The Truth About Social Anxiety


*This article is about general social anxiety. If you have experienced trauma or may have a chemical imbalance, I’m not qualified to help you. I would seek professional help as soon as possible for those issues.*

There’s a dirty little secret about social anxiety that celebrities, presidents, kings, and sports stars don’t want you to know about.

Actually, they probably don’t care if you know about it or not, but doesn’t the truth sound so much more juicy when there seems to be a secret conspiracy about it? 🙂

One of the questions I get from almost every guy who writes in is:

“How do I get rid of my social (or approach) anxiety?”

And it makes sense that it’s a common question, because, guess what:

The Truth About Social Anxiety

Everyone has it.

Casanova had it.

I know from reading a George Washington biography that he had it more than most men.

I watched a documentary the other day about Frank Sinatra, and he definitely had it too. He also mentioned that he was nervous before EVERY. SINGLE. SHOW. in his life, even though he was one of the most popular singers of all time.

The truth is there’s no escape from social anxiety, unless you happen to be a psychopath (a REAL one with the physical difference in your brain).

In fact, the men you think of as the most successful and confident generally have MORE social anxiety…


Because successful men are in more situations where the level of anxiety is higher.

Think about playing in the Super Bowl or in the World Cup Final…how much more social anxiety would you feel about that than meeting a friend of a friend at a party?

I saw a behind the scenes view of Katy Perry pumping herself up before her Super Bowl halftime show. She was nervous as hell!!!

Part of what makes you successful is your ability to handle higher and higher levels of social tension.

In fact, the level of success you have now is most likely due in large part to the amount of social tension you can take right now.

Why do you think so many celebrities have drug and alcohol problems?

It’s because they have social anxiety and are under even more pressure to PRETEND they don’t, or to at least take action even though they feel anxious.

Here’s the difference between men who are successful with women and life and men who are not quite where they want to be yet:

The men who are successful think about and process their social anxiety differently.

That’s why Katy Perry has a process for getting herself ready to perform. It’s her way of PROCESSING her anxiety. And it works!

Sure, if you want a “band-aid” or to use the “dark arts,” you can use drugs and/or alcohol to MASK your social anxiety.

And, honestly, that can work for certain situations (i.e. at a club or party).

However, there are more permanent, healthier solutions for how to handle your perfectly natural fear of other people (especially strangers) and what they think about you that will make you MUCH more successful in every area of life.

First, realize that having social anxiety and approach anxiety is COMPLETELY NORMAL. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have it to some degree.

For example, I LOVE meeting people. In fact, I was PAID to meet people for 6.5 years. I was president of my fraternity in college and elected to student government. You could say I’m one of the most social people out there…

I even LOVE public speaking, which most people fear more than death.

Yet I DEFINITELY still have social and approach anxiety.

I feel it every time I’m at a party, out at a club, or before I give a presentation.

There’s one difference, though, that allows me to make excellent first connections:

I FEED off the feeling that comes from using that anxiety as energy for connecting with people.

I get a natural high from breaking down those initial social barriers.

Also, I know that I can’t make any delicious omelettes without breaking a few eggs. I am absolutely not afraid of making a fool of myself (and I have many hilarious stories about some of the resulting situations…).

Remember that anxiety is merely potential energy.

If you’re NOT anxious when you want to approach a woman or before a date, it probably means you’re not that interested in her.

So, it’s a GOOD thing that you feel some anxiety if you can process it just enough to take the action you want to take in spite of your fears. 

“Pressure means opportunity.” -Toni DiCicco (Former US Women’s National Team Coach).

The Good Stuff (Practical Tips)

So what can you ACTUALLY do to process your social anxiety better the next time you’re at a party, out at a club, or going out on a first date?

  1. Realize that everyone else in the venue (or the woman you’re taking out) has social anxiety too.

Nobody cares about you!!

The next time you’re at a party realize this: everyone there is ONLY worried about what other people think about THEM. They aren’t looking at you at all, and if they ARE looking at you and “judging” you, it’s only to protect themselves from judgment.

And remember that the woman you’re dating is going to be a little nervous too.

Focus on helping them get over THEIR social anxiety by qualifying them:

“Hey, you seem interesting. I’m John btw, what’s your name?”

“Hey, you seem to have a great sense of fashion. Who do you think is the best-dressed person in Hollywood right now? Why?”

After talking for a while: “Hey, you seem really cool. What’s one interesting thing I wouldn’t know about you just by looking at you?”

Make them feel ACCEPTED and THEN ask them to share more about themselves and/or challenge them.

Then, make them feel good about their answer.

If someone is answering your questions sincerely and in long-form, you can be sure that they are enjoying themselves.

If you try this with a woman and she gives you short answers or displays closed-off body language, just move on to the next person. No. big. deal.

Once you become aware of the fact that every person you see ONLY cares about what everyone else is thinking about them and that they don’t care about you or what you’re doing at all, you can more easily relax and your connections will be more natural. <===This is a HUGE secret about life.

