Is She Playing Hard to Get? 29 Signs to Read a Girl’s Mind & Play It Cool

You like a girl but you’re not sure if she’s crushing back. Is she playing hard to get? It’s entirely possible, but you need to know the signs to be sure. 

is she playing hard to get

Let’s face it. Dating is more like a game, no matter how much we glorify it with books, songs, and films. It’s hard to work out what’s going on, and it can tie you up in knots. For instance, if you like a girl, is she playing hard to get or is she just not that into you?

Remember, relationships are not like your regular Hollywood summer chick flick where the guy impresses the girl and wins her over immediately. Maybe she’s shy, maybe she’s not sure, or maybe she just wants to test you out a little to see if you’re really that serious.

While every girl is different, there are some signs you can learn that will help you work out if she is playing hard to get or not. [Read: A guy’s ultimate game plan for handling mixed signals]

Why do women play hard to get?

“The chase” can be one of the most exciting parts of a new relationship. The back and forth, the uncertainty – it can make it all way more exciting. So one common reason why women play hard to get is because it’s fun! But, why else might she be playing this game?

1. She’s observing your true intentions

She’s not sure if you’re really interested in her or if you just want to sleep with her. So, by playing hard to get, she can work that out for herself and save the heartbreak later on.

2. She’s testing you

Is she playing hard to get just to test you out a little? Probably so! This is one of the biggest reasons why women play this game. She’s working out how serious you really are.

By testing you, she can work out if you’re likely to crack under pressure or whether you’re someone she can truly rely upon. [Read: Shit test – What it is, why girls use it and 17 ways to pass all of them]

3. She has trust or abandonment issues

It’s possible that she was hurt in the past, and she’s still carrying some of the baggage around with her. She may be worried about jumping into a new relationship.

In that case, she doesn’t want to outright forget the idea of being with you, but she’s worried about showing her total interest.

4. She likes the validation and enjoys the game

Unfortunately, for some women, attention is just something they crave. Not all, for sure. So, don’t assume that if she’s playing hard to get, she’s trying to torture you.

However, some women love being chased, and it gives them a sense of validation when you’re throwing all your attention her way. [Read: 18 stereotypical things girls do that makes guys think she’s an easy lay]

5. She likes to be in control

Is she playing hard to get because she likes to be the one holding the reins? Quite possibly so. Some women like to be the ones calling the shots. And when she’s playing hard to get, she’s got you right where she wants you.

6. She has low self-esteem

It might not be that she has previous relationship baggage, but that maybe she has low self-esteem. She’s worried about jumping into a relationship and getting hurt and she’s perhaps worried that you’re not serious in your interest.

7. She’s taking the time to explore her options

It may be that you’re not the only one in her sights. She may be trying to work out which guy is best for her. And by playing hard to get, she’s earning some time to do just that. [Read: Why do girls play games and test guys in the early stages of dating]

Don’t confuse lack of interest with playing hard to get

A woman that’s playing hard to get will make it hard for you, but she won’t make it impossible. She may push you away at times, but she may come toward you and flirt with you again.

But, on the other hand, there is also the possibility that she may simply not like you.

Don’t just assume she’s trying to test you and wants you to try harder. Ultimately, her behavior will let you know the truth.

Therefore, it’s very important that you learn to read her subtle signs. Mastering this skill will give you the confidence to keep trying, or to give up before you become that creepy guy. [Read: Stop wasting time – 15 signs she’s not interested in a second date]

Is she playing hard to get or is she just not interested?

So you’re confused by a girl’s behavior towards you. Is she playing hard to get? Or is she just taking her time to get to know you better? The signs below will tell you whether she’s testing you out or she’s just not interested. [Read: The signs she wants you to chase her and is being a tease]

1. Doesn’t answer your texts, at least not immediately

There are unofficial dating rules about when or how often one should text someone. So it can be normal if she’s not in a rush to get back to your messages.

But, if you text her and get no response at all even after a day or two, she isn’t just playing hard to get. It probably means she isn’t interested in you.

So if she’s simply ignoring your messages or leaves you on read, and it feels like she doesn’t want to text back, then she probably isn’t playing hard to get, she just isn’t interested. [Read: When she doesn’t text back – Why girls do this and what you need to do next]

2. Her answers are often short

Perhaps she doesn’t completely blow you off. Maybe she takes her sweet time getting back to you. But her response to your texts is also something you should pay attention to.

