Tamerlane famously said, “It is better to be at the right place with ten men than absent with ten thousand.” The contemporary version is this is the adage “You’ve gotta be in it to win it.”
Unless you are extraordinarily attractive and social proofed out the wazoo, you have to approach if you’re going to get anywhere. Or also you could be a woman. But other than that, you have to approach, and this is one of the biggest hurdles for guys. You get nervous, you’re afraid of how she’ll react, of what people will think when they see you get blown out, you’re worried your voice will crack when you start to speak, you don’t know what to do with your hands, and worst of all, you don’t have a freaking clue what to say. That’s Approach Anxiety in a nutshell. You feel paralyzed and end up standing in the corner by yourself, or with a group of other guys also suffering from AA in what’s known as “death row.”
Traditionally, the recommended practice for dealing with Approach Anxiety has been the 3 Second Rule. 3SR states that from the time you see a woman you want to approach, you have three seconds to get your ass in gear and approach. It’s a great mindset to be in when sarging, but it’s not really a cure for AA. It’s a bit like telling someone recovering from knee surgery that they need to run a marathon. Well, it’d certainly be great if he could run a marathon, but telling him to do it doesn’t really make him capable of it. The only way the 3SR works as a cure for AA is if you can manage to approach before all the anxiety builds up. If you can pull that off, awesome. But otherwise, we’re going to need something else. My approach towards AA involves two concepts, Routines and managing Self Talk.
First, the Routines. I know, I know, routines are very played out. Ever since Hollywood got slammed by Style clones running the best friends test, routines have been put in a box, and tucked away in the back of the closet where we hope to forget them. But routines do serve a useful purpose. Having a memorized line (and several memorized routines to use afterward) gives you one less thing you have to worry about when you approach, and since not knowing what to say is a huge part of AA, canned routines are almost like turning on God Mode.
The way to use routines is like training wheels. You’re not planning on riding around with them on all the time, and you know that you can’t ever compete in a race if you’re still relying on them. But, they’re there to let you get a feel for the bike, work on your balance, and be able to ride around instead of continuously falling over in place. It’s best to create your own routines, but if you have to, you can find plenty on the internet. Feel free to use them until you’re comfortable approaching, then take the training wheels off and go for more situational openers.
Next, Self Talk. This is a term from psychology, and it refers to the way we talk to ourselves in our heads, basically whenever your inner monologue is talking to you. The way we Self Talk can greatly influence our perceptions and beliefs about the world. It’s a useful thing to be aware of generally, but specifically applicable to AA. What a lot of guys will say when they have trouble approaching is “I can’t just go up and talk to a girl.”
Can’t. That’s bullshit, and we all know it. Your feet still move. Your mouth still makes sounds. The truth is that you are perfectly able to do it, but that you won’t. And that’s a very important distinction. If you’re telling yourself that it’s impossible for you to approach a girl, then no amount of telling yourself to nut up will help, you’ll just sit around waiting for the circumstances to change in a way that makes you think it is now possible. By saying that you won’t do it, you’re acknowledging that you can, and that the only thing stopping you is your stupid head. You’re no longer waiting for the world to change, and are instead are aware that all you need to do is put yourself into motion and it will happen. That’s a very powerful realization.
Why You No Inner Game?
Why not focus on Inner Game? Inner Game is certainly a very important concept in pickup, and no one can get by with just hours of memorized script. But, this isn’t the right time to focus on Inner Game. No amount of jumping up and down and telling yourself “My game is a ten!” is going to get you your first approach. You’ll still show up to the bar or the club or whatever, get your drink, and slink away into the darkness.
Memorize a few routines, and use them a whole bunch until you’ve opened 20, or 30, or 50 sets. Then it’s time to focus on Inner Game. Now you have something to be confident in. You know your feet work when commanded, and lines will come out more or less as intended. You’ll have seen most of the range of responses you can get, and there’s a good chance your worst blowout is already behind you. You have actual experience and some skill to have confidence in, and that Inner Game will be 1000x more powerful than anything some keyboard jockeying chode gets by meditating three hours a day and never approaching girls.
Bonus Tip For Being a Good Little Reader
One last piece of advice, and it deals with approaching rather than AA, but I think it works well here: Do not approach from the front or from the back. If the direction the girl is facing is 12 o’clock, approach from anywhere between 2 and 4 or 8 and 11. You don’t want to sneak up behind a girl, that’s just weird, and if she’s with a group you’re going to force her to turn her back to them – this can be useful later on, but not in an approach, because she’ll feel awkward and her friends will immediately try to get her back.
As for not approaching head on, that’s because it’s a confrontational position. You’re not approaching her, you’re accosting her. It’s just our natural way of interpreting interactions; we stand side by side with our friends, and confront our enemies face to face.
The reason I put this here is because approaching from the side is one of the easiest things to do. It’s one of the few things where you can literally be told to do it and get it exactly right the very first time you try. Pretty much everything else takes practice, and lots of it.
I put this under AA tips because it’s a free tool in your skillset. It’s one thing you know you’re doing right when you approach, and that will help cut down on your anxiety.