The Definitive Guide to Shooting Your Shot

In true spring time fashion, Greer Ross-McLennon shares her tips on successfully approaching who you fancy. Even in this modern world, it’s possible to have a love life and retain (some of) your dignity.

Pollen isn’t the only thing in the air, folks! 

Ah, spring. The time when the population of St Andrews emerges from that long winter hibernation (lasting roughly from November up until spring break) we affectionately like to call cuffing season. Some of us managed to snag a bed-warmer (or more!) to pass the time with; some of us preferred to carouse through the end of 2018 with nothing but our own drunk chat to entertain us. 

For those who managed to escape such turmoil unscathed (read: single), the arrival of the springtime sun represents a freedom that can be tangibly felt throughout the town. With all the events happening in and around St Andrews, there are several opportunities you can’t pass up to make the start of something new happen. 

However, there remains a caveat––albeit a very important one that contributes to the sorry reputation of our dating scene (we’re all thinking it, come on). People in St Andrews are generally more reserved about shooting their shots because, logically speaking, we’re too small. 

There appears to be an unspoken rule in St Andrews that if you ask someone out and they decline, you will see them everywhere. In the Main Library. Walking down Market Street. At an intimate dinner party hosted by someone you didn’t even know they were mutual friends with. This poses a unique issue: not only does this act as an reminder of your rejection, but it also hinders you from exploring other options in the same vicinity. Naturally, then, we must adapt. Here I present my case: shooting your shot in St Andrews is indeed possible, but must be approached with extreme caution––and a different mindset. Here’s a checklist to ensure success next time you spot your crush.


If you and your crush have a mutual friend, it’s helpful if you utilise them as a resource (and if they’re a good friend, they’ll be keen to help you out!) Most importantly, you’ll need to know: are they single––or at least open to polyamory? Finding this out could make or break your shot. Some important things to note as well: have they gone through a recent breakup? Have they had a fling with one of your friends? If you said yes to either of these, abort your mission. Now.

Set the Scene. 

The saying opposites attract may work in movies, but in the real world, you’re going to need to work at an opportunity to get to talk to them by establishing common ground. If you lack the aforementioned mutual friend, reassess. Do you share a tutorial with them? Are you on the same sports team? Society committee? Did you randomly make eye contact in the Vic one night? Sure, you can just send them a message or DM out of the blue, but a degree of familiarity will help you in the long run. A final word of wisdom: St Andrews Crushes is definitely not the way to go.

Be Suave.

It’s a fine balance between being confident and being a creep here; you don’t want to overdo it, but being extremely cautious could ultimately make them think you’re too passive, spelling disaster. For your opener, it’s wise to stick with something as chill as humanly possible, but there are many routes you can take to this. If you’ve both met at an event, a simple “Hey! Was good to see you at _____” can open up the conversation to something more; meanwhile, the more direct approach of “Want to grab a coffee sometime?” immediately establishes boldness, and cuts to the chase. It’s up to you to gauge the situation––if you’re unsure, wait it out for a few days to give yourself some perspective. 

Deal With It.

You did it! You shot your shot! It’s time to be proud of yourself that you came this far. If they said yes, good for you––and your next step should be to chill. You’ve scored a date with them, not a marriage proposal. Just make sure to be your authentic self; remember, they said yes to you in the first place, not some overblown persona high on delusions of grandeur. If you haven’t been so lucky, don’t worry. With St Andrews being such an intimate location, you’ll find other options in no time! In the meantime, take some time out for yourself before you get back on the scene: go out with friends, grab a drink, put a face mask on. And maybe avoid Market Street for a while.