Why Some Guys Get Approach Anxiety And Some Don't

by Eric Disco
Dec 23

Not all guys have approach anxiety. A lot do. But some guys are comfortable going up to people they didn’t know and talking to them.

Why was I overcome with dread at the prospect of talking to a beautiful stranger while some people actually seemed to enjoy it?

Initially I believed I had this anxiety because of incidents that happened to me when I was young. I was convinced that some traumatic experiences set me on a path to being self-protective instead of outgoing and extroverted.

I remember one particular incident. It was in 6th grade. I’d had my eye on this cute girl in class. Her name was Nicole Waldron. As I sat in art class next to my friend Jamie Graham drawing space shuttles, I mentioned that I was thinking about “asking her out” (asking her to be my girlfriend).

Jamie turned to me and said “Yeah, you should do it. Do it after class.”

Little did I know that my “friend” Jamie had passed it around to all the other students that I was going to ask Nicole out after class.

At the end of class, a crowd gathered around. Nicole stood there and said “Well?”

“I was wondering if you wanted to go out with me,” I said.

“Oh yes, Eric!” she said in mockery as the whole class erupted into laughter. “I’d love to!”

It doesn’t take much more than a few bad experiences like this to make a guy never want to make himself vulnerable to a girl in that way again. Or at least that was my thinking.

But the more I asked around, the more I talked to people, the more I realized the story is slightly different.

There are guys out there with traumatic experiences far worse than mine who are fine talking to strangers. The difference between them and me is how they learned to interpret social situations.

They learned from someone how to talk to strangers. They had a role-model show them how to not be fearful and how to accept situations. They had somebody–a parent, an older brother, a friend–someone to lead them and show them that there is nothing wrong with talking to strangers.

Here is a typical story from a guy I talked to:

My dad would always talk to strangers we’d meet when the family would go out: waitresses, taxi drivers, people we’d meet. I think I learned from him an interest in other people and not being shy about it: from a young age, when I meet someone with an accent or a strange name, I ask where they’re from, what kind of accent is that, etc., and invariably get into a conversation with them about all kinds of other stuff.

Now is that genes or learned behavior? I dunno, a mix of the two? My old girlfriend used to hate it when I’d talk to waitresses and such. She’d get fuming jealous.

For me it’s no different talking with strangers who are women or men. At age thirteen I remember going out with some friends from my soccer team. Someone dared anyone to go talk to a couple of blond chicks in their twenties. I had no problem going up and starting a conversation and flirting. I hadn’t even reached puberty yet.

As I look back on that incident in 6th grade with Nicole Waldron I realize that it was actually a VERY GOOD thing that I did. I was brave! I followed my desire. And I got shot down in a majestic way.

The only “wrong” part about it was how I treated myself afterward, how I beat myself up and felt worthless for failing. And I did beat myself up. I ruminated for years over incidents like this from my adolescence.

The very best guys I’ve seen who are great with women are the ones who are bothered the least by rejection. They are the ones who operate in the high-stakes world of social risk. They get rejected far more than guys who aren’t good with women. And they also reap huge rewards.

It’s part of why it’s a great idea for guys to take workshops or at least get some kind of coaching from a person rather than just reading about this stuff. You need that big brother or parent to take you out and show you that it’s okay to do this. You can learn to become desensitized to rejection. You can teach your body that whatever happens in these situations you’ll be fine.

Actually, you’ll better than fine, you’ll become that outgoing confident person you were meant to be.


posted in Embarrassment and Rejection

40 responses

Interesting story same thing happened to me in a few instances now i am writing this to get rid of my inner demons and move on let social freedom take control of my body erase all the bad expereinces i had with women and rejection!!!! Thanks alot man you helped me a great deal with this site and i can almost taste victory and confidence and courage sheilding me from rejection no more!!! Thats right rejection well never have an impact on me ever never ever again because i am truly a man!!!!!!!! Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Mike says:

Amen. That’s an interesting story too. I generally have trouble talking to people, yet my dad just prattles on to everyone. I think the reason behind my trouble is that my dad tells everyone everything whether they are interested in hearing it or not. It frustrates me so I try not to.

Rejection is something that should impact a little, it just depends on the impact it has really. Does it knock you down or change your direction and future actions? There’s also nothing wrong with feeling disappointed occasionally either.

