Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thought Trap: Part 2.

This is a continuation of THIS. If you haven't read it go do that now because the rest of this post will not make sense without context.

For summary:

Approach anxiety. The fear of talking to someone you find attractive.

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. We get caught in a "Thought Trap", or pattern of thoughts that spin themselves into a perpetuating cycle of "I can't do this"

I suffer from it as most people in the world do, so I asked myself how can we fix this. I've found a couple of ways to fix it personally and ultimately as a society. It isn't going to be easy, and as with most fears it will take you out of your comfort zone to get over it. 

First I'll tackle how to get over this personally. 

There is a part of everyone, a little tiny voice in everyone's melon that says "You're not good enough." Whether it is asking for a promotion, asking someone out, talking to strangers, public speaking, or any other awkward social situation, we have issues with our confidence. How do you raise confidence? It's actually a lot like building your credit rating, it is giving yourself credit when you deserve it. 

Now, if you're like me, as some of you may be, you have screwed up in the past. Whether it is failed relationships, failed career, getting arrested, or even something as simple as getting addicted to cigarettes and not being able to quit, we have all made mistakes; you've made promises to yourself that you haven't kept. If you're like me, you've either bankrupted your self worth or are so far in debt emotionally that it makes it hard to see the light of day sometimes. I'm not talking about depression, that is a whole other ball game that I'm not qualified to tackle. No, I'm just talking about small things, like the fact that I can't build up enough will power to quit smoking, so I beat myself up over it. Every little failure I commit, my confidence, my self worth is taken down a peg. 

Like I said before to build confidence we need to treat it like a credit score. My confidence credit score (CCS) is low. Like everyone else (that is psychologically balanced) in the world I started out with a normal CCS. Then in grade school I got bullied, knocking it down a bit. I got a girlfriend in high school bringing it back up a bit. It moves up and down naturally. If life, as it's want to do, doesn't treat you fairly and shit just hasn't gone your way, you CCS could be rather low. How do you fix it? What is the fastest way to build credit?

Small steps. The fastest way to build your credit score around here is actually quite simple, relatively risk free, and costs just a little bit of money. Payday loans. Honestly, to build your actual credit score get a payday loan. Get one especially when you don't need the money. Take the money you get from the loan, don't spend it. When due, pay money back plus the interest you get charged and voila your credit score is on the way up. 

To apply this principle to confidence isn't that tough of a leap. Start with small promises to yourself. Make a simple promise, "I'm going to get up 5 minutes earlier everyday." Here is the key part though, follow through. Don't make a promise that is going to be hard to keep. Just like a bank won't give you a mortgage if you are having problems making minimum payments on your credit cards, you shouldn't take on a goal of overhauling your life instantly (ie. weight loss, quitting smoking... etc.) when you can't even keep a promise to yourself of eating breakfast everyday. However, you keep fulfilling these small goals and promises to yourself and eventually you'll build up some confidence in yourself and it will spill over to other aspects of your life. 

"But Hero, how does this help me talk to hot strangers and get laid find love." I'll tell you, strange inner monologue. When someone has confidence they stand up straighter, and more importantly smile more. When you have a little bit of confidence in yourself that little "voice in the melon" will start to get quieter and eventually get smothered in its sleep like it deserves. 

There are self help books out there that preach a "fake it till you make it" approach. They say "Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width because it will make you look more confident." Looking confident and being confident are totally different things. The people you see out there that look blatantly "over" confident are usually compensating for something. The real deal is just better. (I'm looking at you "I can't believe it's not butter" of course it isn't butter)

Once you have a decent amount of confidence in yourself the next time you are in Starbucks and there is a hot  stranger sitting there drinking their "non fat, no whip, triple shot, two pump, grande, caramel macchiato" you'll find that the "voice in the melon" will be a little quieter. Gone? No, sorry not that easy. That little bastard will still be there as long as you are doing something that is out of your comfort zone. You'll find though, that with confidence you won't be "as" nervous as you might have been in the past. Which will translate into slightly better odds of getting laid a date. As with all things in life, practice makes perfect so the more you talk to strangers the better you'll be at finding out if they're telling the truth when they say they have candy in their van.  asking for their number.

