There’s nothing worse than developing feelings for someone, only to discover — far too late, we add — that they’re virtually incapable of forming a deep emotional connection. The thing is, you can be as patient and understanding as you want, but if you’re dealing with an avoidant partner, things are never going to change. That being said, there is one thing you can do to swerve people like this, for the most part. It all comes down to playing hard to get.
What is an avoidant partner?
There’s no single quality that makes someone an avoidant partner. However, generally speaking, it refers to someone who has a hard time getting close to other people and forming deep emotional connections. They may seem detached or aloof, and they usually struggle with commitment and/or intimacy in their relationships. Dating them is likely to be full of frustration and end in heartache.
One common characteristic of an avoidant partner is that they may have difficulty expressing their emotions or talking about their feelings. They tend to want to keep things surface-level and avoid getting too deep or vulnerable. They may also be very independent and prefer to spend a lot of time alone. As a result, they have a hard time making time for their partner or prioritizing the relationship. Ugh.
It’s worth noting that not everyone who struggles with intimacy is necessarily an avoidant partner. Plus, there can be many different reasons why someone may struggle with forming deep connections. That being said, if you’re in a relationship with someone who seems emotionally distant or has a hard time opening up to you, it’s possible that they may have an avoidant attachment style. That’s what we’re trying to stay away from here, people!
How can playing hard to get help you bag someone who will actually engage?
- You increase your perceived value. By not being too available, you may create a sense of scarcity or exclusivity that can make you appear more desirable to a potential partner. This is totally true! That means they’re more likely to realize they’ll have to put in some serious effort if they want a chance of being with you. Doing the bare minimum just won’t suffice.
- You give them a sense of challenge. People like the thrill of the chase, as you’re probably aware. That means the idea of pursuing someone who seems a bit elusive or harder to pin down is not only exciting but extra motivating. An avoidant partner is not someone who’s interested in this kind of challenge. The only kind of person who’s going to pursue you this hard is one who plays an active role in their relationships.
- You filter out people who will only waste your time. By playing hard to get, you may be able to weed out people who are not truly interested in you or who are only looking for something casual. The commitmentphobes and “I like you so much, it scares me” people will fall away before you ever invest your valuable time and energy in them. They don’t need to chase you endlessly (more on that later), but they do need to show actual interest.
- You show you have other sh*t going on. By playing hard to get, you show the other person that your life doesn’t revolve around them or around finding love in general. You have a great career, awesome friends, plenty of hobbies and passions, and not a lot of free time. That means if you’re going to fill that time with them, they need to be worth it. An avoidant partner isn’t motivated to go after someone who makes it clear she has plenty going on in her life and isn’t going to beg them for their time.
Wait, isn’t playing hard to get a bad thing?
In certain situations, definitely. If overused or taken to the extreme, playing hard to get won’t just help you swerve avoidant partners, but pretty much everyone. In general, if you’re interested in someone and you want them to be more attentive, the best approach is usually to be honest and direct with them. Let them know how you feel and what you’re looking for in a relationship. If they’re also interested, they’ll likely respond well to your honesty. It takes balls to be so upfront, after all.
Playing hard to get can definitely create confusion and uncertainty. The person might not know if you’re actually interested in them or if you’re just playing games. This can make them feel frustrated or discouraged, and they might decide to move on to someone who’s a little less confusing/complicated.
Plus, there’s the fact that playing hard to get can perpetuate gender stereotypes and unhealthy relationship dynamics in some cases. It can reinforce the idea that men should pursue women and that women should play coy and hard to get. This can lead to power imbalances and misunderstandings in relationships. We’ve all had enough of that crap to last us a lifetime.
But here’s the thing…
When we talk about “playing hard to get,” we’re not advising you to be a total bitch who’s cold, unapproachable, and acts like she doesn’t give a damn. You’re not trying to get the other person to do all the work. You simply want them to meet you halfway. That means taking the initiative to show interest, actually plan dates, and engage with you on a deeper level.
You’re looking for an emotional connection and that requires a solid foundation. An avoidant partner might say they want the same thing, but they run the minute sh*t gets real. What sucks even more is that by that point, you’ve wasted valuable time and energy and got all up in your feelings about them. Boo!
So really what we’re saying is rather than playing hard to get, be hard to get. You have a pretty firm grasp on your self-worth and anyone you date should too. An avoidant partner might recognize that you’re a total babe, but if they’re not actually capable of treating you with the respect, care, love, and commitment you deserve, they’ve gotta go.