Approach anxiety is that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think about chatting up a new lady. It’s a natural reaction, left over from the caveman days when rejection meant lowered social status in a small hunting band and hitting on the wrong woman could get you killed.

While the risk of being killed has passed, you can still have your social standing lowered by rejection. But I’ve got good news. If you can beat approach anxiety, you’ll end up with much higher social standing. Follow these five tips and be prepared to fight the ladies off.

  1. See failure as success
    So you’re all amped to try this, and the first woman you approach blows you out of the water. It isn’t just a minor brushoff. It’s a total, unmitigated disaster. Or is it? If you see yourself as a social scientist, all failures are actually successes. Why’s that? Because if you’re paying attention, you learn as much from failure as you do from success. When a scientist’s hypothesis isn’t confirmed, his experiment isn’t a failure. It’s only a failure if he fails to understand the meaning of the data. So, you learn that “Nice shoes, wanna screw?” isn’t the best opening line, or maybe just that not every girl is cool enough to roll with you. Now you have a template to modify on the path to success. Next time, just go with “Hey, I’m Jeff.”
  1. Fake it till you make it
    Guess what, guys? The jury has come back with a verdict on “fake it till you make it.” It works! Don’t believe me? Try it for 30 days (or 21 if you’re feeling lazy—that’s how long some experts say it takes to make a new habit). Stand tall, talk big and act as if you’re the guy with balls of steel, the best job, the hottest chicks, the most money… whatever. I’m not telling you to go out and lie. Just play a little make-believe and see how things workout for you. I can guarantee that if you do this right—by really committing to the experiment—you’ll have a much better time at bars. And, hell, on sidewalks, too.
  1. Talk to more women
    Anything becomes easier the more you do it. Talking to women is no exception. Set a number of women you don’t know that you are going to talk to every day, then… do it. The number should be high enough that it’s a bit of a stretch, but low enough that it’s reasonable. Somewhere between three and five is best. Talk to them at the mall, talk to them on the street, talk to them waiting in line at the grocery store. Don’t be afraid to talk to men, too. The same skills and confidence building result. Dogs don’t count… unless they’re attached to people.
  1. Be more social
    Now it’s time to go beyond meaningless banter with strangers. Get out more. I’m not telling you to hit a bar every night. Just become involved in different activities: trivia nights, softball leagues, chess clubs, whatever. It honestly doesn’t matter what you do. The point is to get out in a mixed group and mingle with some people who are both familiar and unfamiliar to you. This will break down your approach anxiety by acclimating you to the idea of talking to strangers and having meaningful interactions.
  1. Practice, practice, practice
    Beating approach anxiety is a powerful tool that will help ensure you get all interactions off on the right foot. Men and women alike love confidence, and you have a real chance to showcase that just by chatting people up within seconds of making eye contact with them. Practice these techniques for three weeks and >watch your life change. I’m telling you, man, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this years ago.


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