Feeling uncomfortable around others is one of the most common problems people have to contend with.  The National Institute of Mental Health estimate that approximately 15 million American adults age 18 and over, or about 6.8 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have social anxiety.  (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml#Social)

bigstock-Two-Young-Women-Flirting-At-A--111213cropThere is a subcategory of social anxiety sufferers who specifically have great difficulty communicating with members of the opposite sex.  The greatest fear for such people is approaching members of the opposite sex, which is why this problem is often referred to as approach anxiety.  Although women suffer from approach anxiety, it is much more common with men.

About two years ago I recruited male volunteers who complained of approach anxiety for a little study I wanted to conduct.  I offered to help them eliminate the beliefs causing their approach anxiety so that I could identify what beliefs caused this problem.  A requirement for participation was men who rated their fear of approaching women at least a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Because most similar problems—like procrastination, fear of public speaking, social anxiety, and fear of rejection—were caused by fewer than twenty beliefs and conditionings, I assumed the same would be true for approach anxiety.

To my surprise I discovered a great variety of beliefs that contributed to this problem. There weren’t just a handful of them—there were dozens.  Moreover, although every subject had some of the same beliefs, almost every one had several different beliefs.

I started the study

The age range of the participants was 20-38, with most in their 20s.  (Had I included women in my study, I probably would have found additional and different beliefs.)

Here is how the subjects described their approach anxiety problem:

  1. Anxiety when talking to a woman
  2. Fear of being criticized or judged
  3. Fear of initiating a conversation with women they find attractive

I started by suggesting that all the subjects eliminate all the basic self-esteem beliefs on our Natural Confidence digital program.  Although not all of the beliefs would be relevant to approach anxiety, most of them probably would be.  I wanted to get those beliefs that underlie most common problems out of the way before looking for the specific beliefs that made these men afraid of approaching women.

Here is a list of the beliefs on the Natural Confidence program

  1. Mistakes and failure are bad.
  2. I’m not good enough.
  3. Change is difficult.
  4. I’m not important.
  5. What makes me good enough or important is having people think well of me.
  6. Nothing I do is good enough.
  7. I’m not capable.
  8. I’m not competent.
  9. I’m inadequate.
  10. If I make a mistake or fail I’ll be rejected.
  11. I’m a failure.
  12. I’m stupid.
  13. I’m not worthy.
  14. I’ll never get what I want.
  15. I’m powerless.
  16. People aren’t interested in what I have to say.
  17. What I have to say isn’t important.
  18. It’s dangerous to have people put their attention on me (something bad will happen).
  19. What makes me good enough or important is doing things perfectly.

Limiting Beliefs That Contribute to Approach Anxiety

Here’s the list of limiting beliefs related to approach anxiety that I discovered when I actually started talking to the subjects:

  1. I can’t do anything right.
  2. If a woman isn’t attracted to a man initially, she never will be.
  3. I’m a bother to people.
  4. I’m a dangerous person.
  5. I’m annoying.
  6. I’m a loser.
  7. I’m broken.
  8. I’m inferior.
  9. I’m not acceptable.
  10. I’m not attractive.
  11. I’m not interesting.
  12. I’m ugly.
  13. I’m unlovable/not lovable.
  14. I’m weird.
  15. It’s wrong to show sexual interest in a woman.
  16. It’s wrong to be attracted to women.
  17. It’s wrong to be turned on by women.
  18. My sexual desire is bad.
  19. People aren’t interested in me.
  20. Relationships are difficult.
  21. There’s something wrong with me.
  22. Women don’t want nice guys.
  23. Women don’t want to be bothered.
  24. Women don’t want to talk to guys.
  25. Women want more financial security than I could provide.
  26. Women want men who are assertive and get what they want.
  27. Women want attractive men.
  28. Women want interesting men.
  29. Women want men who are confident / flirtatious.
  30. Women want men who are witty / make them laugh.
  31. Women want men who treat them badly.
  32. Women want men with exciting lifestyles.
  33. Women want men with money and stability.
  34. Women want popular guys.
  35. Women want security/to be protected physically.
  36. Women want successful men.

