The Shotgun Approach

keeping your dating options openI have several friends who have gone through the process of applying to medical school to become a physician. Some of them have used what’s called “the shotgun approach.”

Basically, it means they abandon the detailed research of any one medical school and instead focus their time and energy on applying to as many medical schools as possible. Instead of trying to impress the faculty of one medical school with their knowledge of the research programs going on there, they put that effort into the essays and applications needed to apply to as many as twenty schools all at once.

They figure the odds are in their favor if they apply to a lot of schools. The admission rate is low for any given school, but if you have only a 10% chance of being admitted to any one med school, and you apply to ten schools; your chances start to look pretty good compared to the applicant who carefully researched and applied to only four med schools.

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” It’s unfortunate but true. We cannot predict which relationship will turn out to be the one that fulfills our heart’s deepest desire.

While I am generally a proponent of careful research of the particular qualities you want to find in a man, I am open to the shotgun approach when it comes to dating. I’m talking about the beginning stages of getting to know people here, not physical intimacy or deep relationships. That part comes after you have found someone great.

My advice is that you should put your energy into showing up in the right kinds of places where there are likely to be eligible men of a high quality that meet your standards. After that, open your mind and life to experience a wide variety of dating interactions. Put the shotgun approach to work.

One day, you will look back and recognize the point at which a special man entered your life. But chances are; you won’t recognize him as being that “special man” when you first meet him.

Don’t give up on refining the process you use for finding and attracting men of high quality. Just be open to the idea of getting to know a lot of men, even if they don’t seem to be the exact right fit on the first impression.

Taking calculated risks is quite different from being rash. So long as you enter interactions with a clear head and full knowledge of the fact that you will likely end your pursuit of most of those interactions in the near future; you can take advantage of the shotgun method for getting to know people on casual dates.

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12 thoughts on “The Shotgun Approach

  1. Jenn Witmondt said:

    Dear James,
    I have been trying to “move on” for the past 8 months and stop wanting a man that I was involved with. This man was a dear friend right after my divorce. We spent lots of time together because he lived across the street. We would talk for hours and hours many times per week. We were casual acquaintances before my divorce, then we became very close after my divorce. Things were platonic, but very close for about 9 months. I have 4 young kids and he loved my kids and even did wonderful and generous things for them. Things became romantic after that, but he almost immediately locked up and backed away and said he didn’t want a relationship with a woman that involved kids. (He had been previously married to a woman that had children that he raised from toddler years until teen years. She started having affairs and he divorced her and he felt pretty used.) He even moved away right away and would only keep in contact if I initiated it. He has told me that I am dear and precious to him and he cares for me very much, but he just stays distant. At first, I chased him (before I had read your books) and it only pushed him further away. Now, I have given him months and months of space with no contact. I feel so hurt that he drew me into such an emotionally intimate relationship and can just completely cut it off that fast. Like I mentioned, I have tried to move on. I have gotten to know at least 8 other men and while they each had things I was attracted to, I just can’t seem to stop wishing for this other man. I am even dating someone right now that seems completely over the moon for me and who meets all of the things that I am looking for: godly, kind, a father, financially stable, generous, intelligent, educated, fun, assertive, articulate, etc, and while I do feel some attraction and affection for him, I can’t seem to just let go of this other guy. I keep hoping he will miss the relationship we had (which was very, very close) and come back. I feel like it is unfair to this new guy for me to keep hanging onto the past, but I just don’t know how to move forward.

  2. pearly girl said:

    Just a quick editing note. It’s scattergun approach not shotgun. It’s a very common mix up. I do not normally correct people’s grammar but you seem like the type that wishes to present the highest quality of writing in your blog post.

  3. Kisha said:

    Hi James,
    Let me start my saying I that my heart is broken. I had found the person I wanted to spend my life with and we broke up about a month ago. We had broken up many times and always found ourselves back together again. We have 3 children together. We used to break up get back together and within 3 weeks have a fall out again. This last time we made changed in our communication and actually made it through months without fail. I love him very much and can’t get past this. I hate feeling like this and miss him dearly. I really have a true unconditional love for him and still want him as my mate for life. Any suggestions on how to move to gain him again or to do to get through this heart ache?

