Monday, March 14, 2011

Facing your fear (of approaching)

The biggest obstacle to success with women, or success in anything, is fear. The first time I cold-approached a girl it took me three hours to actually talk to her. When I finally did approach, I was a mess: my hands were shaking, my face was hot, my palms were sweaty, and when I spoke I sounded like a lost lamb my voice was shaking so much. I was not even asking for her number. I had been practicing sleight of hand for three years and wanted to get into get into street magic. Even though my delivery was awful, I was able to perform the trick successfully (she said it was cool), and went home elated. I had done something that for me was incredibly difficult. I had faced a major fear and did so successfully. I was proud of myself.

Fast forward to last Saturday. This time I am actually looking to get her number and I have to laugh at myself because nothing has changed: I am still afraid (though in control), and it still takes me a half an hour to actually approach.

When it comes to approaching the only thing that will drive the fear away is consistent practice.
Unfortunately this does not help for someone who is just starting out. Successfully managing your fear is often the difference between success and failure. So what do you do?

First: Get out of the house. Clean yourself up, dress well, and get out. You are not going to face your fears from your mom's basement. The dragons are out there, not in your apartment. GET OUT.

Second: Recognize that fear is a sign you are going in the right direction. If you are doing something that make you afraid that mean that you are doing something that challenges you. Ignore the people who say it is easy. They are not where you are. You have your challenges they have theirs. Do not let others dictate to you how difficult it should be. This is your challenge. Own it.

Third: Commit to the approach. Whatever happens DO NOT GIVE UP. This is probably the most important thing you can do. You will approach and you will ask her for her number. You may find that you abort the approach before you reach the girl. If that happens, compose yourself and approach again. If it takes a dozen tries, if it takes all day you will approach your target and you will ask for her number. Do not give up.

Fourth: Whatever she says be proud of yourself. If you are new to cold-approaching just getting past your fear is a success. It does not matter what she says because you have faced your fear and beat it. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. You did something that was difficult for you. This is something to be proud of.

Fifth: IMMEDIATELY after the first approach, do another. The momentum from one successful approach is often enough to propel you through another; do not waste it. If you do one approach, do another. Success breeds success. Use the energy from pushing through the fear to get you through multiple approaches, this will give you practice.

Last, I want to talk about a technique that helps me face my fear. Often I find that the three second rule is not enough and I abort the approach before I have reached the girl. When this happens I find a place nearby and sit down. The fear from the aborted approach is often still there trying to get me to give up, to go home, or any number of excuses to get me to not try again. So I try again. This will trigger the fear again. So I continue to listen to it. I let it in and try to feel it completely. This allows me to get used to the feeling. I goad it on. I dare it to try and get me to give up. I face it completely. I become completely aware of it. Most importantly I do not give up. I face the fear. I listen to it. I see it as separate from me. It is not me. It does not control me. I choose, it does not. This puts me in the driver's seat. It can push me but it cannot get me to give up. If I do this eventually I will approach and I will achieve my goal. I face my fear.

I permit the fear to pass over and through me.
When it has gone past I turn to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there is nothing.
Only I remain.


IndyGuy77 said...

If you're using magic tricks, I would say get them down to where you can't get it wrong before using it to impress women. Any fumbling probably quickly builds upon itself.

Realizing a few things helped me overcome my fear.

For truly cold approaches, the fear is irrational.

She doesn't know you. You don't know her. The likelihood of you ever seeing her again is probably pretty small. If you do see her again, the likelihood of her remembering you is probably small again. Unless you make a REALLY bad and strong first impression.

I like the idea I read somewhere: make every woman you meet smile. Negging, light flirting, whatever. I've let myself get out of practice on this one, but flirting with every woman you meet no matter how old or young is a trip I need to start that back up again consciously so it gets reflexive again.

Black said...

Good call, Indy. Practice on the old lady checking you out at the grocery store. Practice on the waitress at Applebees... "So, you wearing an optimal amount of flair today?"

Hughman said...

Nice Dune quote there at the end

RM said...

@IndyGuy77, Thanks. I have been doing magic tricks for 12 years now and can do them without thinking about it. I don't use them anymore because they were a crutch. That time was the first time I had ever tried showing a complete stranger. I quickly found that approaching was not nearly as difficult as I thought it was. After learning game I found that it was only a little different in that I did not have a trick as an ice breaker. After doing two approaches the fear leaves and you are left with a lot of energy from the adrenaline.

Desert Cat said...

