If you’re in the world of dating – or ever were- I’m almost positive you’ve heard this bad dating advice at some point: play hard to get.
Act like you don’t like him, they tell you. Don’t look at him. Don’t talk to him. Don’t give him any attention.
Don’t return her call right away, they say. Wait a while and make her think you’re not that interested, because then she’ll want you even more.
Before I go into why this is really bad dating advice, let’s back up a minute.
There is something to be said of the “hard to get” mentality. There’s a psychological component here we have to understand.
Many times, it does solicit a response, because human nature is to want something even more when we feel like we can’t have it. Something subconscious inside of us moves us toward wanting what we perceive we can’t have because it proves to us that we are capable of getting it. It’s like a game, and when we can win the “prize” we feel good about ourselves.
But the problem with playing “hard to get” is two-fold:
#1: Playing hard to get encourages seeing the relationship like a “game to be won” rather than a genuine commitment to a person.
When you play hard to get, you might get a response from the other person but like I mentioned before – the response is more about the game than it is about the player.
Because by playing hard to get, you’re encouraging the unhealthy approach to relationships that sees you as the “next trophy to be won”, but once the game is over, the player will likely move on to the next prize.
It’s not about commitment, it’s about playing the game. And that’s why relationships that start this way, usually don’t last.
#2: When you play hard to get, it causes confusion to the other person involved.
Not surprisingly, I’ve seen the “play hard to get” approach totally backfire. I’ve seen people act like they aren’t interested in someone (when they were), and that “someone” was truly interested in them but ended up walking away from the potential relationship due to the mixed messages.
Relationships that may have ended up well with clarity, communication, and clear intention.
When I met John (my husband) for the very first time (click link for our dating story), we ended up exchanging emails to keep in touch. We lived a few states away, so I wasn’t sure if I’d hear from him much after that weekend.
To my pleasant surprise, he emailed me the very next day. I wasn’t used to that sort of direct interaction, because playing hard to get was all the rage.
Looking back on that exchange, I can confidently say that it was his clear interest and genuine desire to build a friendship and get to know me that really drew me in.
If you want to attract a healthy person and start a relationship on the right track. Don’t play the hard to get game because healthy people don’t stick around to play along.
They want clear answers, not ambiguity. They want commitment, not casual. They want authentic communication, not guessing games.
Check back here for Really Bad Dating Advice Part 3, and catch up on Really Bad Dating Advice Part 1: You’ll Just Know When You Meet The Right Person.
Looking for GOOD Christian dating advice?
Check out the Love + Relationships Podcast with Debra Fileta
BOOKS BY DEBRA
Get busy learning what you need to know about healthy singleness, dating, and marriage. Check out Choosing Marriage: Why It Has To Start With We > Me or True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life.
DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twi