5 causes of approach anxiety and what you can do about it

 

Approach Anxiety vs skydiving

Approach anxiety is the fear of approaching and talking to women. It’s a common problem amongst men and something many suffer with.

In fact, Bo was talking to Vegas Pete recently and we got onto the topic of honeys – specifically, approaching a woman and talking to her.

Vegas Pete revealed that he would rather go skydiving than approach a woman with model looks in a bar. Now let’s think about that for a second. Let’s let it sink in…he would rather jump out of a moving plane at 10,000 ft than strike up a conversation with another human being.

Seems a little strange, right?

But I can understand where he’s coming from. This is approach anxiety. And fortunately, it’s something that can be fixed. Another fear….another development opportunity.

But let’s go back to what Vegas Pete said…

He would rather jump out of a plane at 10,000 ft than strike up a conversation with another human being

 

Approach Anxiety - The Iron Qualities

 

Why do men get this fear? There’s a number of reasons

1 – Being too nice: ‘Nice’ here means that you don’t want to bother a woman or intrude on her personal space. You don’t want to show sexual interest or attraction to her because it’s ‘wrong’ or too forward. And you see yourself as this ‘nice’ guy and compare yourself negatively to men you see in movies or read about in books who DO get women. They are nothing like you and therefore you think you will fail before you begin

2- The Halo Effect: You see a smoking hot honey. I mean, she is out of this world. Wow. She must have many other amazing qualities too – she’s probably intelligent, kind, funny, warm and witty. She’s perfect. You’ve only got one shot at this. If you approach her without being prepared, you’re going to screw it up and lose your only chance with the woman of your dreams. So why even bother?

3 – She is higher value than you: Following on from the previous point, because this woman is essentially perfect, she is better than you. I mean let’s face it – you are not attractive, not interesting, not confident and you have so many problems in your life. This woman is used to strong, successful and confident guys who have their shit together and this is not you

4 – What to say what to say….. : You’ve decided to take the plunge. You’re going to go up to this woman and talk to her. Oh wait….talk?! What are you going to say??? You need to have a repertoire of smooth lines ready to go in order to amaze this women with your wit and banter. Right now, you can’t think of one damn word to say to her. Maybe ‘hello’ …. but then what? You’ll be standing there like a dickhead, freeze and end up looking like a socially maladjusted freak. She’ll probably pepper spray you in the face just to get rid of you

5 – Pride: You’re approaching an attractive woman in a public place and potentially within earshot of numerous people. No doubt other guys in the place have been thinking the same and if you approach, all eyes are on you. Women don’t want to be annoyed. What if she rejects you and makes a big scene. She might slap you in the face or throw her drink all over you if you try to say hi. And in front of everyone. Horrible

 

These are the kind of stories many of us tell ourselves in our heads and some of the reasons for social paralysis when it comes to wooing the honeys

We have these delimiting beliefs that we are not worthy; women don’t want to be bothered; showing sexual attraction is wrong and so on. So what happens? We end up sitting on the sidelines and being passive observers. That old sickness spectatoritis popping up again.

And this can produce a vicious cycle of debilitating behaviour. If you want to approach a woman and don’t, you are denying your instinct. You have failed to act when you felt you should. That’s why it feels shit. You have not acted authentically and so the next time this happens, you remember the previous failure, feel even more inferior and fail to act again. And so the cycle continues.

 

The fear of getting punched is worse than the punch itself

Ok, enough of that crap. We’re telling ourselves all these negative stories in our heads BEFORE we’ve even said a word to her. It’s like my good friend  Mike Black always says:

“The fear of getting punched is worse than the punch itself. Getting punched isn’t actually that bad.”

 

And so it is with approaching women. And the good news is now that you’re versed in the principles of The Iron Qualities, you know that talking to a honey ain’t no thing.

 

Problem vs opportunity

Let’s have a look at those reasons for approach anxiety again:

1 – Being too nice: No. Nice is not where you want to be. Nice is passive. Nice is limiting. Nice is timid. Don’t be nice. If you want something, go get it. Women want men who know what they want and know how to get it. Approaching a woman in a non-creepy and confident way is infinitely more attractive to her than staring at her longingly from a distance and cry-wanking about how sexually frustrated you are when you get home all alone.

2- The Halo Effect: Ok. Here’s a truth – there is no woman on this earth who is perfect. Chances are, this woman has none of the traits you applied to her in your mind. The more you talk to women the more you realise that they are flawed humans just like you and I. But of course there’s only one way to find out….

3 – She is higher value than you: You are a man of Iron Qualities now. You are dedicated to becoming the best you can be. That negative mindset is gone – it’s in the past. You are a positive, confident and resourceful man who has his own shit going on. An attractive honey would be a welcome addition in this fantastic life you’ve got going on, but she needs to prove to you that she is worth it.

