Why Do Women Want Men to Play Hard To Get?

why-do-women-want-a-man-that-plays-hard-to-getQuestion: 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.

Yangki’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.

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32 Comments

  • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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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  • 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).

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  • 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.

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    • 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…

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  • 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?

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    • 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!

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