Perhaps you heard the advice from your mother, or a well-meaning friend. Or maybe you read a book like “The Rules” that convinced you to never call a guy first, accept a date at the last minute, or offer to pay for coffee. In other words, smart women play hard-to-get.
At first blush, playing hard-to-get makes some sense. After all, we all covet things that are less attainable, or are a scarcer resource. There is an old saying (warning: cringe factor): “Why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?” If we don’t have to work for it, whether it’s a guy, gal or scoring prized tickets to a sold-out concert, is it worth as much?
Lord knows I’ve played a game or two in my relationship over the years (like insisting my husband not make a fuss on my birthday and then not speaking to him for three weeks when he took me at my word). What about playing hard-to-get though? Is this a good game to play if you are seeking (or trying to sustain) a long-term meaningful relationship?
Simone Paget, a syndicated relationship columnist and award-winning blogger, is adamant: “Playing any kind of game is a waste of time including hard-to-get.”
If you are mastering the game of hard-to-get, here are three reasons Paget thinks you should think again:
- Life is short.
Paget says, “If you turn on the news, there are so many sad things that are happening in this world. It seems silly to waste time.” Rather, one should seize the moment. “If you like someone and they are interested in you too, you should text or call them back. The most adult thing to do is to reciprocate.” Paget insists that everyone loses if you shut a person down with no good reason. “If you are sitting at home on a Friday night and someone approaches you on eHarmony, it is defeating the purpose to say you are busy. Why not go out and meet them?”Playing games doesn’t honour what feels right in a relationship. “There is a difference between wanting to take the relationship slow and not rush things versus keeping someone at bay if you are interested in them.” Paget reminds us that there is a huge difference between playing hard-to-get and setting healthy boundaries. “Do what feels true to yourself. After all, at some point you will have to make room for the other person or meet them half way.”
- You may attract the wrong people.
There are many ways to play hard to get. In a survey of college students, strategies such as talking to others, leading someone on and then not calling, and acting snooty were just some of the behaviours.Paget maintains that the wrong people are attracted to someone who acts in this poor way. She admits that when she was younger, “I loved bad boys who were evasive. It fed a cycle where I equated people who didn’t treat me well as desirable.” Consequently, she dated “bad dudes”, something she recognizes was driven by her own immaturity and insecurities. “It was not a healthy way of thinking. Now, I know I deserve more than that.”
Paget observes, “You want to be attracted to people who are sincere and have a healthy approach to relationships.” And that starts with loving and respecting ourselves.
- You don’t have time for games.
We should all strive to lead a full and active life. If we are busy with our work, interests and passions, we are already hard-to-get because we have less room in our schedules. This naturally makes us a scarcer commodity—and more attractive.Paget says, “Being secure and happy with yourself means that you don’t drop everything when someone comes into your life. If you have to tell someone that you can’t go out with them because you are already booked for a spin class, they will think you have a cool life outside of dating, and are not always available.” She laughs, “I only want to date people who have full schedules!”
If someone is trying to arrange a date with you, but you are busy, give them alternatives rather than make them chase you. Say something like, “I do have plans for tonight but can we set up something for next week?” Be polite and responsive Paget insists,” You may not be super available, but it is still ok to be super interested!”
Games can be fun. A tennis game, a video game, or Game of Thrones. But playing hard-to-get? Think again!