4 – What to say what to say….. : Over-thinking things can get you in all sorts of trouble. You don’t need any special chatup lines – just go up to her and say hi and have a normal conversation. Think back – how many times have you had a random conversation with a stranger. Was it weird? Did you freeze up? No. And just by walking up and saying hi, you’re already the exception rather than the rule – 90% of the guys in the place are too afraid to even get this far

5 – Pride: Being rejected in these situations is not something you should be concerned about. This woman doesn’t know you and there are countless reasons why she is not interested – most of them outside your sphere of influence. Most people are pretty well socially adjusted so don’t fear being called out and shot down in a blaze of glory. IF IF IF you do get rejected, it will probably be politely and with a smile. If it’s not and you get a slap or a pint over the head (assuming you’ve been respectful and non-creepy), this isn’t the kind of person you want to get to know anyway.

 

Steps to victory

Now I know that all the theory and logic in the word doesn’t mean a thing when the slimy tentacles of a phobia are wrapped tightly around your throat. So now that we’ve debunked all those nasty and horrible fears, here’s some practical and easy steps you can take today to start the journey towards silver-tongued goodness

1 – Become the best version of yourself: This is always priority #1. It trumps everything. Honeys should never be the primary focus of your life. Taking the right steps to becoming a better man will make you positive, cool, fun and driven. Yes, that’s right – HIGH VALUE.

2 – Talk to more people in everyday situations: Make it a goal to enhance any functional conversation you have during a typical day by asking a few more questions.

  • Buying lunch at the canteen? Ask the cooks which meal is the best option today
  • Getting a new pair of shoes? Get an opinion on whether black or brown looks better on you
  • Walk past that same person everyday at work but never say a word? Today is the day you ask them how they’re doing

Easiest thing in the world. One extra question and you’re having a proper conversation. Rather than focussing on meeting and talking to attractive women, focus on being a more sociable person in all aspects of your day-to-day life. Doing this makes you a more positive and sociable person and will ultimately help you talk to women you find attractive.

3 – Don’t over think. Just act: You have no idea what she’s going to say when you approach. Stop imagining all the horrible things that could go wrong and pull the trigger. And when you do pull the trigger and you can’t think of anything to say, or you get a lukewarm response, try this one:

You: Hi

Honey: Hi

You: How’s your evening going?

Honey: It’s going ok…

You: Ok cool. I just thought I’d come over and say hi. What’s your name?

Honey: Honey

You: Alright Honey. I’m Bo. You have a good night and if we bump into each other again later, we’re doing shots

And there you go. Honey wasn’t interested but:

a) you had a conversation with her

b) You’ve gained experience approaching an woman

c) You now have a legitimate reason to re-engage later in the evening for those shots

Things won’t happen if you wait for them – you have to make them happen. The more you put yourself out there, the more of a roller-coaster it will be. But remember: you’re just talking to another person. That’s all it is.

 

Talking the Iron Qualities

Taking all this into consideration, let’s do a good old fashioned compare and contrast. Picture the scene – you are in a coffee shop buying a…wait for it…coffee. The barista is an attractive lady:

Barista: Hi there, how can I help you?

You: Can I have a medium vanilla spiced soya latte please

Barista: Sure. One moment please

(one moment later)

Barista: Here you go. That’s £2.50 please

(you had over the money)

You: There you go. Have a nice day

Barista: Thanks, you too

 

Ok. Not bad. You spoke to an attractive lady, got your coffee and survived without any permanent damage. If we were ticking off a checklist, that’s a fairly successful operation.

But life isn’t about checklists. Let’s inject some Iron Qualities into the same scene and see what happens:

Barista: Hi there, how can I help you?

(looking at her name badge)

You: Hi Honey. Can I have a black coffee. No milk. No Sugar.

Barista: Sure. One moment please

You: How are you doing today?

Barista: I’m doing good thanks. How about you.

You: Yeah pretty good. I just read a really interesting article on my favourite blog –  theironqualities.com

Barista: Oh really? I haven’t heard of it. What’s it about?

You: It’s a self-improvement blog for men. It has lots of useful tips

Barista: Sounds interesting! What kind of tips?

You: Well today my goal was to flirt with a pretty lady. I guess I can tick that box now….

Barista: Tee hee!! Oh you!

(coffee arrives)

Barista: Here you go. That’s £2.50 please

(you had over the money)

You: There you go. You have a great day

Barista: Thanks, you too Mr Iron Qualities. Maybe see you again sometime

You: No doubt

 

I think that went ok, don’t you?

 

“Language was invented for one endeavour….to woo women”
Robin Williams – Dead Poet’s Society

 

The Difference between a man and a boy – A tale from France

Laurent Blanc has been slapped in the face by football more than once in his life.

When France won the World Cup in 1998, the man affectionately known as Larry White during his later playing days in England formed one half of an impressive centre-half partnership for the French alongside Marcel Desailly.

But he was missing from the final itself, having played an integral part in getting his team there during the tournament.

In the semi-final against Croatia, during the build-up to a French offensive free-kick, Blanc was in the opposing penalty area waiting for the delivery when he had a sudden realisation. He had invited his old Aunt Marie up to Paris to be his special guest of honour for the game.

She had travelled all the way from the south of France especially to watch her little nephew Larry play in the semi-final; which in itself was a miracle as she hated the capital with all its rude Parisians rushing around and cursing each other all the time.

So to sweeten the deal and make her day a little more special, Blanc had promised to wave to her during the game.

