How To Play Hard To Get With A Guy & Make Him Want You

Play Hard To Get With A Guy
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Do you balk at the very notion of playing hard to get with your guy? We get it. If you like to wear your heart on your sleeve, playing hard to get may just seem to come across as too manipulative for your taste. Perhaps, it just does not fit in with your idea of romance and you’re the kind who wants relationships to be more organic and spontaneous rather than planned.

Or are you the kind who wonders, “How to play hard to get after sleeping with a guy”? Perhaps, you enjoy the cat and mouse chase. You want to hog the limelight and want your man to woo you rather than go running after him like a headless chicken. You want to keep things cool and relaxed lest you come across as someone who is desperate for love.

Irrespective of your stance on this, believe it or not, numerous studies, as reported by Jonason and Li, in their in-depth article, Playing Hard-to-Get: Manipulating One’s Perceived Availability as a Mate, have found playing hard to get to be more rewarding in the longer run – be it in enhancing your desirability quotient or testing commitment in a potential partner. The question is: how to play hard to get with a man without hurting his as well as your sensibilities? We’re here to tell you just that.

Does Playing Hard To Get Really Work?

We know you came here looking for an answer “how to play hard to get with a guy I like”. But before you get to the playing-hard-to-get tips, you need to figure out if it is really worthwhile. Are there any positives to this gameplay? Is it really cool to try to play hard when you actually like someone? Your college friend might have succeeded with this strategy, but is this going to work for you?

Well, there is no definite answer to this question. But what is certain is that the game of playing hard to get can be effective if you play it well. When Natalie, everyone’s love guru in high school, doled out a few tips to Rebecca on how to play hard to get with a shy guy, she spoke from experience. “Don’t be someone who is easily available, for you wouldn’t want to come across as desperate. Also, beware of leaving them confused with your indifference and cold demeanor. Strike that fine balance and it will make you desirable,” she advised her friend

As you can see, the trick is to figure out how to play hard to get without losing him. Once you have mastered that, there is no stopping you. As per research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, playing hard to get instills a sense of uncertainty. The study found that making the chase harder is “an effective strategy that heightens perceptions of partners’ mate value”. To put it simply, it increases your desirability.

If you are considering how to play hard to get with a man, then you must know how and where exactly it is effective. Leading your potential partner onto a chase can:

  • Give you the reins of the relationship. You get to play the entire game as per your whims and fancies
  • Make you attractive. People would want to draw your attention toward them
  • Builds trust and commitment. You can gauge if your partner knows the art of wooing and is not shy of making an effort to win you over
  • Leave your romantic interest confused. Maybe you’re not interested in him? Or maybe you are?
  • Make you seem indifferent
  • Portray you as a snob

So what’s the bottom line? Play it well and play it cool.

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What Does Playing Hard To Get Mean?

Playing hard to get means pretending that you are not easily available to someone who is interested in you and who you are interested in too. You are projecting yourself as inaccessible to them so that they go out of their way to impress and woo you. The idea is to make yourself look more desirable and to initiate a game of chase and catch that can spice up things and make them more fun.

One of our readers Carl, 25, shares his experience. When he asked Rob out for a movie, Rob just shrugged it off even though he was equally attracted to Carl. The next time around, Carl went out of his way to send out a personalized evite, asking Rob out for the movie again. Needless to say, Rob could not turn it down this time. He sure knew how to play hard to get without losing him. This is a classic example of a playful chase that made their relationship bloom gradually, instead of rushing into it mindlessly.

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How To Play Hard To Get With A Guy And Make It Work

There is a thin line between playing hard to get with a man you’re interested in and making him feel like chasing you will be a dead end. Cross that line and you might just end up repelling him.

Steven Owen, a data analyst, recalls the time he was dating a girl in his neighborhood. “I was fine with her playing hard to get initially, but there never seemed to be an end to the game. I stopped trying as it felt like I was being drawn into some kind of power play. I feel it is not necessary to make things complicated in a relationship. Now, I run a mile when I recognize similar patterns in a girl I am interested in – a warning goes off in my head about there being issues with her,” he says.

