Do Men Play Hard to Get?

Rebecca Jane Stokes asked a bunch of guys, “Do men play hard to get?” Some of their answers will surprise you.

When I first started dating I ached to be one of those girls who could play hard to get.  I couldn’t believe how cool and collected and seemingly not-interested the popular girls were in the guys who basically threw themselves at their feet.

As I grew up I realized that playing hard to get isn’t cool, it’s manipulative. And it also perpetuates a lot of sexist thinking about women and furthers the divide between the genders needlessly.

If I like you, I’m going to tell you that I like you and hope that you will one day let me cup your balls. I won’t pretend I don’t. I won’t hurl myself around making you feel like I need you, because I don’t. But that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in you.

This technique works with men who are worthy of dating. Does it work on all men? Nope. Just the good ones. See, when you put yourself out there honestly, directly, and with a little bit of real personality you get all the good that comes with that.

That doesn’t mean that playing hard to get isn’t a thing. It definitely is, and it works on some men.

Guys aren’t stupid. They know when a women is playing hard to get, and they know when it works for them. This begs the question (or at least it did for me) do men play hard to get?

I outsourced my question to a group of men who were more than happy to answer me.

Guys, do men play hard to get? Why, why not? 

  • “Never. It decreases my chances of getting laid.”
  • “I never play hard to get, I am just oblivious to a lot of things.”
  • “If I’m into you I’m into you. It’s that simple don’t play games life’s too [freaking] short for stupid games.”
  • “If a guy is playing hard to get he isn’t interested.”
  • “Never. But we don’t have to play oblivious, and it can occasionally look like playing hard to get.”
  • “Playing hard to get is ridiculous, it doesn’t work and only makes people annoyed.”
  • “I stopped doing that [crap] when I was a teenager when I realized the girls just stopped trying after a while. That’s one thing women seem to be really good at, just moving on before they waste anymore time.”
  • The friend zone and playing hard to get are the same thing . And I never heard a man play hard to get.”
  • “Some guys might, but for most it’s a really, really terrible strategy. Even for women it’s really stupid.”
  • “I have not, because I found the behavior emotionally dishonest and manipulative.”
  • “I don’t do it intentionally, but it probably comes off like I am fairly often. I’m extremely busy during the week so it can take me hours to respond to texts at times, sometimes I just don’t feel like going on a date so I’ll cancel and chill with friends, etc. Most dudes don’t play any games, because they don’t want girls to play games with them. If a dude is playing games then chances are he does really well with women, because desperate guys generally view most game-playing as risky.”
  • “Sure. In lots of relationships. Sexual and otherwise. Makes people come at you harder. Let’s you know if they really want you.”
  • “Yeah I play hard to get sometimes, but honestly my last girlfriends had no real interest in me. They either just wanted a generic boyfriend or a f*ckbuddy who wouldn’t stray. I guess I just want someone who actually is interested in me rather than interested in attention or sex. In my history, unfortunately, it seems they didn’t really like me at all by the end. If you don’t like me then what’s the point? I know it’s a terrible strategy but I’m sick of one-way conversations where I ask and they answer. … Does it matter who I am at all? Now if I am talking to a girl I’m interested in and I ask ‘where do you work, what are your hobbies, goals, favorite beers, stories?’ and they answer but ask nothing of me then I guess I’ll just give up even if she’s giving me the physical signals and laughing at my bad jokes. I don’t want to be a generic funny, cute guy. I want to be Brian.”
  • “Never, really. The only time I stop initiating is when it isn’t mutual, in which case I distance myself a bit. If they don’t initiate at least 40 percent of the time (rough number, just about equal with some elbow room), I assume they aren’t interested and move on.”
  • “We don’t. We wouldn’t even know we were being chased.”
  • “I did it once, the girl in question stopped flirting. Never did it again.”
  • “Never. That’s the woman’s role.”
This article originally appeared on YourTango.



  1. There’s a huge difference between “playing” hard to get and not pressuring a woman for sex. Let her know you like her and that you enjoy your time together but then back the fuck off and give her room to decide if she wants it to get physical.
    If she’s into you, she’ll likely really appreciate not being pressured. If she’s not that into you, you just saved yourself from coming off as a jerk.

  2. I don’t think those popular girls were “playing.” Up there at the top of the pile, they ARE hard to get. They don’t have the time or the desire for 98% of the men who want them and express it by “throwing thenselves at their feet,” which grosses women out. They don’t want some supplicating worshiper. They want a guy who’s their equivalent, romantically. Besides, calling it “playing” gets two things wrong:

    1. It implies that this is a game, and games can be won; when in fact most men she appears aloof to will stand no chance, ever.

    2. It trivializes what a woman is protecting about herself while swatting away men. From her pride, to her precious time, all the way up to her physical safety, there are good reasons not to give the time of day to the majority of guys who want her.

    Playing hard to get doesn’t work except for the very hottest of men, because women generally won’t subject themselves to the frustration and embarassment of a prolonged, unrequited pursuit. Treat a woman like she’s unwanted and she’ll turn her back on you with a “harumph,” never to express interest again.

    A man’s game is “easy to get, hard to keep.” THAT’S how you get a woman to go nuts over you – withdraw a little AFTER you’ve been “gotten.”

    I’ve had those bullshit-free, “I like you and you like me, let’s do this” relationships. They’re wonderful and I wish they could all be that way. But let’s face it, some situations take a bit of guile.

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