What I noticed

I learned several things from my little study.  First, approach anxiety is caused partly by negative self-esteem beliefs.  Second, it also is caused by a few limiting relationship beliefs.  Three, people with approach anxiety sometimes have a few negative beliefs regarding sex.  And fourth, each man had slightly different beliefs about what women wanted that they were lacking.  In other words, whatever qualities they thought they lacked, they assumed women required in a man.  There probably could be scores of such qualities, many of which you can see in the above list.

There is a solution

Despite the large number of beliefs (and some conditionings) that can cause approach anxiety, the number that any given person with this problem has is about the same as people with other common problems.  Thus it is possible to eliminate one’s approach anxiety relatively quickly and easily by eliminating all the beliefs and conditionings that cause it, just like you can eliminate a general fear of rejection, social anxiety, and a fear of speaking in public.


Thanks for reading my blog.  Please post your questions or comments about the cause and cure for approach anxiety.  Your comments will add value for thousands of readers.  I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

If you want to help your friends with approach anxiety learn what causes that problem and what they can do to eliminate it, please share this blog post with them by using the buttons located both at the top and the end of this post.

To get my blog posts as podcasts, sign up for the RSS feed above or look up “Morty Lefkoe” at iTunes to have the podcasts sent to you weekly.

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to http://www.recreateyourlife.com where you can eliminate several limiting beliefs free.

Copyright © 2013 Morty Lefkoe


  1. Keila Hegdahl December 17, 2019 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks a lot alot for this site. I’ve been looking high as well as small as things like this! Thank god I discovered it on Yahoo. Thx again

  2. seo May 22, 2014 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  3. Lisa November 25, 2013 at 4:45 am - Reply

    I am a 41 year old female and I have social anxiety. My fear of rejection began at home. My parents verbally abused me for simple things, like asking for bus tickets to go to school or a ride to after school activities. So, all my life I tried not to need help or ask for help when I really needed it. It very isolating and unhealthy. I want to change.

    • Morty Lefkoe November 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Lisa,

      Sorry to hear about your difficult childhood.

      As I’ve tried to explain in a number of posts on my blog, social anxiety is the result of about 12-14 beliefs and 4 or so conditionings.

      Our Natural Confidence program has helped many people overcome this problem. You can get more information about it at http://naturalconfidenceporgram.com.

      If you have additional questions, please call us at (415) 506-4472.

      Love, Morty

  4. Pat November 17, 2013 at 9:44 am - Reply

    I bought the CD Recreate your life with the 19 beliefs. It has not helped me at all. Just because you identify the earliest form of this belief, if you can remember it at all for some I cannot, it does not eradicate all the years this belief has held you down. There are countless other times when you can remember times where this belief existed and still exists. Also you are told that ‘I am not enough’ for example what does it look like, what color is it? etc, Well I can say it looks like the time I was unable to do X because of the fear I felt, past times when I quit etc. Again this method has not worked at all for me.

    • Michael November 17, 2013 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Hi Pat,

      I had a difficult time doing the process at first but stuck with it and got results.

      Full disclosure: I’m not an employee or have anything to gain financially from this post.

      You wrote, “Well I can say it looks like the time I was unable to do X because of the fear I felt, past times when I quit, etc.” None of those events inherently mean, “I’m not enough”. They just mean that you were unable to do “X” because of the fear you felt, and there were times in the past when you quit. Those actions and feelings are inherently meaningless. There is nothing inherently good or bad about not being able to do something or quitting. Granted, you won’t necessarily get what you want (consequences) but it doesn’t mean that you aren’t “enough” or for that matter you are “enough” if you accomplish your goals. This is what people spend years in therapy or workshops trying to accomplish: either re-frame past events (such as abusive punishment, shaming, getting yelled at, neglect) to mean something else in their minds, or in the case of the Lefkoe Method, eliminate all meaning from those past events.

