Carbeau's Ultimate Guide to Approach Anxiety

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  1. Carbeau's Ultimate Guide to Approach Anxiety

    This is a more in-depth version of what went out via the LSI newsletter on Feb 26 2010:

    Approach, approach, approach!

    When was the last time you saw a beautiful woman, but either did not have the courage to talk to her or made up some excuse as to why you shouldn’t?

    Probably quite recently – if you are being truly honest – perhaps even earlier today …?

    Even though “approach” is only a small part of the Love Systems Emotional Progression Model, it is consistently the one area that guys state as their biggest challenge when they arrive for our bootcamps…only to find out how easily they get over this on their very first night and realise that it is actually one of the easiest things they learn during the weekend…

    Let’s make something very clear right up front – approach anxiety is normal and approach anxiety is good – in fact most Love Systems instructors will admit that they still feel approach anxiety – particularly on their first approach of the day or evening. It is a signal that you are doing something right – that you are moving beyond your comfort zone – and that is exactly what you should be doing if you are going to grow and experience new and incredible things.

    This article is aimed at two types of people:
    1. Newbies who need a helping hand to get out of the starting gate
    2. Experienced guys who are maybe not pushing their game as far as they could and should.

    What I have tried to provide you with is as follows:
    1. Background to approach anxiety – what it is and why it is so natural
    2. Logical explanations for why it is so important to approach and get out of your comfort zone
    3. Practical tips on how to actually start approaching

    First of all - what is approach anxiety?

    “Fear of approach” or “approach anxiety” are simply labels we use to describe natural physiological responses that our bodies generate when taking risks – specifically increased bloodflow in the amygdale, a core part of the brain that performs a primary role in the processing of emotional reactions. If anyone has engaged in activities, such as sky diving, bungee jumping, extreme skiing or simply taken a major rollercoaster ride, then you will recognise a similar feeling. It is hard-wired into our genetic programming – we feel it whenever we face a challenge, test our boundaries or break our comfort zones…

    How modern social programming complicates things…

    Artificial modern social ‘norms’ that have developed over the past 50-100 years have been responsible for exacerbating feelings of anxiety, particularly in more hierarchical and conformist societies, such as in East Asia and Northern Europe. Modern social programming has conditioned many of us to shy away from cold approaching women for a host of reasons, such as:
    • Modern fears of kidnap / paedophilia, etc. have trained children not to talk to strangers
    • Modern urban lifestyle conditions people to keep to themselves and not talk to strangers (when was the last time you talked to a stranger on the bus / metro / underground?)
    • Modern social focus on privacy conditions us to respect other people’s personal space
    • Increasingly litigious society causes men to fear civil or criminal legal proceedings for “harassment”
    • Fear of damaging your reputation / being known as a ‘sleaze ball’ within a limited social circle
    • Fear of rejection / injury to personal ego

    This social programming pushes us to seek safe ground rather than taking risks and has made it increasingly difficult for us to tap into our natural biological desire to push our boundaries (think about how, as young boys, we sought to climb higher trees or jump off higher diving boards). We literally need to peel away the layers of social programming that hold us back and get back to our natural biological programming. Instead of allowing any one of the above reasons to become a convenient excuse for taking the safe route (i.e. no approach), we need to embrace the experience and feel the rush of positive emotions that we experience when we venture just beyond our comfort zone.

    Some logical reasons to approach

    1. It is part of your DNA – embrace it, don’t fight it!
    Learning to ‘overcome’ approach anxiety is like learning to overcome the need to eat or sleep. Studies have shown that, in the absence of challenge, men can become clinically depressed – facing and dealing with challenge is core to our male essence – living life within your comfort zone is contrary to our natural biological state. Think about it - how boring would it be if you always knew your outcome? We don’t, therefore, want to overcome approach anxiety, we want to embrace it and thrive on it!

    2. You can’t approach if you don’t approach…
    The only way to move from paralysis to taking action is…by taking action!

    Taking action in order to take action is a chicken and egg paradox to some extent. However, remember that your biological purpose is just 2 things: to survive and replicate – no more than that – so anything leading to replication is absolutely core to your sense of self and especially your masculine identity and will feed you emotionally – therefore you just need to tap into your natural masculine energy and unleash the approach monster within – once you re-connect with this part of your biological makeup, it will feed you in spades…believe me…

    3. Nobody can reject you based on a cold approach
    Think about this - a woman does not know you and has no idea what kind of guy you are when you approach therefore, if she blows you out, she is not rejecting you, she is simply rejecting your approach…

    As Sinn says in the Love Systems Interview Series on Opening and Transitioning: “most women are not bitches – they are just bitches to you when you approach them wrong. Her bitchy behaviour is more of a test than who she actually is…”

    4. Have no regrets…
    Imagine you see just one woman each day who you find attractive (a massive underestimate) - over 10 years that would mean 365 days x 10 years = 3650 missed opportunities. Despite the fact that they are all presumably hot (because you found them attractive in the first place), how many hundreds would have met all your personal criteria (smart, funny, loving, etc.) and probably would find you attractive also? Unfortunately you will never know…because you missed them all…

    …think about it - does it hurt? It should.

