32 Secrets to Play Hard to Get with a Guy Selectively & Leave Him Smitten

There are a lot of advantages to playing hard to get with a guy, but there are risks too. So, what should you do? Read on to decide what is best for you.

How to Play Hard to Get with a Guy

Regardless of how much you despise games, learning how to play hard to get with a guy is how you can get him to stay hooked on you… or is it? There are good reasons for playing this game, but there are also some risks. So, we’re going to dive in and look at it all.

First, guys always love a challenge when it comes to girls. So, if you want to grab his attention, you need to keep the element of mystery alive by playing hard to get.

If you always give guys what they want right from the start, why would they bother chasing you or desiring you? Men usually don’t enter a relationship with a girl who gives them everything they want, even though that’s what they want.

In the end, they want the reward, which is you. But they want to chase it and earn it. Of course, if it’s too easy, they take it. But it won’t be as satisfying. And they won’t value it either. 

On the other hand…

Sometimes playing hard to get with a guy can work. However, it won’t make anything last. You might initially snag a guy by playing hard to get, but women often take it too far and end up losing their hook and bait along with the guy. [Read: Do guys play hard to get? The truth, 21 reasons, and what you should do]

That’s why playing hard to get with a guy is risky sometimes. And if you go for a guy who really doesn’t play games, you’re worse off than you realize. You have to start respecting a man’s time and show him you like him if that’s how you feel.

So, what should you do? Play hard to get… or not? 

Well, let’s start with learning how to play hard to get with a guy. And then we’ll talk about the risks of doing it and why it might backfire with certain guys. [Read: Why men love the chase more than anything else]

What is playing hard to get exactly?

Before you learn how to play hard to get, let’s take just a minute to understand what playing hard to get really means.

Playing hard to get is the idea of allowing someone to pursue you, while you pretend like you don’t reciprocate their feelings. But at the same time, you frequently drop just the right amount of subtle hints that make them believe you DO like them back as well.

And this is key. [Read: The right way to talk to a guy and make him like you]

Playing hard to get with a guy isn’t about pretending like you don’t care, and leaving it at that. Any guy would assume you don’t like him, and move on. 

It’s the subtle art of learning how to make a guy pursue you by feigning indifference towards him, while also giving him hope that you will eventually date him, all at the same time!

The attraction of playing hard to get

When most men were asked, they admitted that they love it when girls play hard to get. [Read: Does playing hard to get work? 12 tips to make it swing your way]

Why do they like it? How do you learn to play hard to get, and make it work to your advantage?

Firstly, you should know that playing hard to get gives men something to fight for. After all, men just have the most competitive and egoistic craniums in the history of the world.

And don’t we all know how much men love a good challenge? When a man wants to woo a girl and sweep her off her feet, he’s doing this before any other fanciable man could sweep this girl away, amidst stiff competition. [Read: Texting in the early stages of dating – 24 rules and habits you MUST follow]

Along with the happy feeling of wooing this woman, a man also gets an ego boost. It was him that she chose after all that playing hard to get, and not anyone else. So what does this make him in her eyes, an alpha male of sorts? He is the “almost perfect definition” of the male species in her eyes.

Why you should learn how to play hard to get with a guy

If you’ve been around the dating scene long enough, you know just how important playing hard to get is. However, if you’re new to the dating world, we’ll explain this to you in a bit. If you don’t know how to play hard to get, guys could get bored of you quickly. 

We’re not saying that it will happen all the time, but that’s the tendency when guys don’t feel like they worked for it. If you’re too easy, there’s just no desired level of satisfaction for guys when they do win you over. [Read: 21 girl code rules for dating all women MUST know to enjoy the game]

It won’t break your dating life if you don’t know how to play hard to get with a guy, but if you master it, you’ll see just how much more exciting, and fun, your dating life can be *for you and for the guy pursuing you!*.

1. Understand the dating culture

Here’s the thing, you can have casual sex. We’re not saying you shouldn’t have casual sex, but understand the dating culture we live in.

Guys love casual sex, but they don’t want to commit to a girl who is so willing or eager to sleep with them. [Read: Be prepared for these consequences of having sex too soon]

No matter how much you want to sleep with him, don’t give in yet.

The moment you get into bed with him, it’s game over in playing hard to get. Even if he happens to be the cutest guy on the planet, don’t do it!

2. Don’t be so willing

Men are strange. They want you to be interested, but if you’re too enthusiastic, it’s a red flag and they get bored. So, play the game, and beat them at their own game. [Read: How to effectively play coy and win the guy]

Instead of replying right away with, “Yes, I’d love to,” write, “Sure, I just need to double-check something and see if I have time.”