      So back to the process, when I did the visual description (color, size and location) I wasn’t getting the result I wanted. So I added in feeling and sound. Morty didn’t recommend this, but when I was doing the process I held my car keys in my hand. This really helped me. Keys can be seen (color, size, location) felt (weight, temperature, texture) and have sound (volume, pitch, tone) when I jangled them. Keys can be described on earth. What does “I’m not enough” look like, sound like, and feel like on earth? A belief can’t be described like this. Since it can’t be described like an object, and it can’t be seen in the events of childhood (or any later events like quitting, being unable to accomplish something). Where can, “I’m not enough” only exist? In your mind. You can’t assert that you’re “not enough” is reality because in the minds of other people it isn’t The Truth. I don’t think you’re not enough because frankly I don’t know if you are or aren’t. I hope that isn’t taken as a dig, I believe that you are the creator of your life (consciousness) and that goes beyond definitions like “enough”.

      For some reason this finally did it for me. I hope this helps, and I hope you keep at it because I think you can be free of these limiting beliefs. They truly suck and they truly are not the truth.

      And yes, the process does not eradicate the years those beliefs have held you down. It didn’t for me either but as I keep uncovering beliefs and eliminating them the pain of the past dissolves. I hope the same for you Pat.


  5. Nerdy Creator November 14, 2013 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Hi Morty,

    This post is very informative. It brings to my awareness that I too have beliefs of what the opposite sex wants or doesn’t want.

    I didn’t know I have this beliefs previously. I thought they were true!

    • Matt November 19, 2013 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Haha! This is so fake!

  6. biff November 14, 2013 at 1:18 am - Reply

    Mr. Lefkoe, I’d like to read your thoughts on the 1st post in this thread, by “David”…he appears to suggest that some of what you say are merely limiting beliefs, are actually truth.

    …And I wouldn’t know! I don’t understand women…but you and David apparently do. Please tell us what you think!

    sincerely -biff

  7. JOAO November 13, 2013 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Dear Morty, I didn’t understand in fact you didin’t do what promised-HOW TO BE FREE of this limiting belief-ANXIETY OF APROACH????

    • Morty Lefkoe November 13, 2013 at 8:15 am - Reply

      Hi Joao,

      You can use my previous blog posts describing how to eliminate beliefs. If that’s not enough you can take our Lefkoe Method Training 1 and learn in detail how to eliminate beleifs. Or you can call us and have one of our Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitators help you identify your beleifs and then eliminate them.

      What other information would you like?

      Love, Morty

  8. Leila November 13, 2013 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Hi Morty, great post. I am amazed by the long list of beliefs underlying approach anxiety. However, your explanation makes sense of what can be a difficult thing to understand. Thanks.

  9. James November 13, 2013 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this information. I’m sure it will be useful if I want to change my beliefs to reduce approach anxiety or help others do the same. Could save me lots of trial and error on what are the beliefs behind my anxiety talking with women. Of course, attraction is not my only reason to talk with them but fearing being a bother, dangerous or annoying could affect other relationships too.
    Much appreciated

  10. Matt November 13, 2013 at 2:43 am - Reply

    That’s it? You didn’t really say… anything.

    Oh and thanks for not asking me to be one of your subjects. I’ve only spent $10,000 and 9 years of my life trying to get over AA.

    No, it’s fine, it’s fine…

    • Morty Lefkoe November 13, 2013 at 8:12 am - Reply

      Hi Matt,

      You sound disappointed in what I wrote. What else would you have liked? I name the beliefs that cause approach anxiety and in other blog posts I’ve described how to eliminate beleifs.

      If you eliminate the beliefs, the anxiety will be gone.

      Love, Morty

      • Matt November 15, 2013 at 6:34 am - Reply

        Well Morty, there is a multi-million dollar industry set-up to help men get better with women.

        If you honestly think your methods can fix the problem of AA (which frankly, is 90% of the problem), you would be looking at a fortune.

        Take David DeAngelo for example. Last I heard, that cat was making about 16 million US a year. And he’s not even that good.

