Social Anxiety in Men: What Causes It and How to Beat It | Girls Chase

Social Anxiety in Men: What Causes It and How to Beat It

Note from Chase: this is a guest post on understanding and combatting social anxiety, by Will Legend, writer for and founder of DecodeHer.


Have you ever wanted to do something, but backed out because you were overcome with the fear of embarrassment? If you have, then you’ve had social anxiety.

social anxiety

Personally, I’ve experienced social anxiety. When I was in school, I hated being called on in class. Sometimes, I’d fumble with my words. Other times, I’d turn red. And when I felt the blood rush to my cheeks, I was even more embarrassed.

Chances are, you’ve experienced some degree of social anxiety as well. Some experience so much fear in certain situations that they grow frightened just thinking about them. For others, it’s not as severe, but still brings about a feeling of insecurity.

Chase AmanteAbout the Author: Chase Amante

Chase woke up one day in 2004 tired of being alone. So, he set to work and read every book he could find, studied every teacher he could meet, and talked to every girl he could talk to to figure out dating. After four years, scads of lays, and many great girlfriends (plus plenty of failures along the way), he launched this website. He will teach you everything he knows about girls in one single program in his Mastery Package.

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Alcaeus's picture

Chase,

Yup, it is truly a challenge to leave your comfort zone. But in hindsight, you will certainly look back on the experience and smile at yourself because you will honestly know that you "lived life".

Once again Chase, I have read many times of readers syncing their interactions with a recent relevant post that you get up on the site. It happened to me many time before and this time was no different.

I went on a second date with a girl.( Yes, I know -- BAD. But here me out. Also I will be breaking a lot of other rules in my effort to improvise attraction and stall. )

I met her at a social event/extended social circle. I played text message game beautifully. She texted me first after we swapped numbers at the event so I knew I had it in the bag. I had that date set up in 3 text messages and we were at Starbucks that same Saturday.

My game was impeccable. She got there late, and when she arrived she hugged me. I remained unmoved and guided her back to my chest as she tried to sit down and kissed her on the lip. THEN, we sat down. I deep dived her for 10 minutes. Guided her outside into the rain and we made out under the streetlights.

In the back of my head. I knew I was moving super slow. This was fast for me at the time but for where I wanted to be and what Girlschase was teaching me, I knew I should have had her in my bed in 10 minutes. Why didn't I have her in my bed? Because of logistical anxiety.

My house was occupied with my family so I couldn't seal the deal. And I know Chase is adamant about kissing before you can escalate to sex but I had to confirm to her that I am a man that will fulfill her needs. Fast forward one month later...

She is texting me back and forth about meeting up. Through some probing questions I clandestinely confirmed that our homes were very unlikely to be available for sex. It had been a month and I knew my attraction was waning. So I compromised yet again. She suggested a dinner date, but I countered with a movie date. (I wasn't going to go back to deep diving. Never deescalate or go backwards in a seduction. We deep dived on the first date.) I decided the movie date because talking would be to a minimum which would decrease the chances of running through topics I covered a month ago (She is a Dartmouth graduate so she is acute on conversation) and the objective was for her to know that I still exist as a mate.

Throughout the movie (Oh, the movie was "That Awkward Moment". Yup, an excellent choice..!) she wouldn't stop grabbing my leg and it just killed me as I knew that I should be shagging her. A little voice in the back of my head spoke about taking her to the bathroom and going to work but it didn't manifest.

The movie was over and that completed the second date without making her my lover. We talk sex, I lead like a Nazi, and she swears she can't wrap herself around me because I am so mysterious and sexy. I am dying inside as I don't have a location to seal the deal. I considered the unconventional open sex (alley, park, etc...) but it is 22 degrees outside. The bathroom idea resurfaced back but as I saw the crowed bathrooms after the movie I scrapped the idea. And a hotel is honestly out of our (my )budget range so it was seriously driving me to tears as we made out once again and went our separate ways.

Chase, I am not worried about the girl. If I lose her, I lose her. I am more worried about repeating the same mistake. A post on sticky logistics would be phenomenal. I can't work like this...

Anonymous's picture

what are her living situations?

Author
Chase Amante's picture

Alcaeus-

Looks like you're doing great with her. There're always options if you're willing to think a little outside the box; hotel, private hot tub, day trip somewhere that requires you to get a room together, etc. all seem like good bets here.

