How best to play ‘hard to get’ and boost the thrill of the chase – even when ‘caught’
- Making someone pursue you can do wonders to intensify their interest, but playing ‘hard to get’ effectively is more difficult than just acting unavailable
- If you are already in a romantic relationship and want to maintain some of the ‘chase’ there are ways to build that desire in your partner
It is a widely accepted belief that men “love the chase” even more than what awaits them at the end. If the theory is true, is playing hard to get an effective way to conquer their hearts?
Both men and women want to be valued by their partners because being wanted and desired makes anyone feel special. It is this desire from a partner that tends to make us feel secure in a relationship.
But once you “have” someone, is it possible to make them keep wanting you, or maybe wanting even more of you?
We all value the things we have fought hard to achieve or attain, and love is no exception. This is because we are proud of the efforts that we have put into something or someone that is special to us.
That sentiment is key to making the strategy of playing hard to get successful and it can be applied to most relationships.
If you want to be taken seriously or be valued by your romantic interest, many suggest that you avoid chasing them and simply act aloof, even when your heart says otherwise.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lead them on at all. Don’t appear too uninterested, as this can send the wrong message. It’s a hard balance to strike, but the key to success is not appearing too arrogant, mean or cruel.
You can also make the “chase” interesting and enjoyable. You can give the other person a sense of hopefulness or a small dose of appreciation whenever they have made progress towards “sealing the deal”; those little titbits of encouragement are often enough to keep them wanting more.
The most exhilarating part of the pursuit of love is being able to explore and find out what is hidden under the wraps of your love interest, like subtle characteristics or surprise elements. As cliché as it sounds, a little mystery can be surprisingly sexy and enticing.
If you are already in a romantic relationship and want to maintain some of that “chase”, try to be a little less available and less accommodating, at least when appropriate. But this strategy might not be everyone’s cup of tea, either for the giver or taker.
Also, be aware that playing hard to get to just for your self-gratification and nothing more is a cruel game to play.
Valentina Tudose, a relationship expert and certified hypnotherapist, says there are other ways to feel cherished by a partner.
She believes that “being authentic and true to yourself in all situations is the surest way to feel valuable in your own eyes. Having clear standards and boundaries around things that are important to you shows people your true value.”
When you compromise on those standards, your value decreases in other people’s eyes – mostly because you’re letting yourself down, Tudose explains.
“A woman with high standards and strong sense of self who knows exactly how to establish and communicate her boundaries, has realistic expectations – of herself and others – and is fully aware of her own power is the most attractive prospect for a man. To him, she is the ‘queen’ he’s looking for,” Tudose says.
“Having high standards – and sticking to them – is a wonderful way of making sure that people you surround yourself with are those who are willing to respect you for your integrity and sense of self – the ones who are able and willing to see you as a ‘queen’.”
It will, though, mean pushing some people away – and that’s completely fine, she adds.
Tudose expresses words of caution about employing the tactic of playing “hard to get”.
“Playing hard to get is a strategy based on the ‘scarcity principle’ that says people tend to want more of what they cannot have. It is a risky strategy that can easily backfire because it really depends on the context and when it is used.”
Moreover, she warns that it can be a sign the person employing the strategy has a low sense of personal value and is doing this as a way to get external validation.
There are many subtle ways of playing hard to get, she says, and one alternative approach is to take it slow and gradually become more vulnerable as you get to know your partner.
“Human connections are created through repetition, which is spending time together and sharing experiences,” she says. “Don’t rush things, and don’t make yourself too available. Keep your standards high and your expectations as low as possible so the partner learns to value your true authentic self and respect you more for not giving in.”
She further points out some pros and cons of this strategy.
“If you play hard to get before the other person actually knows you enough to want you, they are very likely to give up. If, however, you take the time to build a connection, get to know each other and make them curious to know more about you, making them pursue you can do wonders to intensify their interest.”
Playing the “hard to get” strategy correctly can stimulate a strong feeling of what some experts call “frustration attraction” – the more we feel rejected, the more we want to “conquer” that person, Tudose adds.
Ultimately, the unattainable is far more desirable than what you can easily get, so once you know someone likes you enough to be willing to make an effort, take things slow and allow for mystery, distance and the unknown to create a deep desire in that person to get to know you better, she explains.
She warns that the most effective way to create desire is not to be aloof and unavailable at the very beginning of the relationship.
“Spend some time together to establish the connection and feel the chemistry and attraction and then go slow,” she says.
“Give the other person time to miss you, prioritise you, to feel like they need to fight for you. It will make them feel like their investment in time and effort is worth it when they actually get the prize, which ultimately is the chance to be with you.”
Luisa Tam is a correspondent at the Post