        So go for it! I’d be happy to give you some info and leads of where to look and who to talk to. I’ve been around it almost 10 years now.

        I’m still where I was then – reckon your methods could “fix” me? I doubt it but who knows.

        • David November 15, 2013 at 6:49 am - Reply

          Matt, my client and I reduced a lot his approach anxiety working with his beliefs.

          But be awared: approach anxiety problems and attractiveness problems are not the same problems. You can reduce the anxiety, but this will not make you attractive to women (but it will help with it, so you can change yourselft to be so).

          • Matt November 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

            Morty, who is this David character that keeps replying to me? Does he work for you?

        • Morty Lefkoe November 19, 2013 at 10:22 am - Reply

          Hi Matt,

          No David doesn’t work for me, but he’s taken some of my courses and appears to be using some of what he’s learned.


  11. David November 13, 2013 at 2:30 am - Reply

    (There is another problem with Approach Anxiety!)

    Hello Morty, thank you for the nice post! I am working with a client with the same problem (using LBP), for FREE, and after a lot of work I had to find that the beliefs is just a part of the problem.

    It is very important that the person has a “base”, which will give him confidence.

    My client was quite successful in eliminating his beliefs with women, and DID start approaching women, and did so over the last weeks, BUT there is a huuuge problem with this.

    He was not “ready” to approach women. He had a extremely low paid job, which exhausted him. He has debt (7000$). He lives with his grandmother at his 27 years of age. He has very bad clothes. He is skinny and weak.

    Some of his beliefs were kind of “Women do not like me” and similar. The problem was – it is the truth! Beautiful girls do not like guys like this.

    (They really don’t, I know it from my 6 years long dating and pickup artist experience and after coaching many guys to date and pick up women.)

    So the problem was: Yes, he BEGAN to approach women, but he was CONSTANTLY rejected. What he has in his life is just not attractive. He can’t even bring a girl home, due to his grandmother.

    So… the result is the same, he will undoubtedly form NEW negative beliefs. And of course with the new ones we can work as well, but that would be continuous work with no return at all.

    So the solution with guys like this definitely to help them get a good job or other way to have SUFFICIENT money. To get them get their NEEDS fulfilled first. BEFORE that it makes absulutely no sense to try to get them to approach women.

    Greets and big respect for all your work with beliefs (it changed me greatly)

    • tori November 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      I think he’d have a great chance with a woman who is skinny and weak (or otherwise imperfect), and maybe also feels insecure because she isn’t a supermodel. If he only goes for “beautiful,” perhaps he has trouble relating to women as human beings.

      • David November 14, 2013 at 1:37 am - Reply

        Tori, thanks for the suggestion for him to go for ugly women, but please leave him his own right to choose who he wants to date. I would appreciate that bigtime
        With respect,

        • tori November 14, 2013 at 9:53 am - Reply

          David, there is a big gap between “beautiful” and “ugly.” In fact these words mean little. A lot of “beauty” is just makeup and clothing. And women who engage in that type of artifice are often shallow and looking for equally shallow, flashy men. Why don’t we just say he could go for attractive, of similar intelligence and education, and having interests in common. And mainly, caring, loving, and understanding. A woman with empathy will not mind his situation He is only 27 and in this economy, many men do not have good jobs. If he’s going for heavily made-up, out there to be picked up type of women, of course they are going to rebuff him. He doesn’t sound like an Adonis himself and he has nothing to offer them. Relationships are about how much people enjoy being together, not just looks and money. It should be fairly easy for him to change some aspects of his outer self with diet, clothes, and grooming. Also, the place you try to meet women matters, a bar does not sound ideal for him because when people are drunk they tend to be rude; women are being hit on by a lot of men in bars so they don’t give the not-that-attractive ones much of a chance. I think you need to stop stereotyping women into “hot or not” and realize they are people just like you.

          • David November 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

            Tori, I am sure you are a very good person!
            Please stop trying to decide for him, what to want, and what not.
            Better tell us about yourself, how did you come to this site? What is your problem you are trying to solve? :)

    • biff November 14, 2013 at 1:17 am - Reply

      Mr. Lefkoe, I’d like to read your thoughts on the 1st post in this thread, by “David”…he appears to suggest that some of what you say are merely limiting beliefs, are actually truth.