It shows him you’re interested, but he’s not the number one priority for you. Do this, and the guy would work hard to become your biggest priority. Learning how to play hard to get with a guy isn’t as hard as you might think.

3. No sex in the first few dates

You probably see a central theme here on how to play hard to get with a guy. Sex isn’t something you should give a guy, at least not right away.

It’s fine if you simply want to have sex with someone, but if you’re looking for a relationship, don’t be so quick to hop into bed with him. [Read: First date sex and how having sex can actually help both of you]

This shows him that you’re not just some girl he’s going to catch and release. He’s going to have to work for it. 

You need to leave him wanting more, so why give him the whole package? Sleeping with someone is the most intimate thing you can give in the physical sense, which means there’s nothing more *physically*.

So instead of having sex on the first date, why not give him a kiss and leave it at that? [Read: Sex on the first date – Should you give in to the urge?]

4. Do mention your male friends

Men don’t like competition. Neither do women. So mentioning the opposite sex always creates a reaction.

This is a tricky strategy in playing hard to get as you don’t want to mention the guys in a way that you’re seeing them, but make sure he knows he’s not the only guy who’s interested in you.

Make it seem like they’re just your friends, nothing more. If you read our feature on how to get men to chase you, there’s another common trick everyone knows: jealousy. 

5. Give just enough attention

We want all the attention in the world from someone we like. However, when we get it, we become bored. What you need to do is give him just enough attention. 

Don’t give him your undivided attention over texts or calls as he’ll get used to it. Instead, give him just enough so that it leaves him wanting more of what you’re giving him.

By giving him the attention he needs, he works harder to get the attention he thinks he deserves. Give him the bare minimum of attention, and take it from there. [Read: 33 sexy ways to seduce a guy who’s not yet yours and hook him hard]

6. Do put in some effort though

The thing about learning how to play hard to get with a guy isn’t about being aloof and emotionally distant. A lot of people get this wrong, but that’s not how this works. It’s not about being hot and cold, either. 

Chasing becomes more fun the closer you think you are to getting what you want.

But this means you’re also going to have to chase him as well to keep the tension going. So you need to put in the effort, even when learning how to play hard to get with a guy. [Read: How to make the man you like chase you and want you more]

7. Don’t get too personal

The odds are you don’t really know that much about this guy, which is completely cool. But, don’t let this person know everything about you. This is a vital tip if you really want to learn how to play hard to get with a guy.

So don’t go around revealing every detail in your personal life to this guy you like, leave some details for later! Also, it’ll give him something to look forward to. [Read: How to be mysterious without going completely overboard in the role]

8. Make sure there’s space

If you play hard to get, find the right balance between giving him enough affection but also giving him space. If you’re always available, they don’t really see you as an option but rather as someone who is always available.

You need to avoid being taken for granted when playing hard to get. So, the best way to get to that point is by not always being available to him whenever he needs you. Be a little busy sometimes, that’ll catch him off guard.

9. Don’t tell him you like him

We know you want to tell him how you feel, but you don’t have to. In fact, if you want to know how to play hard to get with a guy and get him to pursue you, you should keep him guessing. It’s all part of keeping him on his toes. [Read: How to show a guy you like him and still be a tease]

You can give him subtle signs and maybe even flirt with him, but don’t give him the satisfaction by telling him directly that you’ve fallen head over heels for him. This throws you completely off the game of playing hard to get.

10. Do reply to his texts

But not right away. He’s not going to die if you reply twenty minutes after he wrote to you. He can wait.

We know how much you anticipate his texts and even if every fiber of your being urges you to respond immediately, don’t give in to that urge. Remember what we said about not being constantly available?

This applies especially to texting! If you don’t respond in the same minute he texts you, it leaves him wondering what you’re up to and if you’re busy. You’re not ignoring him, but you’re simply taking your time. There’s a difference. [Read: 25 posh and classy ways to make a guy go crazy over you]

11. Turn him down

If he asks you out and you’re busy, don’t be afraid to turn him down. However, do offer another day when you could go out. Women tend to make the mistake of dropping everything for a guy, and that’s just the opposite of what you should do when playing hard to get.