If she waits for several days and gives you one-word answers, that is her guilty conscience talking. She doesn’t want to hurt you. But also, she doesn’t want to lead you on. She is just trying to be polite.

On the other hand, if she answers within an hour or two, asks questions, and makes it easy to continue the conversation effortlessly, then she is probably just making you work for it. Big difference. [Read: How to tell if a girl likes you over text – 28 big signs you just can’t miss]

3. Doesn’t go out of her way to encourage a conversation

Whether it is via text or in person, talking to her shouldn’t feel like a struggle.

If she is playing hard to get, she may keep her replies short and closed. On the other hand, if she does like you, she may pretend like she doesn’t care about you, but she may still find ways to keep the conversation going with you by using open-ended responses.

If she doesn’t like you, you’ll probably find yourself scrambling for a topic of conversation all the time. And she won’t make it easy for you.

Remember, a conversation should be a two-way street. If it’s not, then she is most likely not simply playing hard to get. [Read: Drawing a blank? Try these 25 good conversation starters]

4. She is often busy

Is she constantly declining invitations to hang out? This is a big red flag that tells you she is not playing hard to get. Especially if she says she’s busy, but doesn’t offer any other alternative dates.

No woman that’s into you will make you work that hard. She may make you do all of the hard work yourself by asking her out, sure. But at some point, she will accept the invitation. Or suggest another time that fits her better.

If she seems interested in you, but keeps declining a date with you, try the magic rule of “three.” Ask her out three times if she tells you she’s busy. If she’s flirting with you, but still not interested in a date, give up and move on. [Read: The biggest signs she only wants your attention and isn’t interested in dating you]

5. She doesn’t directly make plans

Another red flag to know she’s not playing hard to get is that she never tries to make plans herself. If she is playing hard to get, she will either wait for you to ask her out, or she will invite you herself. If she is not interested though, that thought won’t ever cross her mind.

Did she decline your invitation, without getting back to you with another date and time? It may be time to move on to someone else. [Read: 22 ways to move on when your feelings aren’t reciprocated]

6. She blows you off, but does she do it with a smile or not?

Maybe she’s teasing you and having a bit of fun at your expense. She turns you down once, or twice, but flirts and makes you believe all is not lost just yet.

The end game of playing hard to get is to make someone value you and respect you enough to take you seriously. If she likes you, she wouldn’t want to decline your advances or shut you out completely. If she blows you off, then she isn’t looking for you to be her number one. [Read: 17 sure signs the girl you like is just using you]

7. You may or may not know her inner circle

If she is into you, it’s only a matter of time before she wants you to meet her friends. She will at least start to tell you stories that involve people in her circle in your regular conversations.

But if she doesn’t share anything personal with you, it’s likely that she doesn’t look at you that way. [Read: How to make new friends as an adult]

8. She plays matchmaker

She introduces you to her friends. But it almost feels like she is setting you up with one of them!

If that’s the case, take it seriously! A woman that is into you would never suggest that you date one of her friends. So if you’re wondering,’ is she playing hard to get?’, this is definitely a dead end right here.

If she always pushes you off on her wingwoman, then she is sending you a message to look elsewhere. She’s trying to find you another match because she knows she doesn’t mind losing you. [Read: 18 clear signs you’re in a girl’s friend zone]

9. She tells you she isn’t ready for commitment

Often, when we like someone, we think that their words aren’t their true intentions. If she tells you she isn’t ready to commit or get into a serious relationship, she isn’t playing hard to get. Especially if she follows through with it by going out with other guys.

However, maybe she’s testing your reaction. Perhaps she only wants something casual? [Read: Are you her main man or just one of her extras?]

10. She flirts with your friends

It’s important to notice how she acts around your friends as well. If she likes you, she may be interested in getting to know your friends, or making a good impression on them to get to know you better through them.

If she seems to be too into them – more than she is into you – be careful. [Read: 21 signs she’s just leading you on and taking you nowhere]

11. Small teasing touches

Women that are playing hard to get will always try to tease you. Often, this comes in the form of subtle touches or joking comments.

A touch while laughing at one of your jokes, a subtle arm touch whenever you stand next to each other – it’s part of the flirting game.

