it´s a circle, because once I knew how to do all that? I repeated it all for exactly my type of woman (and Im really, really picky), then for threesomes, then for exotics (only getting twins, only getting women who don´t speak a word of my language, etc.). So in short: it never gets bored if you always seek the next challenge, because anything the midn can conceive it can believe and achieve.

    2) The Western socially accepted ideal can be traced down to what your friend said indeed, but since when do you have to follow the herd? There are alternatives roads in life, but you can only follow them if you STOP attaching value to traditional `status enriching activities`. To simplify it for ya: I work, but I attach no value at all to my job. I only work there because it´s the perfect opportunity to improve my phone game, to meet people from all over the world, and to meet new women on a consistent basis (3000 people work in my building). All I attach value to are enriching activities, so that´s minus the status. Travel, challenges, following the passions I have, meeting whomever crosses my path, making friends with people who interest me, etc.

    You say that if one removes all the material goals from one´s life, one´s life becomes useless? Because it is in immaterial goals that we find fulfillment in life.

    3) Dude, I HAVE combined the two: Ive been in a relationship for more than 2 years now, been in the game for 5… and is VERY doable because I have a different perspective on things. I seek challenge remember? So what´s more challenging: attracting someone and keep them feeling attracted to you for years and years, or for several hours/days until you sleep with them?

    I think you know the answer. I also don´t call it settling if you´re with a woman who is exactly your type and keeps on challenging you as you challenge her… hell, I´ve learned the most about the game by being in relationships, and not during my playboy phase!

    To more dating success,

    Dennis Miedema
    Win With Women

  19. adam has never had approch anxiety!

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  21. Shawnda says:

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