      …And I wouldn’t know! I don’t understand women…but you and David apparently do. Please tell us what you think!

      sincerely -biff

      • tori November 14, 2013 at 3:19 pm - Reply

        David, thank you for asking. I am here because I have often picked men who were not any good, and I did not have a great childhood. I do not care how much money they make, but they should be self-sufficient and willing to work at something as well as having their outward behavior resemble their private behavior. Further, I feel that though I have had some success, but am not consistently fulfilling my potential because I tend to not finish things.

        I am not so much worried about your friend and certainly not telling him what to do. I spoke up because the sexist way you talk about women solely in terms of looks is offensive to me and is not considered acceptable, and no, I’m not ugly. You also are objectifying men if you think all men need such and such to appeal to women. Most women want understanding above all else. One thing about this blog is that people are in a search for emotional truths and cutting through a rigid belief system.

        • David November 14, 2013 at 3:33 pm - Reply

          Tori, I am sorry to hear about your childhood and experience with men. What do you mean by “but am not consistently fulfilling my potential because I tend to not finish things”, which are those things?

          • tori November 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

            Hi David,
            It took me a long time to know what I wanted to do, and I went in many directions, never really deciding but more happening onto things. I’m a children’s book author and illustrator. I am published, but I feel I have not lived up to my potential and have many projects I never sent out, failed to sell, or got some interest in but I gave up on. I lack the “aggressive” streak and organization one needs in a very competitive field that requires constant self-promotion, I’m not that kind of person. Sometimes it all feels like a frivolous and pursuit, especially in this hyper-commercial climate, and other times it still feels all-important to me. Thanks for asking.

          • tori November 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

            David, I would like to know more about you. How did you become, is it a pickup artist? And counselor? It’s a wonderful skill to be able to build a relationship starting from being strangers. Whatever the name of the skill is (pickup artist or what), I admire it.

          • David November 15, 2013 at 4:40 am

            Tori, what you already have is a big step, which is going to enable you to do the necessary thing to use all your potential as far as you truly want it and commit to it. This requires eliminating some beliefes, which compell you to do things that hinder your progress, and, of course, some of them are holding you back from doing(saying/beginning) things you need to use your true potential.

            “it all feels like a frivolous and pursuit, especially in this hyper-commercial climate, and other times it still feels all-important to me.”
            – You are certainly not the only one with this happening in your life. No successful person goes straight motivated 24/7, it is not possible physiologically. The wise ones understand the principle, that “before it gets better, it always gets a little worse”, the principle of high and downs, they are a normal element of the progress towards your goal.

            I lack the “aggressive” streak and organization one needs in a very competitive field that requires constant self-promotion, I’m not that kind of person.
            – this is not the only way to market or promote yourself. Still, if you want to use it, you can raise your ability to be “aggressive” at times, when you need it. Again, I suspect some beliefs to holding you back from being that way.

            Ok I will not go on with this anymore, unless you tell me you need it from me. Tori ;)

            About me:
            I have a history of strong sexual problems (premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction), as well as other health problems (chronic fatigue etc.). I began learninng pickup and due to these problems and “broken” psyche had little success in terms of keeping women. At one time I stopped dating completely and was solving these problems and dating got better. I do not seek for an exclusive relationship now, I need my freedom, and girls who I am with know it and accept (and enjoy) it. I am not sexistic in no way I really give much love and care to my girls.

            I don’t consider myself a pickup artist anymore, it is just a lifestyle part of me. But it’s just a part of my life, right now I continue some coaching (in which I use the Lefkoe Method), and having taken part in both Lefkoe Method trainings (LMT1+2) was an amazing experience and help for me. Also having sessions with Rodney Daut, who used the Ledkoe Method to work on my beliefs, helped a lot, here you can get them arranged for you too: http://www.recreateyourlife.com/1?p=davidfree&w=sessions

            So, dating/pickup is just a part of my life, for the main part I am doing internet marketing right now and I love it.

