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The Hows and Whys Women Play Hard to Get

A woman walking away from a man.
She might play hard to get, but that’s because she wants you to want her more.

You just know in your gut that she’s into you. You know if she just gives you a chance, you’d make quite a nice couple.

Except that she’s telling you “no” a little more frequently than you’d expect.

You would accept a straight-out rejection, except that it isn’t entirely the case. She’s giving you enough indication of hope, because in between those series of nos are occasional yeses.

The only logical conclusion? She’s playing hard to get.

When it comes to dating, some people jump in eagerly. They dive headfirst as soon as someone shows the tiniest bit of interest in them.

Then there are the people who want to jump in headfirst, but they don’t. Maybe they dip a toe or slowly wade in. They play hard to get. They let the person who wants to date them chase them, they make them work for it.

So how do you play along and keep your eyes on the prize without losing steam with a woman who’s playing hard to get?

Why Women Play Hard to Get

So, why do girls play hard to get? There are a variety of reasons why people play games. Whether it’s their way of feeling loved or they aren’t aware, their actions call for a man who doesn’t mind the pursuit.

1. They enjoy the chase

The first reason is that some women want you to chase them. Maybe it’s because they want to feel wanted and that getting chased makes them feel wanted. They like the feeling of validation that comes with someone actively pursuing them romantically. Do they like you back? Most likely. But they do like being wanted.

Sometimes, this works because delayed gratification just works. This is because the more effort someone puts into getting a relationship, the deeper they’ll be invested in that relationship.

2. They like the sense of mystery

Some women also do it because they want to appear mysterious. Maybe they’re rather ordinary in their everyday lives, but by playing hard to get, they seem more interesting, and thus, more appealing.

Or they are hopeless romantics and want to come up with grand gestures. Either way, being mysterious is their brand of flirting, adding thrill to the chase.

3. They’re indecisive

Sometimes, it’s less about playing and more about not knowing what they really want. Some women are just hot and cold about things. They may want a relationship one second and get cold feet about them the next, which makes it appear like they’re playing hard to get when they’re really just flip-flopping on their feelings.

4. They have something to hide

Other women also do this because they’ve got something to hide. They’ve got a past and they’re trying to keep that past hidden for as long as they can, and that can make them look standoffish.

Or perhaps, they don’t jump right in because they’ve got baggage. They’re playing hard to get because someone in their past didn’t want them enough, so now they want to make sure that the next person that they might be with does.

A woman holding a phone.
She won’t text you back right away because she wants to make you wait for it.

Signs That She Is Playing Hard to Get

If you’re a guy chasing after a girl, is she playing hard to get? How do you know whether she’s playing hard to get or not interested?

One sign that she’s playing hard to get is that it takes her a while to reply to your text messages. Is she playing games by not texting back? She could be because if she weren’t interested, she’d stop replying altogether. But if she’s taking her time to reply, it’s because she wants you, but she also wants you to wait.

When she does text you back, she’ll tell you that she was busy, that her schedule is just so full that she simply didn’t have time to text you back. And that she has to make room for going out with you in her schedule.

One reason that she’s doing this is that she wants you to take charge. Some women want an assertive guy that will tell them when and where they’re going out with him. Some will go so far as to push you away just to make sure you’ll come back.

When women play hard to get, they’ll sometimes do so by dropping another guy’s name into the conversation. They won’t say that they went out with that guy, but they’ll say that they hung out with him or make some other sort of reference to him.

Is there another guy? Doesn’t matter, the other guy could be made up or it could be a guy who’s not even interested in women, the point is that she’s reminding you that she’s got options and you’ve got competition so you better start chasing her harder.

Here’s how to turn the tables on a girl playing hard to get:

Simply match her energy and drop some other girl’s name. It doesn’t matter if the girl in question is made up, say that the other girl is just a friend if you’re pressed. The name alone should be enough to jolt her and level the playing field.

A woman looking away.
The reason she plays games is because she thinks it's fun for both of you.

Unfortunately, something that a lot of guys do when they’re interested in a girl is to put her down. In juvenile cases, this is when a boy pulls on a girl’s pigtails. In more mature examples, this is called negging. The goal is to play on the woman’s insecurities and make her want the guy’s approval.

The problem with guys negging a woman is that they don’t always know where the line is and go too far. Then they hurt the potential partner’s feelings and nip the relationship in the bud.

Girls engage in a variation when they play hard to get. They take playful jabs at the guy, not to make him want her approval, but just to needle him a little bit. She’s doing this so that she doesn’t seem too eager for your attention because that’ll make her seem all kinds of thirsty and she’s worried that you might lose attraction for her if she comes across as thirsty.

Approach the game with nuance

Anyone who plays hard to get should take care not to overdo it. It can backfire because when you push someone away, they may not come back. And also, anyone who plays hard to get should be easy to want. Someone who’s hard to want shouldn’t play hard to get because their chances of having any success are low because people who aren’t all that desirable in the first place aren’t going to get chased.

That said, it can work. You can find a happy relationship with women who play hard to get. It might begin as a game, but if all the signs are there, and you know not to give up at the slightest bit of resistance, you might discover that the relationship was worth the effort.

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