How often have you been in situations where you saw someone you wanted to talk to but you didn’t? And then, you’re mad at yourself for not taking action. It’s frustrating isn’t it? You tell yourself that you’re going to do something about it next time but then you still don’t so you feel even worst. Now you’re stuck in this vicious circle.
That’s why in this post, I want to give you my best tips if you want to learn how to overcome approach anxiety. This is the exact same process that I’ve used when I was figuring how to be more outgoing and improve my social skills.
People who have crippling approach anxiety feel very nervous before walking up to someone they’ve never met before.
They have rapid heart rate, clammy hands and thought paralysis. If you’ve never learned how to interact with people, you lack self-confidence and you’re afraid of rejection, then you’ll most likely experience extreme approach anxiety. That being said, here are 12 actionable tips that you can implement right away. Alright, let’s get into it.
Tip #1 Raise your self-esteem
From my experience, most people who suffer from approach anxiety don’t think they’re good enough.
They have low self-worth and tend to put other people on a pedestal. They also have a bad habit of beating themselves up mentally by focusing on their flaws and past failures.
If you want to know how to overcome approach anxiety, you need to figure out how to like yourself first. The fastest way that I know to raise your self-esteem is by focusing on your positive traits. To help you get started, I want you to grab a sheet of paper and start making a list of what you appreciate about yourself.
In fact, this is one of the best confidence building exercises that you can ever do. You can start small by thinking about the easiest thing you can feel good about and then progressing from there. If you want to know how to get out of a funk, I recommend you do this as much as you can. Overtime, you’ll notice a shift in how you feel about yourself in a more positive way. When you believe that you are someone worth getting to know, you’ll be a lot more inclined to put yourself out there.
Tip #2 Prevent analysis paralysis
As a social skills coach, I noticed that most people who struggle socially lack awareness and experience when it comes to meeting people. They just don’t know any better. If you don’t know how to be more social, it’s definitely a good idea to learn about this topic. Just don’t make the mistake of reading too much and not taking action. I’ve seen this a lot with our clients before they joined our social skills coaching program.
They would literally spend hours reading books, listening to podcasts and watching videos on how to overcome approach anxiety.
But then when it’s time to take action, they can’t because information overload can cause analysis paralysis. If you want to learn how to overcome approach anxiety, what you’ll want to do is to learn the right things at the right time in the right order. For example, if you noticed that you struggle with starting conversations with strangers, keep working on that and nothing else. Don’t worry about learning how to be witty for now.
Only consume enough information for what you need to act on and that’s it. Otherwise, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and you end up not doing anything at all.
Tip #3 Look more approachable
If you’re wondering how to overcome approach anxiety, you have to pay attention to how you’re presenting yourself.
Seriously though. Would you want to talk to someone with their arms crossed and has a frown on their face?
I didn’t think so. Remember, it’s not just what you say but how you say it matters too. If you want your interactions to start off on the right food, you also have to know how to be more likeable. To help you get started, make sure you improve your style and you also groom yourself well.
Have an open body language by standing up straight and making eye contact.
Have your feet shoulder with apart, smile and keep your arms to your side. When you do these things, you’ll come across approachable. And that will make whoever you talk to feel comfortable and at ease.
Tip #4 Go to the right venues
Where you go to meet people makes a huge difference. If you want to learn how to overcome approach anxiety, be intentional about how you go about it.
Make sure you go to places that have the kind of people you want to meet and that you enjoy as well. If you don’t want to go to bars and clubs to socialize, you don’t have to.
You just have to be more thoughtful about where you spend your time meeting people. My advice for you is to add a social component to your passions, hobbies, and interests. For example, if you like dancing, take salsa lessons.
If you want to meet more artistic individuals, sign up for a painting class. If you want to connect with active people, join a fitness bootcamp. Do you see how that works? Remember, you can’t be good at everything. So make sure you set yourself up to succeed socially by leveraging your strengths.
Tip #5 Set yourself up to win
Imagine you’re wanting to learn how to swim. Would you rather begin at the shallow end first and practice your strokes or jump in the deep end and figure it out from there? Obviously, you’d want to start small, get comfortable and then eventually make things more challenging for you, right? The same thing goes if you’re wondering how to overcome approach anxiety. This is especially true if you’re socially inept and inexperienced.
Unfortunately, common sense isn’t always common practice. In fact, I’ve worked with clients in the past from our social skills coaching program who did the exact opposite.
They got some bad advice online, tried it out and got burnt over and over again. It’s no wonder they feel traumatized putting themselves and they just don’t want to go out anymore. To prevent that from happening to you, you’ll want to gather as much positive reference experience as you can when you’re just starting out.
That way, you can prove to yourself that nothing really bad ever happens. To help you get started, let me walk you through a few approach anxiety exercises that will help you out.