        • Matt November 15, 2013 at 6:29 am - Reply

          “because the sexist way you talk about women”

          See, this is exactly what’s wrong with you Tori and all women who think like you – you just don’t get it.

          1. Women objectifying men just as much as men objectify women – I’ve seen it with my own eyes. My social circle of girl friends going crazy when some new guy comes into the group who is a sexy, hot looking rock musician guy, real macho etc. They fucking LOVE it. (you would argue, it’s because he’s a successful musician – no, it was because he was hot and Alpha)

          2. Men, ALL men unless they are pussy Betas, adore a sexy, beautiful, attractive looking woman, it means she’s sexually primed and has great genetics. You can piss and moan all you like about how you think this is sexist (who cares what you think?) – it ain’t gonna change squat. You will be overlooked if you don’t make an effort, full stop. You wanna wear baggy t-shirts, torn jeans and Converse? Great. Do it. I’ll be staring at the girl in a tight fitting black dress, long, lush hair, deep made-ups eyes and nice heeled shoes.

          Why do you think there is such an exodus of quality men from the US? Marrying a US woman carries a high rate of divorce (most often initiated by the woman), then an unfair 50% depletion of the man’s assets to fund the lazy life of the ex-wife.

          Enjoy looking after your cats in your middle-age.

          • David November 15, 2013 at 6:51 am

            Matt, your aggressivity towards women will decrease, if you work on yourself. Until then, please pick your words wisely here.

    • Morty Lefkoe November 14, 2013 at 8:03 am - Reply

      Hi David,

      Most of your client’s undesirable qualities (living at home, no money , etc.) are the result of beliefs. So he not only has beliefs that cause his approach anxiety, he also has beliefs that have him not be a particularly desirable man from a woman’s point of view.

      Having said that, however, although many (or even most) women might not like a man who lives like your client, it is not true that NO women would. There are women who respond positively to every type of man, not attractive, no money, etc.

      It is never a true statement that “Women want …. (anything)” There are always women who don’t care about any particular quality.


      • David November 14, 2013 at 8:23 am - Reply


        yes, I agree, this is absolutely true – there are many beliefs, that did couse his situation in life. And I hope we did eleminate a lot of them. So this is the way to go.

        Eliminating these beliefs is very important and helpful from my point of view.

        The second point that you bring up about women – of course there are women, who will accept him the way he is, but these type of women are normally not attractive.

        In fact, I must change the phrase, “Women do not like me”, the exact beliefs are “beautiful women do not like me” or “beuatiful women want men, who….”. These are the actual beliefs that we worked with, these are the ones he felt true.

        I hope now the whole thing makes more sense.

        Anyways, he is now on his way to solve all other issues, which now should be easier after we have eliminated a lot of his limiting beliefs.



    • James November 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      I want to say, David, that you clearly have a profound grasp of the theory behind this website. Also, your advice to your client- improve your financial, physical, and fashion prowess- is clearly sound, even for those who are not dating, for whatever reason.

      However, your premise is deeply flawed. There is no reason to expect that your client will form further negative beliefs from repeated rejections. You only need to remove all forms of “failure and rejection are bad,” because I predict that is the most common source of those beliefs you speak of.

      The result of that would be, he can enjoy his ability to banter and hit on women without worrying about the score- while enjoying the challenge- while devoting more energy to these other games you suggest he play. Who knows, he might even start to have a few successes because women go, “What does he have that I don’t see?”

      Also, one might point up another belief to eliminate: “beautiful women are more desirable than the others.” Because I’ve heard a few clacks from successful PUAs that suggest they aren’t, always. It’d be better to knock this one out FIRST, so that you can develop a better metric for who you want to land.

      Or, your clients might; this might cost you a few clients!

      • David November 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm - Reply

        James – in short, what you propose is him learning to enjoy being beaten. That’s not gonna work. Unless you want to form a new fetish…

        Thanks for your comment!

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