Lifestyle Staff Writer | Haadiza Ogwude | firstname.lastname@example.org
At least a time or two in our lives, we have given or received the advice that “playing hard to get” is the answer. We have been told, or at least we’ve told others – don’t appear too eager, don’t let him or her know how you feel, be more mysterious, etc. Somehow, we have conditioned ourselves into thinking that the less interested we seem, the more interested the other person will become. It’s all about the chase – or so we thought.
“The point of playing hard to get is to eventually get caught,” according to AndThatsWhyYoureSingle.com’s article about playing the game. “And ‘playing’ is the operative word. As in taking a playful approach to the process. Playful is good. Playful can be attractive. Where it goes wrong for many men and women is that they become too willful and insistent. That’s when the dynamic becomes less fun and enjoyable and more like a pissing contest.”
Playing hard to get can work, and sometimes the vibes of uncertainty you’re getting from someone really can increase desire. But, playing hard to get is not always the best approach when trying to build a connection with someone.
Playing hard to get is most likely to work when the two people are already interested and emotionally invested in the relationship. In other words, if the person were not already attracted to you to some degree, then being aloof would not motivate them to chase you any more than clinging to their heels would.
Jess McCann, author of You Lost Him At Hello, advocates for what she calls the “mirror theory.” She believes that when you simply reflect the level of interest your potential partner is showing you, you will be more likely to grab his or her attention. If you appear too interested or too uninterested, you will lose that person’s attention.
“Without some reciprocity on your part, they won’t keep pursuing you…or in many cases, even start to,” McCann says. “That’s not to say you have to initiate contact, or ask them out on a date…Hear me when I say that’s absolutely NOT what you should do, because you will eliminate the chase that way. You don’t want a man to think you love him after one date, but you do want him to think that you like him.”
One of the key issues of playing hard to get is that the fun of the chase can overshadow getting to know the other person. Often times, you‘re so focused on being mysterious that you forget to just be yourself. You’re trying to be what you think the other person wants. Sometimes, the game can become hostile. If the other person is trying to appear indifferent and you’re trying to be mysterious, you enter into a tug of war game where you both are trying to gain control and make the other one chase. No real love connection was ever formed based on who could be the most sexily aloof. Connections are built off mutual vulnerability in due time, something we often forget in the college dating scene.
Elizabeth Marie, social media manager for WeLoveDates.com says, “Problem is though, that when you’re ‘playing,’ you’re not being YOU. Some of the very best and memorable dates I’ve been on have been spur of the moment, spontaneous invites, yep even on a Saturday night – oh the horror! I stopped caring if a guy would think I was too available – if he was cool, and he wanted to hang out and I was free, why would I shoot myself in the foot? When I’ve tried making a guy jealous by mentioning another date I went on, it never EVER worked – generally, he’d stop calling and I’d wonder why, but it’s not that much of a mystery. He thought I was interested in someone else, so he walked away.”
In the end, you don’t have to show exactly how interested you are by calling ten times on a Saturday night, but you shouldn’t be the eternal mystery either. Stop worrying so much about the game of waiting, teasing and analyzing text messages. Instead, focus on if getting to know the person, and if they seem like someone you can see yourself getting along with and the rest will fall into place.