  1. Assume in-group leadership status.

One of the major reasons we all have social anxiety is that feeling like you are “out” of the group has been shown to cause actual, PHYSICAL pain at the same level as getting punched inside your brain.

We are wired to connect and we desperately want to be in the “in-group.”

And for good reason. It helps us survive. So it’s a good thing that we want to connect so badly.

So, from now on, YOU are the leader of your own “in-group” and you invite others to join you there.

From this point forward you are NEVER out of the group.

There is only your in-group and the people who are chosen by you to be a part of it. Your in-group is the best one in town.

Everyone you see as you move around the world is a citizen in your reality and you are the Mayor.

You sincerely want to make sure they’re taken care of and that they’re doing well.

You do things you think are fun and invite people to join you everywhere you go instead of looking “out there” for fun.

  1. Coffee

This might be one of those “crutch” situations…but it’s better than most and black coffee might even be healthy for you.

Studies show that if you have coffee before you go out or go on your date, you will be more naturally social. Try it.

  1. Start talking on the way to the venue.

As you walk to the venue after parking your car, start saying “hi” to strangers you pass on your way. Or, at least give them a head nod.

Talk to sign posts on the way if you have to.

It’s easier to be social if you have some momentum on the way to the party than it is to cold-start it once you get there.

  1. Talk to the first person you see.

This also has the effect of preventing you from entering the hypnosis of social anxiety.

The amount of time you wait to be social is proportional to the difficulty of approaching.

That’s why a lot of dating coaches talk about the “3 snap rule:” When you notice a woman you want to meet, approach her within 3 seconds or snaps of your fingers. After that, it gets harder and harder.

  1. If you’re not feeling it, go home.

Sometimes we just have an off night. It’s better to head home and try again the next evening than it is to reinforce your beliefs that you’re “not very social.”

Hint: You ARE very social…

  1. Practice being social everywhere you go.

Don’t try to turn it on and off.

Say hi to everyone at work every morning.

Who cares if they’re unhappy and get annoyed by your cheerfulness.

You invite them to enter your awesome reality for a second and challenge them to be in a better state anyway.

If you’re in the habit of being social, it will be so much easier when you meet a woman you’re attracted to.

  1. Be like Red Bull

This is the biggest key to processing your social anxiety from a permanent perspective.

Most of our social anxiety comes from TRYING TO GET SOMETHING from someone (sex, approval, love, acceptance, etc.).

Instead, GIVE FIRST.

Like Red Bull wins by giving away free Red Bulls all over the world without asking for anything in return, you will win the dating game as soon as you give real value to women (what they really want) freely…

If I was begging you for money, I would be anxious about meeting you.

If I was handing you a free bottle of water outside a club for no reason and with no strings attached, I wouldn’t be anxious at all.

The best New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had was the one I decided to try to hook up all my guy friends with attractive women instead of trying to get one myself…

Maybe I’ll tell you the story about what happened that night at some point…but for now it’s not important. This is:

Giving is the cure for anxiety.

Flip the script and look at things from HER (the other person’s) perspective.

How can you approach women from a giving mindset from now on? <===Great question to ponder this weekend as you go out and meet them.

If you struggle with social and approach anxiety (as we all do at some level), I CHALLENGE YOU to do three things:

  1. Say “hi” to the next stranger you see NO MATTER WHAT. Just do it and see what happens. If something weird happens, let us know. 🙂
  1. The next time you’re out at a party, bar, or club, high-five or cheers a stranger. Just one. Do it.
  1. Approach any one (1) woman by the end of this weekend and find out one unique thing about her. You don’t even have to be attracted to her.

Instead of TRYING TO GET something from her, walk over to her slowly with no pressure whatsoever because you KNOW nothing will happen.

Then, say, “Hey I’m (Your Name). What’s your name?”

“Oh cool. Well, hey, you seem interesting but I actually have to go in just a minute. May I ask you just one quick question?”

[Her: “Okay, sure.”]

“Cool. What’s one interesting thing I wouldn’t know about you by looking at you?”

If she gives you resistance when you introduce yourself or ask her the question, just say, “Hey, nice meeting you,” in a genuine, nice tone and exit. Mission is still accomplished.

Hopefully, she’ll tell you something cool about herself.

Then say, “That’s awesome. Well, unfortunately I really do have to go now. Very nice meeting you (Her Name). Cheers.”

Then, walk out of there.

Get in the habit of finding out what makes each woman you meet unique.


Start by completing this challenge and then expand from there in small steps until it’s your habit to meet people from a giving perspective and to find out what makes each person you meet unique.

Watch how your anxiety turns into energy and how it impacts every area of your life.

If you want more tips about general anxiety, check out this article I wrote about it a while back (it’s one of my most popular articles to date):

==>5 Ways to Crush Anxiety

Until next time boss, when it comes to meeting women, BE LIKE RED BULL.

You are always having fun, entertaining yourself, and sharing your awesome reality with others.

You are the party; is she awesome enough to join?

For her sake, I hope so. 🙂

About The Author


Jim Wolfe is on a mission to help you live your ideal life, make your positive mark on the planet, and build your legacy.