Touching you gives you a subliminal cue that she’s into you, while the rest of her behavior may say otherwise. And that keeps you chasing. [Read: 37 body language cues a girl can’t hide if she really likes you]

12. “I like you as a friend”

Yep, you’ve been friend-zoned. Do you know how many people make it out of the friend zone? That, my friend, is about zero. *unless you step up your game and let her know you’re a catch, that is!*

The reason she tells you she thinks of you as a friend isn’t to make you work harder. Instead, she is trying to tell you “no” without hurting your feelings.

Don’t mistake her kindness and generosity with playing it cool. She is trying to not lead you on, and that is nice of her. But move on. [Read: 34 naughty ways to get out of the friend zone in no time]

13. She likes someone else

If a girl tells you she likes someone else, or talks about how cute or interesting another guy is, back away. To be honest, if a girl likes you, or is even remotely interested in dating you, she wouldn’t be asking you for advice on impressing another guy.

If she talks about falling for another guy, even when she knows you like her, she’s not playing hard to get. She’s making it very clear that she doesn’t see you in a more-than-friends kind of way.

14. She doesn’t show obvious jealousy, but it might be there

You like her, but you’re not dating her yet. So chances are, you are spending time with other girls as well. If a girl sees you as a friend, she’d be happy to hear all about the other girls in your life. She may even encourage you to pursue one of them or share tips on impressing them.

But if she likes you, she may not say it straight, but she may snap at you or be just a wee more irritable or annoyed with you. If a girl is jealous of the time you spend with someone else, chances are, she does like you. [Read: How to make a girl jealous and leave her begging for your attention]

15. Her reaction to your persistence

You think it’s funny and cute when you ask her out repeatedly, or try to flirt with her every chance you get. But does she encourage you subtly? Does she laugh and flirt back during those times? Or does she get annoyed when you try to flirt with her?

If a girl is playing hard to get, she may turn you down, but she won’t stop you from flirting with her. She may even flirt back just to blow hot and cold, and leave you guessing. But if she isn’t interested in dating you, she’ll give you a cold shoulder the very minute you try to flirt with her.

16. No date-like meets

You may have asked her to hang out with you a few times. Friends do this all the time, so there’s nothing wrong with that so far. But every time you’ve asked her out, it’s almost always the same answer. She’s busy, or she has other plans.

So is she playing hard to get? If a girl doesn’t want to hang out with you alone, take the hint. She sees you as a friend, and doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea. And neither does she want to encourage you to pursue her. [Read: How to tell if a girl doesn’t like you – 25 signs you should never ignore]

17. She’s never flirted back

Even friends can flirt sometimes. If there’s even the slightest hint of sexual chemistry between two people, flirting is inevitable! If a girl is playing hard to get with you, there would be a lot of flirty banter, funny comebacks, and sexual innuendos flying back and forth between you two.

But if she sees you as a friend and nothing more, you could pass a comment that’s clearly flirty, and she’d still respond with something bland and boring because she just doesn’t realize you’re flirting with her *or she doesn’t want to encourage you*.

18. How she introduces you

Has she ever introduced you to someone else? How does she address you? If she likes you, or has even considered dating you for a hot minute, she’d probably introduce you by name, without elaborating on your relationship status. She subconsciously wants to keep her options open.

But if you’re safely put in the friend zone, she’d emphasize the word “friend” as she introduces you, even if there isn’t any reason to do so. [Read: She rejected you but still acts interested? Here’s how to read her mind]

19. Don’t assume intimacy means she’s interested in more

Here’s one part that can confuse any guy. Have you guys made out, or clearly stepped out of the friend zone by sleeping with each other? If so, it seems apparent she’s interested, right? Not always!

When you sleep with someone, there is no guarantee that person is interested in a real relationship with you. Maybe she wants a casual relationship, or a friend with benefits. Perhaps she was bored, horny, and just wanted someone to get in bed with.

Don’t assume a girl likes you or is playing hard to get by sleeping with you, especially if you see many of these signs. [Read: 15 signs she’s leading you on and taking you nowhere]

20. She avoids you on her bad days

In this case, she just doesn’t want you to see her at her worst. You can basically say that yes, she’s playing hard to get. If she wasn’t interested in you, she wouldn’t care if you saw her looking or feeling terrible.

21. There is an air of mystery about her

This is one of the signs that should tell you that it’s just bravado and playing hard to get. She’s showing you that air of mystery because she’s trying to intoxicate you into sticking around and showing her what you’ve got.

