Wednesday October 1st 2014

Why Do Women Want A Man Who Plays Hard To Get?

toronto_akiteng-581Question: Women complain that men do not contact them after a date because they’re playing hard to get. But when they find a guy who shows them his true feelings and does not play hard to get they complain that he is too nice because he does not play hard to get.  Most women I’ve dated start playing hard to get which is frustrating to guys like me not interested in these childish never ending games.

What I don’t understand is what’s wrong with showing someone that you love them? If I love a woman why can’t I tell her I love her and show her how I feel? It just feels like I can’t be my true self. Why say that you need a man who can show his true feelings and at the same time want someone who plays hard to get? It sends off a lot of mixed signals.

The Love Doctor’s Answer: I agree with you 100% that some of the games men and women play are self-defeating.  But I want to specifically address the “showing someone that you love them” because this is what causes the frustration you feel.

What is wrong with watering a plant? Nothing. What’s wrong with not watering it or giving it too little water? You kill it. What’s wrong with over watering it? You kill it. All the non-stop attention, displays of affection, countless calls, email, and needy text messages are like over watering a plant.

Most people (men and women) interpret this as you giving too much because you need too much. Most are turned off by the pressure to give back as much as they’re getting. You do not need to verbalize that you want him/her to give you anything back in return, it’s just a given of life that when we get something we want to give something back to show our appreciation (for most “normal” people anyways).  But when we get so much more than we can give back, we feel pressured. Often times this feeling pressured to give back turns into feeling guilty for not being able to give back as much as we’re receiving.

If you’re lucky, a woman will tell you that you’re trying too hard and need to step back a little.  But most women will say “no thank you” even if you have all the qualities she’s looking for in a guy.  The pressure to give or the guilt of not being able to give back overrides the other advantages you may have.

Here is where it gets even more complicated for the guys. Society generally socializes us to expect men to have more control of their emotions. They are supposed to be the gender that steps up and gets things done. If a woman can’t trust you to regulate your own emotions, it means that she can’t trust you to step up, lead and take control of situations where you’re required to put your own emotions aside and get the job done.

That said, there are men and women who just like playing games because it somehow makes them feel good about themselves. If someone is more interested in playing games than in a creating a healthy give and take balance, then that person  just does not want you, period.  Do not get pulled into junior high school drama type behaviour.  There are better things you can do with your life.

If on the other hand she feels pressured because you’re trying to hard/giving too much and asks you to step back a little, do not get upset, angry and frustrated because you feel rejection.  Step back a little (a.k.a. I need space) is not always “go away”.

It’s all about regulating emotions and actions; knowing when and when not to water the plant and how much water is too much water at any given point in time. At least that’s the way I teach it.

You can also read more about “How To Play Hard The Love Way, The Right Way” in the articles section (button above).

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

32 Responses to “Why Do Women Want A Man Who Plays Hard To Get?”

  1. Lloyd says:

    i ignore women who play hard to get. a few days later they’re calling me.

  2. Houserat41 says:

    My gf was playing hard to get and i ignored her for two weeks. When I contacted her again she said she thought I was pissed off with her and since I did not have the balls to tell her why she’d accepted it and moved on. I had to do a lot of *begging* to restart the relationship. Ignoring someone can backfire.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wait 3-4 days before you call her. Don’t always answer when she calls. Pretend you don’t really like her. This works for me.

  4. itravellight says:

    In my 20s I had the time to play games. Now I don’t feel like wasting time on games. I tell women exactly how I feel and ask how they feel. If she’s not sure of her feelings for me or not interested, I move on. I have no time nor tolerance for games.

  5. I agree that if you really love somebody it doesn’t make any sense to pretend that you don’t. But I also believe that a little positive mystery here and there does bring some excitement and freshness to a relationship.

    A guy goes to a store to buy his woman a birthday gift. He picks out a pair of gold earrings but says “no” when the shop attendant asks if she can gift wrap it. Instead he puts the earrings in his pocket. He calls his woman on his cell, “Honey” I know it’s your birthday. I’m at the jewelry store and I just bought you a pair of gold earrings. They cost me 267.83 bucks. I’ll give them to you later at dinner. I reserved us a table at Joe & Kate’s Hideout. At the dinner table he pulls out the gold earrings from his coat pocket, holds them in front of her face and says, “Happy birthday. If you like the earrings you can keep them, if not, I’ll take them back to the store and get back my money”.

    Do you think this woman is going to look forward to her next birthday?????

    My point is, a little mystery adds “value” to an experience and whether we aware of it or not, almost all of us play the “Mystery Game” in some form or another. The question is with whom, why, when and most importantly how.

  6. meccosedpen says:

    I quickly lose interest in a woman who isn’t making an effort. Disappearing off the radar thinking that will make me more interested is delusional.

  7. Good for you. Women who do the disappearing act are not playing hard to get, they’re “playing impossible to find” :-)

  8. Tonyjugmat says:

    I understand what you are saying love doctor. If one does not play hard to get he comes off as needy or desperate. So I have to act as though I don’t care how a woman feels and my indifference makes her interested.

  9. I’m actually saying the exact opposite. When a needy and/or desperate person tries to play hard to get it can be incredibly annoying and frustrating because they are trying to get attention by giving the impression that they don’t care or are too busy. This sends the wrong signals.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If a woman plays like she is not interested I just assume she’s not interested, and move on.

  11. Jorge says:

    My glitch I guess is that I haven’t figured out yet how to play hard back and at the same time keep a woman’s attention.

  12. michael says:

    i am the type of person who is pretty straight forward with my feelings, but i’m not exactly a needy person either. i think that space in a relationship is very important. Especially if you just met the person. The whole mind games trick is pretty easy. Be straight forward and call them out on it, they get embarassed and sometimes feel so guily they apologize. lol.