I'd recommend checking out this article: "Sex Logistics: How to Get Intimate in Unusual Places" if you haven't already, and then doing some research on your town to see what options are available. What you're looking for is somewhere fun and interesting that'll let you have a private room where you can lock the door and won't be interrupted - karaoke's another one along with the hot tub that give you a great way to do this outside of the conventional hotel / backseat of your car method. I have a good friend who used to have girls come rent a private karaoke with him, sing, then escalate to sex then and there because he didn't have a place to bring them otherwise back when he was doing this.

Get a little creative, and you can find a way that's both fun AND functional.

Chase

Extraordinaire's picture

"While as a child we need and deeply crave the love and attention of our parents, often times this attention when turned upon us can become a poisoned chalice.
Children very often do not receive their parents' full, undivided attention. This is especially the case when the child is doing what the parents want. Parents will rarely reinforce positive behaviour; just punish bad behaviour! Generally children only get their parents attention when they do something the parent perceives as bad. What normally ensues in those circumstances is that the child receives a severe verbal scolding or perhaps the 'silent treatment' (and accompanying crippling withdrawal of love). The parental attention may even go so far as physical abuse.
The child exposed to this attention often enough begins to develop a severe fear to having the spotlight on him. Having parental eyes focused upon him invariably carries with it the penalty of emotional or physical pain and to a vulnerable mind, the threat of death. It becomes easier to avoid situations where attention will be focused on you, to withdraw, to fade into the background."

Chase do you believe this where the problem stems from?

I've been aware of this issue in myself from a long time ago... and I still haven't been able to find a solution.. I considered a program called "Open Focus" that claims to make you able to stay calm even when are with a lion in the same room, by shiftng your narrow focus on this threat to something else...

though I later realized focusing on solving this issue made it even worse... even reading articles like this one might be counterproductive, so I decided to forget I had this problem and now things seem to be better.. but it still looks like I will never completely cure it.

Author
Chase Amante's picture

Extraordinaire-

This was a great article by Will. I haven't read the research, so I don't know what the general agreement is on the source, although I can personally say I had great parents and always enjoyed being the center of attention, but I still dealt with tremendous social phobia for a number of years. It seems like childhood relationships with the parents is a major cause of social anxiety for many guys, but in my case it was something else - I think it's safe to say there are multiple possible sources for any kind of trauma-induced mental rewiring.

Personally, my own experience has been just repeatedly pushing yourself into one uncomfortable social situation after another after another and confronting the fear head on will cure you of it faster than you might imagine. Indeed, that's been my experience for all fears - I have few left that are really panic inducing, and they're mostly the ones that you can't do much to condition out other than accepting death (e.g., things like drowning, being buried alive, or extreme hypothermia / terminal burrowing); everything else you can train out with sufficient exposure. Social anxiety clears fast as you accumulate larger and larger social experiences and force your brain to realize nothing bad is actually going to happen to you, even if you make a fool of yourself. It may still hang around at the very edges of your experience, but even then, you can train yourself to get an adrenaline rush tackling new areas where fear still exists for you, which effectively resolves the problem from ever controlling you again.

Chase

blogster's picture

Good article. One thing I would add though as a touch of realism. Having dealt with this stuff previously through CBT (which worked really well), a common foundation of the CBT is to work with the underlying assumption that it is the individual's incorrect/exaggerated interpretation of external cues that leads to anxiety.

While perception is important, the reality is that you may very well actually be coming across as socially awkward/inept independent of any anxiety. Realising you suck socially can lead to anxiety. The reality is that addressing the social skill component (being competent) is crucial. If you suck at something (whatever it is) unfortunately people are going to let you know (in some way) and it will hurt. Deal with that, develop your skills, push through and you will get much better responses and improve the feedback mechanism over time to a point where you don't notice it.

Further, you may have been born with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and therefore are automatically coming across as anxious/nervous purely out of your control. Those with GAD often have highly sensitive nervous systems and are extremely aware of their environment/surroundings and get easily aroused/overstimulated by environments which 'normal' people do not. This has positives and negatives. On the one hand, these types can pick up small details and differences, pick up the 'mood' of a social landscape quite quickly etc.

