Should Women Play Hard To Get?
Posted by BroadBlogs
A best-selling book from a few years back advised women to follow “The Rules” (the book’s title) to catch a man.
The rules are all about playing hard to get. A sampling:
- Don’t talk to a man first and don’t ask him to dance
- Don’t call him and rarely return his calls
- Always end the date first
- Don’t see him more than once or twice a week
- Don’t open up too fast
Guys in my classes have mixed feelings about this advice. A few seem to like the chase but most feel manipulated or say they would think the woman wasn’t interested.
A dating blogger asked some of her male friends to share their thoughts. One felt that playing hard to get is great:
The first rule of relationship fight club: Wait as long as he took to write before you reply to his email, and never write more than he wrote.”
But another guy felt differently:
That sounds like crap. Back in my early twenties, yes, “hard to get” was great. But now, I’m too tired after work, so “easy to get” is preferable, although I can handle “moderately challenging” on weekends.
Another said that playing hard to get definitely doesn’t make him more interested.
If she seems to be only reacting tit-for-tat, I quickly lose interest.
Three of the guys she talked to said they’d likely mistake “playing hard to get” for “not interested.”
On the other hand, “too easy” isn’t appealing, either. One guy put it this way:
It’s a real attraction-killer if a woman comes off like she’ll take whatever she can get — and you happen to be her current target.
So the men were all over the place. Research suggests the most common reaction is a bit more complicated.
Early experiments failed to find any evidence that “hard to get” works. Women who initially declined a date were no more — or less — desirable than women who eagerly accepted.
Eventually researchers realized there are two different ways to be hard-to-get: (1) how hard it is for me to get her and (2) how hard it is for other men to get her.
Turns out that women are most attractive when they are hard for other men to get, but easy for “me” to get.
A recent study on speed dating found that women had the best chance of landing a guy if they both, (1) desired a particular man more than other women did, and (2) were uninterested in the other men at the event.
Researcher, Eli Finkel opined, “People can tell lickety-split whether you have a special attraction for them, and this special attraction seems to inspire their attraction in return.” But he added:
Of course, it’s never good to be desperate, either. The key is to be selectively hard to get. If you’re interested in somebody, make sure he knows you like him, but do so in a way that doesn’t suggest that you’d take just anybody. It’s okay to be eager, as long as you do it with dignity.
For those who want to know.
About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.
Posted on January 23, 2012, in men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged men, playing hard to get, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.