Approach Anxiety: Overcoming It Using the Pain & Pleasure Principle

By JT Tran

Approach Anxiety is by and far the biggest killers of most PUA’s. Approaching is, paradoxically, both the SIMPLEST step, but also the HARDEST.

Approach Anxiety is such a huge paralyzing fear but…. here’s the silver lining, if you learn to manage your Approach Anxiety well, that gives you a HUGE edge over the competition. Next time you go out, just look around, you’ll see countless SQUARES just standing around holding beers in their hands and MAYBE 10% of the guys are actually making approaches and only a fraction of those make good approaches.

Get this part handled, and well, what used to cripple you is now just weeding out your competition for you. What does not kill you makes you stronger. And levels the playing field for you.

I understand how Approach Anxiety feels, you’ve just stepped foot into the club, it’s loud, there are drunk people everywhere, it’s dark and somewhat musty and it seems like everyone in the club is having an amazing time except for you. You see a two set of girls out in the corner of the bar that you make your target.

  1. You sit there for a second or two and try to muster up the balls to do it….
  2. You pause and rethink your gameplan (or lack thereof)……
  3. Your stomach clenches, your palms sweats, and everyone is staring (not really, you just think they are)…
  4. Okay now it’s become weird and pulling the trigger is 100 times more difficult than it was just a few seconds ago.
  5. You decide not to approach the set and you go to the bar and order a drink and walk around aimlessly.
  6. Maybe if you’re drunk enough, THEN you’ll go talk to the girls you spotted previously but you can’t find them.

That was my typical night when I first started and I know that a LOT of guys fall into this category.

In sarging with the best PUA’s in the world, they all have one thing in common, they can all approach with absolutely no hesitancy. Take my ABCs’ Certified Instructor Ben J as an example, he genuinely does NOT care when he goes out. It’s just set, set, set, set, set!

I remember one of the very first times I ever cold approachedin my entire life which was January 2004. I just recall being so utterly nervous that people would dislike me or I just wouldn’t hook any sets. Oddly enough, to my surprise, I found that most sets were very receptive to me and that people were just generally nice. I was honestly expecting people to be rude or laugh at me, it almost never happened.

It really hit me that, almost a little too much common-sense for my own good. People are pretty nice for the most part. Of course you’ll come across a person or two that’s going to be rude, but that’s just inevitable.

That’s the first step in managing your AA, just go into a few sets and try keeping a conversation up, perhaps it doesn’t hook, but that’s okay, you’ll realize that people are NOT rude and that it’s not scary approaching sets. Seriously, go to a club tonight and just randomly go up to 10 girls, smile and say “Hi!”

The first three are scary, but then you realize that NOTHING bad comes of them.

Another big hurdle I see many guys failing to get over is expectations management.

I’ll see PUAs that will approach three sets and not hook one, suddenly his ego is crushed and he’s depressed. It happens, NOT every set is going to hook. There is no such thing as a 100%, all the time, guaranteed opener. There isn’t. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.

There have been nights when I first started where I would go through 10 sets and none would hook, of course my ratio’s are much better nowadays, but that all came with practice, diligence, and letting go of any expectations or outcome. Don’t get hung up on one set. Instead, make 10 to 20 approaches, analyze the cumulative results, one set won’t tell you anything.

What you’re trying to do is accumulate the kind of social and emotional intelligence that you should have acquired when you were 16 years old and condensing it down into the 6 to 2 years of Beginner’s Hell.

When I first started out, I wrote weekly field reports. I kept meticulous records of everything I did, how many sets hooked, how many phone numbers I got, what have you. And week after week, I noticed pretty consistent results with a little variance here and there.

Of course over time I saw improvement, but what I’m trying to convey here is to mentally budget for your losses. Realize that you WILL get blown out of set and its just part of the game. Now if you’re going 0/60 on hooking sets, obviously you need to re-assess.

In that case, you’re probably coming off as incredibly creepy with your body language. Realize that women are infinitely more versed at detecting weakness and nervousness in your body language and nonverbal sub-communication which, 9 times out of 10, is probably where you’re going wrong. It’s not the words of your opener itself.

When I first started pickup, with no experience, I would probably hook 3 out of 10 sets and make some tangible progress. Nowadays, I can hook about 3 out of 4 sets and if I’m really on my A game and in state, I’ll have nights where I can hook just about anything.

If you find your Approach Anxiety creepy back into your conscience, that’s fine, don’t make it a goal to get number or a kiss in the next set. Otherwise your expectation for a result will just increase your Approach Anxiety, just burn through the next five sets until you have your Approach Anxiety under control again.

Put everything into perspective and it’ll make it much easier on yourself emotionally.

Accountability is just as important in pick up to your progress as it is in anything else. If you say you’re going to open ten sets a night make sure you do it and well, if you’re not terribly self disciplined like myself, give your wingman (you do have a wingman right? If you don’t, then head to our Pick Up Artist Forums and find one!) $200 and tell him to make you earn it back for every set you do.

For the average PUA, it takes a couple hundred approaches before you start becoming emotionally resilient towards your Approach Anxiety, it never really goes away entirely, but it definitely becomes manageable to a point where you’re indifferent to it.

While your first night out may be rough, keep in mind that the first night out is the hardest and it only gets easier from there. If you can approach a few hundred sets and achieve this level of emotional mastery, not only have you overcome the most difficult sticking point, you will have approached more women in that period than most guys do in a lifetime.

So…. nobody said this was going to be easy, but hey, nothing in life worthwhile is, time to suck it up!