Playing hard to get works
'Playing hard to get' really works; here's why -- ScienceDaily
We tend to like people who like us -- a basic human trait that psychologists have termed "reciprocity of attraction." This principle generally works well to start relationships because it reduces the likelihood of rejection. Yet, making the chase harder also has its upsides. Which one then is the better strategy for finding a partner?
A team of researchers from the University of Rochester and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya examined the effects of playing hard to get, a mating strategy that is likely to instill a certain degree of uncertainty. In a new study, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, they show that making the chase harder increased a potential mate's desirability.
The duo of Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC Herzliya, and Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean's Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester, discovered that immediately reciprocating another person's interest may not be the smartest strategy for attracting mates.
"People who are too easy to attract may be perceived as more desperate," says Birnbaum. "That makes them seem less valuable and appealing -- than those who do not make their romantic interest apparent right away."
While playing hard to get is a common strategy used to attract mates, past research has been unclear about whether, and if so, why this strategy works -- which this study sought to clear up. Of course, some are reluctant to employ this strategy, worrying that it'll backfire and drive prospective partners away out of fear of being rejected.
Indeed, in previous research the duo had shown that those who feel greater certainty that a prospective romantic partner reciprocates their interest will put more effort into seeing that person again, while rating the possible date as more sexually attractive than they would if they were less certain about the prospective date's romantic intentions.
However, in their latest undertaking the team tested tactics across three interrelated studies, which gave the impression that potential partners were hard to get, signaling their "mate value" by being, for example, selective in their partner choices. Participants interacted with what they believed to be another research participant of the opposite-sex, but who was in reality an insider -- a member of the research team. Next, participants rated the extent to which they felt the insider was hard to get, their perceptions of the insider's mate value (e.g., "I perceive the other participant as a valued mate"), and their desire to engage in various sexual activities with the insider.
In study 1, participants interacted with study insiders whose online profile indicated that they were either hard to get or easy to attract. The researchers discovered that participants who interacted with the more selective profile perceived the insider as more valued and therefore more desirable as a partner, compared to participants who interacted with less selective insiders (who seemed easier to attract).
In study 2, the researchers looked at the efforts invested in pursuing a potential partner and whether such efforts would inspire heightened sexual interest. Here participants were led to exert (or not) real efforts to attract the insider during face-to-face interactions. During the experiment, participants engaged in a conversation with another participant (who was in reality a study insider). The experimenter instructed participants and insiders to discuss their preferences in various life situations and presented a list of 10 questions (e.g., "To what extent do you prefer intimate recreation over mass entertainment?"; "To what extent do you like to cuddle with your partner while sleeping?"). The insider expressed a different preference from the participants to seven out of the 10 questions.
Participants in the hard-to-get group were told to try and resolve their disagreements. Using a fixed script, the insiders gradually allowed themselves "to be convinced" by the participants and eventually expressed agreement with the participant's position. That way, the researchers tried to make participants feel that they had invested efforts and that their efforts were eventually successful.
In the no-effort group, participants were instructed only to express their preferences and explain their point of view without trying to resolve the differences. That way participants didn't feel that the discussion involved exerting efforts to convince the insider. The team found that not only selectiveness but also efforts invested in the pursuit of a mate rendered potential partners more valuable and sexually desirable than those were little effort was exerted.
In study 3, interactions unfolded spontaneously and were coded for efforts undertaken by participants to see the insider again. Here the researchers examined whether being hard to get would increase not only prospective partners' sexual desirability but also the efforts devoted to seeing them in the future. To do so, participants conversed with the insider via Instant Messenger in a chat. At the end, participants were asked to leave one final message for the insider.
Next, the research team coded these messages for efforts made to interact again with the insider by counting in each message participants' expressions of romantic interest and desire for future interaction -- for example, complimenting the insider, flirting with him/her, asking him/her for a date. The team found that interacting with prospective partners who were perceived as hard to get not only enhanced their mate value and desirability but was also translated into investment of concrete efforts to see them again.
