Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thought Trap: Part 1.

Now I'd like to say that my exceptional ego stops this from happening to me but that would be a lie.

I've decided to tackle this issue because at least 75 percent of the blogs I read are about single people looking for love.

I'm also not going to lie and say that I haven't read the book called "The Game" by Neil Strauss where he uses the term "approach anxiety" to define the thought bubble from the above cartoon. What I am going to talk about is why this happens, how one can fix this personally, and how we as a society can stop this from happening as well.

What is approach anxiety?

Approach Anxiety:  noun, singular. The fear of approaching and interacting with a stranger you find attractive. 

This is a very particular fear. It affects just about every single person, male or female, it doesn't matter. It scares the shit out of most people. It affects me, I'll admit it. I can speak in front of 1000s of people, I can teach at a college level, but I have problems walking up to the gorgeous woman reading my favorite book at Starbucks.


Social conditioning. We as a society have been inundated with images of the perfection and when we look at ourselves in the mirror that isn't what we see. I may be attractive but no one knows my face like I do; I can see each and every zit, line, scar, wrinkle, and how crooked my nose is. It's the same for everyone (minus the crooked nose). What we fail to realize is that most people won't notice the things we notice.. Regardless, it effects our self image. 

Some people try and overcome the fear by rationalizing it. We say, "What is the worst that can happen? I'll get rejected. So what, I'll live." This is all well and good if everyone you approach to flirt with was a nice person that politely says, "No thanks," To often one must brace for the harsh reality that people aren't nice. That comic at the beginning may be a little harsher than reality but not far off. 

This brings me to my next point. Where did this fear originate? It can't just be self image and lack of confidence that has perpetuated and grown into this fear of talking to each other. It comes from being harsh to each other, maybe not personally, but harsh still. Let me tell you about a conversation that I over heard yesterday.

Chick #1: "Oh my god, today at lunch I was just minding my own business, reading my book drinking my coffee when this guy, out of no where comes up to me and started talking to me. It was so CREEPY."

Chick #2: "What did he say?"

Chick#1: "Something about how the book I was reading inspired him about something, I wasn't listening."

(before you say these women are especially bitchy and daft, I've heard this or a conversation very similar to it many times from all different kinds of women)

I have no idea what she actually said to the guy but as long as he wasn't retarded I'm sure he knew what she was thinking. This was a conversation I personally overheard. What about the conversations that happen on TV, in books, magazines, blogs, or any other form of media? It isn't one sided either I can't say that. I'm guilty of it as well. I've used the 1 to 10 rating scale, I know it is harsh but it is hard to quantify beauty but we do it anyway to communicate with others. Does that make it right? Absolutely not. 

What makes someone creepy? Is it their posture, or them touching you, or what they say? Actually through my research, of reading a whole bunch of peoples opinions on forums, I learned that there is nothing that can actually be quantified as being creepy. You either are or not depending on the person you're talking to.

If you are fat, you can exercise and get in better shape. If you aren't interesting, you can read a book or do something to gain experience. However, because "creep" literally means "ANY individual that someone finds undesirable" you can't fix it. It's a very mean word.

So far I've found two sources for this fear; the voice in our head telling us that we aren't beautiful enough to talk to strangers, and the voices of others we've heard saying things like creep, creepy, and creeper. 

Ultimately we are afraid of rejection and because of our past experiences and conditioning. We think we aren't worthy and are doomed to be rejected so we don't even try. 

Tomorrow I'll take care of how to get over this issue personally and ultimately as a society.

Later Days,


My frail ego requires validation.