How to Play Hard to Get

Playing hard to get works. Treat them mean and keep them keen. So goes the saying, at least. While you probably don't want to treat the person you're playing with in a mean way, you do want to be distant, busy, and reserved. Just keep in mind that you are "playing" with somebody's emotions, so be gentle if you break their heart. Nevertheless, let the games begin!


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    Avoid being or appearing to be needy. Being desperate or clingy is the COMPLETE opposite of playing hard to get. Develop the patience to let things develop at a pace based on someone else's interest rather than on yours. Don't let the fact that all your friends seem to have that special someone make you impatient; instead, pace yourself and take it easy it just isn't your time yet and there is no deadline on pairing up with another person.
    • Don't initiate contact. Let him be the first to come to you. The person who makes the first move is always put in a weaker bargaining position than the person who chooses whether or not to accept it.
    • Don't be the first to call. Let him call you. Remember, men like to know that you're interested, but they still like the thrill of the chase.
    • Don't be the one to set up the first dates. Instead, give him hints if he needs nudging along: "My friend just bailed on the camping trip, so it looks like I'm going to be free this next weekend."
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    Enjoy being single. If you're busy enjoying your life as it is, playing hard to get will come naturally because you'll have too much going on in your everyday life to be easily available. The bottom line is that if you're happy, and carefree, people will notice.
    • Go out with your friends. Don't be a wallflower. It's hard to play hard to get if you're never out on the town. Do fun things that make you happy and you'll stop wondering how to play hard to get and start living it.
    • Meet new people. Go to social events, join clubs at school, ask your friends to introduce your to their friends. Really take interest in those people. The more people you know, the more credible your busy schedule will be.
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    Be as vague as you can get away with. The key is to keep the other person asking questions so that they can find out more about you. For example:
    • If asked what you did last weekend, say "I hung out with some people I know."
    • If asked what you're doing this Friday, say "I'm not sure yet."
    • Use a lighthearted, flirtatious tone, and smile. You don't want to sound completely uninterested or flippant, so even if you keep your answers short, keep them sweet as well.
    • The habit of never quite answering with the entire facts can be a useful habit to start even at the beginning of a confirmed relationship, as it lets the other person know what will happen if they pry too much! This lets you maintain your boundaries.
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    Don't make yourself too easily accessible. If he or she calls you, don't answer all the time, and wait a day or two before calling back. A good rule of thumb is to wait about twice as long as they do before calling back.
    • If the call is urgent, for example, if they want to make plans for that night, consider ignoring the call; it'll show the person that your time is valuable, and if they want to get together, they need to plan accordingly. (Of course, accept that sometimes a spontaneous date can be romantic and fun, but that's not the main subject of this article.)
    • In terms of texting, it's generally a good idea to avoid responding immediately.
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    If he or she asks you out, don't make plans right away. Say "maybe" or that you're "not sure" and that you have to check your schedule. Ask them to get back to you later in the day, or the following day. And occasionally, say you can't make it because you have other plans. Of course, if you're interested in this person, offer to make plans on a day that you're supposedly free, whether it's the day after or the next weekend.
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    Be a free spirit. Whenever someone gets clingy, pull away. Shy away from firm answers or commitments. Try to leave as many options open for yourself as possible, for as long as possible. Expect anyone you date to follow the steps in How to Tame a Free Spirit. It's also helpful if you know how to spot the signs of a clingy person, including:
    • They constantly email, text, or phone you even though you haven't responded to anything. They'll even call to say "I missed a call. Was that you?!"
    • They always call first. Often it's before you're even up.
    • You have observed that they don't seem to do much else in their life, apart from hanging around you. When you ask them what they do, they can't really tell you anything else other than going to work or studies.
    • Insecurity stalks them like a hunter follows prey. It's also clear from talking to them that they have a happiness deficit with respect to their own life and sense of life's purpose. Related to their insecurity is the need to agree with everything you say.
    • You can spend hours telling them the dullest details of your hobby or work and they sit there, riveted. It's not likely you'll have the patience to test this sign though – you're too busy!
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    Don't rush into a relationship. You're almost there, but you're not quite there yet. Make sure that for the first couple dates, you follow some of the steps here:
    • Don't settle on one person right away unless you know they're the one. Again, playing hard to get will be easier if you are actually hard to get.
    • Tell him that your other dates with guys so far has largely fallen flat. This will let him know two big things: 1) that you're dating other guys; and 2) that you're a tough cookie to crack.
      • This is a classic ego boost for a man. You're assuring him that you're exactly what other guys want, but that he has a shot at getting it. He'll want you even more.
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    Reward him along the way. Give him small reminders that his conquest is worthwhile and that he's not just wasting his time barking up the wrong tree. A little encouragement goes a long way, but be erratic with your encouragement so he stays on his toes.
    • Text him something like: "You're sweet. That was a pretty nice date. Let me know when you want to try it again."
    • Long notes or love-letters are generally a little too gushy. Instead, leak some selective information to his friend about how "things are going pretty well so far." He'll tell his friend what you said.
    • Give him a kiss when he least expects it. Don't do this if you haven't kissed before, because you want him to make the first move. When he's sitting down reading a book, or walking along, go up to him, look him in the eyes, and give him a smooch. His heart will race and he'll be even more invested in you.