- A person who is perceived as hard to get is associated with a greater mate value
- Study participants made greater efforts on/and found more sexually desirable those potential dates they perceived as hard to get
- Study participants made greater efforts to see those again for whom they had made efforts in the first place
Says Reis, "We all want to date people with higher mate value. We're trying to make the best deal we can."
Of course, some may be reluctant to employ this scarcity strategy, worrying that it'll drive prospective partners away out of fear of being rejected.
Reis acknowledges the strategy doesn't work for everyone, all the time. "If playing hard to get makes you seem disinterested or arrogant," he says, "it will backfire. "
So, how then do you reconcile these two approaches -- playing hard to get on one hand and removing uncertainty on the other?
Show initial interest in potential partners so as not to alienate them, advises Birnbaum. Yet, don't reveal too much about yourself. People are "less likely to desire what they already have," she explains. Instead, build a connection with a potential partner gradually, thereby creating "a sense of anticipation and a desire to learn more about the other person."
Playing hard to get may work as long as potential partners feel that their efforts are likely to be successful -- eventually.
Why ‘playing hard to get’ may actually work : News Center
June 8, 2020
In the Andy Griffith Show episode "Opie's Girlfriend," which aired in 1966, Opie (Ron Howard) goes all out in trying to attract Cynthia (Mary Ann Durkin). According to new research, he may have been better off "playing hard to get. " (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
We tend to like people who like us—a basic human trait that psychologists have termed “reciprocity of attraction.” This principle generally works well to start relationships because it reduces the likelihood of rejection. Yet, making the chase harder also has its advantages. So which one is the better strategy?
A pair of researchers from the University of Rochester and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya have spent the last few years studying the dynamics of human sexual attraction. In a 2019 study, they found that when people feel greater certainty that a prospective romantic partner reciprocates their interest, they will put more effort into seeing that person again. Furthermore, they will even rate the possible date as more sexually attractive than they would if they were less certain about the prospective date’s romantic intentions.
In that study, whether participants felt certain or uncertain about a prospective mate’s interest hinged on whether or not they received a follow-up message from their designated chat partner (who, in reality, was a study insider).
But in a new study published this spring in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, the team now examined the effects playing hard to get, a mating strategy that is likely to instill a certain degree of uncertainty.
The researchers discovered that making the chase harder increased a potential mate’s desirability.
“Playing hard to get makes it seem as if you are more in demand—we call that having higher mate value,” says Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at Rochester.
“People who are too easy to attract may be perceived as more desperate,” says coauthor Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC Herzliya. “That makes them seem less valuable and appealing—than those who do not make their romantic interest apparent right away.”
Birnbaum and Reis have collaborated for decades, ever since Birnbaum was a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Rochester in 1998–99. While playing hard to get is a common strategy used to attract mates, Birnbaum and Reis found that past research has been unclear about whether, and if so, why this strategy works—questions they sought to address in the latest study.
The duo tested the hard-to-get tactic across three interrelated studies. Participants interacted with what they believed to be another research participant of the opposite sex, but who was in reality an insider—a member of the research team. In each instance, participants rated the extent to which they felt the insider was hard to get, their perceptions of the insider’s mate value (e.g., “I perceive the other participant as a valued mate”), and their desire to engage in various sexual activities with the insider.Key findings
Birnbaum and Reis found that:
- Participants who interacted with the more selective online dating profile (thus making the insider harder to attract) perceived the insider as more valued and more desirable as a partner, compared to participants who interacted with less selective insider profiles (pretending to be easier to attract).
- Participants induced to expend efforts in the pursuit of the insider perceived the potential partner as more valuable and sexually desirable than did the participants who were not induced to invest such efforts.
- Participants expended greater efforts to see the hard-to-get insiders in the future.
Says Reis, “We all want to date people with higher mate value. We’re trying to make the best deal we can.”
