tl;dr: To get over "approach anxiety", learn how to initiate conversations with people without any other goal to the interaction than the initiation. Practice it. Then approaching the beautiful women will just be a natural part of your already developed habit of just initiating talking to people.
It's Sunday night and I feel like writing. This post is based on my answer to a question posed a few weeks back in some comments about "how do I learn how to approach strangers?"
As an older dude, going out in public for the sole purpose of looking for cuties then rushing up to them trying to convince them to give me their numbers - "cold approach" - is just unseemly. But I'm an older dude, that's how I roll. Others have great luck with it. But many seem to struggle with the process.
I see a lot of posts here and on / ask about either how to cold approach the pretty women (the "cheat code" method); or how the poster has gone out and cold approached x-hundred number of women and totally failed. The way I see it, the problem is that these kinds of "cold approach" exercises give off a vibe of "I'm trying to get laid" and "I'm desparate to get laid." Women sense this - they're good at that.
The problem, then, is that you haven't learned how to sincerely and naturally initiate a conversation with someone. You get butterflies, your palms sweat, your voice chokes in your throat, your eyes get shifty.
Fake - that is to say, insincere - opening lines with the goal of getting a phone number then exiting is an unnatural way of going about meeting your next future ex wife. It will have you unnaturally pushing the conversationg toward the number close - your unspoken goal - rather than having a natural end to the convo that may or may not have you deciding to accept her number.
The Natural Way to Meet People
Take this wisdom from my 50+ years of breathing: you have to want to meet and learn about new people, sincerely. I was blessed with an uncle who could talk to anyone - literally he spoke with governors and big-city mayors and men of importance on a daily basis, but would take 20 minutes to discuss the night's sports game with the guy taking the tickets or parking his car. I asked him his secret once and he told me that he just genuinely likes meeting new people. No purpose, no hidden agenda, in talking with people other than that.
This can be learned, because when I was younger, "other people" were just nuisances or there to be exploited. Now I see the wisdom in meeting them, learning about them, getting to know them even if for a brief 30 second fun chat. I've become that man who can start a conversation with anyone about anything or nothing at all.
But it has taken years of practice before it felt natural and sincere.
What Is this New Theory, Do Not Read This?
It's not a new theory you silly reader. "Approach anxiety" comes from putting too much pressure on the incipient relationship before it's even begun. Gotta get the digits - Gotta get the digits - Gotta get the digits.
I was at a networking event back in [my old city] and some random dude zooms through all the little groups shoving his business card into everyone's hands, then books it out of there. He had learned that if you trade digits, you're succeeding. But did he get the business equivalent of "laid" from those insincere digit exchanges? Of course not, nobody knew anything about him, why would they send him business?
"Cold approach for digits" is an outcome based way of meeting someone, and it requires that stranger to meet the expectations you've created for the relationship, but haven't told them about. And when they don't meet those unspoken expectations that you haven't told them about, you get disappointed. Approach anxiety comes from anticipating that disappointment (also known as rejection) because the number of disappointing outcomes starts to pile up quickly.
What If I Told You Your Success Rate Could Be 100%?
So what to do? Come at it from a different perspective, that is, learn how to initiate conversations. That's it. That's your goal. Don't worry about the digits, don't worry about what you're going to talk about three minutes into the convo, don't worry about just the right moment to ask for the digits. That will happen.
When your goal is to initiate rather than number-close, you win *every single time you initiate*!
Just learn how to initiate. With anyone and everyone. That's an important part of it. Not just the pretties, but the store clerks, the bus driver, the guy taking your ticket as you go into the hockey game, the waitress, the lady standing next to you looking for eggs in the store ("When did buying eggs get so complicated?" and lolz ensue).
Why? Because do this 10,000 times like I have and it becomes second nature. Initiate mini-conversations everywhere, and you'll find yourself doing it without even thinking. Woman I'm going out with now rolls her eyes when she sees me gearing up to initiate - but she loves the social proof that I know someone everywhere we go after years of doing this in my new hometown.
Glad you asked.
Talk to everybody. Everybody! Even if it's just "have a nice day" to the checkout lady at the supermarket, say something to a stranger every chance you get just to get used to initiating talking to strangers and getting out of your head and past that lump in your throat and that rush of adrenaline that stops you from talking to strangers. Inure your body to it and it will eventually stop happening - you'll train yourself to not react when you're about to initiate.
Learn how to do it in a natural setting; that is to say, in every day affairs. It's normal to talk to the cashier at the grocery about your groceries; it's not normal to run up to a pretty girl at random and start talking (remember that dude rushing around passing out his business card - was that you "cold approaching" last week?). Having some canned chatter that's appropriate to a dozen circumstances is great; even better is if you learn to improv based on your then-present circumstances.
Here's Some Bullet Points Because People Like Bullet Points
By "canned chatter" I don't mean a corny opening line that you use on everyone. "Chatter" has to be (a) situationally appropriate, (b) get their attention and interest, and (c) be geared to get a response. All three.
Examples of initiating a conversation (and please, *smile* when you say this):
- To a cashier: "I'll bet I'm the [rudest/funniest/best looking] person to come through your line today". This will get you a minute or so of banter.
- To the guy taking your ticket: "I sure hope [our team] can beat [rival team] tonight" (yeah, that simple - you just started a convo with a stranger, man!). This will get you anywhere from a minute to three hours of banter.
- What's your favorite team? If you see someone with a ball cap or shirt with your team's logo on it, smile and say "Go [your team]" and when they smile back, ask about the team - how are they going to be this year, boy they stunk last year, do you think they'll beat [rival] next week, how's the new coach going to work out? Likewise, if someone is wearing your team's rival's logo, smile at them and say "Boo [rival]!" and have the similar conversation.
- Two ladies at the tea shop the other day had the same unusual color shirt on - me, walking past them: "Did you two coordinate outfits to look nice for me today?" Smile! They said some clever response, and we all moved on with our lives.
- To the waitress last night, "Big crowd tonight, huh? You would think the cold would keep people at home." Chatter chatter smile chatter.
- Girl in line behind you at the store wearing yoga pants, "what's your favorite yoga pose?" They *always* answer that one. Tell 'em "that's easy, pick a harder one!"
Talk to men and women, young and old, pretty or ugly. It's all about practice and comfort to desensitize your body from that jolt of anxiety you get right when you formulate the idea to inititate. Learn how to initiate and it will become second nature.
You get the idea - it's not "pickup lines"; it's just having something clever to say to start them talking with you. Talk for a minute then exit the convo.
But Do Not Read This, How Do I Get The Precious Digits?
That's for another post. For now, I'll say it again - go out there and practice initiating as your goal, not having a stranger fulfil some unspoken requirement you've put on them which then results in multiple "failures". As soon as you open your mouth to instigate some chatter, you've already won, Champ!