That trick works pretty well for nearly any powerful emotion--pain, sorrow especially.

Underwater Operative said...

I sold books door-to-door one summer to help pay for college. All of my sales were cold call knocking and I was very successful. I remember how awkward it felt going up to a complete stranger and trying to sell them something. I was playing the percentages, so I was knocking on as many door/hr as I could. The more I knocked, the easier it got. The more objections I got, the easier it was to overcome them.
The same goes for women. The more you approach the easier it gets and the more shit tests you get the easier it is to pass them.
On a side note, I would always recommend touching the women on her arm or back. I'm married, but I still use this with female clients. I'm not sure what it does to them, but it works.

Nate said...

UO.. they are in the baby stages... getting near panic attacks about just approaching women...

And you're suggesting they actually touch them?

Josh said...


the game term is "kino." it works because it increases a womens comfort and starts to build attraction.

I also work in sales, and the only way to conquer the fear of approaching is to make a lot of approaches.

also, visualize the worst case scenario of an aproach. Ask yourself "what if she says no?" or "whats the worst that can happen?" when you identify a speficic scenarios, that can remove fear.

IndyGuy77 said...

Nate, you surprise. I would think you would push unapologetically "invading" personal space.

Kipling said...

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Joseph Dantes said...

I appreciate the effort you're putting in. I've been there.

What I don't hear you saying, is that it's getting any easier.

I really recommend you check out RSD about this. What you're experiencing is stifling.

And things like the 3-second rule, for you, might only make it worse. Feeling like you have to approach. Getting locked in that anxiety mindset.

The momentum you're getting off of a first terrifying approach can be created in your head before you do any approaches.

You need to stop thinking of an "approach" as beginning when you say something, or when you walk. It's all one interaction, eye contact, her peripheral awareness of you, everything.

The best way to make it happen well, is to be in an unstifled, indifferent, self-fulfilled state throughout. Enjoying her, throughout.

I don't currently do much cold approaching since I'm not currently looking for another notch.

But if I want to do one, I just pound the joy section of my koanic system, which puts a smile on my face and gets me thinking about sex.

Also, I don't like your anti-fear mantra. It's too long and complicated. You'll have to go into logic mode to remember it, which will amplify your anxiety.

Mine is simpler. Not that I use it during approaches.

I have two mantras. Both belong to the anger koan group... anger reverses fear.

"What am I afraid of? Jesus Christ."


"What specifically am I afraid of? "
"What SPECIFICALLY am I afraid of?"

Joseph Dantes said...

oops... brackets get deleted as html.
inbetween each specifically, you describe the worst case scenario in ever more precise detail.

Removing the ambiguity prevents the vagueness of imagination from creating fear.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just act pissed off. Act like someone just really pissed you off (not like you are terrified or like you think you can kill someone) just...annoyed. You won't be so scared (and anything weird you do she will just think it is because you are angry) and she will sense that something is wrong and won't be able to let it rest until she gets it out of you.

Tell her no, you won't talk about it but how about you guys go out to get your mind off it. Then look behind you and say "I am outta here and mutter "stalker" and leave in a rush when you see a hot girl coming your way.

It will give you a topic to evade and seem mysterious about. Also, while talking to her, smile HUGE at another girl pause and then drink first before going back to your conversation. She will want to kill her whether she likes you or not. We always like to be the center of attention and can't stand to not know what a man is thinking...LOL

Just some fun advice from a girl rooting for you...

Anonymous said...

Just know that most girls spend the entire night at clubs and functions and such holding their farts in.
That should get the shakes off you a bit.
Many Blessings Ace

Nate said...

Now men... read Carlotta's advice.

Now imagine walking up to a woman and saying, "Hello. I am terrified right now. You don't know it... but right I am doing the scariest thing in the world to me. I have to ask you for your number... because I am doing this to force myself to face my fear."

Who's getting the girl... and who's a creeper?

Now for the love of all that is good and holy..

Remember this lesson when you hear a woman claim she only wants someone to be honest with her.

Steve said...

I have a lot of trouble approaching women. Once I know them it's fine, and we get along, I'm social, whatever. I haven't gotten any complaints about my social skills in a long time(that I received them in the first place tells you a lot about where I'm coming from). But when it comes to approaches, I'm dead. I freeze up in absolute terror. I'm 27 and I've only done a cold approach once, and it was a total disaster(my friend, who is a real ladies' man, threatened to not drive me home until I went over to her).