Quite glad I stumbled here!

keynsozi says:

After many failed relationships and 3 divorces – yes, of course, it was all m y fault – I can honestly say: “Approachanxiety? Yes, that’s me!”

Men approach women, hoping for a lasting friendly relationship and a sex life.

Too many women enter in a relationship, so that they can get married, and don’t need to be friendly, diet or have sex anymore.

Yes, there are some happy relationships, and even some happy married people. There are also some people who have won millions by playing the lottery.

Anony Moose says:

Maybe we just need some good ol’ fashioned shock therapy-

David says:

Wow you are so right. I just need to get out there. I guess when you read about anxiety from someone else, you realize, “Hey, I’m not the only one!” You’ve no idea how refreshing this is. And you are also right about if you are rejected, so what? Who cares? Move on. Tell your friends even. Just get over it and find some other girl. If a girl doesn’t like you, then she doesn’t deserve you. If that’s not what you wanted me to gather, sorry. If it is, go me I guess. But thanks man. This really helped.

Doodee says:

Thanks for sharing

Yank says:

Yesterday, after a grueling 2 hour procedure at an oral surgeons, I was in my local bank. I had suffered 7 novacaines and was getting some cash to pay for the prescriptions I was given as I was told to expect some major swelling and possible pain. Not a good way to start the day.

As I walked in I glanced over and saw this really cute blonde woman making a transaction. I didn’t give her a second thought, figuring she was married or something, and attended to my business.

I got a place in front of another teller when I suddenly realized this beautiful woman was looking RIGHT AT ME.

I glanced over and nodded. She kept staring…I looked back and realized I KNEW her from somewhere. After a few moments we spoke back and forth. I had known her from high school years before! She was cute back then, but had grown GORGEOUS over the years. We spoke for a few seconds. She was still conducting business and I didn’t wish to intrude, so I gave her a familiar pat on the shoulder as I wandered out to the drug store.

For those few seconds, mesmerizing as they were, I’d have been perfectly willing to DIE just for the pleasure of having her honest, friendly attention. That sounds and reads insane, but it’s true.
If some lowlife had come in with a gun to rob the bank I’d have honestly and truly taken bullets for her just for those few seconds of attention, she’s THAT beautiful, now. Crazy, I know.

I started across the parking lot, remember my face was all swollen from the procedure and I was still buzzed by the drugs I was administered, when I decided to man up, walk back and TRY.

What was a major error, which I made in my fog, was that I didn’t bother to look at her hand to see if she were wearing a wedding ring!
I wasn’t even sure if she was married. By the time I got back to the bank…she was gone…

Did I blow it in a nuclear way, or was this just one of those things?

I was REALLY Beating Myself Up Afterwards.

Shaman says:

“Did I blow it in a nuclear way, or was this just one of those things?”

No: 99% of guys wouldn’t have gone back, you did.

Yank says:


Steady says:

I have a unique situation: since the death of my Father, my Mother (aged 75) has to live with me for health reasons of Her own. There is no alternative.

How do I address this issue in the context of approach? In a nutshell I have no privacy.

unni says:

Hi Eric,

This sounds crazy. I had to write this. I was reading this blog n listening to shout cast radio n can u imagine who came on the air. You. They were playing your interview with glenn jason on the radio. What an incredible coincidence!! The topic was abt approach anxiety.It was really cool to listen to your voice.The seafood opener was cool. Your talk was really deep and it was really very motivating.
Three cheers for you Eric !!!! You are the man for all of us AFCs.

Michael Crosby says:

I can remember all the way back to kindergarten when I approached this little princess.

I came up to her from behind, and she just disregarded me.

I watched as she continued walking away from me, as I wallowed in rejection.

So, she would now be 78 years old,same as I. I wonder if she remembers that incident. For me, it is forever locked in my memory.

