BLOG » reader submission: ‘playing hard to get’

Dear Alexi,

I’m dying to know your opinion on playing hard to get with guys -

This email has come about as a result of a recently failed “relationship.”

Here’s the background – we met through mutual friends and had been dating for a few weeks – he would always be the one to call/text me to ask me out and generally made me feel like he was interested in me.  I’ve always been a believer that if a guy really likes you he’ll make the effort to pursue you and that men HATE being pursued by women -  because women who pursue are perceived as “desperate” and “needy.”  Anyway, I decided that I liked him and threw my rule book out the window so to speak and initiated conversation/asked him out twice in one weekend.  He politely turned me down both times and has since disappeared from my life (despite having taken the time a mere few days earlier to call and sweetly wish me happy birthday).

This situation, while trivial, really got me thinking about playing hard to get and whether it’s a bunch of bullshit or something women need to do to avoid the clingy/needy/desperate stereotype we are so often labeled with.  Do you find that the majority of guys you date dislike women that are forward/ask them out/call them etc.? Or am I stuck dating the same type of neanderthal that thinks it’s 1955 over and over again?  Why does being real and asking out a guy when I want to see him seem to freak them out?

Are guys more attracted to women who behave passively at the beginning of a relationship?

Love,

Sick of playing games <3

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18 Responses to “reader submission: ‘playing hard to get’”

  1. I think that if he’s the right guy and if it’s supposed to be then you making a move won’t make him run….I’m with my boyfriend a year and a half now and I certainly put myself out there with contacting him at the beginning and it was fine. You should be with a guy who likes how you go about your life!


  2. Playing games is for kids, you learn that very quickly. I sadly deal with many girls who play hard to get (it’s always obvious because they aim for your attention then feign disinterest when they receive it and, while I can only speak for myself, it changes my mentality from ‘this is a girl I’d love to be with’ to ‘this is a girl I want to ‘win’ then forget). If you want to turn a guy you like into a game, or a pet project, he’s going to pick up on that and treat you as a game too. No guy wants to wife a girl who isn’t treating him like the human being he is worth. As a woman, you should feel the same. If he drops interest because you showed interest, forget about him. To keep giving chase is the real desperation.

    Some guys are dicks. You show interest, they lose interest. That doesn’t mean all guys are like that, and if this one experience changes you from an out-going girl into a girl that gravitates towards playing games then that’s ashame. Don’t let one person’s dick-ish ways change you as a person. Games are wack and I feel bad for people who still play them.

    And I want to address one other thing you said: “I’ve always been a believer that if a guy really likes you he’ll make the effort to pursue you and that men HATE being pursued by women – because women who pursue are perceived as “desperate” and “needy.” I don’t know where you learned this but this is so unbelievably misguided I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know if its all these magazines that pollute women’s brains into this kind of warped logic but we are flattered as fuck when a woman has the proverbial balls to take an interest in us. Nothing will make me fall for, love, and fight for a woman than seeing her take that first step because one thing guys know is how hard it is to go up to a stranger (or even a friend) and utter that first sentence about how you actually feel more for that person. You’re putting yourself out there. It’s not something you do for just anyone. If a woman does that to me or any of my friends, the last thing we’d do is cut off contact. Unless we’re playing games.

    Cliffnotes version: Life’s too short for games. Live honest. The world has enough dishonesty and fakes.


  3. COOL POST! GREAT READ!


  4. MARRY ME JAKE!!


  5. ^^ THERE U GO JAKE! ALREADY A MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. =D!!


  6. Have you ever seen that movie “He’s just not that into you”? You probably have, and if you haven’t…..it’s worth watching. It isn’t my favorite movie, but it’s easy to get through and entertaining enough.

    Anyway the reason I bring this up (and it was also addressed on a Sex and the City episode) is that if a guy is into you, he will pursue you. It’s subconscious, they can’t help it. Not that I claim to be an expert on men in any way, I just figure if a guy is really interested, you won’t have to play games because he’ll be making all the effort.

    Have you ever noticed that when you’re not interested in someone he seems to be really pushy and constantly asking you out? I always took this as an example: they were interested in me so they were making the effort to try and be with me. That’s the way guys are if they’re interested, it’s just more noticeable when a guy you’re not interested in does it.

