Your "Comfort Zone" Is Causing Your Social Anxiety - Phil Hawksworth

Your “Comfort Zone” Is Causing Your Social Anxiety

Social anxiety can be crippling for introverts.

We’re often shy, due mostly to being unpracticed and inexperienced when it comes to socialising. Times that by ten when it comes to meeting women, and social anxiety can quickly become our ‘norm’.

But it doesn’t have to.

Social anxiety with women

I was talking to a friend last week about what I’m doing, coaching introverted guys to become more confident, and not be held back by their introversion.

He said he was fascinated by how I can effortlessly meet and chat to women I don’t know. Noting that he thought it was just something some people can do innately, but as he got to know me more, he realised that I’d ‘learnt’ how to do it through practice.

Being fascinated by human behaviour like myself, he is interested in things like anxiety, fear, etc.

Being a coach – and he is a damn good one – it is your bread and butter. Where a consultant will come in and simply tell you what to do, a coaches main role is helping you get out your own damn way and implement what you already know.

He said he’d love to study pick up – not read about it, actually do it – to understand it more. But he’s been in a relationship for longer than I’ve known him (8 years), so it wouldn’t really work.

I explained a little bit about how easy it is.

Really “pick-up” is goofy. The underlying psychology is solid and will help you understand human dynamics, but the recommendations are dumb.

Especially when you’re an introvert. The last thing you want to do is bounce around a busy bar in some clownish outfit, asking groups of 6 people “who lies more?”.

Meeting women is as simple as just saying “hello”.

Not exactly beyond the scope of anybody, I shouldn’t think.

The success or failure you experience comes down to 2 things.

  1. Are you a good catch for this girl?
  2. Are you comfortable enough to show your personality

Sidenote: How to maximise your success

Basically you need to actually be an attractive guy. You need to offer something that makes women want to be with you.

Otherwise, you’re hopeless.

Before you worry too much about what to say to a girl, you need to sort your own shit out.

Get in shape, get some fashion sense, fix your shitty posture, and learn how to hold basic conversations.

Bonus points if you’re particularly intelligent, successful, and have lived an interesting life.

Then you need to kill the shyness, so you can actually approach a girl.

Speak to her, and present your true self. No ‘lines’ or ‘tricks’; just be who you are and show your personality.

If the girl is not out of your league, then you are good enough as you are. You don’t need to have some pretense of being something you’re not.

If she is out of your league, and you’re not happy about that, go spend another 6 months fixing point 1 and then come back to that caliber of girl.


A case of the ‘what-ifs’

Back on track…

He asked about fear.

“I couldn’t imagine just going up and saying hello…”

In his mind he has a tonne of ‘what-if’ scenarios running. Which brings us to the core point…


That is what social anxiety boils down to.

A serious of ‘what-if’ potential scenarios.

It’s a fear of a future-based event that might happen.

This is true of all social anxiety, not just dating/women.

It’s the same reason people don’t want to pick up the phone and make sales calls.

What if they say no?

… Well they’re not paying you right now, so you’ll be in precisely the same place you are now.

Except… you’ll feel a bit better about yourself for having some balls, and taking action.

Yes. It’s exactly the same with girls…


What happens if you get rejected?

She still isn’t your girlfriend.

You’re still not having sex with her.

In other words, you’re exactly where you started…

Except you feel better about yourself for having some balls, and taking action.


“But what if…”

What if it ruins our friendship?

What if my friends laugh at me, or pick on me about it?

What if she tells everyone at school/the office/in our social circle?

What if I embarrass myself and can’t come back to my favourite restaurant/cafe/gym/etc.?


Your “comfort zone” is actually your social anxiety zone…

This is what I said to my friend, as a counter to his what-if’s, which he found revelationary…

“It’s a hell of a lot easier to talk to some random girl in Starbucks you don’t know than it is to speak to someone you know; someone at work, or in your social circle…

You’re never going to see the girl from Starbucks again. You’ll feel a bit of anxiety, and maybe a moment of dejection or even shame, and then never see her again.

You’ll soon forget about her, but you’ll long remember the act. The confidence you gain from facing your fear and introducing yourself anyway. The actual outcome quickly becomes irrelevant.

There’s zero social consequences.

Contrast that with someone at work, or in your social circle.

The fear is all in the fall-out.

You have to see her again every day in the office. You’re worried about her telling everyone, and people laughing at you.

It’s infinitely easier to approach someone you don’t know than it is to be forward with someone you do know.

There’s literally no (real) risk.

No social consequences”.

This is what I mean when I say your “comfort zone” is the cause of social anxiety.


Your “comfort zone” has social consequences

The places you go, and people you see regularly – your comfort zone – carries actual consequences (potentially).

A random person you don’t know and will never see again carries zero actual consequences.

The fear you feel is just a projection in your mind.

That’s not to say it isn’t real. It certainly is… but it doesn’t actually matter.

You can fight through that fear, and if you fuck up and it goes terribly…

You reset the video game and start the level over again with a new life. This is Call of Duty. When you get shot in the head, you’re not actually dead.


The place to develop your social skills is OUTSIDE your “comfort zone”

It’s just so much easier.

The consequences are basically non-existent. You can fuck up, stutter, say the wrong thing, and feel stupid as many times as it takes… it simply does not matter.

When you’ve done it 10 times you’ll feel a hell of a lot less fear.

When you’ve done it 100 times you’ll start to feel like you know what you’re doing.

When you’ve done it 1000 times you’ll struggle to remember what it was like to have social anxiety.


THEN you bring it to your ‘normal life’

Once you have a bit of confidence, and some competence, NOW you can start integrating it into your normal life.

At this stage you’ll have met enough people to be able to read social cues.

You’ll start to know when a girl is into you, and wants to talk.

You’ll know how to flirt, without being weird or obnoxious.

You’ll be able to gage interest and read people’s reactions, so you know what the undercurrent of the interaction is, without having to bluntly spell it out.

Once you do this, you’ve killed your social anxiety, and you can go ahead with your life.


This won’t be easy…

It’s easy to paint a pretty picture on my laptop, and logically I’m sure you’ll agree that it all makes sense.

Does that mean it’s easy?

No. Does it fuck.

It will be hard.

You will still have a tonne of anxiety and fear.

I’ve simply given you a roadmap to overcome it. Now you have a direction.

When I was a teenager I experienced exactly this.

At school, and around friends I was very shy towards girls. I lived in a world of fear.

But whenever I went on holiday, or just to a different town for whatever reason, I’d be able to meet girls, approach them, and hang out. No bother.

I still felt fear, and a huge surge of adrenaline when I’d say hello, but after that passed (about 60 seconds) I could settle into being myself and I have a tonne of great stories from my teenage years.

They’re ALL from when I was on holiday, away from friends, and otherwise away from my normal “comfort zone”.

It took another 7-8 years to integrate it fully into myself, and be comfortable around anyone.

That’s because I didn’t have a guide like this one. I spent 5 years being crippled by social anxiety, because I thought it was ‘normal’ for me.

I didn’t know it was possible to overcome it.

It is.

You can.


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