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Do I Have Social Anxiety? (updated August 24, 2014)
We'll have our second professional pickup video out very soon, lets say - 10 days?
The video will feature aggressive screening at night.
As of now, this video is the only "night game" video we have from inside a bar.
Below we have a checklist to see where you stand with your social anxiety and if you might benefit from professional help or what your next course of action should probably be.
You don't necessarily have to go out to do any drills (although you certainly could) - you should know right away what is "doable" and what will be difficult.
It helps to be honest with yourself.
These "drills" are meant to be done ALONE.
There can be a world of difference between your social freedom while rolling solo and your social freedom when you have drunk friends egging you on.
Lets define Social Anxiety.
It's Hard for Psychiatrists to Understand You
If you have or think you have social anxiety, I recommend that you speak to a medical professional.
I recommend this because -
Most people that don't - end up doing absolutely nothing and anxiety presides over their entire life.
Whether they know it or not, their anxiety affects their sex life, social life, career choices and even their relationships with [safe] people they are close to.
Consciously or subconsciously, many people purposely pick stereotypical "introverted" career paths (working on computers, for example) to avoid social situations.
Sometimes they think they "chose" their career but the fact of the matter is - it choose them.
So consider seeing a specialist -
You have NOTHING TO LOSE - minus the co-pay.
Still, I totally understand the limitations that a visit to a psychiatrist can have.
THEIR GOAL is to make you/give you something so that you are reasonably comfortable in social situations and don't constantly isolate yourself. (get blood work done to detect endocrine problems before you are prescribed any medications)
YOUR GOAL is to get comfortable enough to meet a ton of women and have the Killer Instinct to take them home within 45 minutes.
It's not the same thing.
It's two different universes.
I urge you to take one thing at a time though.
If you are ever you are to become "that guy" that can sleep with 3 or 4 new women a week, you are going to have to become "that guy" that can feel normal around strangers.
"That guy" needs to be able to chill out.
If you have social anxiety - that is your #1 goal.
Once you've achieved that, you can think about starting the Approach Anxiety Program or doing some Basic/Nervous Guy Game.
Over the years, from working with some people in-person and observing obvious trends on our forum, I have a pretty good idea about who needs professional help and who is just inexperienced or just needs a kick in the ass (or structured program).
Remember, all guys have some amount of social anxiety.
This is normal.
Very few guys can walk up to hot girls and talk to them without being under the influence, especially in "non-social" settings.
I'd say - only 1 or 2% of guys can do that.
If you can do that pretty comfortably, you already have above-average social freedom.
Here are some basic tests so you can see if you have an over amount of social anxiety that might require professional help. (I am not a doctor, this is not an adequate substitute for advice from a real psychiatrist)
Seeking professional help may be beneficial if you cannot do these BY YOURSELF in a sober state-
Go the mall and sit alone in the food court for 30 minutes, without texting on your phone and without any food to eat.
Say "Hi," to an employee in a store before he or she greets you.
Walk up to a cashier and ask for change for a $1 bill while calling him or her by their first name (on nametag).
Walk up to a fast-food restaurant in the food court and ask for a cup of water (without buying anything).
Finish the water and ask for a refill.
Buy condoms at a grocery or connivence store from a female cashier.
Ask a stranger for the time and directions
Wear a "wife-beater" (sleeveless tank top) to the mall.
Ask someone who works at the mall where the restroom is.
Walk backwards in the mall (or in public) for 15 seconds.
Wear sunglasses in the mall for 3 minutes.
Ask someone to take a picture of you with your phone or camera.
In an elevator, ask a stranger what floor he or she going to and push the button.
Make eye contact with a girl (of any quality) and hold it until she looks away.
Approach a store clerk and ask for help to find a certain size/item in a store.
Ask the opinion of someone who works at a clothing store (Do you like this shirt?).
Ask the opinion of a lady (employee) in the cosmetic section what she thinks of a certain scent of cologne. (let her smell it on your wrist)
Ask for samples of frozen yogurt or ice cream at an ice cream store in the food court.
Finish some food or drink a beverage in a grocery store and then pay for it.
Go into a coffee store (Starbucks) and ask them how they make the coffee and where it comes from.
Make eye contact with the annoying pushy employees at a mall kiosk and do not stop walking when they try to sell you something. (just be standoffish or rude to these aggressive assholes)
Ask a female in a store how old she thinks you are. If she won't guess, keep insisting that she does.
Ask the cashier at a fast-food restaurant in the food court for a list of calories/ingredients in their food.
Ask an employee in a store where something is and insist that they walk you to exactly where it is.
Ask an employee in a clothing store what his or her favorite flavor of ice cream is.
Remember - ALL these drills are meant to be done BY YOURSELF, not with a friend(s) who's "mere presence" provides additional social freedom or security.
How Did You Do? (BE HONEST)
- I can do all 25, by myself, without much hesitation.
You are fine.
You might benefit from the later Approach Anxiety Drills, but you should try doing some Basic Guy or Nervous Guy Game until you are ready for Screening.
- I can do all 25, by myself, with some hesitation.
You are fine too.
Don't convince yourself that you have social anxiety or are a special basketcase.
You might have some Approach Anxiety but that is normal too.
- I can do 20-25, by myself, with or without hesitation.
You are fine too.
You should try some Basic Guy or Nervous Guy Game concurrently with the Approach Anxiety Program.
- I can do 15-19, by myself, with or without hesitation.
This is normal too.
Start the Approach Anxiety program and go through it as directed. Slowly.