The happy ending to the story is that I still love to chase pussy and every now and then give it a little taste. You young whippersnappers remember one thing–if you’re gonna chase pussy, you betta eat the pussy too.

j murk says:

the reason why them guys don’t mind approaching is because they can

positivetrance says:

makes lot of sense.
The very best guys I’ve seen who are great with women are the ones who are bothered the least by rejection. They are the ones who operate in the high-stakes world of social risk. They get rejected far more than guys who aren’t good with women. And they also reap huge rewards.

positivetrance says:

actually i know almost about more tha 300 people in our university by name . its all due to my social skills developed by The Game

TC says:

Hi this makes sens a lot of our experiences determine our lives and these experiences with women are no exception. I do think that beating yourself up is not good for your self esteem as you can really get yourself in a rut that is really, really hard to get yourself out of.

I great thing I once read was from a fello PUA and he stated that is still does sting a bit when you get rejected by a woman, but you’ve got the 2 min rule do all of your shit in that 2 mins and get on with it.

And another thing that I noticed that most of the top PUA’s say that they may have a 30% success rate with women. Now this is a pretty good result, but it puts it into perspective on how we have to put it into perspective if the top guys are pulling in 30% of women this says that they get knocked back 70% of the time but they get back on the bike and meet many stunning women.

mike says:

The PUA stuff is mostly bs. Yes, it is good to move through life with self-confidence, but PUA is based largely on the assumption that all men are equal in the eyes of women aside from their behavior. Not true. Not true by any stretch of the imagination.

Women have a finely tuned internal ranking scale on which they rate themselves and their potential suitors. Unlike men, women are actually very honest with themselves most of the time, and they usually have a pretty strong idea of how you rank on their scale within a short time.

If you define success as talking to a woman for more than 2 minutes at a night club, PUA tactics might be for you. Otherwise, you will run up against the built-in expectations that all women have for the men with whom they envision themselves.

Practicing social skills is always a good thing, but it’s ridiculous to think that an average guy is ever going to have success picking up really high-status women. The problem: they already know that you’re not good enough for them.

Lee says:

I love these straw man arguments. “Looks don’t matter.” Of course they matter. There is no top coach in the pickup community who thinks they don’t matter. Height matters. Income matters. They all matter. All else held equal, women prefer to date tall, handsome, rich men. Duh. What’s amazing is when skill starts to overcome other deficits. In my list of the top twenty coaches, there are two guys who are 5’6″. At least three are over forty. Most are poor. It doesn’t matter. Good game vastly improves their success with women.


MrAntiquity says:

Mike–If you think that attractive women only want physically attractive men–then all you’re going to be able to see is attractive women with attractive men. It’s the only thing that will fit the world you’ve come to know.

It’s kind of like–say you decide to buy a blue Prius. Pretty much every other car you see is going to be a blue prius. It’s a perception bias.

Patrick says:


I am sorry I do not buy this at all. When you do look around, one pretty much sees likes with likes. I have rarely seen say a hot woman with a guy that is say less than 6ft tall or not good looking such as full head of hair, good athletic body and such. Why would a beautiful or hot or attractive woman go for less if she can get the good looking guy she wants? I mean good looking women can pretty much date who they want. They will reject the men that approach them until they are approached or meet the guy they want or like. Its pretty standard stuff.

Thats why game really is kind of a myth. “Game” is taught but who does it really work for? Good looking guys.

MrAntiquity says:


I used to think like you did for many years. Then I decided to try some experiments.

Turns out I was flat out wrong.

Also last year, one of the runners up for the miss UK competition asked me out :)

It’s a myth that women have this pick of a zillion great guys. No they don’t–because the really great guys usually don’t DO anything. So the women have to choose betwwen a bunch of douchebags who WILL make a move. And a lot of these douchebags happen to be good looking.

This stuff is useful for ANYONE who’s willing to try it out. It has helped me a lot. Seriously. Where I get stuck is with the going-up-to-women part–but the rest I’m a lot better at.

Max says:

I was really good with girls all through highchool, and I would talk to anyone with no approach anxiety. Now this part is pretty bad, I never really cared about any of the girls I slept with, I pretty much saw them as play toys. So then I meet this girl sophmore yr of college, and she really falls head over heels for me, I treat her alittle better than I have been treating girls. I date her for 2 yrs and she finnally breaks upw ith me and now hates me, so after her im depressed and devistated. Im no longer the outgoing, fun, coinfident guy I was.
I dated one girl after her she was beautiful, and I truely for once in my life fell in love, and she treated me like shit and then broke up with me after about 2 months. And now I can’t seem to do anything when im out with my friends, if anyone has any ideas how I can get out of this groove, id very much appriciate it. Ive read a whole bunch of PUA books ( which i never in my life thought i would do), no real luck from it.

enzo says:

Mike PUA isn’t about how many guys can bag a 10, most never will but that is not the point. It is an attitude, a mindset, and a lifestyle. It is about putting yourself out there, going after what you want, and controlling your own destiny. Anything is possible; it just depends on what you want and what you are willing to do to get it.