I know from experience working through anxiety that after a social event, returning to a quiet environment I realise my nervous system returns to calmness again. When confronted with environmental stimulation again, a base level of anxiousness/nervousness returns. This can be reflected in an anxious sounding voice, low energy, slower speech etc as you are dealing with the over arousal. People then interpret it as lacking confidence as such, which they often visibly show, leading to social anxiety - and a downward spiralling pattern.

I can' t count the number of situations where I haven't actually been 'nervous' of 'fearful' of the situation, but because of my nervous system responses, get treated as such by people.

I applaud this article and would say to anyone dealing with this to make sure you are aware of how you are responding to external stimuli and monitor cause and effect mechanisms.

steven h's picture

Awesome techniques. Truly. Only thing that's strange is that when I'm owning the room my attention is actually focused on myself and I don't even notice the environment. Why is this?

Author
Chase Amante's picture

Steven-

Yes, that's an interesting phenomenon. If I had to guess, I'd propose it's just that you're moving around and changing conversations so much that it's impractical to focus much on others, so instead you focus on controlling yourself to appear maximally appealing to as many different varied others as possible.

Chase

Anonymous's picture

Chase, is it possible for
you to write an article that focuses mainly on Cold Approach?

Brian48's picture

I really appreciate your site, I'm starting to make some good strides life-wise. I'm more organized and goal oriented. I've put away the wanna-be tough guy image and have become more independent and productive. I've also cut off all of my so-called sorry ass friends and ex-girlfriends who seemed to cause problems for me whenever they got the chance. I simply don't have the time or patience for the bullshit. Thank you for leading the way. I can now sit back and watch other people go threw the same problems and trials over and over again.

My question was you never did an article on good hairstyles. I'm black but I'm a barber so I was curious what hairstyles I could recommend to clients I get with straight hair, you know white and Hispanic. Thanks for your feedback.

Author
Chase Amante's picture

Brian-

Sounds like you're making some great strides with your life and are in a pretty good place these days! Thanks for the reminder on hairstyles; I'll see if I can get one up sooner. That's a challenging one to write because you want to capture the right mix of classic and trendy; pretty easy for an article on the subject to go out of fashion pretty quickly, and then it has to be done all over again, and that's what I want to avoid with such an article.

Chase

Blackdragon's picture

I'll repeat the advice given in the article about videotaping yourself giving a speech, or even just talking to people. You'll be shocked at some of the crazy stuff you do that you aren't even aware of.

I used to have a problem of speaking way too fast when I spoke in front of groups (I still do, but it's not nearly as extreme). Videotaping myself made a huge difference.

Great article.

Anonymous's picture

Hi Chase,

Great quality and content in this site. I have a question/dilemma on social anxiety related to jobs.

When one's profession is not viewed as manly, interesting or creative (musician, writer or other sexy-artist vibe kind of stuff) how do you deal with this? I have BIG trouble with this one. I have the impression that women see male staff in stores, clubs, etc as inferior-weak men which they loathe. After going through long years of higher education and and a few engineering positions, I am currently in a tech-oriented and temporary pushy cold-approach position trying to work my way back into technology design stuff. Sales has done amazing things for my approach and rapport building skills though and I get girls attraction at will and often by accident, fundamentals have become good with room to improve still, however it becomes seriously awkward when I am asked about my job and since I talk to hundreds of people daily face to face I can´t even hide it much since someone in some circle finds out sooner or later. Worth saying I am 30 already so ultimately I also feel the weight of the "old-underachieved" dragging as well. How would you compare this to the time when you used to sell tires? I understand you were very young so maybe it didn't matter that much from the "old-proven vs young-unproven" spectrum, but would you still get away with that in your 30's? In my mid 20's I used to say "I'm XYZ engineer" and then would be off the hook for further questions or would easily deflect them and focus on her and would feel weirdly proud about it as well, right now in B2C sales though I can´t deal the shame for a long time now and I don't know how legit or relevant that is for seduction. One solution would be to date different girls which I do but my normal niche of master-degrees and smart professional girls is something I refuse to let go! I hope you can relate since I understand this is a good field for you too, I'm under the impression that guys getting these girls have great fundamental but are also entrepreneurs, programmers, engineers, finance guys, or of course, artists.

Any insight is much appreciated!

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