Yet yesterday I spent almost an hour talking to a hot(8.5ish) girl I've never spoken to - but I've seen her at my church and we have two mutual friends. There was immediately something to talk about and it went fine(if not as well as it could have). Once I'm over that hurdle it's not so bad, but that hurdle is nearly impossible for me to cross.

IndyGuy77 said...

G. Gordon Liddy used to say on his show all the time "Do that which you fear to do and the fear will die."

Then I think of the boss on the old show "Herman's Head" saying:

"Sherman, I used to be terrified of cottage cheese. Terrified of the stuff. One day to get over it, I made myself eat three tubs of the stuff. Which was bad because I'm lactose intolerant."

There's a lesson in there... somewhere.

Susan Walsh said...

I especially like how RM regards the fear as something that is not him. It's an enemy to be wrestled with, trying to take him down. It seems to me that separating the fear from who you are is a critical first step.

I recall a character in Strauss' The Game - Tyler Durden maybe? Or Papa? Anyway, he went out every night cold approaching and trying to number close. His goal was to get 1,000 number closes in a short period of time. All that practice inoculated him to rejection. Surely, that level of exposure isn't necessary for everyone, but his method works - it's a form of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Anonymous said...

Nate is correct!

When my Husband and I are confronted by a Dragon I get scared and I bet he does too. This is NOT the time for him to curl into a fetal position and tell me he wants to get in touch with his feminine side. And he doesn't.

My Husband says "You see that dragon right there? I am going to go over there, rip its head off, spit down its neck and then eat it. And you damm well better be waiting here naked for me when I am done!"

I say "Go Baby, get HIM!" And do some cheerleading while I start stripping.

Does my Husbad get scared? Sure. Does He share it with me? Sure. Does he walk crying and shaking toward a dragon and look back to me for confidence...HELL NO! OR I would have wanted nothing to do with him.

One of the first "shit tests" he passed was when a lunatic in his dorm freaked out on me out of nowhere because I was too loud in the hallway. He didn't know my Husband was walking up to me. He nearly pissed himself when my Husband told him in no uncertain terms not to talk to me like that. The Lunatic was considerably bigger and scared the crap out of me when he freaked. I didn't start a fight or anything. My Husband genuinely protected me...and basically had me at "You talk to my girl like that again you...."

Sorry, the rules are the rules. Women want men who make them believe that they and their children will be protected and provided for. I don't want to a man to have "girl talk" with.

So yeah, the truth stuff is we want the truth like "No I am not cheating on you or yes I am." Not the, " know how the economy is crashing...yeah, we will most likely starve to death or be eaten by zombies." We want..."It doesn't matter what happens, I will take care of you and God will help me. You and the kids don't need to worry."

Sigh, doesn't it seem like people knew all this for thousands of years...


Vox said...

I think Brian Billick, the former coach of the Baltimore Ravens, said it best:

"When you go in the lion's den, you don't tippy toe in, you carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee, you kick whatever doors in, and say, 'Where is the son of a bitch?"

Jay Stang said...

General Patton:

"Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."

Wondering Goym said...

"Second: Recognize that fear is a sign you are going in the right direction. If you are doing something that make you afraid that mean that you are doing something that challenges you"

Fucking aye, RM. Of all the motivational drivel I've had forced upon me and stumbled across, I've never heard it put better.

UO:I sold books door-to-door one summer to help pay for college. All of my sales were cold call knocking and I was very successful. I remember how awkward it felt going up to a complete stranger and trying to sell them something. I was playing the percentages, so I was knocking on as many door/hr as I could. The more I knocked, the easier it got. The more objections I got, the easier it was to overcome them.

As a delta with more than a few recessive gamma genes, I had a similar experience. My first job after moving to Britain was in a call centre conducting polls for newspapers, etc. I was two left feet at it, initially. But it taught me a great deal "selling yourself" to strangers. Instead of asking pleadingly, I learned to channel my innate warmth (I'm basically a nice guy) while speaking authoritatively, and coupled it with a whiff indifference to their decision. I knew I was still Walter Mitty but they didn't.

Your first and subsequent step are what tilt's the field in your favor.

Even though this lesson came a little too late in life to be of much use for sport-fucking, it's been damn helpful in other social situations.

Flirting Body Language said...

You may scare her away if you keep calling her every day. She is just starting to know you and she is not yet your girlfriend so give her the time and freedom to know you more. She will eventually see your good intentions.

Approaching Women said...

nice post well written...

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