Dan says:

Mike: have fun with that belief because anyone that ever did the impossible did not believe in what was but what could be.

Laura says:

i dont know why, i must written hear???

Laura says:

yes,, what ever your write i just follow it. Thanks

Will says:


This is my personal affirmation list. It’s mostly to help me be successful with women but also has a lot to do with having self-esteem, confidence and a healthy psychological state of being. Feel free to use it and share it with others. It took me a long time to build this list and I have found it extremely helpful.


Beliefs of Naturals – My Reality

Read 3 times before bed and in the morning(do it for a for month)
Record in the second person. Play recording on a loop continuously at a low volume(whisper).
Play recording during the day and at night while sleeping.

1. Being with me is the best possible choice for any woman.

2. Women love men and especially love me.

3. I love life!

4. I am God. I am Perfect. This is my universe!

5. I am fearless, courageous and bold!!!

6. I read incredibly fast!

7. Women love sex and want sex from me.

8. My intelligence, creativity and potential is infinite!

9. Women love to be hit on even if they pretend otherwise.

10. I am completely focused, organised and use my time with the utmost efficiency.

11. Women are nurtures and pleaser’s who want to nurture and please me.

12. I am a self-assured, confident, sexual and dominant male.

13. Everyday in every way I am better and better!!!

14. I have complete control over my life, mind and psychological state of being.

15. I am the greatest genius this world has ever seen.

16. I heal instantly!

17. I am successful, confident and achieve my goals. I exude confidence, sex, power and self-esteem.

18. I can be, do and have anything I want to in this world, my possibilities are endless!!!

19. I love myself! I am complete, fulfilled and completely happy!!!

20. I am growing more beautiful and luminous day by day.

21. People love me! I make friends easily.

23. I read and meditate every day. I access all the knowledge in the universe.

25. I am completely irresistible to women!

26. Regardless of how she is reacting to me she is getting aroused.

27. I see the underlying truth in all things.

28. I am an adventurer! I travel the world!

29. Regardless of how she is reacting to me I am the prize she is trying to win over!

30. I am a multi-millionaire and master seducer!

31. I love what I do and am richly rewarded, creatively and financially.

32. I have a perfect photographic memory! I recall everything easily.

33. Since she wants to sleep with me, the power is in my court to decide whether she lives up to my standards and expectations. I get to decide if we get to sleep together.

34. I create my own reality!

35. Today I love my body fully, deeply and joyfully.

37. Today I open my mind to the endless opportunities surrounding me.

38. Prosperity surrounds me, prosperity fills me, prosperity flows to me and through me.

39. I have sex with super hot, confident, loving, caring and intelligent women with genius IQ’s all the time!

40. I think positively every day, all the time.

41. I attract amazing people.

42. My imagination and power affirmations are now creating the reality I desire.

43. My body is now trained to burn fat and build muscle day by day.

44. I have a six pack of abdominal muscles.

45. Let these commands be fulfilled!!!

46. I am filled with the light of love, peace, happiness, power, success and joy every day, all the time.

47. I am aggressive, direct and powerful with the women I desire. I radiate a confidence, self-control and charm that women find irresistibly attractive.

48. My mind is focused on what I desire and I go for it congruently and powerfully.

49. I take immediate advantage of my opportunities with women. I swiftly establish incredible rapport, gather the information I need, then close with aggression, power and finesse.

50. I radiate a natural, easy self-acceptance that women find irresistibly attractive.

51. I am mastering the responses, attitudes, behaviours, insights and timing that bring me irresistible power with the women I desire.

