Do you have a hard time approaching people, especially the opposite sex? Approach anxiety is more common than you think, and it’s easily fixable too!
Ahhhhh… approach anxiety. Well, we can all agree that it sucks. We all find ourselves attracted to other people, so the worst thing that could happen is the inability to even express your attraction to someone. It’s what’s preventing you from asking the coffee girl out or talking to the guy that sits behind you in class.
But listen, approach anxiety is something that is curable… it’s really all in your head. Honestly, everyone has it to some extent. But if you’re tired of missing opportunities, you’re going to need to take action – and quick – because it’s gonna take a while.
How to kick approach anxiety in the butt
You can’t let your anxiety stop you from doing what you want to do! And with a little practice, it will get easier every time. So here are 16 ways to get over your approach anxiety.
#1 Admit that you have it. Just be honest with yourself. It’s not that you weren’t feeling well and that’s why you didn’t approach that person you were eyeing. Or that you have work in the morning. It’s because you were scared to approach them. You have approach anxiety. Great. Now that you admit it, you can work on it. [Read: How to approach a girl you like and impress her]
#2 Know that you can’t completely get rid of it. This may be a buzzkill, but don’t expect yourself to completely get rid of approach anxiety. People who suffer from anxiety will have it their whole lives, however, they can learn the triggers and coping mechanisms. [Read: How to approach a guy you’re interested in and remain calm]
#3 It’s going to take a lot of work. This isn’t going to clear up overnight… it’s not a pimple. This is approach anxiety. It’s going to take constant work and attention. You may notice less anxiety in a couple weeks, months, or years, but it really depends on you.
#4 It stems from you, not them. Remember, approach anxiety isn’t because they look intimidating. It’s because you view that person as intimidating. This is about you, not the person you’re having problems approaching. For once, it’s really you and not them.
#5 Test yourself in casual conversation. You don’t have to start right away talking to someone you’re sexually attracted to. When you’re at the grocery store, strike up a conversation with the checkout person or while you’re waiting in line in the bathroom. They don’t have to be philosophical conversations or last 3 hours, just quick ones to get you used to talking to people you don’t know. [Read: 7 easy conversation starters when talking to strangers]
#6 Have a daily goal. Goals are great in pushing you to do things outside of your comfort zone. The point is to have small daily goals for yourself – nothing too big or else it may become too intimidating. Make your daily goal just to talk to three new people that day. It doesn’t have to be someone you’re sexually interested in – just anyone who’s a stranger.
#7 Work on yourself. Approach anxiety is linked to confidence. So, ideally, you should be working on your confidence and self-esteem. Change your image, avoid negative thoughts, and don’t think you cannot overcome approach anxiety. By working on your confidence, you’ll reduce it in no time.
#8 Be positive. Listen, everyone has something. You’re not the only one suffering from anxiety. Therefore, you should know that many other people have worked through their approach anxiety and have been successful. So, why can’t that be you? You need to start thinking positively about this. [Read: How to make small talk without feeling awkward]
#9 Don’t be lenient. You’ll start tomorrow, I know. Oh wait, tomorrow isn’t good, you have a business meeting. You’ll start Wednesday, yeah, that’s a good day. You won’t start Wednesday. If you wait for tomorrow, you’ll wait your whole life. You’re going to start today. Don’t be easy on yourself.
#10 Don’t avoid the fear. I know it’s scary. But you have to push through the fear of talking to strangers. When you start feeling that fear, instead of running away, acknowledge your emotions, ask yourself why you’re feeling this, and push through it. [Read: Drawing a blank? Try these 25 conversation starters]
#11 Try again and again. If you find yourself getting brushed off by the men and women you’re approaching, don’t get into a slump. Everyone faces rejection, but the point is to move through it and continue forward. If I allowed every rejection to get me, I’d be living in a hole by now.
#12 Open yourself to meeting new people. If you work 9 to 5 and spend the rest of your time watching Netflix, well, you’re not allowing yourself many opportunities to meet new people. Instead, join a club. I don’t care what it is, as along as there are other people you can meet and practice talking to.
#13 Honor your desires. What do you want in life? What do you want from a significant other? Big questions, I know. But, don’t wave the desires you have just to be with someone. You need to honor your desires and be firm with your goals. [Read: Social anxiety to social butterfly – How to be less awkward]
#14 Don’t do it unless you really want to. Don’t just approach a girl or guy because your friends are pressuring you to do it. If you don’t think they are really something special, then say no. If you don’t want to go to the party because you don’t like that type of music or group of people, you don’t have to. But you need to make sure you’re saying no because it’s something you don’t like… and not because you’re fearful of it.
#15 Know it’ll take time. It’s going to take time. A lot of time. You have to remember this. One day you’ll be able to approach someone, and the next day, you’ll feel anxiety. It’s funny how the human mind works.
#16 Reward yourself. If you made your daily goals or randomly approached a women/man on the street, reward yourself. You did it! It takes a lot of courage, and you should be rewarded. Regardless of whether you got their number or not, the point is that you did it.