The Men's Guide to Playing Hard to Get
A few days ago, a reader going by the name of Jimbob asked a very good question about feigning disinterest or playing hard to get with women. Here's the segment of his comment that had to do with it (I've added a few paragraph splits to increase readability):
"But anyway what I wanted to ask you is regarding what I sometimes read about when I stumble on to PUA forums or other dating websites. Apparently you're supposed to mix showing interest and feigned disinterest with girls, to make them want you more and try and come after you a little bit and win your approval.
"I've never really tried this consciously, but in my experience showing interest and then showing a lack of interest for whatever reason results in the girl recoiling as if she has been rejected and then she feigns disinterest with the “Oh, I wasn’t really interested in him" attitude you mentioned. Even with really beautiful girls I've seen this, they rarely respond positively to interest mixed with disinterest, sometimes they just act confused, once I actually saw a look of anguish on this girls face because she thought I was rejecting her by not flirting with her, after that she ignored me for quite a while.
"I think it's maybe a self esteem issue or issues they have surrounding rejection, or maybe they've been burnt too many times, but it seems that even the beautiful women have average self esteem these days (I live in the UK by the way). Maybe because they're so gorgeous they're used to guys hounding them 24/7 so if you show disinterest they take it literally, I don't know, but to me it seems like a pointless and hit and miss technique."
Jimbob, this is a great, sharp observation on your part. It took me about 2-3 years of actively approaching women and trying to improve with them before I started noticing this:
Playing too hard to get costs you women. Lots of women, quite often.
Why does playing too hard to get lose you women? Jimbob touched on the answer in his comment -- and I'm going to take you down that rabbit hole in this post.
Like Hunting Moose with a BB Gun
What men (and women, when they do it to men) are doing when they're playing hard to get with a woman is they're trying to build intrigue and seem mysterious and attractive.
"She's going to go nuts for me," goes the reasoning, "as soon as she realizes I'm not drooling all over her like other men."
And that reasoning is sound... but its application by most guys is quite often also very flawed.
How's it flawed? Well, think of how most guys implement the advice, "Don't show too much interest in a girl." When most men hear this, they:
- Start ignoring her or acting dismissively towards her
- Cut off getting to know her any better
- Insult her, challenge her, or bust her balls
- Talk to everyone else around her -- also called "social butterflying"
- Look at her with very neutral facial expressions
- Talk to her about neutral topics
After doing a quick skim over that list, ask yourself real fast:
How much of this moves forward attraction with a girl?
Well, let's go through them.
- Ignoring or dismissing her: well, a little bit of ignoring can wet someone's appetite, but total complete dismissal doesn't lead to chasing -- it just leads to two people who have nothing to do with one another. So that doesn't work.
- Stopping getting to know her better: on occasion this tack might be useful -- if, say, you're escalating physically very quickly and moving her resolutely towards somewhere the two of you can be alone. In that case, connection building won't help much and at times can even hurt (if you build a boyfriend- or friend-like connection).
But, if a guy's ignoring a girl, well, he probably isn't escalating physically with her very quickly... or, come to think of it, at all. So this one's going to be counterproductive most of the time too.
- Insulting her, challenging her, or busting her balls: teasing a girl is very good... if you use it moderately, if you calibrate it to her, and if you make it crystal clear that you're joking and that you actually really do like her quite a lot. But if a guy's ignoring a girl and not bothering to get to know her, he certainly isn't making it clear that he likes her a lot -- so this is only going to end up pushing her further away. Yikes.
- Social butterflying: if you're ignoring a girl to get to know her friends, contrary to the formerly ubiquitous "group theory"... she's just going to assume you're some friendly, social guy, and her attention goes elsewhere. And if she's on the prowl for a man, and an "active disinterest" cat is busy chatting up her guy pal, she's very likely going to disappear off into the crowd with some Casanova while Mr. Active Disinterest sits there wondering what happened.
Of course, we know what happened -- he was talking to someone else, and not to the girl he liked!
- Look at her with neutral facial expressions: I guess this is for a guy to "not give away" his interest too. All it does is "not inspire attraction" in a woman, instead.
- Talk to her about neutral topics: see above.
In other words... all this stuff lumped together is overkill. It's overkill so far that a guy who's focused on playing hard to get with a girl's going to end up, most of the time, either:
- Never getting her interested in him in the first place at all,
- Getting her interested in him a little initially, then losing her interest when it isn't reciprocated, or
- Getting her interested, then getting her frustrated that her interest isn't reciprocated, then her going into auto-rejection and going out to get revenge -- in nightclubs, for instance, this can manifest as a girl going and making out with random men in front of the "disinterested" guy, to show him what he's missing out on.
Ouch. You go hunting moose with a BB gun, and either those moose are going to just ignore you altogether... or they're going to end up getting really pissed off.
And the last thing you need on your tail is an angry moose.
Disinterest: Use Caution While Wielding
The problem with active disinterest and playing hard to get isn't that it doesn't work. It's that the guys who use it usually use it waaay too much.
I'm convinced that if you're a guy who seeks to always find the happy medium between the two extremes of behavior you have in each situation you find yourself in, you're going to come out a much more successful guy in just about every scenario.
Girl seems mildly interested? Doesn't mean you chase. Nor does it mean you ignore, either. Chasing and ignoring are the two extremes, and they're guaranteed to sink you faster than cement shoes in the Hudson River.
