In this blog post you will learn:
- How I was able to overcome my fear of strangers through the Hardcore Method
- Why it is counterproductive to be too concerned about your fear of other people
- What Lord Voldemort has to do with your social anxiety
- How you become unstoppable in social situations
- And much more…
When you were a child, your mother used to tell you, “Watch out for strangers.”
You were still a naive brat, weighing 30 kilos at most, and your wiener was even smaller than a radish…
… and yet you didn’t understand the big deal.
“What’s wrong with strangers?” you thought.
But you could see in your mother’s eyes that she was seriously concerned, and you decided to trust her in this matter.
It echoed in your head as you turned on the TV to watch the latest Pokemon episode, unaware of how much this conditioning would bite you in the ass later.
Here you are. A grown man. You weigh considerably more than 30 kilos, and your peepee has evolved, too…
And yet, you are afraid of strangers.
Afraid of what they might think of you.
Afraid of making a fool out of yourself.
In fact, your fear is so strong that it prevents you from socializing because you know beforehand how uncomfortable you will feel.
Do you know what I am talking about?
The truth is that this fear does not always have to stem from your childhood. And of course, it is not always the overprotective mother’s fault.
Often, it stems from a traumatic social experience or is the logical consequence of a lack of self-esteem.
Whatever the reason is why YOU suffer from it, today you will learn tips that can ACTUALLY help you.
Because the internet is full of articles on this topic, but most of them give tips like:
As if you hadn’t already figured that out…
After this article, you will understand why this is counterproductive.
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Tip #1: How I overcame my fear of strangers (the Hardcore Method)
Today many people don’t believe me when I say this, but holy sh** was I afraid of strangers…
My friends and family did not know that I was extremely dissatisfied with my social life, because in their presence there was no sign of this fear.
No stuttering, no sweating, no trembling…
But as soon as I didn’t know a person, everything was different, especially if this person was (attention, panic-inducing word follows) FEMALE…
This feeling grew stronger and stronger.
At first, it was just a slight discomfort when I interacted with a woman, but it went out of hand so that even paying at the checkout of a supermarket meant that I was about to shit myself.
It’s been a vicious cycle.
It felt as if the devil had my balls firmly in his hand (in the most asexual way) and as if he was holding my brain in a mental cage.
I wondered why other people had no problems doing things like making new friends or going to nightclubs.
(Nightclubs are hell on earth for people with social anxiety.)
How did I break free from the devil’s testicle grip?
Well, of course there are a lot of things that helped, but the most effective was exposure therapy.
The downside of this method is that it requires a hell of a lot of willpower.
What I have done, so to speak, is to treat my fear as a compass.
As soon as I avoided a situation because I was afraid of it, I forced myself to confront it anyway.
- When I caught myself circling around people, because I tried to avoid conversations → I would approach them.
- If I did not know the way → I asked a passenger, instead of relying on my phone.
- If somebody had to present certain results of a project in university → I volunteered.
This method is not easy.
EVERYTHING in you will resist it.
Your brain will make up hundreds of excuses why now is not the right time.
But once you get it over with, you are flooded with a feeling of pure euphoria.
That feeling is so strong and inspiring that you want to feel it again, no matter how many opposing thoughts you have to ignore.
Every time you conquer your fear, you are one big step closer to your goal of social freedom.
What surprised me the most was the fact that it was apparently COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT how things turned out or how others reacted to me.
On the contrary:
After all, people with social anxiety are ultimately afraid of negative reactions from others to something they do or say.
But the more often you experience in your own body that you are still alive afterward, the faster you realize one thing:
That interacting with other members of the human species is no big deal at all.
Tip #2: The relationship between focus and fear
When you get nervous in social situations, you often become too self-aware.
This is what happens when you fear of crowded places.
Let’s say I’m writing this article in front of an audience that can follow everything I type on a big screen.
And let’s just say I couldn’t handle that situation.
What would happen then is that the quality of the article would be reduced and I would turn more and more inwards.
I would perceive too strongly how long it would take me to write the next sentence and I would put too much thought into every single word.
As a result, I would become nervous. Very nervous.
And I would be more than aware of that myself. I would tell myself that it is also visible from the outside, and that would ultimately make me even more nervous.
All this would happen to me… if I did not know the following simple trick:
Shift your focus to the situation and the people you are talking to.
You don’t even have to try to think, for example, “Don’t be nervous” or “Don’t let people intimidate you”…
You won’t succeed.
That’s not how our brain works.
It’s like trying not to think about that darn pink elephant.
But what you can do is to increase the focus on something else.
When you focus on something that is outside you, you avoid getting more and more lost in your own head.
Focus plays an extremely important role when it comes to emotion control.