    I know it’s agonizing waiting, but the guy with whom you should be will make it effortless for you. I know men will always tell you how hot they think it is when a girl’s aggressive, but let’s face it, that’s NEVER worked for me. Has it worked for you?

    I know it’s hard though because I’m very much a go-getter. I’ve always been really forward, and I ALWAYS work to get what I want. That’s just the kind of person I am, but I promise you, it’s better if the guy is after you, it shows how much he cares, and gives you the upper hand.

    I find that when situations like this arise: where it seems like the guy is interested, and by that I mean he’s texting you every day and maybe every once in a while he’ll call and you’ll hang out, the best thing to do is to suspend interest. I don’t necessarily think anyone should feign disinterest, because people can see through it, I just mean wait to let yourself get interested until you’re sure about his feelings. Also don’t be afraid to walk away. I think when a guy shows interest in a woman, she puts so much stock in that relationship, but I promise you, there will be others. Like I said above, it should be easy. Every relationship that I’ve had that meant anything has been easy.

    I only say this because right now I am FINALLY (after two years!) in a relationship with this truly amazing guy, and it was effortless. He pursued me completely and constantly reaffirmed that he was interested. All I did was suspend my interest. I didn’t let myself get too invested because I didn’t know what to expect. Now, I couldn’t be happier.

    I had “dated” (dated is a very loose term) guys but they never made me feel safe enough to text them first or ask them to hang out or anything like that, and every time I did, I felt like I was taking two steps back. It shouldn’t be like that, a guy should make you feel comfortable to make the first move, and comfortable so that when you do text them to hang out, and they say no, you still know they like you and want to be with you.

    I guess to summarize I just want to say, if a guy is truly interested, he will make the effort, it will be easy, and there won’t be any games. I’m sure if a guy reads this he’ll disagree, but just from my experience, it’s NEVER worked out when I’m the one making the effort. Just be patient, because there will be a guy out there who doesn’t confuse you; who’s intentions are clear from the start.

    I hope someone is reading this and that it helps! Good luck! It’s a tough world out there, especially when it comes to women-men dynamics.

    xx


  7. If the guy was right for you, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Relationships are about give and take. You can’t expect him to do all the “chasing”, he’ll feel like you’re uninterested and in turn lose interest himself. You can’t be asking him to hang out every single night, you need to have a life of your own. In a situation where a guy is worth your time, you find a balance without playing games.


  8. Comment #2 makes me very happy. I love Jake.


  9. yes jake, are you single?


  10. So right Alexandria. Also, Jake, I have an urge to facestalk you.


  11. I am single, though I live in Portland OR which may be quite some distance from you. I’m glad some of you found my comment helpful.. I cringe at the thought of a girl (or guy) having their entire outlook on the opposite sex & dating altered by one or two bad experiences. I can’t imagine anyone ever saying “my life became so much better when I started playing games!” you know?


  12. I agree whole heartedly with Jake, when you play games, you become a game.
    I unintentionally played a game and it ended up getting me hurt. I’d met a guy at a bar, great conversation (great sex) blah blah blah. I hadn’t thought much of it, he texted me a lot and wanted to hang out again regularly, this was fine, I wanted something casual. I thought the guy was cool enough and fun to fool around with but didn’t really have feelings either way. This guy was fairly used to girls fawning all over him as he’s very charming. He was texting me several times a day and we ended hanging out 3 or 4 times a week for a while, then he told me he’d really started to like me and had quite a serious crush. I thought it was sweet and had grown to like him as a friend but over the next couple of months I started to really like him as well, we continued to see each other for about 6 months (neither of us seeing anyone else in the mean time). One night I told him I really really liked him and I thought we should become officially exclusive, it didn’t seem a big deal seeing as neither of us had seen anyone else for months anyway. Within a week of this he’d decided his feelings weren’t in line with mine and we should stop seeing each other.
    It’s now fairly obvious the only reason he was interested is because I wasn’t really interested and he wasn’t used to that. And while I got to date this guy for 6 months and it was great while it lasted it felt pretty shitty to get dumped as soon as I confessed I’d developed real feelings.
    I’ve always had much healthier, long lasting relationships when we have been equals at the beginning, everyone being honest and putting how they feel out there.
    Playing hard to get just makes getting you the end of the game.