  • Be yourself. Don't try too hard to impress him. Just show him the real you.
  • Be sure that you smile, have fun and be yourself. You are a beautiful person so show your good side.
  • And most people will say be flirty, and vague, and it works! But you also need to be your awkward self. But funny, weird, be YOURSELF that's the most important part. Because you don't want to enter into a relationship and have him fall in love with that different you.
  • If you notice him looking at you (more than once) don't look back. Pretend you don't see him and continue doing what ever.
  • Don't be the one to push your self on him/her, let them know, if they want you they'll have to work hard to get you.
  • Continuing to play hard to get after you've won someone's heart can make them hate you.
  • Don't forget to smile! Never have a frown or a sad look on your face!
  • Not all guys will tell you they like you but they will feed you hints and smile every time they see you. They won't only hint this to you, they will start conversations, tease you (but be gentle about it), make you laugh, and they won't let awkward silence creep up on them.
  • Don't overdo it! Subtle hard to get gestures are best: leave him hanging, don't cut him off!
  • When the awkward silence decides to invade your conversation, don't worry about what to say. If anything, wait until the other person speaks up. Do this just a few times so the other person would feel as though you're thinking about other things and not giving your 100% attention to him/her. However if you keep doing this constantly, the other person might think you're not interested and eventually he/she will give up.
  • Play hard to get, the sexy person that doesn't need a partner. Be careless in your replies and make sure he's on his toes for you.
  • Don't approach this from the mindset of playing hard to get. Instead, know you're awesome. Be hard to get.
  • If he asks you out tell him you will think about it, but you secretly want to. It might drive him crazy.
  • Don't go overboard playing hard to get. He will think you're unavailable or uninterested and find himself a girlfriend. Know when to stop.
  • If a guy likes you, he will tell you.
  • Suggested lines for excusing yourself from a date or meet-up (be polite is always the first rule!):
    • "Love to but I'm already booked solid."
    • "Great idea, maybe this time next week. I'm off camping 200 miles (320 km) west this weekend. Been looking forward to this off road unicycle expedition for six months!"
    • "I've got exams next Tuesday, and a whole lot of cramming this weekend!"
    • "I'm flattered, but, I'm really busy right now making the most of the powder! Maybe later when the snow's melted?"
    • "That's really kind of you. It's just that - I don't want to go, it's not my scene." This kind of honesty can be extremely sincere provided you mean it, and it can alert the other person to your boundaries again, without making them feel that it's personally directed at them.


  • Don't be insanely hard to get, or else this person may move on!
  • Playing hard to get can have a very serious, near permanent effect on the prospecting partner. Be very careful.
  • Playing hard to get can give the wrong impressions to your future partner. This could lead to complications later on.

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