I’m disgustingly addicted to guys playing hard to get. Men who pretend their spies – unable to share whereabouts via text, unable to make calls… rarely able to actually meet. It triggers my masochism. I don’t immediately end relationships when lack of conversation issues arise, but I’ll happily call it quits upon too many “How was your day?” messages. What can I say, “Today was exciting, I sent less emails than usual and nearly booked a one-way plane ticket because my fantasy escape plan felt promising”?
Seriously, who wants a Bug-A-Boo? The only thing worse than a man 24/7 available is a man who openly tells you not many girls show interest towards him – save the woeful stories until after I’ve fallen in love, I’ll be in too deep to care. Playing hard to get is like watching the Kardashians: You know you shouldn’t be that fascinated with Kim’s baby shower, yet you watch her stress about it for an hour. We say we don’t like games – do we just not like losing them?
What science says
Psychology Today published a piece uncovering research on how playing hard to get affects attraction. Studies suggest dates who are engaging and attentive seem more likeable whereas “hard to get” dates create more desire and interest. The article notes playing hard to get only works when a person already likes someone – aloofness is unappealing when an individual is making up their mind.
This research somewhat confirms the “nice guys finish last” theory. We enjoy spending time with nice people, yet we’re more sexually invested if their kindness cohabits some rough traits. I once had a date with Mr. Kind: He checked in with me daily, always timely responded and didn’t complain when my train made me ridiculously late. Sure, he made himself look younger online, an easy justification to end communication. Beyond that, he was simply too available and within reach.
Which is hard for me to admit. I complain about the bad boy persona, I hate when guys leave me hanging. “Why do I always go for the same type of men?”, “What can’t I have a normal relationship?” I ponder both mentally and aloud to friends. Maybe I’m a sucker for the thrill. Or maybe I’m after a specific balance.
Playing hard to get the right way
You don’t have to play games nor act rudely by sending one word replies and cancelling at the last-minute. When I first started dating, I wasted time calculating precisely how long to wait before initiating contact. I had a thing for Dating Rules: “Don’t say hello too early in the morning (you’ll look overly keen) and don’t say hi past 8pm (you’re not a booty call)”. I invested hours in men who I didn’t know; men who I had barely spoken to.
Soon enough I realised being someone’s priority is something you earn. In the early stages, I don’t want a man who’s always open to chat and meet whenever I’m free. There’s nothing sexy about a person willing to ignore everything else going on with their life to make room for a stranger. That doesn’t demonstrate excitement, enjoyment, passion and overall busyness.
Playing hard to get therefore, is more about staying focused and not letting the elation and emotion linked to meeting a potential partner affect your day-to-day living. If I receive a message while bored travelling or on a Netflix binge, I’ll reply straight away. But if I’m out socialising or in the middle of an article, I’m not going to stop my train of thoughts. Likewise, if I’ve had a long day and want to put my phone away, I’ll leave a message hanging overnight. Only in a relationship will I adjust my schedule. I think it’s obvious when a person is generally busy and when they’re purposely not replying to look cool.
A Cosmopolitan article asked men what they thought about woman playing hard to get. Almost unanimously, each guy said it’s a turn-off. Yet reported on website Men’s Variety, a study this year found “overly eager” men are not particularly attractive to women. I think much of this topic stems from how we perceive playing hard to get. Whether you define it as someone not putting all eggs in one basket as oppose to someone going a week without contact.
By dictionary definition, according to Oxford, it means: “deliberately adopt an aloof or uninterested attitude, typically in order to make oneself more attractive or interesting”. In the early stages, my heart is desperate to meet and kiss and be all romantic. In deliberately adopting an uninterested attitude, my brain can keep myself in check. Besides, why not make a person work a little. Don’t we appreciate what we haven’t easily gained? A sprinkle of aloofness and mystery makes me query twice if I should definitely pursue someone. Providing I know a date likes me and I’m not chasing hopeless daydreams and imagining signs which are not really there.