And he really had to deliver…Aunt Marie had told him that if he didn’t, she would give him a good clip around the back of the head. Sweet irony….

 

The difference between a man and a boy

 

Laurent Blanc has a brush with a rock god

With all this suddenly going through his mind and with the free-kick about to be delivered he turned around to find her in the crowd, arm outstretched in a pre-emptive wave. And just at that exact moment, opposing Croatian centre-half and part-time rock god Slaven Bilic wandered across the path of that arm and took a vicious looking (but totally accidental) thumb to the eye.

He went down apparently crying in a heap. The ref smelled foul play, whipping out the red card for poor Larry who was sent for an early bath before facing the wrath of Aunt Marie, who never did get that wave. Here’s footage of the incident along with some bland responses and reaction

Anyway, France went on to win that game and the World Cup itself a few days later. But Blanc learned a valuable lesson that day – the fates of the football world are cruel and fickle.

Fast forward to the present day where he recently got a reminder of the fact.

 

When your social media footprint comes back to haunt you

Now quite a successful manager with French giants Paris St Germain and gearing up for a big European Cup game against Chelsea, his team’s preparations went down the pan when footage from an internet Q&A emerged showing one of his players – Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier – apparently saying some pretty nasty stuff about his team-mates including Angel Di Maria and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

And even Blanc himself wasn’t immune from the abuse, with Aurier appearing to suggest that his manager preferred the company of men.

You can read all about the incident here

 

Larry takes it very badly – but like a man

Now these nasty little incidents happen from time to time – but just as important as what life throws at us is how we react. And how did Larry White react?

Very badly,” he said in a press conference. “Very badly because we can think whatever we think, this is a democracy and we are free to think, and thankfully we can have our own opinions in our country and that’s good.

“But I think that guy, that boy… really two years ago I committed myself to making him come to Paris and seeing what I saw yesterday that’s all the thanks I got and I think that’s really pitiful.”

Blanc generally handled himself pretty well in that press conference and spoke with eloquence and as a man of substance. But here he made the mistake of thinking that he is owed something by the world (personified in this case by Aurier).

It’s a dog-eat-dog world and Aurier is only important to Blanc and the team as long as he is performing and contributing positively. And that’s what they make him a multi-millionaire for.

“It is penalising for him but what I do not accept either is that it is also bad for the club – it is penalising the club.”

Sure, Aurier has now been suspended by the club and he’ll probably get a two-week fine. Worst-case scenario – possibly sacked. Who knows. Either way, he’ll be fine in the long-term.

If he gets sacked, he’ll be public enemy #1 for a while but once the dust settles, some other club will eventually pick him up and sign him to a multi-year contract and furnish his bank account with a few more million. So is it really penalising for him? Short term, slightly. Long term…probably not that much.

 

Never take sides against the family

Blanc’s grip here is that HE fought to get this player signed for the club. The club is his sporting family. The players are his adopted sons. Here is one he personally wanted to adopt who has now betrayed his father’s confidence by apparently talking trash about him on social media.

Why he said what he said or what his motivation was, I have no idea. But Blanc was still angry as he continued his press conference. And he hit on an important point:

“The player is a big boy, he can do what he wants and he will handle the consequences. There are many, many people in that generation that spend their time feeling sorry and excusing themselves but I think before excusing you need to think about what you do.”

When I first read this, I was impressed. It appears Blanc is familiar with The Iron Qualities and must be one of the dozens who regularly visit the site. Bienvenue Laurent.

His point here is that a man – and even ‘a big boy’ – should take responsibility for his actions and ownership of the consequences of those actions.

It’s the easiest thing to do something wrong and then apologise for it. The thing is…apologies are weak and should be avoided as much as possible. Aurier apparently thought it was a good idea to publicly insult his footballing brothers and father on social media and then had a change of heart when there was a backlash.

“He’s a boy that should be preparing today for a last-16 game of the Champions League. That would’ve been better instead of staying at home not knowing what to do.”

Well, one suggestion I can make to Aurier is that he checks out theironqualities.com where he can pick up a wealth of material on how to move from “boy” to man and avoid any of this unpleasantness in the future.

 

It’s strictly business – but let’s at least deal with things as men

Spending time thinking negatively about people and talking trash is really time wasted. But don’t get me wrong – the problem isn’t what he said. It’s that he’s saying this about his adopted family. If you want to talk trash about them, do it to their face or wait until another family adopts you.

It’s an overly romantic idea suggesting that a football club is one big surrogate family. Maybe once upon a time things were like that. But increasingly it’s become strictly business. Big business.

  • Do players care about team mates and see them as brothers?
  • Do managers see their players as sons?
  • Is there a tribal bond between club, players and supporters?

The answer to all those questions is increasingly ‘no’. But that’s a thought for another day.

For now, it’s enough to know that Larry White handled this situation like a man and if you ever feel the urge to talk trash about those close to you – do it to their face instead of plastering it all over social media.

I’ll leave the last word on this to Mr White himself:

“If he’s got a problem with me, I won’t use you journalists to handle the problem. That’s for sure.”

That’s how Aunt Marie brought him up