Why Playing Hard To Get Actually Works

There have probably been times when you’ve been accused of playing hard to get when in reality, you just weren’t interested. At other times, you’ve probably purposely tried to come off as a bit mysterious and difficult to pin down, and it probably worked in getting the guy you had your eye on — and no doubt you’ve had guys do this to you, too. Most people would probably discourage you from game playing of any kind,  and while that’s true for the most part, there are some reasons why playing hard to get can be an effective strategy in the dating world and why you’re totally attracted to guys who do it and vice versa.

  1. It creates exclusivity. We all want to be the VIP, and when people are super selective about who they date, they immediately seem powerful and interesting. There’s no better feeling than being the one who manages to pass through the velvet ropes to get all the attention.
  2. We all love a chase. Most of us have the desire to be the best at everything.Playing hard to get makes the other person work harder and get more creative to win your affections, and that’s half the fun, isn’t it?
  3. It keeps you on your toes. We don’t like to get bored, and as torturous as it can be to wait on text responses for hours on end, when they do come through, the thrill level is exponentially raised. Guys might be slightly less intense in this, but they do thrive on that push and pull.
  4. It makes you seem hotter. If someone isn’t needy for attention, then we assume they must know how appealing they are, which bumps up their attraction level. Even if they’re only average looking, somehow that lack of desperation makes them that much hotter.
  5. A lot of us don’t actually want commitment. We might think that we do, but we aren’t always ready, so we tend to go after the people who seem less likely to actually commit to us. This can be annoying if you’re ready to settle down, but it can also be a great situation when we’re still figuring things out.
  6. It can lead to long term relationships. A study has linked playing hard to get with long term relationship success, which is the opposite of how things usually go when people are just looking for casual hookups.
  7. Because you were already interested. Playing hard to get doesn’t work if you really don’t like someone, so often that initial spark of interest was already there before you knew they were going to give you the run around.
  8. It’s the rule of supply and demand. Economics 101 will teach you that people will always invest more in items that are more rare than in the ones that are overabundant. The more available something is, the less valuable it becomes since it’s easier to find and get a hold of. Sad but true!
  9. It makes your life seem interesting. If you’re too busy to be pinned down, it makes it sound like you’re popular and active, which are things that people might be inclined to jump in on.
  10. It’s generally not intended to be hurtful. Playing hard to get doesn’t work when people are actually trying to be mean. Usually they’re not — and if they are, they’re not playing hard to get, they’re just an jerk.
  11. More flirting means more dopamine. When we play hard to get, the guy who’s doing the chasing has to pull out more flirting and more flattery, which increases the levels of dopamine in his body. Dopamine feels good, and we seek it out all the time.
  12. It appeals to the thrill seekers. People who are naturally more interested in taking risks and seeking out adventure are going to be drawn to the hard to get game every time.
  13. It can just be fun. Everyone likes a good story to spill at happy hour, and there’s nothing as thrillingly dramatic as not knowing exactly what’s happening in a new relationship.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog ThatsRandomKate.blogspot.com