Did you know that women experience approach anxiety even though they do not “approach”?
They feel it at a slightly different time.
This blog is going to examine what approach anxiety is from an evolutionary perspective, how to understand it, and how to channel it to something that benefits you.
Assume you are in a foreign city where you know no one.
You’re walking down the street and you see a gorgeous woman. She even glances your way!
You feel your stomach fall out. Yet you know that you will never see her again, nor will you see anyone else on the street who may see you crash-and-burn IF you approached her.
What’s more is that you also know that in this hypothetical crash-and-burn situation, everyone will forget about you within 5 minutes.
That’s right. You won’t even be a dinner table conversation.
When it comes to approach anxiety, IF you 'crash-and-burn', you won't even be a dinner conversation. Click To Tweet
Knowing all these things, you still don’t approach.
From an evolutionary perspective, the moment when a man experiences the greatest risk to his survival is during the approach.
In our more barbaric days, if a man approached a female who was taken, the man could very well be killed for that act.
Nowadays, your physical safety is all but assured merely from an approach, but men still experience greatest anxiety just before an approach for this very reason.
Similarly, today we can enjoy sex with almost no risk of pregnancy or STD infection yet “women’s emotions still tend to react to first-time sex as though it is an event comparable in importance even to pregnancy itself. The moment just before sex, when a woman feels the most anxiety, is the moment she would historically be taking the greatest risk.” (Revelations, 2008)
Alternatively, you can think of approach anxiety as your ego. Your ego’s job is to protect itself. Not you. Your ego’s job is to protect your ego. If it can keep you within the safety bubble, then it cannot get injured.
Approaching a woman leaves you vulnerable to emotional injury to finding out that you’re not attractive to the opposite sex; the very reason you’re here is nullified. This would be devastating. On a side note, it would also open a clear opportunity for improvement.
You must find a way to channel that feeling into something beneficial. That means something different for everyone. But, if you can do this, you will start to seek out approach anxiety because it gives you something greater than the anxiety.
I can only speak for myself, but this was the moment it all changed for me: when I started to view the anxiety I felt upon an approach as something that actually had beneficial effects.
That might be a little confusing. Even for me, the person who wrote this, I know it’s a bit awkwardly phrased. I think this concept is best explained by telling you how I channel approach anxiety. How do I view the anxiety as a beneficial feeling?
Ultimately, the feeling of approach anxiety allows me to lift heavier weight in the gym. This works for me because I highly value my time in the gym. It has a nice circle-of-life effect of making me more attractive to women through positive changes in my body that women find attractive.
I’ll explain how I got there (ie approach anxiety increases my performance in the gym).
I realized that the feeling of approach anxiety, scary as it is, is a very unique feeling. It makes me feel alive. It’s a very human and masculine feeling. This feeling makes me feel like a fully conscious dude living in the moment. It’s a similar feeling you get when jumping off a 2-story building. Heck, it’s adrenaline.
What’s one big physiological thing that separates men and women? Testosterone. Adrenaline and testosterone are linked. Sufficient testosterone solves a lot of very serious problems. Insufficient testosterone creates a lot of serious problems. Most of us have less testosterone than our father!
Testosterone makes me feel like a man. It also makes me lift heavier weight in the gym.
Every time I do an approach, it feels like I have channeled the approach anxiety feeling into an injection of testosterone.
Do you see how that has changed my mindset?
The fear of the approach changed to a booster of testosterone regardless of the outcome. This change in mindset has increased the number of times I face approach anxiety head-on rather than accepting the myriad of excuses my brain so creatively floats through my thought process.
For example, a couple weeks ago I was eating at McDonald’s in Rio de Janiero when I see a cute girl sit down a few tables away from me. Her mom joins her. I tell myself that I have to approach. I’m nervous as hell because they’re sitting down and I’d have to come in towering over them. I know they probably don’t speak English and I don’t speak Portuguese. There’s no music playing and I’m the only gringo so literally everyone will notice what’s going on. I’m even shaking a bit just writing this now. I throw away my food and approach. As predicted they didn’t speak any English. The attractive daughter was a bit rude or shy and started using her phone right in my face. After a short while, I got up and left. Pssshhhhh, that’s the sound of extra manliness injected directly into my veins.
This even applies to tough conversations.
It’s easy not to have them. I was at a café with a friend in Moscow, Russia when we got into a brief disagreement. I said something to offend her.
It was easy to push the blame on her and wait for her to get over it. It was awkward.
I took this opportunity to bring up the subject again, speak about my feelings, and consider how I could have handled the situation differently. This put me in control of the conversation and on the right side of good communication. It was also a feeling similar to approach anxiety. Pssshhhh, that’s the sound of a small bonus dose of extra manliness injected directly into my veins.
How are you going to channel your approach anxiety?
Your worst fear is social shame. It’s being blown out by a girl. Excuse me, by a bitchy girl. This behavior, in no instance, is acceptable.