    • James Bauer said:

      I do have some suggestions for you, in the form of a training course for this very problem. Watch your email because I will send you an invitation to learn more about it in about a month.


  4. Tracy said:

    Hi James,

    I met a man online whose profile really impressed me. We seemed to have a lot in common. We are both divorced. He was divorced last June. In his initial mail to me he ended it by using his ex wife’s name instead of mine. He quickly apologized for it in another mail. I wrote back telling him that I accepted his apology and that it shouldn’t happen again. Following that, he sent me a long, beautiful mail but towards the end used his ex’s name again. Now I’m reluctant to continue writing to him. So I wrote back to him telling him to get over the past before he embraces the present and that he should first work on healing himself. Well he wrote back that he wants us to continue communicating and promised that the ex will never come up again. I like him but am not sure if I should continue communicating with him. Please advise.

    • James Bauer said:

      Yikes! He is either getting senile (hope not) or he is trying to work out emotions toward his ex in his interactions with you. I would not blame you at all for backing away from this situation.

  5. Sally Ironic said:

    Hi James and Vagabond,
    If I were Vagabond l would let go of the “hope” that he may have a change of heart someday. Hanging onto this hope will keep him on a pedestal he does not deserve. He does not feel as strongly for you as you do for him. Fact.
    Let go of the hope of him being something he is not and find a man who wants what you want. Find a man who is passionate about you but temper that passion with reason and sense.
    You keeping your head on your shoulders will make him burst into a flame of feverish chase that will give you the best time of your life. Fun! Play and Teasing.
    And save the sex as some super climax as a reward for him taking the time to get to know the real you and falling for you, if and only if you believe him to a man worthy of receiving you!!!
    How do you know if he is worthy of you.??? If he changes his bad habits not as a way to get into your pants but he changes his bad habits on self reflection once you have made him aware of his bad habits.
    So he is operating from his heart not from his head. If you watch clearly you can tell how great a man is or isn’t. If he changes because he knows its the right thing to do, not for me but for himself. I love, love, love men like this.!!!! And I have a lot of respect for them. Heaps of respect. I adore them.
    Sally Ironic.

  6. vagabond said:

    Dear James, I have your book on what men secretly want. But it does not help my case. I met a lively man online. On a dating site..we live in two different countries but are from the sane ethnicity. I have been following your book to the t. Gave the man space etc and know him fir the last 6 months. Last week I was feeling frustrated and asked him if he is willing to go an extra mile for me. His response was, I am fond of you but this distance between us makes it all up in the air. Thus for now, am willing to be your friend the way we are.

    This has left me confused and hurt. How do I bridge this gap and revoke his interest?

    • James Bauer said:

      I’m sorry to hear this relationship has been so unrewarding. I could give you ideas to try, but I’m afraid that would not be in your best interest at this time. With a distance barrier of that magnitude, both partners need to be on board and interested in overcoming the distance. He has expressed his fondness for you, but he is allowing the distance to close his heart to pursuing things with you. Thus, in this situation, I believe you need to open your heart to a new relationship…while maintaining a friendship with this man if you choose. By not burning the bridge, there is always the possibility that he may have a change of heart some day.

  7. Sarah Smithson said:

    I have several online memberships and it seems that I don’t get many responses. Do you have a blog about how to present yourself in the online setting? I am reluctant to put too much personal information out there or seem too desperate by writing about all my “heart’s desires” about what I am looking for. But, I see guys doing that all the time. It is hard to know what is the best approach without being phony. Is it better to put too little information or more detailed information? More photos or less photos? Any guidelines about what will really pique a man’s interest and at least get him to meet for an initial “look see”? Are men in general that shy? It’s a mystery to me. I sometimes feel like I am getting played but I don’t want to start out being skeptical and negative. What are the basic red flags and time guidelines?

    • James Bauer said:

      Great question! I go into great detail in “The Complete Guide to Being Irresistible,” currently only available here. I describe research about photos including how to get clicks on your profile and how to use your profile to generate more interest and attraction right from the start.

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