Now the dilemma is: how to play hard to get with a guy without falling in the category of those women Steven is talking about and yet keep things interesting in your relationship? So here is what you should know about how to play hard to get when a guy asks for your number (no, you can’t be giving away your contact number so easily) and make it work for both of you as set out to forge a flirty yet meaningful relationship with each other:

1. Let him make the first move

Perhaps, this may be at odds with the time when going Dutch is the norm. In fact, a woman initiating a romance is also the coolest thing ever. So, letting the man make the first move may sound pretty old-fashioned to your sensibility, yet it will help if you paid heed to the oldest dating advice ever on how to play hard to get with a guy.

No matter how attracted you are to this man, don’t make the first move. Instead, let him make the effort to show that he wants you in his life. Show him that your presence in his life is not a piece of cake up for grabs at a birthday party. Let him work toward it.

Related Reading: 15 Ways A Woman Wants To Be Treated

2. Keep it fun

The code word for dating advice on playing hard to get is often: “Treat them mean, keep them keen.” How often have you heard that and cringed at the word ‘mean’? Do you really need to do that to another human being, let alone someone with whom you are trying to make a heart connection? Would you want him to be so scarred by the experience that the mere mention of your name could bring on a thunderstorm of emotions? No, right? So, keep it fun instead.

This is all very well unless the guy you’re crushing on is shy. Figuring out how to play hard to get with a shy guy is trickier. If your guy is shy, take the onus to send him a flirty message. Or send him a picture of a dress you plan to wear for your next date with him. This is how you can play hard to get with your guy for sure and also make him look forward to your next encounter, without begging for it.

3. Zip your lips

playing hard to get
Seal your lips to play hard to get with a guy

Perhaps, you are the kind who believes that if you are to embark on a new relationship, you should come clean about your love life and past relationship experiences. Great, but you can be sure you’ve lost his interest already. In fact, the tables may turn and you may find your guy playing hard to get.

One of the major factors fanning the flame of romance between any two people is the mystery of it all. Now, if by keeping him guessing you are playing hard to get, so be it. You can unfold your story gradually as you get to know each other well enough to have developed a comfort level where you don’t need to resort to mind games to keep the spark alive.

4. Keep yourself busy

It may have been love at first sight for you. Even so, make sure that you don’t come across as someone who’s available for him at the drop of a hat. Keep yourself busy, no matter how eager you are to be with this dreamboat. Not everyone feels the same way as Steven does about their objet d’adoration playing hard to get.

For Nicholas Winton, a budding doctor, it makes his partner more desirable. “In a way, I feel relieved that my girl is not clingy. It makes her more desirable as she seems to be her own person. It also gives us a lot to look forward to,” he says. Maybe you should pay heed to this and make it your go-to strategy for how to play hard to get with a guy.

Related Reading: How To Love Yourself – 21 Self Love Tips

5. Stay interested, but aloof

You like someone, you let them know, but you also need to keep them on their feet sometimes. Play hard to get with your man by being a little aloof once in a while – just enough to intrigue him and get him to make an effort to get your attention. However, you need to strike a balance here so that the man you’re interested in doesn’t feel taken for granted or feels neglected in the relationship. Overdo it and you’ll be out on your own.

Robert Martin, a stock trader, says, “I understand that the chase brings a certain excitement in a relationship but who wants to be on the edge 24×7? I’ve been through that before, it is just unpleasant and makes you restless. For me, that was reason enough to believe that she was uninterested and not as invested as I was, so I decided to move on. I’ve never regretted that decision.”

Is dating hard in this swipe culture?

6. Take your time to text back

Communication is never a problem in this age of internet and social media. If anything, there is an overload of it happening now. Gone are the days when people waited by the telephone for a call from a potential love interest. In the dating rulebook today, making out (sexting, anyone?) or breaking up over a text isn’t considered a big deal at all. But you don’t have to follow the crowd.

How to play hard to get with a guy when things like access and communication are not a problem in the tech age? Good old-fashioned unwritten dating rules combined with e-age etiquette could just lend an edge to your romance. So, hold back a little if you find yourself constantly texting your guy. Delay your responses and take your time to reply to his calls or texts. Don’t think there can be an easier way than this to play hard to get with your guy.