Of course, some are reluctant to employ this scarcity strategy, worrying that it’ll backfire and drive prospective partners away out of fear of being rejected.
Reis acknowledges the strategy doesn’t work for everyone, all the time. “If playing hard to get makes you seem disinterested or arrogant,” he says, “it will backfire.”
So, how then do you reconcile these two approaches—playing hard to get on one hand and removing uncertainty on the other?
Birnbaum advises to show initial interest in potential partners so as not to alienate them. At the same time, don’t reveal too much about yourself. People are “less likely to desire what they already have,” she explains. Instead, build a connection with a potential partner gradually, thereby creating “a sense of anticipation and a desire to learn more about the other person.”
Playing hard to get may work as long as potential partners feel that their efforts are likely to be successful—eventually.
The research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation and the Binational Science Foundation.Read more
How much do we lie when sex is on the brain?
Research by Harry Reis and Gurit Birnbaum shows the extent to which people will change their own opinions or lie about past sexual partners when sexual systems of the brain are activated.
Uncertainty in a date dampens interest in a mate
A new study by Harry Reis and Gurit Birnbaum shows those who feel greater certainty that a prospective romantic partner shares their interest will put more effort into seeing that person again.
Cut to the chase: Can sex help start a relationship?
A budding relationship or just a one-night stand? New research by Harry Reis and Gurit Birnbaum shows how sex helps initiate emotional bonding between potential partners.
Tags: Department of Psychology, Harry Reis, relationships, School of Arts and Sciences
Category: Society & Culture
Is it hard to play to get a job? Flirting Flings
You've probably heard your mom say you have to play hard, but what does that really mean? First of all, does the game make it difficult to get a job?
We've all heard and said to each other, "You just have to play hard," but what does that even mean? Does this mean you have to wait two hours to reply to a text, or decline it when asked? See, everyone loves to give this advice, but when you ask them how to do it, it's radio silence. So you're probably wondering if he's playing hard right now to get a job. Actually, yes, it is. I'm not even making this up, it's science. nine0005
Does he play hard to get a job??
Now there's been a lot of research investigating this question, does he try to gamble to get a job, and this is what they found. Those who play very hard are more likely to meet a long-term partner with a committed relationship.
In addition, they also found that because they play very hard, the other person spends more time and money on them. Not bad, right? But all this information means nothing if you don't know how to play hard to get. So, stop wasting your time and learn the steps. It's hard to play for fun - if you know what you're doing. nine0005
# 1 Don't have sex right away. I know casual sex is the norm these days, but you'll have to step back and not run into the bedroom with them. I know that you want to sleep with them. Remember, if you rush into it, they have nothing to look forward to. So hold the fire and make them wait.
Get to know each other first and let the sexual tension bubble up. If you've already had sex with them, don't make it a chore, instead make it fun.
# 2 give them enough attention to stay. But don't give them the attention they want. Realistically, they want you everywhere, but you won't. Instead, give them enough attention to keep them working on it. I know it sounds a little mean, but those are the rules of the game. Give them enough attention so that they are around you, but not too little or they will kill you. nine0008 You want them to put in the effort and work for your affection, but that doesn't mean you just sit back and wait for them to come running.
Relationships are a two-way street, so you also need to make some effort to show them your interest. If they feel it is one-sided, they will call it a layoff. Think of it like a tango dance - they move one foot forward, you move one foot forward.
# 4 Don't reveal everything. nine0008 I had a friend who told a guy her whole life on the first date. Well, needless to say, she never got a second date. Why would she? She gave everything in the first thirty minutes. You don't want to do this. Instead, give a little, wait a little, look at the atmosphere, and then give a little more.
Remember that not everyone will use the information you give them positively, so be careful.
#5 Have your own space. nine0008 Of course, you can go with them, write them, etc. But you also want to give yourself space and show them that you value your space. Deep down you want it to work with that person, which makes sense, but you need to show them that you don't need them. Also, how can you play hard if they are always there for you.