52. I am now approaching women that I am attracted to.

53. I am able to pick up and attract any women I desire.

54. I am a strong, powerful, aggressive, dominant, alpha male, leader and conqueror!!!

55. I am charming, interesting and fascinating!!!

56. I have a perfectly sculptured muscle ripped body.

57. I am super hot and sexy, all women want me!

58. Abundance is my natural state of being!

59. Money comes to me easily and continuously from multiple sources!

61. My IQ and intelligence increases daily rapidly!!!

62. I have clear beautiful skin!

63. I have lucid dreams and recall all my dreams with complete clarity!

65. All things are now working together for good in my life.

66. I am now attuned to my higher purpose in life.

67. I rule the world! I am brilliant and perfect in every possible way!

68. I succeed in everything I do!

69. I have sex with one thousand super hot women!

70. I am now enjoying everything I do and feel happy just being alive.

71. Sex with super hot women comes to me easily and effortlessly.

72. The light within me creates miracles in my life here and now.

73. All things are now working together for good in my life.

74. I am now attuned to my higher purpose in life.

75. I have the infinite creative power of God within me.

76. My higher self is guiding me in everything that I do.

77. God lives within me and manifests in the world through me.

78. The light of God surrounds me, the love of God enfolds me, the power of God flows through me. Wherever I am, God is, and all is well!

79. I ascend spiritually rapidly everyday all the time!

80. I am a Natural, Ladies Man and Player!

81. Everywhere I go women want to fuck me!

82. I have sex with supermodels daily.

83. Supermodels have an incredible desire to fuck me wherever I go!

84. I attract whatever I desire.

John says:

How’s the progress been, Will ?

What if you don’t have a dad, nor an older brother?Your chances to get a role model are screwed.
I do have a friend who would be perfect as a role model, but he lives in a different city

Alex_B says:

@Too smart for this world
I understand that situation. My best friend lives in a different city but he’s like my older brother and always tells it to me the way it is regardless of whether its pleasant to hear. I say just try to talk more often and if you can hang out more every now and then. It’s good to have someone you feel makes great decisions available for you to talk and chat with.
And you can always expand your social circle by taking up activities. Try meetup.com. You’ll meet some cool ppl

Patrick says:

Mr. Antiquity,

I still do not agree – not by a long shot. I think your are dead wrong here.

Women today do ask out guys – I see it quite often. So the both the good guys and the douche bags are approached. Actually pretty often. Women today are aggressive. This is not the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s or even 10 years ago when women still waited. They go after what they want. I was at a Cinco De Mayo party last night and sure enough there was a group of very attractive women there that were going up and introducing themselves the guys in the band and other “hunks” and they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. I approached this group of ladies and they just brushed me off as attractive women usually do (so much for this myth of confidence you know? – what a joke that is). Why do they brush off a guy like? Its because they are going after something better. Its supply and demand.

These women can have any guy they want (with exceptions of guys that are say gay or happily married) and they know it. Its just life.

You statement even contradicts itself here – you state:

It’s a myth that women have this pick of a zillion great guys. No they don’t–because the really great guys usually don’t DO anything. So the women have to choose between a bunch of douchebags who WILL make a move. And a lot of these douchebags happen to be good looking….then you state that this hot UK model asked you out….ok? what am I missing here. You state they wait for guys then you state that they approach you…..what am I missing here?

The bottomline is that attractive women pretty much get what they want. It may not be the best thing for them, but they do. They look at men like shoes. They go after men like they are the next “accessory” and then its off to the next. Its their world.

Its very frustrating…

MrAntiquity says:

Patrick–I didn’t say that women approach me. I said that one happened to ask me out. She knew me–it wasn’t like the was ‘hey–who’s that guy’ but who cares? She’s still gorgeous. (I didn’t date her though–she was a bit too young)

In any case you’re talking about a scene that is fully contrived for the dynamic you’re talking about. Nightclubs, cinqo de maio parties–people don’t have much to go on besides looks. Although I’m generally not impressed with chicks who throw themselves at guys either.

Patrick–like I said–you see what you choose to see. Why should it matter what other people are doing? Bottom line is any guy can date cute, quality women–but they have to believe in their own sexuality. Which many of them don’t.