  13. Playing hard to get the right way is not about “space” but rather about building up enough intrigue, mystery and excitement. You can give a man or woman all the space in the world but if there is no apparent or sincere hint of fun and enjoyment, excitement and adventure or attraction and arousal, all the straightforwardness and “space” in the world won’t make a difference.

  14. Rose says:

    Men are chasers, women get caught. It’s the inate nature of the man/woman dynamic. So guys, please don’t confuse your gender role and go out there and be a man…let her know you like her, call her, woo her. Don’t be playing games. Desperation is one thing, but most of you have a long way to go in the realm of treating a woman well before you come off as desperate. Only insecure women who are used to being treated poorly will be lured by a remote, unavailable man.

  15. “Men are chasers, women get caught. It’s the inate nature of the man/woman dynamic”

    Says who? Those kind of old wives tales are everyday being busted by reality/experience. Even in the wild game life of Africa where much is still “inate”, females do chase males just like males chase females… so please let’s move in to the 21st Century.

    Insecurity, fear of rejection, emotional timidity/immaturity, lack of self and sexual confidence on both sides of the gender divide is what makes men and women play mind games… and what makes most women leave it to the men to do the chasing. With words like “be a man” it’s easy to make him think it’s all his fault she’s not getting “caught”…

    Moreover some women who say “be a man” and do the chasing are not even worth the chase or catching. As I always say, If I were a guy and a woman told me “be a man… chase me”, I’d tell her “be a woman… make it worth my time and effort!” and if she started playing disappearing silly games… I’d let her play all by herself until she realizes she’s not worth the chase because she does not know how to make a man chase her.

    It takes two to tango! Both sides should stop playing the silly mind games and be real… may be then we will have better man/woman relationships and lower the rate of divorce.

  16. Enant says:

    Men are chasers, women get caught… the active vs. the passive!

    How could it be?

    Both genders carry the active and the passive. When the woman is lying down a trap to lure a man (any man) into chasing her, it is already a big psychological activity and it is often the man who gets caught if he lacks awareness on those mind games.

    She does not want to take the risk and she won’t take the risk of rejection… but at the same time she wants to get the confirmation that she is hot while not returning his any kind of admiration. So, this situation can only be satisfied if (as an absolute prerequisite) the man is conditioned to chase her whether it is his innate nature or not (which in this case is irrelevant).

    Such mind game will end up like a war game and when love becomes a war, both parties miss the fundamentals. Both are wasting their precious time mutually messing with each other’s mind…

  17. Busycroat says:

    I’m 29, educated, have a great job and in very good shape, I always found it uncomfortable when approached or chased by a woman. Reading both your site and blog, I found myself asking why does it make me feel uncomfortable? I also started observing other men to see why some men don’t feel uncomfortable with women approaching them. My conclusion is that when the tables are turned and the woman assumes the hunter and chaser role, a man’s masculinity is threatened and that’s what’s makes him uncomfortable. What do you think?

  18. Welcome to the 21st Century!…(:

    Men are hunters and chasers… that’s what we were taught since time memorable. At a certain time in human history when women were only considered “feminine” when they were passive participants in their own lives, it worked. Things have changed. Strong, smart and confident women are now active participants. They want to make their own choices and be accountable for the choices they make. Strong, smart and confident men who want these kind of women have caught up or are catching up with the times.

    But as mentioned in many of my other articles… there is proactively going after the man of your choice, and there is hunting him down like a piece of meat…(:

    Inexperienced and starving hunters and chasers of any gender are downright scary!

  19. Busycroat says:

    LOL. So true. I’m guessing you are speaking from experience?

  20. I’m human too… and in my moments of delusion, I like to think of myself as not so bad looking (he-he-he).

  21. Alpha-M says:

    My ex told me she wanted to break up, my only response was “I hope you find what you are looking for and be happy.” She started crying and said she didn’t want to break up with me, she just wanted things to be different.

    Funny thing is, this has happened to me with all my 4 exs. They start to break up with me and I simply show them the door, they DO NOT leave.

    Next time she wants to walk out, let her go. Women despise guys who beg them to stay.

  22. I agree with you that women (and men) tend to lose respect for someone who begs to be loved or wanted. But it is possible to make someone reconsider their decision to leave while keeping your self-respect.

    Your approach may work for some women and men, but I don’t think it will work for everyone. Besides, has it occurred to you that the reason they don’t leave is not because they love you so much that they can’t live without you but because 1) they don’t want to be alone, 2) they have low esteem and don’t think they’ll find anyone else or 3) they think if they stay they can “change” you.

    Just saying…

  23. Clive says:

    Yangki, I’ve read just about every article you’ve written and I feel compelled to tell you that you are terribly smart, compassionate and easy on the eyes. But I can’t help but wonder if may be you are a little kookoo (I mean it in a good way).

  24. Whatever! I’m not trying to be your girlfriend, I’m just trying to be of help.

    FYI: I’m taken…(:

  25. Clive says:

    I didn’t mean to offend. I see in others the qualities that I myself possess.

  26. Clive says:

    You have a wicked sense of humour. Me too. (*/*)

  27. You really are trying so hard to make me like you.

  28. Clive says:

    Not really. I’m taken. (*/*)

  29. Simstar says:

    Those last few comments have had me in stitches!!!

    Yangki and Clive I sense some sexual tension between you two – even though you’re both taken LOL

  30. Naah! He thinks I’m kookoo.

    Don’t you think it’s pretty pathetic to have sexual tension with someone one barely knows. For all we know, Clive could be old enough to be my son or old enough to be my grandfather…Ewww!

    Thread and needle?

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