The concept of playing ‘hard to get’ seems so ‘yesterday’ but some people still invest in this strategy because they think it works. Evidently there is some truth to it’s effectiveness if/when the other person is already interested. ‘Playing’ hard to get is often seen as a challenge and increases desire but negatively affects likeability.

What it looks like:
Not appearing needy or clingy or even eager. Supposedly showing interest first puts you in a weaker position as you begin a relationship. Being just slightly aloof while giving inconsistent hints of interest and positive feedback is supposed to be effective. On the lists of how to play hard to get, the one recommendation that seemed the most usable was: go slow.

Special Advice for Women- Women are told not to make the first move because men like a challenge. Supposedly men want to feel that they worked for their prize. Women are encouraged to be vague and mysterious yet let it be known that their life is full and interesting. Some ‘experts’ recommend mentioning other men and their inadequacies in order to confirm that other people want you, you are desirable and he is definitely in the running!! And then, there is always the risk that if the woman plays this game, her value is diminished as soon as she is won over.

And advice for Men- according to these game theorists, men need to also present themselves as busy and slightly unattainable. Some social scientists propose that women are initially less sexually attracted to men who are too attentive and responsive. These traits are supposedly perceived as less masculine.

If the above recommendations were given much weight, we would all be stuck in a gender stereotypical box that started to lose much of its strength and credibility in the 60’s. Gender roles and relationship building is still incredibly complicated but it seems a bit more fluid and authentic

It’s all a risk! There are men and women who hate the concept that dating (and developing relationships) is a game. Wouldn’t it be simpler to think of this as developing a friendship – over-time. Being sincere and friendly should not be considered outdated qualities. The concept of ‘friends with benefits’ seems more honest than the extreme sport of ‘playing hard to get’.

Does it work? Many social experiments with heterosexuals have tested the hypothesis that playing hard to get makes a woman more attractive to a man. You read that correctly, most of the time it is the woman who is expected to snare the man with this ploy of unavailability. The results are sketchy, but it does seem that men are attracted to women who have discriminating taste. In other words, the woman who is clearly attracted to them and aloof to others is most prized.

Consider this: If you begin a relationship by following the historically pushed on rules of playing hard to get, when do you stop ‘playing’ and become honest- even spontaneous? And then, when you do, why should your partner think you are being genuine?

I don’t claim to be a relationship expert but the traditional dating games are exhausting, deceptive and don’t seem to be the solid stuff that make for good relationships. It seems reasonable to avoid being clingy by enjoying your life as a single person. Going slow—taking the time to get to know someone is always reasonable advice and should be fun.

And then there is the whole, relatively new business of making your availability known on a dating site. Clearly hard to get is not the right game to play. However, simply stating your criteria and being discriminating is always appropriate.

The SmartSex app has information about healthy relationships and encourages open communication. Free Downloads @ iTunes‎ #SmartSexapp

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