Why Playing Hard To Get Is A Waste Of Your Time (And Theirs)

At one point in our lives, we’ve all been given the advice that in order to get someone to like you, you should act like you don’t like them and try to play hard to get.

Sure, in some situations, this might actually work out for you, and pretending not to be interested in someone might lead to them wanting you more, but you know what works much better? Simply telling someone you’re interested.

Where’d This Advice Come From?

man looking at camera woman looking at man
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Seth Reese
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Seth Reese

That’s a great question! I don’t know the origin story of it, but I’d love to talk to whoever decided to start telling people that the way to get a date was to pretend you’re deeply uninterested in going on one.

Don’t Create More Chaos Than Necessary

couple having picnic outside
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dating and love are already difficult enough as it is, so why are we making it more difficult for ourselves by creating all these rules or making up games for us all to participate in? We should be trying to make finding love easier, not harder.

Studies Have Shown It’s Not That Effective

man hugging woman from behind
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Andrew Welch
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Andrew Welch

In recent studies, it’s been proven that in a situation where a man has a choice between a woman who intentionally dismisses their advances in the beginning or a woman who clearly shows interest in them, there isn’t a preference for the woman who is unattainable at first.

You Send Serious Mixed Signals

declining texts every date
Photo Credit: Twitter / @alyssadivinc
Photo Credit: Twitter / @alyssadivinc

Possibly the biggest reason that you should avoid playing hard to get is that it sends mixed signals. There’s a very thin line between coming off as mysterious or aloof and coming off as uninterested. The person you’re trying to attract could end up confused and give up because they think you’re just not into them.

They Could Think You’re Looking Elsewhere

tweet about hard to get
Photo Credit: Twitter / @Satandave1
Photo Credit: Twitter / @Satandave1

If you’re not ready to fully commit to someone, that gives them the feeling that you’re still keeping your options open. They could feel like maybe the reason you’re playing hard to get is that you’re focused on someone else.

It Keeps These Crazy Dating Standards Going

hard to get hinge tweet
Photo Credit: Twitter / @hinge
Photo Credit: Twitter / @hinge

Not everyone is out there playing games with everyone they’re maybe, possibly interested in dating, but enough people are that people continue to think it’s okay. Wouldn’t you rather a man show up at your door professing his love for you than wait three days to text you back?

You Attract A Certain Type Of Person

man at nighttime smoking outside
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Evan Dvorkin
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Evan Dvorkin

If you start off your interactions with someone by playing games or setting yourself up to be chased, you’re only going to interest the people who also play games in their own relationships.

It’s Exhausting, TBH

fun and games dating is tiring
Photo Credit: Twitter / @bex_bambi
Photo Credit: Twitter / @bex_bambi

For both people involved, playing games is tiring. It’s not sustainable to keep a relationship going—or even to build a relationship—when both of you are trying to come off as the perfect shade of “I couldn’t care less, but also if you’re into it, so am I.”

How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

woman head down outside winter
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Olaia Irigoien
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Olaia Irigoien

Since it’s a tiring dance for both of you, one of you has to decide when it’s time to either call it quits or move forward. How do you know when the time is right? What if it’s too late and they’ve already decided you’re not right for them?

It’s Not A Good Way To Start A Relationship

man with hands covering face standing
Photo Credit: Pexels / Michael Jay Salcedo
Photo Credit: Pexels / Michael Jay Salcedo

If you’re just looking to hook up, then you might be less concerned about this, but if you’re looking for an actual relationship, playing hard to get can make for a rocky start. You’ll both be coming into it guarded and feeling competitive.

You Could Be Looking For Different Things

couple at table seated holding hands staring
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

You want to come off as casual or unattainable even if you very much want to be attained, so you’re setting yourself up to get hurt. You’re not having the conversation about what you’re both looking for, and since you’re so cool and casual, they might assume you’re good with that moving forward too.

Think About Why You’re Doing It

ignored for days responds in 2 minutes
Photo Credit: Twitter / @ActuallyGina
Photo Credit: Twitter / @ActuallyGina

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people who play games at the start of a relationship are often the people who have been hurt before. You have to remember, though, that every person is different. Being cautious is one thing, but being unattainable doesn’t get you anywhere.

Your Energy Could Be Better Spent Elsewhere

man and woman walking on pier
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Daryn Stumbaugh
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Daryn Stumbaugh

There are dozens of ways that you could spend your energy every day that are better than making the conscious effort to show someone that you’re not interested in them. Learn a new language, write a song about unrequited love, or—the most ridiculous idea—you could just tell them you’re interested.

What’s The Worst That Could Happen If You’re Honest?

nip that in the bud interest in man
Photo Credit: Twitter / @theothrjoy
Photo Credit: Twitter / @theothrjoy

It’s a question you’ve definitely asked yourself before when gearing up for a decision that makes you nervous, but honestly, think about it. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you clearly show interest in someone? They confess their mutual interest in you and you ride off into your happily ever after together? A chilling thought.

Get Over The Idea That Being Busy Means You’re Successful

milennial dating always busy
Photo Credit: Twitter / @jaboukie
Photo Credit: Twitter / @jaboukie

For some reason, we’ve fallen into this trap of believing that if someone is busy or their schedule is filled during every minute of the day, then they must be successful, but that’s not true.

Make Time For Things That Make You Happy

couple walking in water on beach
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Roberto Nickson
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Roberto Nickson

If you want to make time for a person in your life, you’ll find a way to. It’s not about coming across a certain way or trying to maintain an air of unattainability. It doesn’t need to be that complicated. If you want to be with someone, make time for them, and tell them you’re interested.

The Norm Of Reciprocity

man giving woman flowers
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Alvin Mahmudov
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Alvin Mahmudov

The norm of reciprocity is a sociological term that means we as humans tend to like people who like us. On the reverse end of that spectrum, we don’t like people who don’t like us.

Sure, There Are Times Where It Could Work

experiment 623 text me back
Photo Credit: Twitter / @unbotheredbliss
Photo Credit: Twitter / @unbotheredbliss

There’s always going to be a way to argue that a certain behavior is right in a certain situation. If playing hard to get has worked for you in the past, you might want to forge ahead and disregard all the negatives.

You Don’t Have To Throw Away Every Element Of Your Games

black and white couple woman looking down
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Edward Cisneros
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Edward Cisneros

Even if you’re throwing away the whole “pretend you’re not into him so he likes you more” scheme, there are still aspects to playing hard to get that you can take with you. Keep those elements of witty banter and acting confident around the person you like. It’s also not a bad thing to have a busy social calendar or to do a lot of extracurriculars beyond work or school.

Don’t Get Caught Up In The Strategy Of It

man and woman seated leaning on each other outside
Photo Credit: Pexels / Văn Thắng
Photo Credit: Pexels / Văn Thắng

When it comes down to it, the most important thing is finding someone who makes you happy, in whatever way you’re looking for. Don’t lose yourself in the strategy of pretending to be unattainable. As long as you’re acting towards other people the way you want them to act towards you, you’ll attract the right person.