No more “playing hard to get”!: Times have changed and you must change too

hard2getKarina S. is twenty-nine and she has been playing hard to get her whole life. When a guy checks her out, she pretends not to notice. When he asks for her number, she feigns half interest. She keeps herself busy so she is forced to turn down a first date request, and she absolutely never tells a man how she feels about him…ever. Karina has been playing hard to get for so long, it’s become ingrained in her thought process. She doesn’t second guess how she interacts with men, she’s simply on autopilot. Her mother taught her from an early age that men like the “chase”, and so she’s always strived to start running away the minute she meets someone.

The problem is that it’s not working for her. Karina has been single for the last eight years. She’s had a few dates here and there, but none have amounted to any sort of significant relationship. When she sat on my couch for the first time, she wasn’t prepared for what I was going to tell her, as apparent from the shocked look on her face.

“‘Hard to get is not working for you,” I said. “You are have to drop the act.”

Confused, she referenced my book and cited that I repeated many times that men do need to “chase” women and feel they have won them over. She even pulled out her copy and turned to the chapter on Indifference. It seemed to her that my advice was right in line with what she had always been doing. But, as I gently pointed out, if that were true she would have found a boyfriend by now.

Forget “Hard to Get”

The difference between my advice and playing hard to get may be subtle, but don’t let subtlety minimize the importance. The reason playing hard to get doesn’t work anymore is because times have changed and men are now looking for signs of interest. Without some reciprocity on your part, they won’t keep pursuing you…or in many cases, even start to. That’s not to say you have to initiate contact, or ask them out on a date…Hear me when I say that’s absolutely NOT what you should do, because you will eliminate the chase that way.You don’t want a man to think you love him after one date, but you do want him to think that you like him.

My client Karina quickly understood the importance of showing interest. It’s a fine line, of course. Show too much and you can scare a man off, but show too little and you risk losing him too. How then do you find the balance in between? What if you are someone that has lived by the H2G rules. What do you do now?

The key is to use one of the tactics in my book called, Mirror Theory. It’s meaning is fairly self explanatory. You want to “mirror” his signs of interest. Therefore if he checks you out as you walk by, you want to smile at him. He’s showing you interest, and your smile shows it back. If he asks you out on a date, you gladly accept. You don’t want to do cartwheels or supply him with ten different ways to get in touch with you, you simply want to mirror his request with a, “Sure, that would be nice.” If he compliments you, tells you that you are smart or beautiful, make sure you work your own note of appreciate into the conversation too. Telling a man you find him funny or perceptive will only make him like you more… after all, who doesn’t love a sincere compliment? You can and should still be indifferent – meaning if the relationship doesn’t go the distance you won’t fall to pieces, but you have to add in a few buying signs.

After Karina and I had two sessions, things began to immediately turn around for her. Within a week, she had three men ask for her number.

Typically it’s a woman’s “relationship agenda” that causes her to come on too strong. Some try to cover their ambition for love with playing hard to get, but it often backfires. Try combating the “wanting” for a relationship at it’s core. If you don’t know how, give me a call. I’ll walk you through it!

For more of Jess McCann’s advice on dating, pick up You Lost Him at Hello in bookstore’s and online. Also, keep an eye out for her next book, being released in January 2013, “Was it Something I Said: The answer to all your dating dilemma’s.” You can contact Jess here or follow her on Twitter @iamjesssmccann

Posted in Dating Coach, Dating Tips, Dating Website | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

10 Responses to No more “playing hard to get”!: Times have changed and you must change too

  1. Tracy says:

    Great article, Jess and spot on. My current bf tried to end our relationship over this exact issue – my seeming indifference. We discussed it and I warmed up and am currently in the most fulfilling relationship of my life.

  2. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    The reason playing hard to get doesn’t work anymore is because times have changed and men are now looking for signs of interest.

    Nice piece, Jess. The above is one reason. Another is that in today’s culture, pursuing a woman who seems uninterested is considered “harassment” and “stalking,” so most sane guys don’t get pushy. Also, playing hard-to-get worked for our grandmoms because they lived in a more constricted, small-town culture. Today, men have the option of logging into OKCupid, Plenty of Fish or dozens of other sites to find a new prospect when an old one seems uninterested.

  3. la belle says:

    Very perceptive and up to date essay Jess. Days of Broken Arrow you are right but I don’t think there’s a gender difference here. Attractive and socially savvy women are also in high demand and internet dating makes it very easy to move on to someone else if a guy doesn’t show interest. I’ve met a few guys who try to play hard to get but it’s big turn off.

  4. Jay says:


    One of the things I am doing is using your tips on dating to become more effective sales person, since connecting is similar whether you are trying to get a date or trying to get a prospect interested in you. As you say in your book, first sell yourself. Dating and selling have lot of similarities.

  5. M says:

    Exactly true!!! MEN HATE absolutely hate “Hard to Get” and it’s such a HUGE TURNOFF for men that most men RUN from them women that play that BS “Hard to Get”. Women totally HAVE to and MUST show some sign of interest cause that “Hard to Get” just simple pi**es men off and we don’t want sh*t to do with you when you play that childish “Hard to Get” BS. Even with online it’s the same thing, men can tell when women play the “Hard to Get” especially with their ultra BS rigid “requirements” and those women you see those same women online month after month and year after year cause men HATE the “Hard to Get” and want nothing to do with them women cause they are impossible, way way to stuck up, to full of themselves and usually a constant bit*h. Women have to let loose with their requirements and only then they will get somewhere.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    It’s challenging to locate well informed people on this subject, but you seem like you understand
    what you’re talking about! Thanks

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