What Men Really Think About Women Who Play Hard To Get

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Flirty woman at a bar

When you're out at the bar and you spot a cutie, playing coy and making eye contact from across the room is one way to get his attention. So you brush past him, make eye contact, and dangle the bait, but then you walk away. What comes next? 

Studies have confirmed it works if you play it right. But does playing hard to get work on men? 

When women do this, it's done both subconsciously or deliberately. The thing is: Guys do it, too. Except when they do it, we call it "weighing their options" or "scared to settle down." If it happens at a bar, we just call him a jerk who can't make his mind up or a slew of other mean things.



We asked guys if reading the signs was really all that simple:

When women play hard to get, is it a turn-on, turn-off, or just plain confusing? Here's what men said:

1. Every woman does it.

"I don't think I've ever met a girl who doesn't play hard to get, at least in some way — and I like that. I'm a guy, I want to feel like I worked hard to get your attention and that you're not just paying attention to me because I'm the last one at the bar before the last call." —Cody, 24

RELATED: Why Women Should Play Hard-To-Get With Their Husbands

2. It lets me know she's interested.

"When women play hard to get, it's like the tried-and-true way to get a guy to notice you. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like it when girls are straightforward too, but there's just something about a girl who teases you before letting you know she's interested that just really appeals to me, both at a bar and at home." —Jason, 28

3. It's super-hot.

"Nothing hotter than a girl who makes me work for it." —Jamal, 24

4. It makes me feel unwanted.

"Here's the thing: I like the idea of playing hard to get, but when the time comes, I can't tell if you're just messing with me to get a free drink or if you're trying to let me know you're into me. Girls, in general, are really hard to read! So, something like teasing and tempting me (but then backing off) isn't really helping me feel confident and wanted in the situation." —Cole, 33

5. It's only a turn-off if it's at a bar.

"Does playing hard to get work on men? OK, at a bar, I like it, but outside of the bar, it's a dealbreaker for me. If you're playing hard to get at a bar because you noticed me and want me to make the first move, fine, that works for me, but once we've started dating and you wait days to return my calls and keep telling me that I have to 'work really hard to keep you', it’s a really big turn-off. I feel like for guys, after that initial take-home, we want to the validation that you want to be with us too, not that you're just waiting for a better guy to come along to play games with you." —Alex, 26

RELATED: Unscientific Theory: All The Best Couples Meet In Bars

6. It's a major insult.

"I'm not a super-confident guy to begin with, so when a girl is playing mind games — intentional or not — that doesn't say to me, 'Hey, I'm interested in you.' It actually says, 'You're the guy on the bar I'm going to [expletive] around with until the guy I want to come arrives.' And that’s insulting." —Ryder, 25

7. A woman who does that isn't the one I want.

"No, I can't compete when a girl plays hard to get. I did it for years, I fought the battle like so many other guys, but as I've gotten older, I've realized that the type of girl I want isn't out to mess with my head or my emotions." —Pete, 30

8. That's why online dating exists.

"Isn't that why we have online dating?!" —Jimmy, 27

9. It's the reason I've ended relationships.

"After being with so many girls, I don't want someone who puts mind games higher on the list than honesty. I've been the jerk that plays games with girls' emotions; I've been the guy that's hard to get. When the shoe's on the other foot, it's not fun." —Devin, 29

I agree that playing hard to get sometimes tips the scale too far in the direction of downright confusing, but you can't fault us for wanting to take back a little bit of the power that was resigned to us when we thought that a guy's holy rite was to make the first move.

Online dating might have leveled the playing field — and made it easier to meet someone who shares your interests, but it's yet to obliterate playing hard to get.

RELATED: Why Smart Women Date Multiple Men At Once

Kylie McConville is a freelance writer, editor-in-chief at Apartment Therapy, and founding editor of Romper. Her bylines have appeared in BDG, Yahoo, Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper, The Bump, and others. Kristine Soloman is a freelance editor and writer. She has appeared in Forbes, Huffington Post, Insider Business, and more.