  13. I hate to come off as the negative guy, especially when this is such a positive thread, but it seems Jake and Alexandria are at odds: one says be open and direct as equals, the other says preserve the upper hand…which one is it then ladies? You can’t have both; they contradict in definition. If you believe in being honest and taken at equal value in the relationship then things like subtlety, indirect communication, power struggles and feigned or suspended interest all equate to game playing right? If, fair enough, you disagree (I’m not going to pretend evidence doesn’t support the hard to get theory), then you’re not looking for an equal in the relationship and requirements like the guy exerting all the effort, giving constant chase and being ever on the proverbial hook confirm this (supposedly) necessary inequality. And though I see the realism in Alexandria’s comments, I’m of the same mind as Jake; confident, independent and openly passionate women are the sexiest and the most thrilling (Yves Saint Laurent has a concise quip about passion and women, one of my favorites). But if you disagree, if you cling to feints and partial truths to hide from the jerks that are entirely out in force, just understand that when you perceive yourself to be a prize won, a controlled resource or a hard-fought trophy, it only makes it that much harder for men to not treat you as such: a trophy won and on the shelf.


  14. Women should be aggressive. Hello, we are allowed to want to have sex and get out when we fancy and not have men feel used. Get over yourself men, women have sexual needs too. Also, from a woman who has a lot of power in an international market and very aggressively persued her fiance, if he can’t handle it, he’s not worth it. It’s called a power couple for a reason ;).


  15. Why don’t they (men) pursue women more often? Every man has his particular reason. The following is just a few reasons.
    Mr. Fear of Rejection :(

    As he begins to talk you realize that guys ponder way more than emotions. In fact, if what these guys say is true, emotions are just not enough. A guy may be interested in a girl and still do and say nothing. Why? Because guys believe there are more factors to consider than feelings.

    One of these factors is the fear of rejection. One of the guys explains a time when he was bold enough to ask a girl out, but she said no. The no itself was hard for him to take, because he really did care for this girl, but what happened is that this girl went back and told all of her friends and they began to review all of his perceived strengths and weaknesses. By the time it was over not only did all of her friends know, but their friends knew and their friends’ brothers knew that he asked, she said no, and that he was not tall enough for the average girl to really honestly consider. His chances with this girl were dead as was any future chances with any of her friends or most girls he knew within the area code. Due to the embarrassment and rejection he would simply rather not go through that again.
    Mr. Not Financially Set :( BIG ISSUE ESPECIALLY NOW!

    Another guy speaks up and points out that his main reason for not being active in the dating scene was that he felt he needed to be financially set before he could seriously commit to a woman. He begins to express how his parents struggled financially and how it put a lot of stress on their marriage. He would simply rather not set himself up to fail. If he could become financially secure, then he would feel much more at ease about being with a woman. In addition to this, he opens up and reveals that he believes most women want this. He expresses his insecurity that even though he has a decent job while still in grad school, that he still feels inept as a man because he could not support a woman even if he wanted to. “To pursue a woman, a guy has to be a man. He has to feel like a man. If not, what does he really have to offer?” GALS DON’T EMASCULATE YOUR GUY!!!
    Mr. Doomsday

    After the money talk subsided a man blurted out, “I don’t date simply because I’m not any good at it!” This guy was very straightforward and honest about the fact that he would rather put time into things he knew he was good at. He laid out a list of reasons why romance was simply not in his blood. His parents and many other relatives got married only to divorce in the end. His own relationships always ended in pain, and he was much better at so many other areas of his life. Why endure the heartache and waste his and some poor girl’s time by starting something that most likely wouldn’t work out anyway? After his initial premise for singlehood ended, he got quiet. Under his breath you barely hear these words, “No one likes to fail…I don’t want to fail.” I SEE THIS FROM INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD DIVORCED PARENTS!!!!!!!!
    Mr. I Hate Fairy Tales

    “You’re right…no one likes to fail, but no matter what any of us guys do we will all do exactly that.” A guy says from behind his saddened, but stern eyes. He continues to convey how he feels that no matter how hard a guy tries, it won’t be good enough in the end any how. “I blame it on the fairy tales and romantic comedies,” He says. “There’s knights in shining armor, the biggest engagement rings ever, and guys that always know what to say.”

