I Played Hard To Get & It Totally Backfired On Me

Playing hard to get can sometimes work when it comes to getting a guy’s attention, or so I’ve heard. For me, it totally backfired and I wish I’d never bothered trying it.

I had a crush on this guy at work. We hung out with the same group of people at the office so we’d often have lunch together and chat on our breaks. There was a little bit of flirting going on, but it was innocent enough and we still kept it professional. He seemed like the perfect guy—he was cute, he was driven, and we had similar interests. We were both huge country music fans, for instance. I thought we made a good match so I really wanted him to ask me out.

People want what they can’t have, so playing hard to get must work, right? It makes sense in theory. For example, we’ve all had a celebrity crush. They’re regular people just like us, they just have jobs that make them well-known. So why are famous people so desirable? It’s because people often want what they can never have. Naturally, I thought playing hard to get would make me seem unattainable and therefore I’d be more desirable.

My friend convinced me it would work. I hadn’t had a lot of luck in relationships in the past so I wanted to try something different with this guy. A friend told me that if I acted like I only wanted to be friends then he’d definitely ask me out. She claimed that was how she got her boyfriend. She also gave me some pointers on how to go about it. It sounds dumb in hindsight but it works in rom-coms so I thought it was worth a try.

I wasn’t very smooth about it. I’d just gotten out of a relationship and I pretended I didn’t want to get into another one anytime in the near future. I told him I was swearing off men for a while and was planning on enjoying the single life. I’d also flirt with other guys in front of him at work and sometimes I’d pretend I had a lot of work to do if he tried talking to me when in reality, I wasn’t that busy. Occasionally I’d even ignore him completely. Real nice, I know.

I sort of gave him mixed signals. I was flirty with him one minute but then I’d realize I was supposed to be indifferent so I’d be completely cold the next minute. I think it ended up confusing him. In hindsight, he probably thought I was immature and didn’t know what I wanted or something. Maybe I played a little too hard to get.

He never made a move and we eventually drifted apart. I ended up changing jobs and we gradually stopped talking after that. He never asked me out so my plan clearly didn’t work at all—or I’m just really bad at it. It’s an art form that eludes me, but maybe that’s a good thing. I kind of wish that I hadn’t taken advice from that friend of mine because maybe it would’ve worked out if I had just told him upfront how I felt.

Someone later told me he was interested in me at one point. A few months later, I had lunch with a former co-worker who was part of our old workgroup with my crush and me. We started reminiscing and she brought up the fact that my crush actually liked me too! Turns out he thought I didn’t like him so he never made a move and now it was too late. It would’ve been awkward if I tried talking to him again after many months had passed.

I was upset that I lost my chance. I’m embarrassed by how I treated him, especially because I wasn’t acting like myself. I was putting way too much effort into being someone that I’m not. Now I’ll never know what could’ve happened and it kinda sucks.

Now I’m better at going after what I want. Instead of strategizing, I’ve learned to be more direct when I like someone. I’m still not great at getting guys but I won’t try to play hard to get again anytime soon. At least this experience taught me a valuable lesson: you shouldn’t play games because it works for other people or because you see it on TV. You’ll probably get much further by simply being yourself.

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