How to Play Hard to Get With a Guy

The research proves it: Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
Young couple dancing outside.Young couple dancing outside.
In 2012, The Independent cited work by several research teams that showed that not only is playing hard to get actually a solid evolutionary strategy to test the commitment and quality of a potential mate, but that the less available a person is, the more would-be romantic partners are willing to invest in them. However, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology confirmed that you should only play hard to get if the object of your desire is already interested in you.

Formulate Your Strategy

Rather than haphazardly returning his phone calls or one of the other common "hard to get" tactics, researchers suggest that you base your strategy on your guy's level of commitment and passion about you.
Based on a 2014 study on playing hard to get, psychologist Jeremy Nicholson recommends that you only employ tactics like being detached and aloof when you're spending time with a person who's already into you. In other words, playing hard to get at the right time in a relationship -- once you two have moved past the initial stages and are more attached to each other -- can really help your romance blossom.

Be Selective

Playing hard to get doesn't involve ignoring him or pretending to be too busy when he asks you out.
Dating website Lovepanky suggests that actually, one of the most effective ways to be hard to get is to be selective. Be available to your man, and out of bounds for all the other guys. Let him know that you're choosing to be with him, despite other offers, but that it will take effort on his part to convince you completely. He'll respect you more for it, and will appreciate how lucky he is to get to spend time with you.

Don't Forget to Play

A lot of people forget the "play" part of hard to get, writes dating coach Yangki Christine Akiteng.
Instead of playing hard to get, she suggests thinking of it as a "game of playful pursuit," and employing strategies like being flexible without being a pushover, being available but a little out of reach, keeping things interesting, and being open and upfront without giving everything away at once. Remember, your strategies should all be based around getting him to like you more, and being mean to him simply won't achieve that.

Find a Healthy Balance

Most importantly, have fun playing hard to get, but don't overdo it.
As Lovepanky reminds, giving a guy a challenge can give a boost to a budding romantic relationship, but no guy will remained interested if he constantly feels rejected by your actions. If you've been keeping him on ice for a while, Lovepanky suggests that you take the opportunity to give him a call, a hug, or some gesture to remind him that you're into him. If you want to be successful, find a healthy balance between the romance and the chase.

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About the Author

A New York native, Carrie Stemke is an avid writer, editor and traveler whose work has covered many different topics. She has had a lifelong fascination with and love of psychology, and hold's a bachelor's degree in the subject. Her psychology research articles have been published in Personality and Individual Differences and in Modern Psychological Studies.