Like I mentioned earlier, self confidence is only half the reason we have approach anxiety. The other half is because the world is harsh and no one likes to be rejected. No one wants to be labeled a "creep". 

This is where the societal problem starts. Why are we always so hyper critical of each other? Is it to hide our own insecurities? Ladies, when a guy hits on you, it's a good thing. Take it as a compliment. Instead of thinking of him as a creep, use it as a bit of an ego boost that he would go out of his comfort zone just for a chance that you might talk to him, and an even slimmer chance that you will go out with him. Remember he doesn't know you, but he wants to. If you don't want to get to know him, be fucking polite. A simple "Awe you're sweet," (thanking him for the compliment.) "but I'm not interested." Difficult? Not really. (unless he is an Ed Hardy wearing douchebag with white shoes, then you can castrate him and beat him to death with a Nerf bat)  

Later when telling your friends about it, don't call him a creep. Tell them what it really was, a compliment. 

Sexy Smily
On another note ladies I mentioned earlier that one of the most important side effects of confidence is smiling more. Smiling is attractive. So if you are out and about doing whatever it is that you think you should be doing at that moment in time and some guy catches your eye, smile at the fucker. How else he supposed to know that you find him attractive if you won't even look at him?

Men, when hitting on women, keep it simple. Don't play games like they tell you in all the pick up artist handbooks out there. Just say hi, smile (that part is fucking important), and compliment them on something (not a body part). Say something like, "Hi how's it going? That is one of my favorite books." Or "Hi, I love your choice in coffee shops. Is this seat taken?" 

Men, if a woman says she isn't interested, fuck off. Don't call her a bitch, or ugly whore, or any other name. Keep smiling, have some dignity and walk away. 

The biggest social problem we have when it comes to finding love is being harsh to one another, even when telling stories. 

In summation, to get over approach anxiety we need to build confidence or self worth. We need to be nicer to each other so rejection isn't that hard to deal with. Most importantly though, we need to get away from thought traps like the one in the comic; where we over think the situation on both sides when all it would take would be a smile from one person to the other to get the ball rolling. 

I hope I offered some insight into these issues and to all my single friends out there. Good luck.

Later Days,

Ps. You could always try the personal affirmation method to make yourself more confident. It doesn't work for me. I just feel like an idiot. However it works for this little girl. 


  1. Great post Hero!

    I am a big supporter of getting out of the comfort zone, and have recently put that into practice (I asked a Realtor in my office out for coffee last week! waaay out of my comfort zone). Even though I got turned down, the sky didn't fall and I'd do it again.

    I agree with the baby steps approach too :)

    And smiling? I got that one covered :)

    ox Kelly

  2. Personally, I rely on the "liquid courage" method of approaching females. Gin is the world's great equalizer.

  3. Great approach on this Hero! Really, so true about smiling and having confidence, and great point to the person lucky enough to be approached...don't be a bitch if you aren't interested. I usually will just politely say thank you for the compliment and leave it at that. The fact that I don't continue to engage usually says I'm not interested but doesn't leave an awkward or hurtful aftertaste to the situation. Kindness goes a long way, both directions!

  4. Love this: "Men, if a woman says she isn't interested, fuck off. Don't call her a bitch, or ugly whore, or any other name. Keep smiling, have some dignity and walk away."

    I want to write this in the sky with a big jet and hot pink coloured smoke! 99% of the really close male friends in my life are guys who did exactly what you suggest. They took it in stride and because of that we were able to still spark up a friendship. The ones who call me a bitch for now bowing down to them shot themselves in the foot for friendship. (And to be honest, friendship is more significant to me than relationships)


My frail ego requires validation.