How To Play Hard To Get & Actually Get The Guy: The Complete Guide

Playing hard to get is supposed to be the surefire way to land your crush. Of course, that’s BS, because if you act like you have no interest in a man, he’s going to find someone who does. That’s why you have to alter your approach. You can still play hard to get, but you also need to be flirty and actually follow through in the end if you actually want to get the guy.

  1. Tell him you’re busy, but suggest a rain check. If you turn him down once, it could crush his ego. That’s why you have to give him a little hope, even when you want to seem hard to get. That way, he won’t give up on you and move on to the next girl.
  2. Lean in close, but don’t touch him. If you want to tease him, lean in so close that your lips are almost touching, but don’t kiss him. The mixture of anticipation and sexual frustration will drive him nuts. He’ll be dying to put his hands on you.
  3. Don’t answer texts ASAP, but do answer. Why would he continue chasing you if you refuse to answer his messages? Ignoring him will trick him into thinking you want him to leave you alone. That’s why you should wait a while to text him back—just don’t forget to actually do it.
  4. Don’t tell him your life story, but tell him a little. You can try to act mysterious by revealing a tiny bit about yourself at a time. However, you shouldn’t keep quiet when he’s trying to have a conversation with you. If he asks you a question, answer him. Don’t be rude.
  5. Don’t tell him how you feel, but do hint at it. If you’re trying to play hard to get, you don’t want to tell your crush how badly you want to marry him — at least not right away. However, you should show a little interest. Give him flirty smiles and engage in playful banter. It’ll encourage him to chase after you.
  6. Tell him something about your weekend, but not everything. If he asks you what you did last Friday night, you can make it sound more exciting than it actually was. That way, he’ll think that you’re a busy woman with tons of friends.
  7. Mention your guy friends, but make it clear you’re not dating them. A little jealousy never hurt anyone. If he sees that you have a group of guy friends, he’ll realize that your options are open. Just make sure that he knows your single, because you don’t want him to mistake one of your male buddies for your boyfriend.
  8. Don’t have sex, but give him a kiss. The best way to make him suffer is to withhold sex. Of course, if you do that, you’re both going to be sexually frustrated. That’s why you should at least give him a kiss or two. A makeout session wouldn’t hurt, either.
  9. Don’t appear needy, but appreciate his help. Men prefer independent women, so don’t be afraid to drive yourself to dates and pay for your own meals. However, if your car breaks down and he offers to change the tire for you, don’t turn him down. Give him the opportunity to feel useful.
  10. Don’t rush into a relationship, but don’t hold off on one. You don’t want your life to move so quickly that you miss the chance to enjoy it. That’s why you should let your relationship move at a comfortable pace. Don’t move too fast or too slow. Do whatever feels right.
  11. Tease him a bit, but don’t go too far. Poking fun at him in a lighthearted way will certainly put a smile on his face, but stop short of outright criticizing him or getting mean about it. You’re not trying to make him feel bad about himself here.
  12. Reach out first sometimes, but not every time. Don’t wait days or even weeks for him to get a hold of you because you’re on some kind of bizarre power trip. If you want to play hard to get, it’s okay to let him initiate contact sometimes, but you shouldn’t put this all on him.
  13. Trigger his hero instinct, but don’t be a damsel in distress. While you want to stroke his ego and make him feel like he can conquer the world, he also needs to know that you’re self-sufficient and can look after yourself if need be. This will make him want to protect you more (even though he knows you have it covered).
  14. Let him know you’re looking for love, but make it clear you’re in no rush. You should always be open and honest about what you’re looking for in a relationship, so feel free to tell him you’re playing for keeps. Just make sure he’s well aware that you have plenty of other priorities in the meantime and have no plans to rush the process.
  15. Appreciate the nice things he does for you, but don’t go overboard with the praise. No one wants to feel unappreciated or taken for granted, so by all means thank him if he does something nice, even if it’s something small. However, don’t make him out like some Prince Charming because he did the bare minimum. He needs to know you’ll expect more than that.
  16. Let him into your life, but don’t change your daily routine for him. You’re looking for your person, so you already know you’ll have to shuffle some things around to ensure you have time to date. When you’re trying to play hard to get, create some space for the guy, but not so much that you’re neglecting any other responsibilities or passions to make it happen. There has to be a balance.
  17. Give him a little leeway, but set clear boundaries for what you find acceptable. Being uptight or overly high-maintenance is a quick way to turn a guy off, so don’t jump down his throat at the slightest transgression. However, if he’s doing something you’re really not cool with, let him know it won’t fly. If he refuses to shape up, he’s obviously not the one.
  18. Don’t flirt with other men in front of him, but also don’t give up your guy friends. It’s gross when women use a man to get another guy’s attention, so don’t be that girl. Flirting with other dudes as a way to make him like you is guaranteed to get you the opposite result, so don’t even bother. That being said, don’t completely cut off all other men in your life. If you have guy friends, keep them!
  19. Tell him you enjoy his company, but also talk about how much you love your own. One of the biggest mistakes women make when they meet a guy they like is becoming overly attached way too quickly and wanting to spend all their time with the guy. Don’t let this be you! Let him know how much you love hanging out, but make sure he knows that you’re just as happy when you’re chilling solo, too!
  20. Have a good sense of humor, but call him out when he steps out of line. This is similar to the above item about giving a bit of leeway. Sure, he might say some risque things trying to get a laugh, and it’s fine to take it in stride. However, some things just aren’t funny and he needs to be told. If he says something offensive or inappropriate, let him know.
  21. Have reasonable relationship standards, but keep them high. You can’t expect a man to be perfect — no one is. That would be boring anyway! While you don’t want him to feel under pressure to be your own personal Ken doll, you should make your expectations and deal breakers clear.
  22. Share that you’ve been actively dating but that you’ve mostly been focused on your career. Obviously don’t do this if it’s not the case — if you’re literally part-time at McDonald’s right now, that’s fine, but it’s not exactly taking up all your time and attention. However, if you’re a career woman who’s playing hard to get, he should know that he has a lot to compete with.
  23. Be consistent in your interactions, but throw in a little spontaneity. Don’t play him hot and cold or be wishy-washy about your feelings — messing with someone’s emotions is never okay. What is okay, however — and even encouraged! — is keeping him guessing. Guys love when you throw a (positive) curveball their way, and he’ll be like putty in your hands because of it.
  24. Maintain a bit of humility, but also don’t downplay your confidence. You don’t want to have your head so far up your own backside that you can’t see the light of day, but you also don’t want to be self-deprecating and acting like some poor unfortunate soul who doesn’t know her own worth.
  25. Don’t go overboard with affection, but be passionate in everything you do. He’ll notice that passion and wish it was directed on him. Simple as that.