It's basic attainability: chase after a girl, and you're far too available and too easy to get. The most attractive, high value men don't chase, and women naturally assume that if a guy's chasing them, he ain't all that great. Chasing also shifts the balance of power -- when you're pursuing a woman, you put the ball in her court, and she gets to decide what requirements you've got to meet to get her.
She likes expensive, fancy dinners? If a guy's chasing, he'd better be prepared to pony up. She wants commitment? If a guy's chasing, he'd better be prepared to hand it over, before he gets so much as a roll in the hay.
And there's no guarantee that he even gets anywhere with her, even if he does fork over all his cash / commitment / compliments / and everything else.
As far as disinterest is concerned, well -- totally ignore a girl and she'll assume you're too hard to get, usually. Or she'll get angry at you for being too unattainable, and she'll go cold out of resentment.
This isn't to say playing hard to get doesn't work. Because, when used judiciously, it does.
It's just that most guys don't use it judiciously. Instead, they rock the extremes -- either chasing hard, or ignoring hard.
3 Examples of Playing Hard to Get with a Woman
So what happened once I finally realized that I was losing tons of women by playing too hard to get?
Well, first, I went back to being too easy to get. And then I realized that wasn't working either -- I came as close then as I ever have to being in just friends territory with most of the women I was meeting. I really quickly realized I needed some challenge and some disinterest added back in.
That was the stage in my seduction career when I began seriously focusing on piecing together how to make women chase after me. I knew there had to be a perfect mixture of leading and showing interest along with being somewhat aloof and not doing everything myself.
Nowadays, I have a really finely-tailored mixture of behaviors I use that make me a little hard to get but stop short of going overboard into the land of unattainability. I'll spare you the details of everything I do in this respect -- otherwise this post'd end up being four times the length, and heck, I've got a how-to dating tips ebook exactly for that purpose anyway! -- but let me show you a few examples of how you can make disinterest work in your favor, and use it to get girls actively pursuing you.
The key, you'll notice through all of these examples, is balance, one of my favorite words and mantras -- you play hard to get some of the time, and you've very honest in your desire other times.
Sounds impossible? Check these out:
- Getting to know her + social butterflying: use this one when you're in a group situation and there's a girl you like. What you want to do is focus really hard on deep diving with her about 80-90% of the time in the interaction -- and then butterflying a bit and making some light, fun conversation with everyone else there so you're still sociable and making sure they like you -- then getting right back to her and meaningful conversation. Avoid breaking circle yourself -- only do your social butterflying when others engage you or tear her away for a moment.
What this does: by not fixating entirely on your girl, you spend a little time socializing with others, allowing her to increase attraction as she watches you finesse a social situation, and then this reinforces your interest when you reengage her and get back to meaningful conversation. She'll also notice that she's the only one you're having such deep conversation with. After a few rounds of this, most women will become emboldened and assured of your interest, and they'll start chasing you and reengaging you themselves when others break your circle and pull you or them away. At that point, you should reengage sometimes, and play a little hard to get and let the girl reengage at other times.
- Teasing her + using sexy facial expressions: teasing girls is okay -- so long as you're being sexual and alluring as you're doing it. Asexual teasing (what most guys do... what I did for a long time, too) is better than no teasing at all, so long as you don't overdo it -- but that's easy to do when there's no obvious sexual undercurrent to take the edge off.
What this does: telling a girl, "Oh man, you're terrible at drinking games," in a neutral voice tone with a neutral facial expression is too hard to get and will push her away. Telling a girl the same thing in a sexy purr with entrancing bedroom eyes locked onto hers is just hard to get enough -- and she's typically going to start chasing you soon after.
- Ignoring her + getting to know her + using sexual facial expressions: not ignoring her all the time... obviously you can't simultaneously get to know her and ignore her. But if you deep dive for a while, and you get a very sexual vibe going on, and she's getting more and more excited, and then... things kind of fizzle out conversationally, and you slap a bored look on your face and just kind of stare off into space a bit, she's going to be really eager about getting the conversation back on track. And you reward her for that investment in you and the interaction, of course, with renewed interest in getting to know her and a continued sexy vibe.
What this does: by alternating between being very interested and very sexy, and occasionally withdrawing a bit and seeming a little bored and allowing her to reengage, and then returning to being very interested and very sexy again, you do a minor takeaway, and let a girl very briefly panic thinking she's losing you. This spikes attraction like you wouldn't believe, and causes her to pursue making something happen with you as quickly as possible to cement your bond.
And there's a lot more stuff you can do, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But the moral of the story is, don't go overboard playing hard to get with women -- keep that balance.
Balance is the difference between girls losing interest because a guy's too easy to get (chasing), losing interest or getting frustrated because a guy's too hard to get (overly disinterested), and getting really excited about him and chasing after him hard because he's just right (the right mix of interest and disinterest... maybe 95% of the time interested and warm, and 5% of the time aloof and disinterested).
It'll take you a little time to get this down, but if you start playing with the examples above you'll be off to the races right away. Better yet, you'll be starting off today with really nuanced stuff it took me years to figure out. Not a bad launching pad for your efforts to get women even more intrigued, if you ask me.
See you next time on the blog. If you aren't playing too hard for me to get, anyway.
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