Approaching is the act of introducing yourself to a woman you’re attracted to. That’s it. The best approaches convey your intention (you find her attractive), and the short version of this series is that you just have to do it. So go do it.
But if you need more, I’ve written a series of articles breaking down the fundamental elements of approaching:
- Part 1, below, deals with the Learning to Approach.
- Part 2 deals with Knowing What to Say.
- Part 3 deals with Where to Approach.
I recommend reading them in order as they feed into each other. Now lets get started.
We’ve all been there. You see a girl in bar, club, shopping mall – you find her attractive, you suddenly feel anxious and then she’s gone and you never spoke to her.
It happens. In fact, it happens to me all the time.
Anxiety is part of the process and just like rejection it’s an irremovable element that cannot be avoided, wished away, dodged or defeated. You cannot beat approach anxiety, it will always be there. What you can do however is learn how to use it.
The trick to anxiety is that whilst it is a permanent element of who you are, it is also mutable. It can be changed and moulded as you build a relationship with it. There are two ways of doing this (I recommend both), one is exposure therapy, and the other is embracing anxiety as excitement.
When I first decided I wanted to improve my dating life, I was a virgin, got nervous speaking to any girls and would desperately avoid expressing any form of sexuality. In short, I completely sucked. I was always the friend, never the lover, blah blah cliché blah blah.
Why did this happen? Well, I dunno, maybe my relationship with my mother, maybe because I was a weirdo as kid, maybe because I was a late bloomer. Honestly, for myself and for most cases – it doesn’t matter.
For most cases, it comes down to this:
You are just out of practice.
Learning Game takes time, and even those who have done it for a long time experience hick-ups when they dive back into the world of single male living. The reason for this is their relationship with anxiety.
I wouldn’t refer to Game as a skill. It’s not. It’s a process of expressing your emotions and sexuality as a human being. You already know how to do it, you’ve just got to let go. The learning part is where you learn to do less. Managing your anxiety however, is definitely a skill. And that skill is learned the hard way: through exposure.
The only way out is through.
Exposure therapy is the act of introducing yourself to something that makes you anxious until you are desensitized to it. This can be used for confronting any fear – be it animals, the dark, clowns or of course, approaching women.
‘Desensitized’ is important to remember. In undertaking exposure therapy, it’s crucial to understand that it’s not going to make anxiety go away. What’s going to happen is you’re going to be able to handle and manage it when it arises; you’re going to be able to feel it and then act regardless. Sometimes you still won’t be able to, most times you will.
The longer you labour under the belief that it can vanish, the longer you’re going to be trying to force yourself not to feel a crucial emotion. This misses the point entirely. This whole process is an emotional one; you can’t skip out on yours. You have to feel anxiety in order to use it to act. The exposure simply whittles it down to a manageable level, like sloughing off excess clay.
How to use Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is simple. First, choose something that makes you feel anxious or afraid. Second, make a scale of 1-10. Third, put the act that makes you anxious at 10, then from points 9 down to 1 list a series of actionable challenges you can undertake that slowly build your exposure up to the point where it’s less challenging to attempt number 10.
An example of this is below (for meeting girls in the day time):
- Ask someone (man or woman for the time).
- Ask a woman for the time.
- Ask a woman you’re attracted to for the time.
- Ask a woman you’re attracted to for directions.
- Hold eye contact with a woman you’re attracted to until she looks away (she might not, this is a very good thing).
- Hold eye contact with a woman you’re attracted to and smile.
- Hold eye contact with a woman you’re attracted to, smile, and say Hi.
- Hold eye contact with a woman you’re attracted to smile, say Hi, ask them for the time or directions and at the end tell them they’re cute.
- Ask a woman you’re attracted to where she’s from (ideally at a bookstore, clothing store etc).
- Approach a woman you’re attracted to with the intention of asking her out and getting her number.
This is just an example but it’s more or less the process I’ve used over the years. When I was at my peak with this stuff I would be able to do with this with ease, these days it would make me nervous but I’d still be able to do it.
The key is to create a structure for yourself and amend it as you go. This is you building an understanding of your own anxiety and creating a necessary relationship with it. Repetition and exposure are essential, the more you undertake a step, the easier it becomes. If the gap between one step and the next seems too steep, perhaps create a more moderate one in between. Some gaps however just need to be leaped. This is always the case when you get to challenges that you rank at 9 and 10. That final jump just needs to be stormed through.
The only way out is through.
