Should You Play Hard To Get?

A new study says yes, if you're looking for a committed relationship.

man offering rose to woman

Have you ever announced to a friend that you're done playing games? Revisited "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" by the Backstreet Boys and nodded your head in agreement. Not so fast — new research shows maybe we should be playing games.

A new study published in the European Journal of Personality, surveyed male and female college students in a series of experiments about dating habits and found that hard to get tactics worked for those looking for a long-term relationship.


For women, their strategy was to be unavailable: keeping busy and not calling. For guys, acting rude and uninterested worked. Sound familiar?

In one experiment, researchers found that students play hard to get to increase demand and test a potential partner to see if they're willing to commit. 

Sounds tiring, yes, but you could be playing the game and not even realizing it. 'Acting confident' and 'talking to others' were the two most popular methods of playing the game.

"I believe in not being too available, which is a bit different [than playing hard to get], but accomplishes the same goal while giving a man encouragement and positive reinforcement, says dating coach and author Ronnie Ann Ryan.


But don't act uninterested. "If you show no interest, you could turn men off too," says Ryan, "You just don’t want to seem too eager!"

So how do you do that? Don't say yes to a date for Friday night at 5 p.m. on Friday or cancel your plans with your friends or family for a guy, instead, Ryan suggests rescheduling a date for another time when you're free. 

Since this study looks at college kids, what about adults? Do the same dating games hold true for singles of all ages?

Dating coach Marni Battista says playing games is not sustainable for adults. "The truth is that when a woman truly is confident and has a life she loves, she doesn't plan her life around dating. Dating and men add to her life."


What do you think? Has playing hard to get worked for you? Tell us about it.

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