If you are thinking of “playing hard to get” but don’t know how to go about it, have played hard to get in the past with disastrous results, or are wondering if “playing hard to get” is even a good idea, you need to read this article to the end.
In North America, we call it “playing hard to get“, in African cultures they call it “arranging to get caught“. Technically, they are the same in terms of why people do it, and what they hope to achieve, but they are also very different in how one gets to the end point and the what the end point looks like.
How to get attention and affections
“Playing Hard To Get” is based on the premise that when you make someone work hard for your attention and affections, they’ll want you more. When you ignore them, make yourself “unavailable”, hide how you feel, stand them up, pretend you are busy, act not interested, it’ll make the other person more interested.
The African “arranging to get caught” looks at how to catch someone attention and affections rather differently.
African cultures in general believe that except for a few men and women who chase after people who show no interest in them whatsoever, most people are drawn to the strength of the other person’s desire for us and are attracted to people who show interest in us.
If you want to make someone want you enough to commit effort and time chasing you, make the experience worth their while. The emphasis is here is “worth their while”.
The focus of the chase
“Playing hard to get” focuses too much on the “HARD TO GET” (more like “impossible to get”). All the ignoring, pretending to be busy, acting not interested is to make one “hard to get.”
The African “arranging to get caught” focuses on the “PLAY”. Making it fun enough for someone to want to play the chasing game is more important than coming across as “hard to get”.
Attitude towards vulnerability
“Playing hard to get” is too concerned about self-preservation. Behind the chase, there is a strong need to feel that the other person somehow wants and loves us more than we need and/or love them. We want them to call us first, and call us more because that says they want us more than we want them. We also want them to work hard for our affections because it makes us feel worthy.
The African “arranging to get caught” is less concerned about self-preservation and more interested in the experience. Is it possible that you’ll get rejected or hurt? Yes. Getting hurt is part of life. Even the most vigilant get hurt.
Does it matter who calls who first or often? No. What matters is that the experience is fun and rewarding for both people involved. To them, relationships are a partnership based on give and take. You’ve got to give some to get some.
The thrill of the chase
“Playing hard to get” is more about the CHASE. It doesn’t matter what kind of ‘catch” you are, as long as you know how to play the game, you are assumed to be a “good catch”. The better you are at playing hard to get, the more confidence you’ll have playing the game, and the more people you’ll have to play with.
The African “arranging to get caught” is more about the CATCH. If you are a good catch, it doesn’t matter that you are not good at playing the game. More men and women are more concerned about what happens if and when they get “caught” than whether they are good at the game or not. The chase happens not because you are a thrill to chase, but because the other person believes that you’re a good catch once you’ve been caught.
It’s very much like catching a fish. There are plenty of fish in the water, but there is this one colourful fish that keeps appearing, twirling and disappearing. Then reappearing, twirling and disappearing again. It catches the eye of a fisherman/woman because it appears elusive (and hard to catch). The fisherman/woman is intrigued enough to want to catch THAT FISH. He/she goes to work. Hours later, after so much hard work trying to catch the elusive fish, he/she FINALLY catches the fish. He/she takes it home and excitedly prepares it. Table set, best white wine out and napkin in place. In the fisherman/woman’s mind, if was so hard to catch, it must be worth the time and effort. He/she takes the first bite… “What the …. is this!?”.
The “catch” didn’t live up to the thrill of the chase. Unfortunately, this is so more the norm than exception when “playing hard to get” is the focus of dating or courtship. There is more emphasis (even among experts) on who “who initiates contact”, “how often to call”, who says ‘I love you’ first, etc.
I don’t know about the rest of you, I find it exhausting to constantly take count of who initiates contact first, who said “I love you” first’… who cares more or loves more. More over at the end of the day, if someone is not happy withe the relationship, they will walk away even through they were the ones who initiated more contact and cared or loved more.
What I am saying is: “who initiates contact”, “how often to call”, who says ‘I love you’ first means nothing if their is no incentive for the other person to invest (and continue investing) their time and effort on chasing you.
My advice to men and women playing hard to get or thinking of doing it is, ‘arrange to get caught” instead.
You make it known (very clearly) that:
1. You WANT to get caught – Initiate the chase verbally or non-verbally.
Yes, it’s okay to make the first move, initiate the first contact. Really. It’s is. What’s not okay is to pine after someone you wished you had the courage to approach. If they approach you first, despite what you’ve read, it’s okay to show you’re interested. Give the person some sort of encouragement (verbally or no-verbally). Let them know if they want to chase you, that’s fine by you.
2. You CAN be caught – Be physically accessible and emotionally available.
Accessible doesn’t mean you should be sitting by the phone waiting for them to call/text, will throw away everything to be with them or will ask “how high” when they ask you to jump. It simply means they know that they can text or call you when they want to, and they don’t have to wonder about what mind game you’re playing.
3. You are FUN to play with – Show can go with the flow, relax and have fun without an agenda or applying pressure.
It’s hard to be ‘play’ with someone who acts like they don’t want to ‘play”, is too pushy, constantly stirring up drama for attention or some other narcissistic reasons, someone who’s needy, controlling, constantly coaching you on how to love them, etc.
4. You are WHO you say you are – Be real and not edit yourself so that they see only what you want them to see.
I’ve worked with many men and women who’ve been with their ex for years, but still feel they don’t know the real person. They feel like they’ve been dating/married to multiple personalities. They also feel in varying degrees that they can’t “trust” their ex, not completely. Most want to know if its even worth trying to get back together with someone they barely know.
If you want someone to be certain that it’ll be worth his or her while to invest time and effort trying to catch you, show them who and what they are chasing before they catch you.
You don’t want to be that colourful fish that got caught, cooked and spat out (that’s even if you get that far). Most experienced fisherman will observe your colourful antics for a while, and decide from a distance that you’re not their worth time and effort.
There is more on How To Be Available But Not Too Available