Tony Robbins also says this in his famous quote:
Tip #3: Say “Voldemort”
There is a powerful dark magician terrorizing the wizarding world.
He is so feared that no one dares to even say his name out loud…
But I like to live on the edge, so fuck it, I’m just gonna say it: VOLDEMORT!
If you are already afraid of naming something, then you will never get rid of the fear of the actual thing.
For this reason, you should define your fear precisely.
Tell a few friends what you are EXACTLY afraid of.
In which situations do you feel uncomfortable? How do they make you feel? Which situations are worse than others?
Take the time to describe your fear in as much detail as possible.
By that, you limit your fear by your definition. You box it. You consciously exclude situations that do not fit your description.
We humans fear nothing more than the unknown.
I once played a game called “Until Dawn” with a buddy of mine (highly recommendable game, by the way!).
It’s a horror game designed to scare you as much as possible.
The plot is typical: A circle of friends is continuously attacked by mysterious “monsters” and killed in isolated cases… But no one gets to see the monsters.
No one knows whether it is one or more killers, a wild animal or a demon.
I don’t want to give too much away, maybe you plan to play it, but I can tell you that much:
This mysterious “something” is absolutely terrifying.
But do you know what’s interesting about it?
As frightening as it is, one could finally relax a little now that one knew what it was.
So sit on your buttocks and write down how your fear expresses itself.
If you then also talk about it with one or more people, it can be very helpful.
Tip #4: Get the ball rolling
If you are not a Martian who has only recently landed on Earth, then you have probably rolled a snowball through the snow before.
It gets bigger and bigger.
And all by itself. The only thing you have to do is to give it a gentle push again and again.
It’s the same with your “social me”. It needs a few pushes, but then it starts rolling by itself and at some point it is unstoppable.
You can’t imagine, even in your wildest nightmares, that you could approach a strange woman on the streets?
Well, you don’t have to…
Just start with the simplest step and build it up.
Like this for example:
- Keep eye contact with a stranger for 3 seconds
- Keep eye contact with a stranger for 5 seconds
- Ask for something innocent like the time or the way
- Ask a question and add a compliment when you leave
- Give a compliment
You don’t have to go from 0 to 100, you just have to go from 0 to 1. Every single step, no matter how small, that takes you out of your comfort zone is worth pure gold.
In the end, you’ll catch yourself talking to a hot woman all of a sudden without it being a problem.
Once you’re socially warmed up, socializing will feel like you’re Super Mario, who has just collected a star and is therefore invulnerable.
Tip #5: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
Every time I went to a club – back when I was more intimidated by strangers than a bunny – I no longer understood the world…
A raging dance floor, women dressed in barely any clothing, men who make a whole group laugh… Everyone seemed to be having a bombastic time… except for me.
This gave my fear a frightening power, because in addition there was the thought that something was wrong with me.
Why can’t I be as extroverted as the others? Why can’t I just have fun and meet new people?
Now I’m going to give you some advice that will change your life for the better:
Don’t compare yourself to others.
- You don’t know their backgrounds
- It damages your self-esteem science says
To your right, a group of women is dancing as if each of them had a spontaneous epileptic seizure.
In front of you is a group of Australian men. They have been drunk since noon and are just about to take off their T-shirts and present their hairy, sweat-soaked bellies to the club.
On your left is your buddy Mike, who’s making out with a walrus using way too much tongue…
Do you really want to be like that?
And like I said, you don’t know their backgrounds. This study shows that people tend to bring out their positive emotions and hide the negative ones from the outside world.
So the uninhibited fun they are having right now could just be frustration with a carnival mask.
Believe me, every man has insecurities.
The moment you consider your insecurity as “problematic”, you make it more difficult to deal with.
To think that you are the only one who can’t have fun is, first of all, not true, and, second of all, limiting.
Instead of dealing with these thoughts, you should rather follow tip #4 and build up your night from ground zero.
You Need Help to Overcome Your Fear of Talking to Strangers?
Helping men to overcome their social anxieties is our specialty.
Together with other coaches, we have already been able to help literally thousands of men.
Just the other day I had a phone call with a man who was plagued by fear of approaching and fear of rejection.
He asked me if he could overcome these fears in just one weekend. He asked because he wanted to know whether our Bootcamp (= weekend coaching) was the right thing for him.
I couldn’t help but laugh.
I can say this so confidently because I have seen it so often that I would have to believe it, even if I were the most doubting person on earth.
And that’s how it happened. Already on the second day, there was no sign of his fears.
He even claimed:
This man took his new self-confidence home after the coaching and is now creating the love life he always wanted.
Any fear of strangers left? I doubt he sees people as ‘strangers’ at all anymore.
(I know that he reads my blog. Message to him: Pleased to meet you, keep it up!)
May the Force be with you.
Dan de Ram