Science has confirmed the truth behind one of the oldest rules of the dating game: when women play hard to get, it’s makes us want them more. However the news isn’t all negative, as the games are equally applicable to both men and women.
Dr Rohini Raj explains the psychology behind playing hard to get, and why it immediately makes us more attractive to the opposite sex.
"Waiting for texts and communication that take forever can drive us crazy but weirdly attracts us more to the person playing games," explains Dr. Raj. "Researchers call it the 'uncertainty effect,' that we’re more attracted to uncertainty."
Whilst uncertainty might not seem like an attractive prospect, there is more behind the theory, and it all comes down to the primal thrill of the chase, and the human desire for reward.
"When a reward is certain (like cheese to a mouse), the mouse is less motivated. 'Hey if this cheese is always going to be there, why should I work for it?'" explains Dr. Raj.
Whilst there definitely appears to be a place for these games, the tactic may not work. It all depends what you’re after in a partner. Psychology Today asked study participants to rate their interest of potential partners who were described as either “very easy to get (low availability), very hard to get (high availability), or in between (medium availability). The results showed a preference for “easy to get partners” for short-term sex, but the results showed that those looking for dates and relationships preferred partners who were harder to get.
Be careful when playing these games. Even though science has provided us with this research (and we’re all up for appearing more attractive), ignoring your date is not a sustainable recipe for success. This game involves a delicate balance of pulling the potential partner in and then pushing them away, without completely turning them off or losing them. That’s a fairly tough ask to pull off effectively.
If playing hard to get seems to risky (and we agree), try these other 10 ways to make you more attractive.