How do you deal with this? The same way you would deal with your dog who got into the trash.
You very directly communicate to her that her behavior is unacceptable and unwelcome.
In Kiev, Ukraine I went out with a friend one Friday night. The bar was mostly empty, with about eight men and two women. The women were sitting by themselves and no one had talked to them for 30 minutes. They were not talking to each other, instead using their cell phones. My buddy and I were headed out, but I decided to go up to them and start a conversation before we left.
Do you want to know what one of the girls did as soon as I started talking? She did one of, if not the, rudest thing I’ve ever experienced.
She took one of those deep breaths with a loud exhale while rolling her eyes as if she’s bored and annoyed. What. The. Fuck. This is real life. This is what an actual human being did to another human being. I got to give it to her, she’s got balls. Not just anyone can do this. To face a man straight up and act so obviously bitchy, it takes balls.
What did I do? I treated her like the dog who misbehaved and ate some trash. Like the dog, she may not even be aware of her abysmal behavior. I wanted…needed to make her aware of it.
I stopped what I was saying and looked at her straight in the eye in disgust. She wasn’t expecting this reaction. But, she recognized the look and I could tell felt a bit bad about her prior action. I told her in as few words as possible that her behavior is disgusting and unacceptable.
For good measure, I was sure to mention that I couldn’t wait to get back to Russia. That last part did make me feel good 🙂
In my world, and in any self-respecting man’s world, this behavior is unacceptable 100% of the time. I’m 0% in the wrong for approaching a girl I find attractive to let her into my awesome life and she is 100% in the wrong for her attitude towards that action.
I say all that to say this.
Gentlemen, your worst fear is a female acting totally and fully out-of-line with behavior suitable for a 2nd grader. The next time this happens, I need you to take it head-on. Communicate verbally or nonverbally that her behavior is not allowed. Pppsssssshhhhhhhh, the more intense a situation, the larger the injection of manliness.
This also puts you firmly in the male seat. And, the male seat is full of testosterone and a line of females waiting to sit on it…
The next time something like this happens to you, will you react like a man or not? Affirm yourself in the comments.
Can you remember the last time you felt bad from approaching a girl? Knowing nothing about you, I’m willing to bet the answer is no.
Do you ever feel bad about not approaching? That’s a resounding yes! Let’s solidify this feeling of regret by posting in the comments the last time you decided not to approach and how you felt about that decision.
If you approach and are unsuccessful, you forget about it rather quickly. Even if the girl was extremely gorgeous.
I approached an angel on the streets here in Rio de Janeiro three weeks ago. She may have been the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Every single person was looking at her.
Though she was pleasant, we did not speak the same language and she continued walking after briefly stopping for a few moments. Even someone as beautiful as her, I am willing to bet I will forget about her within a few more weeks (if it hadn’t been for this article!).
But if you don’t approach, you think about it for a long time. I can still remember the girl in the black dress, walking slowly down Tverskaya Street in Moscow on an early Thursday evening.
She was gorgeous even for Moscow standards. I thought about approaching. I even stopped walking, turned around, and looked at her. I watched her walk away. Slowly.
What would have happened if I approached? Who knows. Probably great things! Maybe friendship. Maybe she was my wife. Maybe she introduced me to a future girlfriend.
Even if things didn’t work out, at a bare minimum I would have been infused with an extra shot of women-attracting testosterone energy. Ppssshhhhh. If she acted inappropriately like the women in Kiev, it would give me a great opportunity to build my character and set clear lines about what is and what is not acceptable in my world. PPPSSSSHHHHH.
Next time you get that feeling, harness it. Channel it. Often times, the harder choice is the better choice.
But first, you have to understand how you will channel your approach anxiety. Tell me in the comments because I want to know.
I’ll leave you with two quotes from The Book of Pook:
P.S. Now, if none of the above seems to persuade you, let me take one more crack at it. People are living in their own world. In other words, people are not even conscious of your world. At least half the people around you have been out of the dating scene for decades. For all they know, you are running up to an old friend or a girl who dropped something. The other half are most likely busy or stressed. I realized this in Kiev when I played an approach-anxiety game by going up to a girl in a busy area, but not saying anything while having her attention. Just staring at her. When she was about to leave, I would say one word “wait!”. Then, silence. Then when she was about to leave, I’d say one more word: “OK!” Then wait. This went on until she was fed up and left. One of the times I did this in the entry/exit-way of a McDonald’s…people were passing us both ways constantly, but they all seemed to not even notice that two people were standing in the doorway, staring at each other, but not saying anything. When she finally left, I took a look around and not even one person was looking at me.
Digital nomad, minimalist, entrepreneur, author. Danny, the man behind dannybooboo, travels the world and sleeps in Airbnbs (1,000 nights). He’s the author of three books, Airbnb employee #700, Airbnb property manager, and Superhost. Danny has visited 34 countries and 57 cities. Follow his journey on Instagram.