Did you know playing hard to get can make you more attractive to potential mates? It may not seem like a winning strategy, but being unavailable increases your desirability. As they say, some people love the thrill of a good chase, especially in relationships. It makes the reward (you) more enticing when a partner must work harder to gain your affection.

Of course, not everyone enjoys these types of mating games, especially if they’re older and want to settle down. However, some people find that the excitement of pursuing a love interest makes them even more attractive. As long as you don’t string the person along, there’s no harm in having a little fun!

But why exactly does playing hard to get make you more appealing? We’ll go over why being elusive can make someone more interested in you. However, it can have the opposite effect if you’re too mysterious or inaccessible. We will also discuss the downsides of each behavior below.

4 Ways Playing Hard to Get Makes You More Desirable

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1.     It Increases Anticipation if You Appear Unavailable to Advances.

Playing hard to get creates a challenge for your potential partner. Most people enjoy having something to work towards, especially if it means winning the affection of their crush. So, if you seem unavailable or aloof, it may keep your love interest on the edge of their seat. Even thinking about going on a date with you or experiencing that first kiss can increase anticipation.

Just fantasizing about a reward boosts dopamine levels, which may explain why people love a good chase. As they say, nothing good in life ever comes easily, which also applies to relationships. If someone knows you’re interested but can’t have you, it will only increase their attraction towards you.

How This Could Backfire:

There’s a fine line between acting secretive and uninterested in the dating world. If you create too much anticipation, the other person might tire of the game eventually. It only works if your love interest believes they have a real shot at being with you. Otherwise, building anticipation and desire for no reason will only lead them on and end in disappointment.

2.     Playing Hard to Get Makes You Seem More “In Demand.”

According to research, if you’re too available, it can make you appear desperate to prospective suitors. However, playing hard to get can make you seem more “valuable” and attractive. As humans, we naturally want what we can’t have, including potential partners. A 2020 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that playing hard to get increases “mate value.”

In other words, the more selective you are, the more sexually desirable you will seem to romantic interests. The study also revealed that participants made more significant efforts to continue dating potential mates they perceived as hard to get.

Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study, says: “We all want to date people with higher mate value. We’re trying to make the best deal we can.”

How This Could Backfire:

If you’re too selective with potential mates, it could discourage them from pursuing a relationship. You want to let them know you feel a connection but not act overly eager or available. After all, they will only keep up the chase if they feel confident they have a chance with you.


3.     Being Unavailable Adds a Level of Mystery and Uncertainty.

Playing hard to get makes dating more fun and less predictable. If your crush doesn’t know what to expect, it will pique their curiosity and keep them interested in pursuing you. For instance, perhaps you wait a few days to text or call them back after going on a date.

This will make you seem intriguing and make your potential lover even crazier about you! A healthy level of uncertainty creates excitement and a bit of urgency since your beau won’t want you to slip through their fingers.

How This Could Backfire:

Being too elusive can make your suitor think you’ve lost interest in dating them. For example, if you wait too long to text them back, they may take that as a sign you’ve moved on. You want to create a bit of tension but not become so withdrawn or unavailable that they lose attraction.

4.     Playing Hard to Get Gives Off a Vibe of Confidence and Independence.

Most people love an independent man or woman because it shows they’re comfortable in their skin. Playing hard to get can make you seem confident on your own and that you don’t need anyone to complete you. This goes back to the idea that people tend to want what they can’t have.

If you show interest in someone but continue living your life normally, you instantly become more attractive. You have shown potential partners that you’re open to a relationship but know your worth.

How This Could Backfire:

Of course, being too avoidant could make you seem arrogant or cocky. It can also send mixed signals if you act interested in someone but give them the cold shoulder. It’s great to feel self-confident, but not if it creates a barrier between you and others. Make sure to pursue a relationship only when you feel ready because playing with others’ emotions never ends well.

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Final Thoughts on Why Playing Hard to Get Makes You More Appealing

Some people feel more attracted to those who play hard to get, perhaps because it makes dating more exciting. However, it only works if both people have a genuine connection and feel interested in one another. After all, being too detached may cause a potential mate to run in the other direction.

It seems that playing hard to get increases attraction for several reasons. It enhances anticipation and uncertainty about dating you since your partner must work harder to gain your approval. Being aloof and mysterious also makes a relationship with you more valuable. So, if you want to gauge someone’s interest in you, playing hard to get can reveal their true feelings.