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severe approach anxiety in public places limiting my ability to find dates

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i feel like there is a barrier between me and them. Like i can't say anything or approach them. I know all have to do is smile and say hi and act like myself.

 I have so many opportunities to talk to pretty girls, but there is something wrong with me. I've beem going out everyday to beachs, the mall, concerts, cities, (no bars because I don't drink anymore) . I always see pretty girls around my age (im 23)  when i go out everyday. Finding them isn't the problem its this wierd feeling i get like i can't do anything. 

im scared. 

I'm very extroverted at my gym, at work, or family events and have no problem talking to new people there, but approaching strangers in the other places i listed feels impossible. what do i do. 

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You are completely normal.   The 'barrier' you are facing is commonsense.  It's knowing that your approach will likely be unwelcome and you (quite reasonably) don't want to be seen as an unwelcome bother and nor do you want to face the likely rejection.

Of the men who do approach absolute strangers, the odds of them getting a 'yes' are really, really low so the men have to be bulletproof to cope with everything from her giving a polite rejection - to her pointing at her headphones - to her getting cross because guys keep hitting on her.

There is nothing wrong in avoiding situations which a) are likely to fail and b) put women in an uncomfortable position.  Back when I was young and pretty, I hated getting hit on by random strangers.  Because the guys had never seen or talked to me previously, I'd know the approach was based on my looks...so I felt objectified and unsafe even back in the politically incorrect 1980's.  I would politely shut them down and get away as fast as possible.  

If you want to chat with strangers, it's safest to choose those who have some kind of connection (as you're already doing), or those who've actively put themselves on dating apps or singles meetups.  


Edited by basil67
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Did something happen in the past to make you feel this way now? 

I was a lot more critical when I was your age. People tend to hang out in groups and cliques and how intimidating is that to introduce yourself. 

The most uncomfortable scenarios involve someone asking about origins or where I’m from. It’s rude to ask such questions without offering some information about yourself first and introducing yourself by name. 

Think of it as talking to anyone you’d be talking to in a classroom setting for ie or in any other setting that is from a place of respect and openness. Be mindful of how the other person reacts to your approach and stop if they don’t want to interact with you. There’s nothing to it. 

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mark clemson

I understand this as I as I was this way when I was younger as well. I think a lot of men are - it's common enough to be cliche for less experienced men to be nervous around attractive women. Breaking the ice is a skill and does take time to develop. In part, I think there needs to be mindset behind it.

Why are you so nervous? I think at least part of this is you are putting the cart before the horse. Perhaps you are treating your (would be) communications as something valuable, and thus high risk. Since there is risk, you are nervous and proceeding with (excessive in your case) caution.

Look at it another way. You don't have these women yet. You are in a nothing ventured, nothing gained situation. So - any chatting up you do with them is essentially completely meaningless until some sort of bond has actually been established, at which point you are already past the initial break the ice stage and should be able to communicate (and relate) more effectively.

If you take that mindset, it can help you relax. Keep things (and remember that they actually are, since no bonding has yet occurred) casual. If you mentally consider these women as on a par with your guy friends (rather than super-important potential partners) it should help you allow conversation to flow naturally.

It's a bit of a paradox and easier said than done, but I'd suggest you work at developing a casual mindset. That should help you be yourself around these women and thus shine, as social skills are important to many women.

I would note in that many women as well can get nervous around men they are attracted to, so this can work both ways.

Edited by mark clemson
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Unless you're literally a celebrity (or look like one), I'd think the odds of a cold approach succeeding would be astronomically low. Like, 0.000001% low. It's normal and frankly sensible to be hesitant about that. As a woman, even if I was single, the odds of me accepting an approach from a total stranger would be 0. I have no idea who they are or what they do or what their intentions are, and I don't know anyone who can verify them. If someone were to approach me randomly at the mall, I would be extremely uncomfortable and leave (and frankly I'd think that they were either evangelists, salesmen, or scammers). The risks just completely outweigh the potential payoff, when I could meet people in much safer ways with similar (or higher) return.

Don't you have a social circle or group of friends that you can meet women through? If they already somewhat know you (or know people who know you) and are comfortable with you, the odds would be so much higher.

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