#6 Work on your confidence. Confidence is key when it comes to playing hard. If you're insecure and think you're the coolest person in the room, do you think they'll want to go after you? You need to show this person that you are worth the time to go after them. Because if you don't go after you, they won't either. nine0005
# 7 Display value. Here's the thing, people always want what they can't have. So, show this person that you are in demand. People all want a piece of you. It means you hang out with your friends, go out for the weekend, you have a life and people want to be a part of it. When they see that other people want you, it will make them try a piece of the pie.
#8 Don't do this if you're just connecting. There is no need to play hard if you are only looking for casual sex. I know you want people to stalk you, but if that person is only around for one night... or two, then don't play hard to find. Brief sex shows that both people want little or no energy or time for the relationship. nine0005
#9 Use it to see what they want. If you're not sure what this person wants in terms of relationships, you can try your best to see where they are. Of course, asking them would be faster, but that's a different tactic. If they are looking for more, they will be more willing to invest time and energy. If not, you will notice that they are only trying to get laid.
#10 Just because they're cute doesn't mean you owe them. Here's the thing - it's hard to play, you show them you don't owe them anything. If they invite you to dinner, you don't have to thank them by sleeping with them. They wanted to get you out, so you were honored to go on a date. This shows your self-esteem. You kiss them when you're ready and when you feel like they deserve it. nine0005
# 11 Flirt. You'll want to be flirtatious if you're playing hard to get. Obviously, you like this person to the point where flirting won't be too much of a challenge. But whether you're texting, in person or on the phone, it's okay to build up some sexual tension and be flirtatious. This will definitely keep the man around as he will feel the sexual tension.
# 12 Don't sleep with them right away. nine0008 I have to stress this because you are probably reading right after this, but listen to me, don't sleep with them right away. Give them time, make them put in the effort if they want to be intimate with you. And if you really like this person, you will make him work for him. It will be much better in the end.
Is it hard to play to get a job? Your mom was right, but play it right or you will lose the game you created..
How to play hard to get with a girl and do it right! / Reads for men
If you want to play hard with a girl, you need to learn how to read the signs and know how to react. And it's a risky and delicate balance!
There are many dating "things" that have been around since the beginning, probably dating, but what's the truth about whether they work or do more harm than good? Should you play with a girl? Is this ethically correct? And most importantly, are there times when you need to do this??
Playing to get means so many things to so many people. The theory behind playing hard to get is that you're trying to convince someone that you're worthy of them waiting for you, that you can't buy, or that you can't be used. The theory is harder for someone to get, the theory is correct, the more you want them. nine0005
Psychologically, this would make sense. What we cannot have is what we often want more than anything. Why do we want them? Well, just because we can't have them.
However, when it comes to girls and attracting them, does he play hard to get a real job? If you're too impatient, show the girl all the cards you have too early or follow them obsessively, it's a huge twist, but also a guy that doesn't seem to bother us. nine0005
Playing to get with a girl: how and when to do it
There must be some kind of happy environment, but you probably don't understand where it is. The biggest reason you're confused is because it's different for every girl. If you want to play hard with a girl, you must remember that girls are not only different from each other, they are different from year to year, from day to day, and sometimes even from minute to minute!
A tactic that might work one day will be a huge twist the next. As difficult as it may seem, you need to learn to listen for the signs that she is feeding you in order to understand how difficult it is to play with her. These are the main signs of what she is sending you, and how to respond to them by either going out of her way to get it, or leaving the game all together. nine0005
#1 She gets very nervous around you
If she shows signs of nervousness or insecurity around you, that's a sign that she really likes you and probably thinks you're out of her league. In situations where a girl isn't very confident or thinks you're out of her league, you don't feel like playing hard to get.
If she feels that she doesn't like you and is shy, she will most likely just decide not to play the game. If you don't answer her or ignore her, she'll assume you don't like her and won't make any effort to move forward. nine0005
With a shy girl, she doesn't text you because she's playing a game, she probably doesn't have the confidence to make the first move. Don't be fooled into thinking she's playing games, sitting on the sidelines won't get you anywhere with a girl like that.