- I can do 10-14, by myself, with or without hesitation.
I am concerned about you.
To see where you stand - start the Approach Anxiety program.
You can't finish the first 10 days, in a 30 day span - it's worth a trip to the doctor.
This is not normal. It's not your fault.
There is something going on and we need to bring back your natural state.
You are not living in a mental state that the rest of us are.
- I can't do more than 9 of them.
The bad news is that there's something going on.
This is not natural.
Forget about Approach Anxiety, approaching women and getting laid for now.
Even if you have some success, beat some anxiety via repetition, there is still probably something wrong and you'll need to address it a some point.
The good news is that it can be quite easy to detect endocrine/hormonal problems that could be causing your anxiety.
In 2008, I was a basketcase and I decided to get my blood taken. I had hyperthyroidism (self-induced from too much T3) and it was making me terribly anxious and irritable.
I even remember running out of a hot Los Angeles nightclub, absolutely terrified that something bad was going to happen. I even threw a homeless guy on the ground (he did grab me first).
I got it completely under control in 2 weeks.
You might have been in this unnaturally-anxious state for awhile. Many years.
You may think this hyper-anxious state is normal or have accepted it as "normal" - but it's not.
The rest of us are living in a different state.
If you can't do most of the Social Anxiety Checklist, you have a hypersensitive fight-or-flight trigger and we need to see why that is.
Once you do return to a normal state, we can start lowering your other anxieties.
Your #1 priority needs to be getting this fixed.
It's even worth taking a semester off from school or a leave from work if you are dealing with depression too. Simply burying yourself in school work or a job is a form of denial. Denial never fixed social anxiety.
Please - do yourself a favor.
You have lived in your head for too long.
It's time to reclaim your life.
It's time to make your life what it's supposed to be - livable.
What's It Like To Feel Normal?
You might not even remember.
I forgot what "normal" felt like in 2007 when I was taking 40mg of Percocet every 3.5 hours to mask my hyperthyroidism.
For one, you should be able to do the vast majority of the Social Anxiety Checklist, even if with some hesitation.
The items on the checklist should all be doable - even for introverts.
I can easily approach women but asking for a cup of water for free can be weird for me for some reason.
Always has been.
It's nothing I can't do but it sometimes requires me to be assertive with my brain that is telling me, "Don't bother them for water, you didn't buy anything." or "Just find a water fountain Chris, there are plenty at this mall."
You may have little quirks too, some items might be harder than others.
What is not normal is to be powerless to tell your brain -
What the hell? Asking where protein supplements are? That's not weird or hard. I'll show you.
Stop making me feel creepy, asking for water is perfectly normal.
Stop making me nervous, asking for a sample of frozen yogurt is perfectly normal.
When I talk, people listen, the store clerk is paid to listen to me, I'm going to do it.
Wearing sunglasses inside is weird/douchey but I know I shouldn't care so much what others think.
The worst thing that can happen is - nothing.
If you don't have major social anxiety that keeps you deep inside your head whenever you leave the house, with some determination/effort, you'll be able to overrule your brain or hit the breaks on the negative "YOU SHOULD NOT DO THAT" feedback loop.
Normal is not -
Playing on the Internet in your apartment all day, if consciously (or subconsciously) to avoid potential social interaction or busy public places.
Only going to the grocery store or gym during off-hours.
Going to the self-checkout at the grocery store when you have several items and a regular cashier will be faster.
Not being able to make small talk with the guys and girls at the gym desk check-in or establishment that you regularly frequent.
Reaching for narcotic substances when you need to leave the house.
Being nervous to call your friends or family on the phone.
Not being able to say "Hi," to your neighbors or familiar faces.
Getting an adrenaline (fight-or-flight) spike when you see a safe person that you know.
Being overly irritated by something only somewhat annoying. (baby is crying and you want to kill it)
Considering anything social to be a hassle.
Walking around a public area and looking at the ground the entire time (or purposely wearing sunglasses).
Looking at stranger and and thinking, "I hope this person doesn't look/speak to me."
Getting an anxiety rush from a stranger's harmless pet.
Being overly anxious while walking to and from your car.
Not being able to pee in a urinal.
If this resembles your life - that's not normal.
It's problem that can be fixed.
Feeling normal is getting some anxiety, but being able to recognize it and then take control of it without totally removing yourself from the situation.
Feeling normal is being able to leave your head most times when you really try.
Feeling normal is not having racing thoughts without the visual appearance of potential danger.
Feeling normal is being able to enjoy familiar social situations and environments.
Feeling normal is not being paranoid or avoiding routine, day-to-day activities.
It might have been a while since you've felt normal.
What to make of all this...
Making understanding, treating and beating your social anxiety your #1 goal.
But they'll be EVEN BETTER if you get a handle on your social anxiety and aren't simple "masking" your anxiety.
But the fact of the matter is - if you have an undiagnosed medical problem that is causing your anxiety, self-medicating is just temporarily masking the problem.
It's a band-aid on an open wound.
Hardly a treatment.
You need to feel what it's like to be normal again.
You need to feel what it's like to live on planet earth again, not just in your head.
No dramatic fight-or-flight adrenaline spikes or avoidance of normal social situations or daily activities.
That's not normal.
That's not how the rest of us are living.
If this checklist suggests that you have social anxiety, make an appointment to see a doctor (or at least DO SOMETHING to try and treat it). You might have to try a few doctors until you find one you like.
You might feel anxious just from making the phone call.