Myths About Playing Hard To Get That Are Sabotaging Your Dating Life

Playing “hard to get” has always confused me as a dating concept. First of all, you do this most effectively when you’re actually uninterested—which, beyond being straight-up annoying, leads to you being text-bombed by guys you’d rather forget meeting because they think your silence is part of some elaborate game. Second of all, dumb as it is, playing hard to get remains effective, aka why the guys you fully ignore are sending you those declarations of love. And be honest: even a meh date can start seeming like the One Who Got Away when you don’t hear from him a week out (after all, if he has better options than you, that’s kind of impressive). You know the basics (wait to text back, say no to the first offered plan, reference your teeming social life), but I’m here to offer you some advice on how to play hard to get like a betch: minimum fucks given, maximum reward.

Don’t Actually Make Yourself Busier

“Get out of the house” is a frequent staple of “playing hard to get” advice, and I am here to put a stop to it. I don’t know who first came up with the idea that lying to boys about how busy you are should interrupt your napping schedule, but I see no correlation between the number of days you leave him on read and what you do with the rest of your time. The sneaky underlying theory here is that if you force yourself out of the house you’ll actually distract yourself from waiting for him to text and become a de facto more interesting/less available person, but I’m calling bullshit. If you can flake on plans with your friends without picking up a bi-weekly knitting class, then you can certainly ignore Jake from Hinge for the same amount of effort. If you eventually feel the need to account for your whereabouts, the key is to just exaggerate existing activities (e.g. that jog you went on three months ago = training for a half-marathon), but this is a totally different game from hard to get. You don’t have to be busy to ignore someone, and it’s actually more of a power play if you’re not.

Don’t Story Your Whole Life

On that note, stop video-documenting every second you spend outside of your bed and obsessively posting it to Instagram/Snapchat. If you’re casually texting a bunch of guys and just generally entertaining your audience of fans, then fine—but if there’s one guy you’re posting for, you’ll spend your whole day/night checking to see if he watched it yet and getting progressively more tempted to contact him. You’ll also probably seem unbearably thirsty in the story to begin with. Not creating a video diary of your life goes along with the pointer about not making plans—the more real effort you’re putting in, the less likely this strategy is going well for you. And not to put too fine a point on it, but if you’re Snapchatting from yet another “Wine Wednesday” with the girls, then the guy you’re into may or may not pick up that you’re a cool, independent lady; what he’ll definitely pick up is that you’re not out with another guy.

Don’t Make Him Jealous/Be A Dick

If you are out with another guy, or guy friends, or a bar where men are also in attendance, you may be tempted to post a few casual jealousy-inspiring pictures. Before you do this, keep in mind that there are limited good outcomes, and you’re probably too drunk to toe the line between “obviously staged” and “oh I guess she’s dating someone else.” If it looks evident that you’re hanging out with some guy just so you can have a video of it (AKA filming him when he’s not looking, repeatedly yelling “Justin smile!!!” so he looks up, etc.), any guy you’ve been flirting with is going to be immediately suspicious and probably turned off. And if you post an overly romantic Snap of your guy friend at dinner and immediately get a text, the guy texting you is bad news and you are in for a brief yet terrible time with him. Basic rule of thumb: Don’t post for jealousy unless there’s actually something to be jealous about, and don’t purposely try to hurt people’s feelings and then text them asking them out the next day. That’s emotional whiplash, not “hard to get,” and it will only make guys accurately think that dating you is a stressful and confusing experience.

It’s a totally natural urge to not want to overwhelm a new crush by texting him all hours of the day, but living a double life so he finds you cool and interesting while never hanging out with you isn’t great either. The whole idea is that he’s unsure that you like him enough to make time for him yet—not that you’re so busy that you physically can’t reach your phone to text him. So chill out, set timers that remind you “DON’T TEXT” if need be, and remember that you are actually hard to get 99% of the time for 99% of the population; it’s just easy to forget that when you’re excited about a new guy, and you don’t need to do anything more than act like your normal icy self.

Get more honest af dating advice like this in our second book, I Had A Nice Time And Other Lies.