#2 She acts like it doesn't bother you
If she only pays attention to you when she likes it, then she's probably playing games with you. Girls only have two ways to deal with things, if she likes you she will deal with it, if not she probably won't even reply to you. nine0005
With such a girl who is only halfway there, she is probably very confident and is looking for a mate who will challenge her. If she only answers you when it's convenient for her, then you have to fight fire with fire. If you're too impatient, text too much, or too strong, she'll feel like she's in control and probably won't respect you enough to make you her long-term boyfriend. is to wait until she makes the first move, and then not answer right away. Make her come to you. Never seem impatient and don't take extra steps until you're sure she'll do the same for you. Equality is the key to winning over a girl who is confident, cares less, and knows what she wants. nine0005
# 3 She's really disappointed in you
If you're feeling angry with her, you're probably doing the wrong thing. The last thing you want to do is upset her. Some guys exhibit certain behaviors that bring out the craziness in girls. Do not do this. Once you get crazy eyes out, they never come back. A girl who feels like she is being played or played with will react with aggression and anger.
Playing your best to get here is definitely the wrong way to go down and start your relationship on the wrong foot. If you find yourself getting sarcastic texts, angry texts, or just plain candid responses from her, you're going overboard. It's time to step back and stop pretending you don't like her when you really do.
You want her to find you attractive, not repulsive. Making her upset and angry will eventually lead to Dumpsville. nine0005
#4 She seems to be hurt by your behavior
Sometimes guys think acting is hard to get means you tell a girl you're going to do something and then change your mind at the last minute or just don't show up . It's not a game to get hard, it's downright rough and insensitive.
If you want to play hard with a girl, then you need to make her wait for a text message or tell her that you want her to be your future wife. It's not about being an asshole, confusing her, or making her feel insecure or insignificant. nine0005
You are no longer in elementary school, hitting her arm or hurting her feelings, it didn't work then and it won't work now. It will just make her think that you are not a very nice person.
# 5 Does she make stupid excuses to avoid you
If you ask her to meet you or ask her, will she come up with stupid excuses? It's time to stop and retreat. There is a difference between playing hard to get and just letting things go. If you feel that she is not interested, then pushing her further will not interest her, it will make her want to avoid you all together. nine0005
That old phrase about if you love something, let it go, if it was meant to be, you'll know it's true. If she's coming up with excuses for not being around you, then it's not about playing hard, it's about actually making the decision to move on. You will quickly know if she is interested. Once you stop calling, if she wants you, she will turn to you. Don't wait a week and think I should try again... never worth it. nine0005
# 6 She was really into you and now she pulls away
Girls are not like guys. If they pull away, it's because there's something about you that she thinks is wrong, or she's losing attraction. The worst thing you can do at this point is push her harder. If you feel like she's trying to chill something, then this is a situation where you should definitely "play your best". The more you push her, the more she pulls away. nine0005
If you don't get much back, don't pull too much. Go out with your friends or find other things to do and have the mentality that if she wants to join she will let you know. You have to put the seeds you would like her to join, if she doesn't take the bait, go without her.
If she is standing on the fence, it is not so difficult to play as simply to take a step back and let her figure out for herself what she wants from the relationship.
Men make the mistake of thinking that girls want a guy to play games. We hate it when we feel like we're being played with. There is definitely something attractive about a guy who is confident and doesn't feel the need to cling, but we naturally want to feel wanted. nine0005
If you show us you're not interested, upset us or choke us, we'll probably move on. Stop researching how to play the game and try to listen to what she is telling you with her behavior. There are signs all around you, just stop wasting time finding out not what women in general want, but what the woman you love wants, and your relationship will have a much higher chance of success.
The problem with playing with a girl for the best is that once you start playing games it's hard to stop them and you don't want to spend the relationship changing who you are, what you want and who you are.