Of everything I have done to learn game the cold-approach is still the hardest. It seems like so much work for so little return. While I have got a few numbers from talking to random cute girls not a single one has resulted in a date. Despite this I have come to the conclusion that the cold-approach is one of the most important things a man can do to learn game. Nothing exposes deficiencies in your social skill set faster than talking to a random stranger. When you are in a social setting with people that like you, most of the time they will be willing to overlook your social gaffes, and will work to maintain the good feelings. Strangers are not so generous. By default, talking to a complete stranger is an uncomfortable experience, even more so when it is unexpected. This means that even small mistakes become glaring, and big mistakes end the interaction immediately. But without the ability to see your mistakes, it becomes very hard to make any improvement. Thankfully, even a small number of approaches will expose them.
My biggest weakness is conversation. I cannot talk to women without it feeling forced and awkward, if I am able to talk at all. My mind simply crashes. This fact has become my amygdala’s go to excuse to keep me from approaching. I know that I will not be able to say anything to keep conversation going so I rarely try to initiate one. This is not like approach anxiety that I can just push past it. If I have nothing to say things end very quickly. Just plunging in and hoping for the best does not do much either. I am too focused on regulating my anxiety to free my mind up for creative spontaneous banter. Adrenaline is not exactly meant for relaxed conversation. The fight or flight response tends to slow higher brain function and I am left with my default programming: awkward silence.
However, when I do sleight of hand this problem rarely comes up. Currently I have about ten tricks in my arsenal. I have done each trick so many times that I can do them automatically, freeing my mind to talk and explain what is happening. I am relaxed and confident because I know that should I make a mistake I can abort the trick and move on to another one. I have a safety net. I have realized that I need the same thing when I am not doing magic. For this reason I am turning to conversational routines to get me past my lack of ability.
With a routine you are free to take risks. If you try something that does not work you can fall back to something that does. Both comedians and magicians do this. If a new joke does falls flat the comedian will follow up with a sure-fire joke to recover the audience. If a magician makes a mistake he will abort the current trick for a new one. Knowing the routine by heart also frees you up to work on other, more subtle things. You can check your body-language, watch for IOIs, plan your next move, or mentally prepare for the next routine.
With practiced routines you become free to be spontaneous. Successful improvising is not a result of randomness and guessing. Rather, it comes from practice and you must first know the routine before you can practice it. Unfortunately, you will not know if the routine will work unless you first test it. Instead of creating an original routine, find one on the manosphere that has been tried and tested. Once you have found one that you are comfortable with, the challenge is bringing the routine to the point that you can execute it with little effort. You do not want to memorize the routine word for word as that wold be counter productive. You want to focus on the interaction more than the exact words. In this case rehearsal is better than memorization. To rehearse, write the routine down. As you write, mentally walk yourself through what you will do. Describe your thoughts and feelings as you go through this imaginary approach. The point is to practice the interaction while you are not under pressure. You are training your mind to react correctly when the pressure is on. Try to think of as many outcomes as you can. It is important to put the routine on paper as it removes any ambiguity in your mind. It is also easier to correct your mistakes when you have something concrete to refer to. After you go out and try the routine you can refer back to the original, record mistakes, and tweak it.
None of this is meant to make you completely comfortable with talking to strangers. If you were completely comfortable you would not need game. The idea is to give yourself the tools you need to take yourself to the edge of your comfort zone and stretch your limits.