I was feeling great yesterday, and the day before.
But today, I just don’t feel like opening my mouth.
I just got back from a few days vacation with my family. I was social with them, but didn’t interact with anyone else.
I noticed more overall anxiety when I got back last night.
I walk out the front door of my apartment building and bundle up for the cold weather. I think about the possibility of talking to women today and it’s so remote.
I have the momentum of a steam engine–that’s in park.
I round the corner to the subway station. Head up the stairs to the platform.
I get my body walking along the platform even though part of me hopes there’s no one to talk to.
I see a girl. I can’t tell whether she’s cute or not. Who cares. This is just to get moving.
“Do you know if this train goes to Manhattan?”
She smiles. “Yeah. It does.”
“Okay, thanks.” I say and walk away.
Doh. That girl was really cute. And she was smiling. Why didn’t I talk to her longer? I totally could have bantered with her.
Part of me starts to feel regret for not taking it further. But I stop myself completely. That was just a warm up.
I give myself a lot of room when I get into things at the beginning of the day. The first person I talk to, I make sure I put no pressure on myself to do anything.
Yeah, I could flirt. And if I could flirt, I could connect with her as well. And on and on.
But this is all part of a very important process for me, a process I go through every single day.
I often talk about how important it is to interact with women every single day, that doing this daily will be the most important part of learning to manage approach anxiety.
Things really do get easier. But the approach anxiety never goes away. Ever.
But guys that are great at this stuff know that secret. The reason they have less approach anxiety is because they know how to deal with it when it crops up.
They know how to get themselves into the right state every day.
They do warm-ups with no outcome in mind. At a minimum, the first three people they talk to is just practice.
This is the hardest part for guys starting out. It is the most frustrating part. Because they can’t feel what the warm-ups are doing for them.
Am I on the right path? Is this really helping me? I feel different but why aren’t people reacting differently to me? Is this “working”?
They would rather take a huge leap forward and fail because it would hurt too much to fail at something small.
Guys get miserly. When they first start doing this, getting past the fear requires a ton of concentration and energy. They decide not to say “Hi” to the person in an elevator so they can save their energy for when they have to do that difficult approach.
In the beginning, it’s true, you won’t have enough energy to interact with every single person every time you want to. But if you plan to interact with someone on a deeper level, you better start small.
You talk to one person and your body starts to get used to it. You start to feel a bit more comfortable. And with the next person it’s easier.
There’s a word for that. It’s called confidence. And you can build your confidence on a daily basis.
It is a daily process. Anxiety is not something like a disease to be cured. It is something you gain proficiency at dealing with.
It starts new every day. There is something about night, which wipes it all away.
Each night, sleep is a small exercise in death, a daily submission to the great unknown. Our dreams are our womb–intimate, safe and nurturing.
Every morning we are born again. We must learn again. We must rediscover what it feels like to let someone else into our personal space.
I transfer on my train to the next stop. Walk along the platform. I walk over and stand next to a short-haired cutie and open my mouth.
“You look like you know where you’re going.” I wait for her to respond.
She looks at me with a smile and pulls off her headphones.
“Do you know if this train is running this weekend? I have big plans.”
“Um… I think so…” she says with a smile.
“Awesome, you rock. I’m taking you everywhere with me!” She giggles.
And I walk away.
This time with a smile on my face.
I carry that smile around with me. The next girl I talk to, I will hardly even have to banter. She’s practically giggling when I open my mouth.
Each morning, a voice inside me says, protect what you have. You are fine the way you are. Don’t take that risk.
But my own voice, my true voice, my voice not captured by fear, tells a different story.
There’s more out there, it says. It’s called life. And I intend to live it as vigorously as possible.