Approach Anxiety – Heather’s Perspective

by Heather · 6 comments

When JT Tran mentioned that one reason guys don’t come up to me might be due to approach anxiety, I had to ask for clarification. I’d heard the term before, but didn’t fully understand it. He explained that sometimes guys, both Asian and not, do want to approach a girl but are afraid of rejection or intimidated by her that they get scared and back down. As he describes in his article here, approaching is paradoxically the most and least important part of seduction, but nerve-wracking, nonetheless.

Approach Anxiety Rejection

Huggable Heather and JT discussing Approach Anxiety and the fear of Rejection

I was literally speechless to hear about approach anxiety from him. Here’s a dating coach and expert on such matters validating something I’d shrugged off all my life revolving around the idea of rejection.

I’d been given the run-around before, mostly when I was younger. “You’re so beautiful, how are you not dating anyone? Oh, no one’s asked you? They’re just shy, intimidated by your beauty. Don’t worry, someone will ask soon.” Of course, I never believed them. How conceited do I have to be to think that the only reason no one is asking me out is because I are simply too gorgeous, too radiant, too amazing to be approached?  Those men were experiencing the dreaded approach anxiety and purely afraid to feel rejection.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that I thought there might be something to this theory. As I sat in my school library, a guy that had been in one of my classes two years prior walked behind my chair and, without stopping, dropped a note on my books and hurried off. His note included his phone number and a promise to set up a date. I was seeing someone at the time, but decided to text him, thanking him for the note but politely declining.

His response gave me a little depth to approach anxiety: he told me he had been waiting since our class two years ago for his chance to ask me out but never got the courage until that day. I felt so bad after hearing that, I wanted him to see I wasn’t lying about seeing someone; I added him on facebook and we still remain in contact today.

I can appreciate being scared of rejection – I’ve confessed my feelings to guys before and had them denied. It was nerve-wracking, and I emerged with a bruised ego, but I got right back up and carried on despite feeling the sting of rejection. I’m unsure, however, if guys can grasp how their approach anxiety affects girls…

Approach Anxiety and Rejection

JT Tran discusses issues of Approach Anxiety and Rejection at Wharton School of Business

In high school, I was never asked to a school dance. I went on one date my sophomore year, but he didn’t even look at me when he was asking me out. I guess it’s easier to talk to a girl when you’re both facing the same way and mildly focusing on schoolwork. I was totally not attracted to him (he’s White, he can’t help it), but I ended up eventually going out with him just because no one else had ever asked me. I wasn’t asked out again in person until college.  To me,

The message I got, loud and clear, was that I was not attractive enough for someone to spend an evening with me. I constantly thought I was too fat, even though my BMI said otherwise. I started to think that maybe I wasn’t pretty in non-Asians eyes. I know this seems odd, but the majority of the guys that would hit on me, all online via myspace or facebook, were Asian. While this didn’t set me on my path to date strictly Asians, since I was already there, it did reinforce the idea that I was unattractive to the mostly Caucasian population of my community.

I felt bad about myself. I felt like I wasn’t interesting, pretty, or funny. I would see other girls around me getting asked out, knowing that I was a better catch, and just feeling exasperated. I can’t be experiencing rejection because I’m too pretty – pretty girls get asked out. What’s wrong with me and why and I feeling constant rejection?

As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I see some truth to approach anxiety. While I will never stroke my ego enough to let me blame those dateless Friday nights on it, I understand how hard it can be to muster up the courage to talk to someone that may turn me down. On the other side, though, there are lonely, beautiful girls out there, wondering what’s wrong with them because guys can’t overcome that approach anxiety and make them feel date-worthy.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

JamesL December 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I’m pretty outgoing, but I think the biggest road block for me is “what do I say?”. I’ve approached women plenty of times and complimented on their earrings, or crack a joke to one of my buddies to get their attention. After that my brain starts cranking “what do I say to not make myself look like a complete douche canoe?”.


Heather Johnson February 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Haha…douche canoe, I like that.

Even just those little compliments can make a girl’s day, and they can help you realize that women are not going to bite your head off if you approach them. I hope you keep trying – that hit or miss experience will assist you in learning how to actually approach women for a date. Thanks for reading!


F June 30, 2013 at 12:39 am

Attractive or average looking women don’t have to worry by approaching. Usually the men are the ones that HAVE TO approach (the hunter/gatherer theory) so it’s a flattery when a woman does it first. I’m not bad looking for an asian guy but I haven’t had much luck when I do the approaching. I get noticed all the time and I get approached sometimes but mostly by minority women or women I’m not attracted to. The times I usually do the approaching are when I think I have something in common with the girl or if I’ve bumped into her before, but still that’s not good enough. Another time, when I was in a rock band, you would think that’s a good way to get noticed, but none of the girls in the audience showed any interest in me even though I played lead guitar. They like my white band members though. Really frustrating, I live in a big city where there are more women who date outside of their race but most of the ones you see are asian women and white men. Most white women I think really do care about race and stay within their race only. Even some white women with asian men (ie like Kate Gosselin making the slanted eye gesture)…seem too prudish and or too stuck up to care other than for their own selfish benefit. White women are so selfish.


azhiraz November 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm

By the way, message for “F”: Asian guy in a rock band? AND Lead guitar? That’s freakin’ HOT! – and on behalf of the rest of the USA outside of your town, we apologize you have’nt been adored. ; ) cheer up. think of the alternative.


Tom May 28, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Hi Heather! This is a nice article. It’s definitely a topic I’m familiar with – being an Asian American guy; although, maybe not applicable at the moment as I’m in a serious relationship. Anyway, I’d like to add my two cents. Regarding rejection… for me, it’s not so much the “fear of rejection”, instead, it’s “being tired of being rejected”. I am not a shy guy; and I have definitely asked and hit on my share of (white) women. Now maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m in NYC where there’s seemingly more attractive people… I gotta say, my success ratio was pretty dismal. This was true even online. The irony is that a lot of people I know don’t believe me because I’m pretty outgoing. But you know, hey, it’s ok… I just attribute it to the fact that maybe my look is not trending at the moment – unlike maybe out in the East Coast where I hear things are a little different. Also, I would just like to add by the way.. the rock band / lead guitar thing? It has absolutely not helped my cause in getting girls. Ever. <– that's me. So yeah, my point is.. if you're only getting 1 yes out of every 300 attempts, well, it kind of discourages one from asking all the time. Not that I'm saying to give up! My point is: how is a guy supposed to know who is going to say "yes" if like 99.99% of the girls are saying "no"? Thanks for reading!


Tom May 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm

*Correction… I meant “West Coast”.


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