For example, you can start just by asking strangers for time or direction. And then, you can try making situational comments at coffee shops or the grocery store. Eventually, you can walk up to someone you’re into and tell them you find them attractive.
Do you see how that works? Most people who struggle socially tend to overcomplicate things that they never take action. Avoid doing that at all costs. Break things down into the smallest task that you feel comfortable doing and get started there.
Tip #6 Assess your situation objectively
Most people who suffer from approach anxiety tend to imagine how bad things will go.
They exaggerate what failure looks like in their heads that it actually cripples them from even trying. I remember having a client before who actually believed that people were going to spit at him if he tried to start a conversation with them. Personally, I’ve met thousands of people in the past and I can honestly say that nothing like that has ever happened to me before. For example, let’s say you want to start a conversation with someone you want to meet in a coffee shop.
Think of the absolute worst thing that can happen. In this case, the person you want to talk to might ignore you and you’ll probably have an awkward silence for a bit. And if you think about it, it’s not all that bad, right? Also, if you really feel uncomfortable, you can just leave and go somewhere else. Again, in order to figure out how to overcome approach anxiety, assess your situation objectively more often.
Tip #7 Stop caring what people think
The fear of judgment holds most people back from putting themselves out there. They’re so worried about looking weird for wanting to start a conversation with someone they want to talk to. But the reality is, some people are going to assume those things about you. That’s just how it is. But does it really matter? If you think about it, most people are so concerned about themselves anyway.
They don’t have time to worry about you.
Even if you make a mistake or do something silly, most of them would’ve forgotten about you by the time they get home. The way I see it, unless someone pays your rent, buys your groceries, and puts gas in your car, what they think shouldn’t matter to you. At the end of the day, it’s your life and you have to take responsibility for yourself.
Tip #8 Only focus on what you can do
If you want to know how to overcome approach anxiety, you have to identify what’s within your control and what’s not.
In this case, you’re in charge of walking up to anyone you want to meet but how they respond isn’t up to you. If you want to succeed socially, focus on the process, and not the outcome. When I made a commitment to learning how to overcome approach anxiety, I just set a goal to start a conversation with just one stranger a day. I didn’t care whether they liked me or not.
What really mattered was that I made a move and that’s what I congratulated myself on.
As a matter of fact, that’s how I met every single girl I dated and most of my closest friends. I wasn’t trying to make anything happen and I was just focused on being social. Remember, the more you put yourself out there, the more socially confident you’ll become.
Tip #9 Find an accountability partner
When I was learning how to overcome approach anxiety, I enlisted the help of a friend. I told him that if I didn’t talk to at least one person a day, I would give him $100. That strategy worked really well for me because I didn’t want to look bad in front of him and I didn’t want to lose my money as well. As a result, I did anything and everything that I could to interact with someone new consistently. And it worked. These days, I just walk up to anybody that I want to talk to because I’ve done it so many times.
My advice is for you to find a friend that you trust and respect who would help you stay accountable to your social goals.
Tip #10 Don’t take rejection personally
Rejection hurts because it triggers the same part of our brain when we experience physical pain. That’s why most of us try to avoid it at all costs. But if you want to learn how to overcome approach anxiety, you have to get comfortable with rejection. At the end of the day, meeting people is still a numbers game. The way I see it, you just can’t take rejection personally.
The person who turned you down barely knows who you are. You’re a total stranger to them. Remember, they’re rejecting your approach, not you as a person. Also, you just have no idea what’s going on in people’s lives. Not many people talk about this but good timing is a big component of succeeding socially.
Like I said earlier, just focus on what you can control and that’s it. The better you get at handling rejection, the more you’ll succeed socially.
Tip #11 Keep showing up
Small actions performed repeatedly produce massive results. By talking and connecting with new people consistently, you’ll learn how to overcome approach anxiety and also figure out how to stop being socially inept much faster. The opposite is also true.
If you don’t make time to go out and socialize, it’s easy to fall back into your old habits. It’s no different than going to the gym. If you don’t work out, your muscles will eventually atrophy. In this case, the more experience you acquire interacting with others, the more confident you’ll feel in any social setting.
Eventually, connecting with people will become a habit and you’ll open up a wider range of opportunities in every area of your life.
Tip #12 Track your progress
As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That being said, make sure you take the time to evaluate your social progress on a regular basis. Ask yourself what you’re doing well and what you need to work on. But if you want to know how to overcome approach anxiety much faster, consider working with a social skills coach. You’ll get a proven plan to follow and have someone give you the feedback and accountability that you need.
Get this part of your life handled so that you never have to worry about it ever again.
Article source: How To Overcome Approach Anxiety (12 Tips That Work) – YouTube