What It's Like to Have Zero Approach Anxiety

by Eric Disco
Jul 28

I step onto the subway train. It’s crowded. It’s been a long day.

I’m tired. I’m not in the mood for much. Sorta just feel like going home.

But then I see her. She’s cute as a button.

I make my way over to her. And then, I touch her on the arm as I say, “Hey.”

We talk a bit. And laugh a bit.

She has to get off the train too soon, so it doesn’t end up going anywhere.

But after this, I feel better. I start to feel like I have MORE energy. I’m ready to socialize even more.

It’s an amazing feeling to know that you can approach any woman anywhere. That the dread of anxiety won’t turn you into a zombie every time you open your mouth.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you know that I used to have a ton of approach anxiety.

There are posts from 2006 and 2007 where I struggle with simply saying hi to a woman.

And I struggled with it for a long time.

At first, I advocated one approach a day. Doing that one approach did help.

But every time I started a conversation, I still experienced high levels of arousal–feelings and thoughts–that felt out of control.

In the last few years, this has changed dramatically for me. I am at the point where I almost no inhibition in starting conversations with women.

What changed?

The obvious answer would seem it’s because I’ve done it so many times, it no longer scares me.

But the real reason is a little different.

Approach anxiety is essentially an energy problem. Guys know this subconsciously.

A guy with a ton of approach anxiety may be able to get himself to do one approach, but the mental energy it takes is too overwhelming.

He knows he won’t be able to sustain it. And so he doesn’t take that action even once.

That’s why, instead of recommending one approach a day, I started to break down “the approach” into smaller steps.

By breaking down “the approach” into smaller steps, I can practice each step, depending on how much anxiety and inhibition I feel.

Psychologists call this approach Systematic Desensitization, or graduated exposure therapy.

You can extinguish a phobia by gradually exposing yourself to it.

The key here is gradual.

Once you learn these tools to get past your inhibition, the sky is the limit.

The key is to start on easier tasks (almost too easy) and work your way up to more challenging tasks.

If I’m feeling really off one day, I may simply go out and walk around. Or I may stand next to a woman. Or I say one thing and walk away.

This builds my energy because I know I can take action. As I interact with more people and I start to have more energy.

Part of this is that I get really good reactions from women.

But another part is that the energy of taking the next initiative is really, really low at this point. I have very little inhibition.

This doesn’t mean I don’t feel any inhibition.

I’ve always said that anyone who claims they can “cure” your approach anxiety is a snake-oil salesman.

It’s like someone telling you they can guarantee that you’ll never get your heart broken again.

Life doesn’t work that way. And you wouldn’t want it to.

Whenever you’re challenging yourself, you’ll feel some uncertainty. You’ll need to push yourself harder and go through some uncomfortable feelings.

But you can get into a zone where you’re challenging yourself and improving at very manageable increments.

So that you are never overwhelmed and thus don’t experience those overwhelming thoughts and feelings.

You still feel feelings. And still think thoughts. But the step up is so small that there is very little stress.

That means you walk away from the interaction with more energy than you went into it.

Once I got into the practice of breaking the approach down into more manageable increments, I made huge leaps and bounds in the way I felt around women I talked with.

I was more relaxed. I could enjoy the process. I didn’t worry about rejection as much.

And things started to get a hell of a lot more fun.

If you’re ready to get past your anxiety and start meeting women in the most efficient way possible, check out


Don’t let another day pass you by.


posted in Initiative and Inhibition

7 responses
Matt says:

That’s a really good point. Over the past month or so I have been hammered by some really vitriolic hate from some women engaging in group psychodrama. Enough so that I have quit taking classes there.

A lot of the problem is with political liberals, I live in a very liberal city and women feel free to regard most men as being less than human.

This is a new realisation caused by taking a weekend class way out in the country that appeals to more conservative folks. The young ladies there, one of whom was an instructor, were perfectly happy to carry on a conversation with me. So obviously the problem is not that I am less than human, it’s that the women in this city have really bad attitudes.

Ariel says:

Love reading your old posts and seeing the accumulative effect of consistent action.

I love breaking `the approach’ down to small steps.

Like now, even though I have done many direct approaches,
my goal is 3 times a day to `initiate a round 2′ – try to continue the conversation at least once after the initial question.
This breaking down allows it to be more fun, and really break down the tension and anxiety .

Love the mangeable commitment idea.
For the last decade every weekend I say to myself `I am going to study for a few hours during the weekend’.
I never do and feel guilty.
This weekend I said `let’s see if I can sit and study for 20 minutes’
I did and felt great, and ended up studying much more.

This seems to be a huge issue in today’s society in many fields -
people being overwhelmed by what they think they should do and ending up feeling guilty and doing nothing, rather than taking small steps and feeling happy they did something.
My deep gratitude to Eric, the manageable consistency guru:-)

dave says:

Sounds like Ariel turned the probabilty of a large headache into
making approaching fun. There is something else here that he must
enjoy about this or he would not have put forth such concerted effort.
Well done.

Nick says:

Hey Eric,

I thought I’d check in from a few months ago. Still enjoying the article and have been reading them a lot. I have a question: have you ever had a situation where you made a move on a girl who rejected you that you had to see or be around everyday ?

If so, how did you go about letting it to ? When I get rejected usually I don’t see the girl again so it’s out of sight out of mind but my neighbor who I talked about earlier lives across me and even a few months later I still feel shitty that I got rejected. I guess it is because of the proximity issue.

I feel like I’ve been stuck in this rut. I started off this summer optimistic and now fall has came to pass and while I did meet some women this past summer, none of them I actually clicked with which has kinda left me really bummed.

Whenever I get hyped up and practice PUA I hit it really hard but the last few years I’ve hit road bumps which have really knocked me off track and made it difficult to keep sarging. Sorry for the rant, I just need a bit of perspective and my ‘married’ guy friends don’t understand. Lol

Eric Disco says:

That’s a shitty situation. Here is what I would recommend. Meet some women and bring them back to your place. Shove her face in it. I know that sounds mean, but it’s the best possible thing you can do for yourself.

The pain of loss lingers tenfold, even a hundredfold, when you don’t have other options. You’re left thinking about her. This puts you even further in a rut and other women want to stay away from you because they sense it.

If you set your goals on meeting other women, even just to show her up, you will start to feel better about yourself as you start to meet those other women.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you should be angry at her. Seriously. Fuck her. She treated you like shit and you let her. Use that angry energy to move on and meet someone better. Every day, when you look at that house across the street, let it remind you of the man you shouldn’t be anymore.


Nick says:

Thanks Eric you make a good point. I told myself last year that this year I wasn’t going to be the same weak guy who has allowed women to treat poorly. I hate seeing other guys in that situation because regardless of gender roles, no person should feel powerless in that kind of situation and more so should not allow it.

Thanks again

dave says:

Eric – I have GOT to see what you can do to TOTALLY change somebodys outlook on life. It would have to help so many people solve a whole lot of problems. Keep it up!