Why should you consider playing hard to get?

First of all, it’s important to point out that you’re not really “playing” at anything — that implies that you’re somehow pretending to be someone you’re not, and that’s not the case. In reality, you’re authentically “hard to get” because you have a lot going on in your life. You have amazing friends, a great family, plenty of passions and hobbies, a booming career, you get the picture…

However, by showcasing all you have going on and not making a guy a central focus of your life — or even much of a priority before he proves he’s worth it — you send a few different messages. For one, you’re not desperate. While there might be some women willing to accept the bare minimum for the sake of not being alone, you’re definitely not one of them. For another, you have standards. Because your solo life is so incredible, he’s going to have to step up to the plate and be on par with it if he wants to be in with a chance.

In essence, playing hard to get is really just about making him work for it a bit. It does not, however, mean that you should be some kind of aloof queen who gives nothing in return and expects him to do all the chasing. You still need to be engaged and involved, you just need to stop short of giving more than your fair share to guarantee that he does his part, you feel me?

What’s the secret of doing it right?

If done wrong, trying to play hard to get can lead to a guy losing interest basically overnight. He’ll see you as an immature game player who doesn’t know how to have an adult relationship — and in some ways, he might be right. Using this as a tool to manipulate a guy or to try to trick him into being into you is not the way to go.

So, how do you make sure you’re doing it right? Be strategic and use the methods above sparingly and naturally. In essence, playing hard to get is all about showcasing your worth, asserting your independence, and making it clear that you’re not going to accept anything less than you deserve. That’s really all those behaviors amount to. By making sure your motivations are genuine and also being willing to give of yourself, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll find success.

Holly Riordan is a writer from Long Island, New York who has authored several science fiction and horror books. A graduate of Stony Brook University, she has spent nearly a decade writing for publications including Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, and more. You can find her on Instagram @hollyrio and Twitter @hollyyrio.