You’re going to need different challenges for different venues. Meeting people at night and meeting people at day requires different kinds of actions depending on the venue. But as always it comes down to expressing your sexuality. Generally speaking, people at night at more interested in having fun, meeting the opposite sex, whilst people at day are chilled out and in their own heads.
The best way is to go somewhere, feel the anxiety and break down how you’re going to tackle it through exposure. Take the structure, design a program, and implement it. You’re your best tailor.
Some guys feel weird about structuring their anxiety like this, but think about this for a second: is the incremental exposure you receive from these challenges in any way different from the exposure a guy who’s better with women received over the years?
It’s not. You both are just exposing yourself over time and getting better. Yours is just deliberately self-imposed. The guys I know who are best with women simply have the lowest base level anxiety. It’s nothing to do with their looks, money or charm. They can just approach the most women. Anything beyond that just helps.
The downside to exposure therapy is that it isn’t a first step for everyone. Some guys can dive right in, some guys can’t. This doesn’t make you better or worse than anyone else; it just means you have to take a different approach to this problem. A rule of thumb I use is that if you can’t stop someone on the street and ask them the time, then you likely have extreme social anxiety and require some kind of professional assistance. That’s the best option you can choose and there is no shame in it. I recommend some form of therapy for everyone, as there’s only so far you can go on your own.
Excitement and Motivation
Approaching is a challenge. Rejection is funny. Desire and curiosity are your motivators. These are the fundamentals you really want to be building towards.
I’ve written about the relationship of anxiety and excitement before, and it comes down to this. The bodily sensation of anxiety and excitement are one and the same, the difference lies in your reaction to the sensation.
Is it a challenge or is it a threat? Is it an opportunity to grow, or something to knock you down?
Anxiety is a reaction to the latter, excitement to the former. Developing a habit of recasting anxiety as excitement, and viewing the task as a challenge – to see if you can do it is a helpful tip that over time builds into an incredibly useful skill.
Some people say rejection should be your goal. In many senses this is true. When I was starting out my goal was to get rejected as much as possible to desensitize myself to it, it worked, but now I have mixed feelings.
My problem with it lies in the fact that many people who struggle in their relations with women try to terminate or ‘get out’ of the interaction as soon as possible. They want any reason at all the leave and escape the feeling of threat and anxiety. Setting rejection as your goal can cultivate this mindset.
As always, self-awareness is key. Setting a goal to get rejected 10 times is in fact a fine way to actually end up meeting a decent girl. I’ve seen it countless times. However you have to have the self-awareness to know when you’re using that goal to hinder yourself from making any progress.
Desire as ever, is you motivator. This one is plain as day. If you ever want to get more in touch with your desire, don’t watch porn or masturbate for 10 days (or better yet, ever). You will feel it soon enough. Desire is pure attraction, and the foundation of motivation from which you build. You feel attracted to a woman, you act on it and convey it. Simple. Beyond that curiosity works a treat – a curiosity about two things, who the woman is, and how the interaction is going to go. The first motivates connection and a genuine desire to know this person, the second embraces uncertainty head on. You’re going to try something new, and find out what happens.
Someone dumb once said that first impressions are everything. First impressions aren’t everything, but they do matter. The unfortunate side to the worship of first impressions is that many guys embrace it as a magic pill.
Imagine a scenario. You’ve got two guys. One is dressed well, with great hair and great grooming. The other has a cheap barbershop haircut and an unshaven beard.
Both guys approach the same woman. They express their sexuality well, connect with her, laugh, everything goes well.
How does each man fare?
Now imagine another scenario. You’ve got two guys. One is dressed well, with great hair and great grooming. The other has a cheap barbershop haircut and an unshaven beard.
The guy who is dressed well sits on the side-lines as Mr. Dishevelled approaches the woman, expresses his sexuality well, connects with her, laughs and everything goes well.
How does each man fare?
The answer to each scenario lies in the one of the most fundamental truths of Game:
A Woman might like a Man, be interested in and attracted to him more than she is other men – but if he does nothing, if he takes no action, then nothing is going to happen between them. No dates, no relationship, no sex. Nothing. You can look as good as you want, but it’s no substitute for Game. First impressions don’t mean shit if you can’t do anything with them.
That is the most important thing to remember.
The only Magic Pill
With that said… Fitness, fashion and grooming are 100% the only magic pill in this. Imagine yourself now, now imagine yourself in better shape, with better grooming and better clothes.
Now do exactly that. Make it happen.