    One of Braddock’s favourite quotes: “Failure weighs ounces, regret weighs tonnes”

    5. You need to filter for women who meet your standards
    Your standards should be high – so you should get used to filtering women out. Ballpark - I propose that at least 80% of women you find physically attractive should not meet your standards according to wider criteria, such as personal interests, values, etc., and therefore you need to approach that many more women just so that you increase your chances of identifying which women you really wish to escalate with… not because they respond to your approach, but because they meet your criteria.

    Given that, as you start out, you may not be able to set up dates with all of the 20% of women who meet your standards, you need to approach even more women just to increase your chances and your experience…do the arithmetic…

    6. It’s difficult to meet women if you don’t meet women
    This is just a statement of the obvious – but one which hopefully hits home. Many people complain that they don’t meet nice women or they cannot find nice women. However, if you are not actually approaching women to introduce yourself in the first place, then you are not exactly helping yourself, are you?

    London-based Love Systems Instructor, Keychain, says he lives by what Mahatma Gandhi once said: “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.”

    7. Women love to be approached but 95% of men have no approach game
    As you begin approaching women more and more, you will quickly realise that women love to be approached – because it flatters and validates their sense of femininity.

    Women get approached all the time, but 95% of the time, they are approached badly and this is why they build up an automatic ‘defence shield’ to fend off guys with no game – and this is understandable because they just don’t have time to deal with every guy who approaches them. But simply by reading this article, you are already ahead of 95% of the male population. Just by being a little different (for example using the openers that you can find in Magic Bullets) and demonstrating confidence – you will see an enormous difference in the way women perceive you.

    I do a lot of day game approaches and, when just starting out, I was amazed when my number close success rate went from around a paltry 10% to around 80% by making just a few tweaks to my approach – but there is no way I could do this unless I took a few knocks in the beginning to get the feedback I needed.

    8. Consider the 8 attraction switches
    Let’s just remind you of the 8 attraction switches from Magic Bullets – the 8 key male attributes that women are attracted to:
    • Health (working out, looking good, etc.)
    • Social Intuition (knowing what to say at the right time, etc.)
    • Humour (creating positive mental states)
    • Wealth
    • Status (you’re good at the thing that you do…)
    • Confidence
    • Pre-selection
    • Challenging (don’t walk on eggshells)

    Do you think that someone with confidence, status, social intuition, and who is used to being surrounded by and challenging beautiful women, would think twice about approaching a woman he finds attractive?

    Obviously not – so neither should you – you need to adopt an air of confidence that sub-communicates that you already have all the attraction switches …until you actually do have them.

    To illustrate this, I often make reference a specific scene in a recent film with Scarlett Johansson, called “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. Check out the guy’s body language and the attraction switches that he possesses – note also how many times he remains in set despite getting “blow out” where most guys would have left with their tails between their legs:

    YouTube - Vicky Cristina Barcelona - What Color Are Your Eyes?

    So where do you go from here? Here are some simple and practical tips to get started:

    1. The 3-second rule
    This is an old classic and every bit as valuable as it has always been. The rule states that you need to approach a woman within 3 seconds of seeing her. There are a couple of reasons why this is important:
    • The longer you wait, the harder it actually becomes to approach because your brain creates so many reasons for not approaching (she is with someone, she looks busy / in a hurry, etc.). I suggest you establish a standard opener (or no more than 2-3) and become very comfortable delivering it without even thinking – that way, you can move immediately and not let your pussy brain sabotage you…
    • The quicker you react, your attractiveness to the woman increases exponentially – because of this, you actually have a lot less work to do to build attraction later - it pays huge dividends and makes the rest of your game much easier, believe me. A few months back, a Spanish girl entered a bar in Philadelphia and I reached out with my arm almost instantly, stopping her in her tracks, and delivered my standard direct opener. She looked at me with gooey eyes that just oozed attraction and said “wow – that was fast!”

    Implement the 3-second rule immediately – it will turbo-charge your game…!