If she wasn’t too interested, she wouldn’t bother with the extra effort, trust us! [Read: How to be mysterious and leave everyone smitten and craving for more]

22. She’s always fashionably late

If she’s always late when you arrange to meet, don’t necessarily assume it’s rudeness. For sure, it could be that she’s not bothered about being on time because she’s not interested in that way. But, it could also be because she’s trying to make a dramatic entrance.

After all, being fashionably late turns heads, and that’s what she’s trying to get you to do.

23. Small hints are confusing you

She drops a hint she might like you and then does something that says the opposite. Does this sound familiar? It’s very likely that she’s playing hard to get if that’s the case.

Women do this to get your attention and then pull back. It’s a teasing game that’s designed to test your reaction. [Read: 17 ways to ask a girl if she likes you without asking her directly]

24. She refuses your help

If you offer help, does she refuse? On one hand, maybe she doesn’t need it, but on the other hand, maybe she’s trying to look like an independent woman who can handle anything.

Don’t assume that a refusal of help means something negative in this situation. You have to weigh it up against the other signs to get a true picture.

25. But, if she’s told you she isn’t interested in you …

Is she playing hard to get? If a girl tells you that she isn’t interested in you, accept it. If she’s playing hard to get, she may tease you or answer vaguely when you ask her out.

But if a girl tells you clearly that she has absolutely no interest in dating you, that’s a firm no, and you should accept that. [Read: How to get over a girl who doesn’t like you]

How to deal with her playing hard to get

Once you’ve established that she is, indeed, playing hard to get, here’s how you can play your cards right.

1. Give a little more effort

As mentioned, 70% of the dating effort falls on the shoulders of the male species. If at first, she starts playing hard to get with you, it’s a cue to up the ante a little bit.

Texting and instant messaging is forgivable the first few days, but you can’t get your first date with smileys alone. Pick up the phone, and talk to her!

The trick is to express genuine interest in her life. Be ready to listen if she’s upset or excited about something.

Going out of your way for her sake could show her that you’re really sincere. This will make her feel that, even if she just met you a few days ago, life is a wee more cheerful with you in it. [Read: How to make a relationship work – 34 ways to a stronger bond]

2. Be confident, but not over-confident

Learn to gauge your confidence level and still be true to yourself. You don’t want to go overboard and come on too strong for her taste, or make yourself look like a poser who’s all talk.

Be yourself with a sense of self-belief. Think smooth and calm. [Read: 25 dating deal breakers for women]

3. Play her game

If she can play hard to get, why can’t you? Sometimes, if a woman plays hard to get, it’s a sign that she is interested in you, so is there a better way to win than by meeting her challenge on equal terms? Make her miss you a little, now and then.

Keep in mind that even when she says she’s testing you, she secretly wants the attention you’re giving her.

So maybe for a few weeks, you give her that good score of attention: the calls, the witty text messages, the Facebook likes and comments, and the intellectual coffee conversations. Then, all of a sudden, you pull out the attention little by little.

You can miss the hangouts, deliberately skip a call or two, then watch her go through dating withdrawal symptoms. She could get a little paranoid if you plant hints that she’s losing you, if she continues to play hard to get for too long. [Read: How to stop playing relationship games and focus on loving instead]

4. Candidly confront her

Go for it and ask, “where are we going with this?” You’ve been seeing each other for months now, and you’ve been the most gentlemanly you have ever been.

This could take her by surprise, even if she’s playing the femme fatale. But this could also show her that you’re really determined to get her.

However, timing is everything. Choose a good time to ask her and take care not to spoil the mood. Probably after a good concert or dinner, somewhere secluded and intimate, when you have run out of things to say. It’s a gamble, but who knows? Women appreciate honesty and sincerity the most.

The difference between playing hard to get and getting turned down

Playing hard to get is a fun and interesting game, but as a guy, don’t assume a girl is playing hard to get when she makes it clear she isn’t interested in being with you.

To be honest, if a girl is playing hard to get with you, you’ll know for sure. You’ll enjoy the chase, you’ll feel the thrill of flirty pursuit, and you’ll see the progress. You’ll secretly love every moment of the game.

On the other hand, if she isn’t playing hard to get and isn’t even remotely interested in you, you’d find yourself frustrated and annoyed. And very confused.

[Read: When a woman pulls away – Why girls do it, 28 signs and what you must do]

Learn to tell the difference, and you’ll know for sure every single time. So is she playing hard to get? If things feel hard, perhaps it’s time to find someone who likes you and is not afraid to show it.

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