Art of wooing and more

7. Work up a sexual chemistry

Distance does make the heart grow fonder when a couple finds themselves not being able to meet too often. However, for a couple who has just begun dating, the anticipation of getting intimate and the sexual tension make things even more exciting.

If you want to play hard to get with your man, take relationship experts’ advice on it – they recommend using small, playful gestures to amp up the sexual chemistry. This will not only boost sexual attraction but also contribute to the romantic and emotional connection that you two have. Sexual compatibility is a huge part of any relationship.

8. Make space for some me-time

Do you find yourself planning every move of your life around your guy? Does a movie with just your girlfriends seem simply out of the question now? Do you feel guilty about going anywhere without him? Perhaps, you consider it a sacrilege to not spend the weekends with your boyfriend. If it gets to this level, it’s time to rethink and consider how to play hard to get after sleeping with a guy.

Speaking to Bonobology, counseling psychologist Namrata Sharma, who specializes in counseling for loveless marriages, breakups, and other relationship issues, highlighted the significance of establishing boundaries in relationships. She says, “Don’t forget to hang out with your friends and family. Don’t give your all to just one person…spread out your time. Keep doing what you used to do. Don’t let go of your hobbies and passions.”

Learn to prioritize yourself, even if it means playing hard to get with your guy. If you feel the need to spend the weekend on your own somewhere, do that. Making space for some me-time is healthy. If you have planned a trip with your girlfriends, go ahead with it. Let your guy or a potential date, know that you have other plans and that you intend to see them through without him. This sends across the message that you have a social life of your own and that you respect having space in a relationship.

Tina Gonzalez, a copywriter in an advertising firm, knows just how to play hard to get with a guy. She makes it a point to always reserve an occasional weekend for herself – with or without her girlfriends. “My guy understands that my social life or my space may not include him all the time, and he’s getting used to that now. I’d have felt claustrophobic if he had reacted to that adversely and opted out a long time ago,” she shares.

Related Reading: How Spending Time With Friends Helps Improve Your Relationship

9. Let him know you have male friends

Among the many things that your crush should be aware of is that you have male friends too. But also make it clear that they are platonic. This way, he’ll know that you have your own world of bonds, which also include male friends who are not lovers. It’s bound to keep him on the edge for sure. Unintentionally, it will also add to your game on how to play hard to get with a guy in middle school.

Key Pointers

  • Playing hard to get can work wonders for your relationship if you maintain a fine balance between playful indifference and flirty chase
  • It is an effective strategy to take up if both you and your partner like a good chase in your relationship
  • Let your man make the first move to woo you
  • Work on your chemistry, keep it fun and flirty, and most importantly, show your interest in the relationship all the while maintaining a distance

Still wondering, “How to play hard to get with a guy I like”? Explore these tactics and you will see how they work. None of them require you to take love games to toxic levels or feel guilty about playing hard to get with a guy. As we mentioned earlier, research on playing hard to get suggests that early daters indulge in these tactics as they serve as motivation to establish or maintain a long-term relationship. But it need not become a slanging match with unhealthy power dynamics. So if you are planning to play hard to get with your man, make an art of it. All you need to do is to keep it light and moderate.


1. How to play hard to get with your crush?

The code word for dating advice on playing hard to get is: “Treat them mean, keep them keen.” But remember not to take the ‘mean’ part too seriously. While trying to make a heart connection with someone fancy, keep things playful enough to keep him interested.  

2. How to play hard to get through text messages?

Follow good old-fashioned dating to-dos and combine them with e-age etiquette. So, hold back a little instead of constantly texting your guy. Delay your responses and take your time to reply to his calls or texts.

3. How to play hard to get after being clingy?

After making sure to not step out or do anything without him or having him on speed-dial every time you find yourself in some problem, try to stay a little aloof once in a while. This is enough to have him wondering and on his feet to win you over.

4. How do you know if a guy is playing you?

If your guy is not spending time with you even though he flirts with you, you know he is just trying to have a good time playing with you. He would rather flirt with you than ask you out or take things to the next level. Mixed signals of an on-again-off-again relationship, one where he is all over you one day and absent the other, are enough to tell that he is playing you.

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