    2. Get a Wingman:
    The reasons why a wingman is so important are:
    • You will push each other into going out and into sets that you might shy away from on your own
    • You can give each other feedback that is not always obvious to yourself
    • You can reward each other when approaches go well. Little things like high fives and (masculine!) hugs are great for associating positive emotions with approaches
    • You can set tough goals for each other with financial pain: a popular wingman game is to hand $200 to your wing and tell him to give you back $20 for every approach

    3. Be Consistent – Find Your Window!
    The more you practice, the less anxiety you will feel… so make sure you make time to practice. UK-based Love Systems Instructor, Keychain, refers to this as “Finding your window” – i.e. identify what part of your day or week you can consistently use to practice your approaches. For him, it was his commute to and from work on the train. A friend in New York uses his lunch break every day – whatever works for you – identify your window and make it part of your daily or weekly schedule…

    4. Get in state
    This one is really easy. Human beings are extremely state-driven – this is why we teach our students to be aware of and try to control a woman’s state – by keeping your energy high and associating yourself with high energy and fun.

    You need, therefore, to control your own state first and foremost. Going into a club completely cold can be pretty tough, so you need to get yourself ‘in the mood’ and energised before you start your approaches. Here are some of the things I do to get in state:

    • Listen to high energy music: listen to whatever works for you – personally, I like club dance music at high volume…
    • One Vodka Red Bull!: I will often drink a can of Red Bull and have a single shot of vodka (I don’t drink much in the club, so this is a useful ‘spike’ before I go out – the Red Bull gives me energy for the entire evening and the vodka shot triggers memories of fun times out with friends)
    • Grinning: studies have shown that the simple act of smiling triggers the brain to release serotonin which elevates mood. Grin like an idiot for 5 mins – guaranteed to put you in a good mood and gives you that positive energy that women find infectious!
    • Visualisation: Imagine that you already possess all the attraction switches. See yourself being the life of the party. See smiling faces, laughter, women being all over you, etc. I often tell students that it amazes me how women look at me differently now since I developed my game – even if I am just walking down the street or sitting in a café in old clothes – don’t ask me how, but women can pick up on confidence and find it very attractive – so even if you don’t have it yet, just fake it – until you make it…
    • SubText: similar to visualisation, a tip from Love Systems Instructor, Cajun, is an acting technique called ‘subtext’ ( – simply approach under the (unspoken) ‘subtext’ that you have already slept with the woman before you begin talking with her – believe it is true and you will sub-communicate confidence and an air of abundance.

    5. Short-setting:
    • Night Game: Short-setting is a low risk warm-up routine that we teach to students in night game where you move around the club / bar interacting with other punters in short 20-30sec sets. You should have no agenda (say things like “how’s it going?” or just high five them) so it is pretty much impossible to get blown out. It also builds huge social proof since women will notice you interacting with lots of people and wonder who you are (the goal should be to look like you literally own the place).
    • Day Game: Short-setting does not really apply to day game since there are not a set number of people in a single location (as in a club/bar) and the environment is not appropriate for strangers to walk up to each other asking how they are and asking for high fives - people will just think you are weird! However, if you are having trouble making your first approach, try just walking up to beautiful women and asking them what time it is or ask for directions to a specific nearby landmark.

    6. Implement Savoy’s 20% Rule
    One of the things that holds people back is fear of the unknown – i.e. what happens if she tells me to f**k off? What happens if I forget what to say, etc. Savoy has a “20% rule” which states that, whenever you feel like you have reached the end of your set (i.e. you think you have nothing to say or that you are getting nowhere), you must force yourself to stay in for 20% longer!
    • Experience it, get over it…: The best way to get over fear is to face it - once you experience it, you usually realise that it’s actually not that bad…
    • 20% longer in set forces you to try new stuff: You often find that you surprise yourself with how much more you can achieve just by giving it a little longer and, even if you get blown out, you will have tried new stuff you don’t normally use and can therefore also learn what works and what doesn’t…
    • 20% longer in field forces you to try tougher sets: try to stay in the club or on the street 20% longer than the point at which you want to go home…it may just be that you have only hit the easy sets…try the mixed sets or the seated sets…it may surprise you what you can do…and the difference between a good night and a bad night is almost always more sets…you never regret doing more…

    I had a client recently who had an irrational fear of getting thrown out of clubs for approaching women. I tried to throw him into sets with openers that would push him beyond his comfort zone and make him realise this was highly unlikely to happen. On one approach, he hit on a girl just as her boyfriend came up behind her – but the boyfriend just stood there and waited for my client to finish his set – this experience alone proved to him that you can push things much further than you think and blew away all his fears about getting thrown out of clubs.

    Push yourself out of your comfort zone – it builds serious approach muscle!

    7. Sticks and carrots
    Your goal should be to associate pleasure with approaching and pain with any failure to approach:
    • Sticks / Punishments: London-based Love Systems Instructor, Vercetti, uses an elastic band around his wrist as a tool for punishment – whenever he fails to approach, he snaps the elastic band to associate pain with failure to approach. You should use whatever works for you – e.g. skip TV for an evening or your regular beer after work…
    • Carrots / Rewards: your personal reward could be as simple as a self-congratulation (I say to myself quietly “yes, yes – awesome job, Carbeau”, smile, clench my fist and really savour the moment…) or you could buy yourself a smoothie, café latte or whatever else works for you…

    I recommend you set yourself specific goals attached to specific rewards / punishments. In the beginning especially, you should aim for multiple approaches to really break the camel’s back. So, for example, you could go out with the goal of doing 10 approaches before you can go home.