The fact is that improving your appearance is something that should be a constant side hobby for anyone interested in getting better at Game. It’s a constant thing that is just going to make you more attractive to the opposite sex.
The way I see it is this: First impressions from your identity and appearance create a foundation of attraction. Game builds from this foundation and creates arousal.
I’ve seen Game save guys from their appearance, but I’ve never seen a guy’s appearance save him from absent Game. At the end of the day, you can be as attractive as you want, but if a Woman isn’t aroused by you, she’s going home alone or with another guy.
First impressions aren’t everything, but they’re something that counts, and most importantly, they’re one of the few factors you control. It is idiotic to ignore the advantage utilizing this fact gives you.
You control how you look, and you control what you do.
Don’t go overboard with your appearance. I’ve seen countless guys, insecure about their ability with women, focus on fashion and grooming as if this will save them from ever having to make themselves vulnerable and approach. It doesn’t work. It’s an overcompensation that stems from a perceived lack within. It might appear attractive, but it is fundamentally unattractive. You’re trying to impress, when you should express.
This is a huge thing in Western Cultures, and I believe is what has helped the popularity of Dating Apps like Tinder. In those photo driven worlds, first appearances are quite literally everything. Eventually though, you’ve got to step back into the real world. There’s no photo substitute for who you really are.
Context is also key; what looks good in one country is bizarre in another. British men are very fashion conscious, and follow grooming trends religiously. This tends to work with British women. The Brazilian, Colombian and Peruvian Latinas I’ve dated all found this look to be ‘Gay’, and the general Western lack of sexual aggression confirmed the suspicion for them. As someone who prefers Latinas, this is something I always remember.
Don’t go overboard, don’t overcomplicate it. Get decent, fitted clothes, a decent haircut, and then focus on Game. The rest will fall into place.
Approaching and Goals
People always ask what their goals should be when they’re learning this stuff. Should it be happiness? Sex? Approaching itself?
Setting happiness as a goal can be counterproductive, as can sex. These have nothing to do with overcoming the obstacles in the way of your dating life. Happiness and sex are outcomes of a successful dating life, and go hand in hand with each other. If you prioritize yourself, your desires and actions over goals like sex, you’ll often find yourself achieving those goals more often, and from a happier place.
Focus on desire, and approach.
The goal isn’t for you to be getting laid all the time and feel like a super happy chappy. No, with those goals – you might get laid, but you’ll also end up at best miserable, chasing vagina validation and constantly noticing when you’re not actually happy. The goal is to let these outcomes emerge naturally as a result of your actions, character and lifestyle.
This is why I stress that goals should be action orientated, in this case, approaching. Just set yourself a goal of talking to 5 women. That’s it.
Going to a club? Approach 5 women.
Going to a bar? Approach 5 women.
Going to a mall? Approach 5 women.
It’s really that simple.
When I was starting out I used to set myself enormous challenges, and buy into all kinds of bullshit that made me think that until I’d done X amount of approaches I could approach and get laid.
It was baloney.
If you can approach 1 woman, you can approach 1000. The gulf between is just time and the only real difference between the 1st approach and the 1000th is that you’ll be more experienced. Other than that the action is identical – You approached.
Bench marks can be nice motivators though to keep you working at this. I liked to use 100, 500 and 1000 as benchmarks of my own success. You’ll quickly forget about them though once you get used to all of this, and the levels of your desire will ebb and flow. Sometimes I approach all the time, sometimes not at all. The same happens with anxiety.
Tricks of the Trade
In trying unsuccessfully to annihilate my own anxiety I tried just about everything I could. I would embarrass myself in public, amp up my state and recite affirmations. Nothing worked. Beyond persistent effort and failure, not much did.
There were however, two things that helped me along the way; alcohol and friends.
If you’re at a club or a bar, for god sake have a drink. For a long time I would refuse to do this out of ego. I’d say to myself ‘I don’t need a drink to approach.’ It was bullshit, and I holding myself back. Alcohol is useful tool to help surmount the initial hurdles of understanding your anxiety. It loosens you up to overcome to initially steep learning curve, and can help you gain vital experience early on; as long as you don’t get completely steaming drunk – I personally swear by it.
The best help however, is friends. There’s no faster way to get better at expressing your sexuality than by going out with friends who are already better than you at doing this. You will learn at a rate 10x faster than reading stuff and then trying it on your own. You’ll also have a shitload more fun doing it, which makes a massive difference. For about I year I used to go out on my own as often as I could – I had some good times, sure. But I was making this whole process far harder than it needed to be.
Continue to Part 2…
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