Coif says:

Okay, I have no problem talking to women, but I foreclose on them, it’s kind of awful. What I mean is, I get frustrated because I can’t imagine what’s happening next and I tie up my own noose around my neck. I imagine that I talk to them using the Alexander method of acting, but it means I don’t let myself get lucky by being genuine and spontaneous–because I am acting. This kills me so much because I could’ve talked to these girls who so wanted to flirt with me and I just got really frustrated because I couldn’t imagine what to do because I couldn’t imagine what would happen next. It’s a control thing and it’s a catch-22. And the other girl, who was beautiful, I gave up on the interaction too early. Only a minute later did I realize her face was reading surprise and that I had fucked it up badly. I’ve got like 15 bad interactions under my belt now. I feel messed up and I hope that I can get over this, because right now I’m not letting myself get lucky by thinking I have to be deliberate and intellectual all the freaking time.

Coif says:

One other thing…I misinterpret everything as rejection no matter what, because I’m uncertain, so I force it into a square hole. Safe than sorry right? Except I feel like shit.

I had a girl rubbing her butt on me while talking to her friends tonight about dating and I got so angry because I couldn’t read her and I was afraid to be rude, but I couldn’t think of anything fun to say. What was really up, was I was horrified someone was interested in me. How messed up is that? There is no other way to put it. I could’ve gotten some tonight and I failed completely and miserably. And I was so desperate to get home and cry I fumbled another opportunity…except it wasn’t so bad because I had already given up I was able to talk to her, but I didn’t make any contact. It’s like somehow i keep women at arms length.

Coif says:

I imagine myself talking and it sounds all wrong, like I’m squeaky or something, and it’s like everything I say is wrong. But if I forget it and talk about a neutral topic that has nothing to do with anything, like her dog, I get on really easy.

MrAntiquity says:


Sounds like the whole concept of sex/taking initiative when you don’t know how to read the girl is scaring the hell out of you. So it’s much safer to back down–and from what you’re saying, by using the Alexander technique, you’re visualizing a false identity that the real you doesn’t accept. Am I in the ballpark on this?

I have some of the same problems. Seems like you need to take a few steps back and get used to that marginal area in which normal, friendly, social interactions start to gain a bit of that sexual energy–and experience that a lot more.

but do that in small steps/pieces. Try not to think too far ahead or too clinically–or you’ll shut down completely (as you’ve described)

There’s lots of advice on here about how to take very small steps–try some of that out.

Coif says:

Yeah, you’re right. Mostly.the thing about the Alexander technique is that I almost imagine I’m someone else. If someone else can do it i can do it. It takes away all my spontaneity because I’m planning what to do by how I spread or predict what’s supposed to happen from what I know about the interaction. So I force it to become something or, if she throws me off, I just sort of get mind-blown and freeze-up. I feel like, for some reason, being myself can’t just happen, I can’t loosen up even after 2 drinks. I’m thinking, What am I doing? What am I trying to do or feel? And the worst thing is, I feel somehow there has to be justification behind my action or it’s somehow senseless. Like i should give up because nobody will gt my intent. Like I can’t do it unless it leads, or is supposed to lead, into some consequence that I foresee. Like i have a reaction but it doesnt come out because i cant let it, because i feel like i need justification above and beyond to act. I feel very guarded and cautious, cagey. So I have a manipulation/control issue going on. I think I come across as intimidating and the rest of the time a pushover.

I feel like I can never be sure enough that she wants it too. I need more of the free physical contact. I was afraid to touch her, i think i was afraid she would flip out at me. But she was the one who apologized for touching me and i was like no dont worry and she proceeded to give me a full backrub! Thinking about it now gives me a boner but right then all i could do was keep trying to catch her eye. Do something more, do it again, do it again!

The false self is exactly right. I think it’s because my expectations are kind of messed up. I have a hard time feeling like women are at all sexual. I believe that crap about them never wanting it. So I hide my own because it’s rude/bad. One of my friends described me as asexual, and that she only knew my sexuality because I told her. If I had read this website before last night I would’ve probably touched that girl at the bar and things would’ve exploded from there.

Coif says:

What I mean by Alexander technique is a selfvisualization technique.

dave says:

And who is going to take these wonderful women to THEIR self-improvement classes so that THEY can learn how to treat people and THEY can become these great, confident people? Oh, no one?That is just for the men to do? Gee, that is quite a double standard.

Hani syamira says:

not all pretty girls will change guys like shoes. Pls dont judge us. Once she found a guy she really love n the guy reciprocates, she will be loyal as ever. Trust me.