Approach anxiety is experienced by an individual who is attempting to court a prospective romantic partner and is characterized by a nervous, unrelaxed state of anticipation that does not dissipate until the approach has been completed. Extreme, approach anxiety lowers the status of the man performing the approaching.
Extreme, overwhelming approach anxiety that does not readily dissipate is a hallmark of love-shyness.
Approach anxiety is a feature of a slow life history mating strategy which involves careful mate choices and high investment in the offspring. Even though beneficial for modern society, such behavior is undesired by most women. Approach anxiety might be an adaptation for arranged marriage and might massively reduce reproductive success in today's mating context that heavily emphasizes free mate choice (see evolutionary mismatch).
Causes[edit | edit source]
Approach anxiety is experienced in perhaps all who perform approaches, at least for the first few times. However, approach anxiety can be exacerbated by physical and psychological conditions such as love-shyness, as well as previous experiences of rejection. Large amounts of rejection has turned some incels love-shy, or unwilling to approach, especially if their approaches consistently resulted in public humiliation. One love-shy man has described this is akin to experiencing an electric shock every time one wants to write.
A unique conundrum facing those who approach is the attraction ambiguity problem, the relationship status ambiguity problem and whether the one approaching should only do so if indicators of interest are already present in the person they wish to approach.
Solutions[edit | edit source]
Extreme approach anxiety can be helped in a variety of ways. The individual can practice approaches in a variety of settings, reducing the anxiety of the unknown. Of course, this could backfire if the individual is publicly humiliated or experiences subtle social shunning as a result. Making oneself more attractive physically can help with confidence, as well as improve the immediate opinions of others, which can aid approaching.
Ultimately, however, approaching requires that the social circle, as well as those who are approached, are sympathetic to the individual. Nothing is worse for a love-shy or incel than a social circle that criticizes, makes fun of, or otherwise degrades them when attempting to approach. In this sense, the love-shy or incel has little personal control over what he or she can do, and is reliant on others, though the possibility exists for to change social circles if the current one is not sympathetic.