Approach Anxiety | The Definitive Guide (updated 2024)

Approach Anxiety | The Definitive Guide (updated 2024)

Written by dating coach for men Gary Gunn - Founder of Social Attraction

In this article, you will learn how to overcome approach anxiety so you can approach women you find attractive. I will go through my top three strategies I have been teaching for over a decade on my Social Attraction dating confidence courses.

It will help you to avoid the following:

  • Feel powerless to approach a woman a few metres away because your anxiety is paralysing
  • Freeze at the thought of starting a conversation even when a woman is giving you clear go-ahead signals
  • Suffer the long-term effects of approach anxiety and completely give up on the idea of speaking to new women

No one should feel so powerless in their dating life – it is wrong.

You can also transform your dating life with our digital products and coaching courses.

Approach Anxiety defined

As your dating coach, I want to help you address and overcome approach anxiety, which is the overwhelming feeling of fear, nervousness, or discomfort that you may experience when contemplating or attempting to initiate a conversation with a woman you find attractive. This phenomenon can significantly impact your ability to form meaningful connections and pursue fulfilling relationships with women.

Approach anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as excessive worrying, self-doubt, physical symptoms like sweating or shaking, and even avoidance of social situations altogether. It often stems from a combination of factors, including negative past experiences, societal expectations, and personal insecurities. These factors contribute to a heightened perception of the risks involved in approaching a woman, which can lead to increased anxiety.

The fear of rejection, judgment, or embarrassment lies at the heart of approach anxiety. This fear can be so strong that it creates a mental barrier, preventing you from taking action and seizing opportunities to connect with potential romantic partners. Additionally, approach anxiety can be exacerbated by the pressure to conform to certain social norms and expectations, such as the belief that men should always initiate conversations with women.

Together, we will work on understanding the underlying causes of your approach anxiety and develop effective strategies to manage and mitigate its effects. These strategies may include cultivating self-confidence, improving communication skills, and challenging negative thought patterns.

By working to overcome approach anxiety, you can build the courage and resilience needed to confidently approach women, initiate conversations, and ultimately form deeper connections that lead to more satisfying and lasting relationships.

How to get over approach anxiety?

The easiest way to get over approach anxiety is to break it down into the most minor possible step and take action.

When we walk into a café or a bar and see an attractive girl, most of us deliberately sit down or stand far away from her to ‘not make it obvious.’

We then ponder for ages about how to start a conversation. Before we know it, we feel anxious, and the opportunity is gone forever.

Approach anxiety psychology

Getting proximity turns this idea on its head.

Rather than allowing our mind to spiral out of control with the following dreaded thoughts:

  • “What will I say?”
  • “Will she like me?”
  • “What if I am rejected?”

Instead, we focus our minds on taking the smallest possible step. This is to get close enough to a girl to start a conversation; a reasonable distance is 1.5-2 metres away.

Conquering approach anxiety

Examples of conquering approach anxiety using proximity in the real world:

  • Sitting on the chair next to a girl in an airport waiting area
  • Sitting at the table next to a girl when you walk into a coffee shop
  • Standing next to a woman when she is already standing by the bar

I recall teaching this principle to a 44-year-old investment banker in central London four years ago. He looked intelligent, confident, and successful, yet he had severe approach anxiety when it came to approaching women. So I decided to teach him the smallest possible step, to get in proximity with a girl.

We spent the first part of the course allowing him to get close enough to a girl to start a conversation if he desired. The first few times, he was a little anxious. However, as there was no immediate pressure on him to initiate a conversation, he could go ahead and get proximity.

After using this strategy for the fifth time, he came back to me smiling and laughing. I could see his extreme anxiety was gone. The first steps to curing his years of approach anxiety took less than twenty minutes.

How to get rid of approach anxiety?

The best way to get rid of approach anxiety is known as power posing.

Power posing is when we replicate the body language of someone who is feeling 100% confident and self-assured.

Imagine our posture in the following three scenarios:

  • Winning the lottery when we are broke
  • Earning a gold medal at the Olympics
  • Scoring the winning goal in a cup final

Another excellent example of power posing is when the British army says ‘Attention’ to their squadron of soldiers.

This sparks an immediate shift in their posture to stand upright with their shoulders back and arms straight by their side.

In effect, energising them and allowing them to be ready to follow the next order.

Approach anxiety causes 

Approach anxiety takes two seconds to manifest in our bodies. The stimulus is that we see an attractive girl, and then the response is that we feel anxious two seconds later.

Knowing this means we need to use a power pose within the first two seconds of seeing an attractive girl.

Power posing interrupts our previous pattern of anxiety. It has the instant effect of permitting us to feel confident and self-assured.

Approach anxiety exercises

So next time you see an attractive girl you want to speak to, pull a power pose within the first two seconds of seeing her. This will energise your body and get you ready to follow the next task at hand.

Three years ago, I taught this particular power posing principle to a 31-year-old Scottish client in central London. He was completing his Yoga instructor training and was also over two metres tall. He loved power posing and would, in fact, pull a power pose so big that everyone in the vicinity could see.

However, he felt so good about the body movement that he did not care. This is the magic of power posing – a supreme level of confidence on hand at any time before you even speak to a girl who you find attractive.

How to overcome approach anxiety?

A great way to overcome approach anxiety with women is by using a personal affirmation.

An affirmation is a statement that we say to ourselves to assert that something is true.

Where power posing energises our bodies, affirmations energise our minds.

Approach anxiety cure

To come up with your own affirmation, you can answer the following question:

If you only had three seconds to live and had to pass on one piece of positive advice to your son, what would it be?

Your answer to this question is known as an affirmation or a personal mantra.

Approach anxiety training

The best way to train yourself to use an affirmation and overcome approach anxiety is to use it within two seconds of seeing an attractive girl.

This has the effect of interrupting your old pattern and empowering you to access instant confidence.

Ideally, you want to use all three strategies outlined in this article together:

  • You see an attractive girl
  • Power pose and say your affirmation
  • Get proximity with the girl

I caught up with a 38-year-old client of mine last year. He had been on one of my European Tours five years ago, where I took him alongside three other clients to Rome, Madrid and Barcelona. The course aimed to teach clients how to approach and go on instant dates with women in a foreign city.

My client used power posing, affirmations and proximity before speaking to any girl in each European City. Nowadays, though, he explained that he could approach and speak to women at any time and that his approach anxiety was cured. He told me that he had practised my techniques so much that now his body automatically energised itself without the training tools.

Good feedback and food for thought. If you like the idea of using these strategies in the real world and would like my help to overcome approach anxiety, then visit our Social Attraction Training Courses.


  • Getting proximity. Get close enough to start a conversation with a woman, and don’t think too far ahead in the interaction.
  • Power posing. Adopt the invigorating body language pose of a winner. This can be a subtle movement, but our minds will associate it with feeling energetic and positive.
  • Affirmations. Having a personal mantra will instil confidence and influence our minds to stay focused and positive.


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Written by Gary Gunn

Gary Gunn is a trained coach, accredited therapist and best selling author. He offers proven, evidence-based dating advice for single men.

He has hosted over 1,000 in-person dating confidence courses across the UK and Europe, as well as over 1,500 online courses.

As the head coach at Social Attraction, he leads the team and oversees the training and courses provided, helping countless men transform their dating lives.
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