    8. Keep a Success Journal
    I keep emphasising how important it is for you to associate approaching with positive emotions – when you think of approaching, you should get excited, not fearful…

    But you often forget how many great approaches you have done – especially if you have more blow outs than successful approaches, which is perfectly normal as you start out. But you will surprise yourself - if you think hard enough – when you realise how many great approaches you have actually done.

    So one of the tricks you should employ is to keep a journal of positive experiences – don’t worry about the fact that it is kind of cheating – because when you flick back through your entries, they are guaranteed to energise you and make you want to jump straight back in field!

    Conclusion (print these out and stick them on your bathroom mirror so you see them every day!)

    • Approach anxiety is natural and good!
    • Fear through ‘living on the edge’ is intrinsically masculine and should be sought out, not avoided - ‘re-programme’ yourself so that you associate approaching women with fun
    • Take Action! “As long as nothing happens, nothing ever will”
    • Nobody can reject you based on a cold approach (she can only reject your approach, not you)
    • “Failure weighs ounces, regret weighs tonnes”
    • You need to approach more women so you can filter for quality
    • Be the attraction switches – think: Status, Confidence, Pre-selection, Challenge – act like it is you until it actually becomes you
    • Apply the 3-second rule
    • Have 1-3 standard openers that you can roll out without thinking
    • Get a wingman
    • Find your window
    • Get in state
    • Short-set
    • Apply the 20% rule
    • Set goals and reward/punish yourself for good/bad behaviour
    • Keep a success journal
    • HAVE FUN!!!!


  2. 03-03-2010, 09:59 AM

    clean up for BO

  3. 03-03-2010, 10:18 AM

    clean up for BO

  4. #2

    Your post on AA has been extremely helpful! Before i read it i couldnt even open a set. I read this post every night before i go to bed. I am motivated to game and most importantly its a fun process! Thanks!

  5. Ultimate Guide To Approach Anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by gooze View Post
    Your post on AA has been extremely helpful! Before i read it i couldnt even open a set. I read this post every night before i go to bed. I am motivated to game and most importantly its a fun process! Thanks!
    Wow - this is awesome feedback Gooze - it is great to hear from students that take what we teach and actually implement it - especially smthg so fundamental to kick-starting game as approach anxiety.

    Keep me posted on ur progress - I look forward to hearing abt ur next stages of development! :-)

  6. 03-29-2010, 03:45 PM

    clean up for BO

  7. Taking Action...!

    Quote Originally Posted by willthethrill View Post
    I need to try this, my AA is just short of crippling. I've gone out, and time after time, I've bitched out just knowing that I'm not good enough.
    Hey there WillTheThrill,

    I note that a week has passed since you wrote this post...can i ask if you have implemented any of the techniques described above?

    The no.1 key to improvement in game is fieldwork - the best people in the community are as good as they are because they have been willing to put themselves in the most uncomfortable situations and don't get discouraged by bad sets - they simply take the feedback and improve on their next sets...

    I would also point out that some of the best experiences i have had have often come out of sets that did not actually go that well - you will be surprised how often women want you to succeed and will still follow up even if you felt it didn't go has also often opened up whole new social circles that have been enormous fun and often lead to further high quality women...

    So the question is...will you continue bitchin' (out) or will you get out there and make something happen??...enriching not only your own life but the lives of all the women you come into contact with...??


  8. I've read this article some time ago, but forgot to thank you for it.

    I must say, this is one of the best (if not the best) articles I've read on this forum. It opened my eyes on some stuff I've never even thought about. AA is my biggest sticking point, especially on 10's and 9's.
    Since it's all a numbers game, AA been holding back my game. Now I read this every time before going out.

    Thanks CARBEAU!!

  9. 04-12-2010, 09:14 PM

    clean up for BO

  10. #6

    wow! i just found that article and man, it's so fuckin helpful !! i just started with reading the love systems books and watched beyond words and the only thing that hold me back was my AA, but when i read such an article like yours i just want to go out and meet women
    but one thing im still afraid of is, i live in germany, and to me it seems like the german girls r not that cool and loved to be approached by strangers, and thats one thing that really keeps me back when i walk through the city or am in a nightclub with my friends... but i hope and im sure that i will overcome that AA
    thanks again Carbeau !!

  11. Awesome article. Absolute must for anyone dealing with internal issues relating to AA.

  12. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Miami, Florida / Huntsville, Alabama

    This is a great post man! Will help plenty guys who deal with AA.

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