    This strikes you a bit oddly. You have put numerous amounts of hours lamenting how media has affected the perception of the ideal beauty and the pressures you have likely felt with all of the super models on TV, yet it never really dawned on you how that same thing might be occurring for guys. What do fairy tales and romantic comedies say about guys? They should always dress nice, have a nice home (a horse and carriage is a nice perk), never be grumpy, be the perfect balance of sensitive and masculine, able to beat up 1 to 40 guys all by himself if need be, and, oh yes, he must always leave the toilet seat down, because he is the most thoughtful and caring man alive. GALS YOU HAVE TO BE REALISTIC!!!!

    Mr. I Hate Fairy Tales backs this up with a personal story of how he once bought his ex-girlfriend 12 roses. However, she was hurt, because he did not get her lilies. She felt he should know her better than that, because lilies were her favorite flower…not roses. Many examples followed, but the final conclusion was that he did not feel that getting into a relationship would benefit him. He would always fall short of the ideal, and that just did not sit well with him. GUYS GET USED TO IT WOMEN LIKE TO EMOTIONALLY TORTURE!!! ITS PART OF THE FORMULA.
    Mr. Can’t Find What I’m Looking For

    After hearing all of the things that had been uttered you realize there was one guy who had not yet talked. The entire time he just listened to the others. Some of the guys noticed as well and they asked him what his deal was. He said, “Nothing…I would pursue a girl, but I just have not found what I’m looking for.” The guys asked him what that was exactly. He answered, “It’s simple…I’m looking for the same things you’re looking for. I’m looking for… . ” All of a sudden the audio is lost; then the video also fades and you realize that your masculine passport is expiring.
    DO YOU REMEMBER THE STORY OF THE DOGGY WITH A BONE WHO CROSSED THE BRIDGE SPANNING THE WATER AND LOOKED DOWN AND SAW A REFLECTION OF A DOGGY WITH A BIGGER BONE. THEN JUMPED IN AND LOST THE BONE HE HAD. This goes for the guys as well. Appreciate what you have and don’t be a bobble head. Because like the doggy with the bone in the end you have nothing.

    So Guys and Gals continue your duet hand in hand cheek to cheek.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Dan
    You find yourself back where you started…in estrogenville. Except there’s something a little bit different about how you view the men in your life. The guy you once looked at with a bit of resentment for not calling doesn’t look like as big of a jerk. In fact, for all of the guys you know, you seem to have a bit more compassion for them, because you are more aware of the things they are walking through. They are not all big jerks who care nothing for you or your lady friends. They are guys — flawed humans who just have not figured it out yet.

    Bottom line: A guy is going to pursue the girl he is attracted to and when a girl starts to pursue him he may either lose interest or get stuck in a relationship where he never stands up for himself. This guy likes you, but he’s had a rough past relationship and deserves your understanding to let him go slow. Women tend to get anxious for guys to take things to the next step, but he needs to be free to go at his own pace, especially after the last woman.


  16. I don’t always play ‘hard to get’ but when I do, it’s because I want to know the guy likes me more than I do.

    This makes me sound really selfish, but ever since my first ever boyfriend dumped me with the sentence, “sorry, I don’t like you as much as you like me,” I’ve always felt the need to make sure the boy likes me more.


  17. DR. DAN AND BEA- COOL COMMENTS!


  18. To answer Bea comments: actually there is nothing wrong with what you did. In fact, it is not SELFISH. In the Emotional battlefield, veterans who have been wounded and scarred have the right to be protective. All of us do it in someone way or another. especially, in the today’s topsy turvy world of relationships. For those who have been REALLY, REALLY. BURNED, AND SCORCHED OUCH! OUCH! OUCH! I often go out as reconnaissance for friends women and men to probe and feel out initial contacts for them. YEAH ITS GOTTEN THAT BAD :(, but Bea there is nothing selfish in what you do.

    With sentiments,

    Dr. Dan


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