He’ll get used to this treatment and frankly, you’re making things way too easy for him. Give him a little bit of a challenge by letting him know you’re not always available at his convenience. Instead, reschedule on a day you’re both free. [Read: How to get a guy to like you without compromising yourself]

12. Don’t toy with guys you don’t like

If you play hard to get with a guy that you’re not interested in, that’s unnecessary and cruel. The whole point of playing hard to get with a guy is that you have feelings for him, and you want something more.

You’re not doing this to play mind games with him, but just to get him hooked on you. Don’t be that heartless as to try using these moves on a guy you don’t ever intend to date.

Those are the kind of girls who give playing hard to get a bad name! [Read: The best moves to play it cool with your crush and win them over]

13. Use reverse psychology

Reverse psychology works, and it’s the primary tactic men love using on women. So why shouldn’t you do the same for them? 

In fact, most of the tips mentioned above are already using reverse psychology, such as giving them space and making them know that you’re not always available.

It allows you to have full control of the situation without entirely ignoring them or being mean to them. It’s kind of a win-win situation in dating, and men clearly know this. [Read: Have you ever wondered how to use reverse psychology correctly?]

14. Be a strong independent woman

There’s nothing more attractive than a strong independent woman, especially when you’re trying to learn how to play hard to get with a guy. 

So be confident, do your own thing, and don’t need him. It’s really as simple as that. Again, independence is different from being distant, so be sure you know the difference.

Otherwise, you’ll push away the guy you like entirely! There’s a reason why guys always end up chasing girls out of their league, and it’s because they’re too focused on their own life to seek validation from guys. 

And that’s always attractive. [Read: How to be a strong independent woman that men love]

15. Let him chase you

You can’t play hard to get if you don’t let him chase you in the first place. So, if he asks you out, say no during that first time and something like “maybe some other time…”, and he’ll work even harder to get that yes out of you. The thing is, this always works! Guys do love a challenge, and this is tested and proven.

Make him wait, but not too long or he’ll think you’re really not interested and move on to the next. If he plays the game, show him you can play it harder. [Read: Why do men like a chase? – How to use it in your favor]

16. Avoid flattering him

Don’t flatter him or feed his ego constantly if you really want to learn how to play hard to get. So even if he boasts about his six-pack muscles or how he has a successful business, don’t compliment him for it.

But don’t act indifferent either! 

You just need to have a high value for yourself without stroking his ego constantly. Make it evident that you know exactly who you are, and no way would you ever settle for less. Now, that’s a girl a man would probably want to chase.

17. Don’t make him your world

Surprise, surprise. This is another mistake women tend to make and yet wonder why men don’t get hooked on them or chase after them.

You made him your entire world and dropped everything for him, and you expect him to chase after you? Wrong. [Read: Blowing hot and cold – The 3 stages to explain why someone does this]

Don’t give him all of you if you want to learn how to play hard to get with a guy. Leave some for yourself, and that’s the only way he’ll chase after you.

18. Give him a taste of affection

Playing hard to get isn’t about depriving the guy you like of your affection and care. You’re not supposed to be distant and indifferent, remember? So give him a taste of affection, every now and then.

Perhaps tell him you miss him or compliment him occasionally. Or, spend quality time with him, and then spend time apart. It’ll make him miss you even more and keep wanting more of you. [Read: How to be affectionate – 15 gestures that reveal your feelings best]

19. Be confident

If there’s anything you can take from this feature, it’s that confidence is critical in playing hard to get. You can’t pull this off without high self-esteem and confidence. 

So own your worth, remember who you are, and let him do the majority of the chasing. [Read: How to be more confident with 12 simple daily self-love habits]

20. Don’t wait for his texts all day

Another mistake women make is waiting for his text all day. Guys can actually tell when it’s all you do, and you can’t think of anything better to spend your time on. So, if you want to know how to play hard to get with a guy, drop your phone and live an interesting life!

Hang out with your friends, go to the gym, and do whatever you want. Just don’t focus all your time and energy on him. *no matter how cute you think he is*! [Read: How to tease a guy and make him realize just how much he likes you]

Risks of playing hard to get with a guy

Now that we talked about how you can play hard to get with a guy, you need to know the risks of doing it and that sometimes it can backfire on you. So, there are also reasons not to play hard to get that you should consider.

Playing hard to get can work sometimes but usually, it’s not very beneficial for forming healthy, happy relationships. Here’s why playing hard to get with a guy might not go as you planned.

1. He might hate mind games

Some guys like the game aspect of dating and getting to know someone. Others, however, hate it. You can’t possibly know which he is going to prefer. And if you really like him, it’s just not worth the risk. [Read: The tricky mind games men play that any girl can win]

2. He could misinterpret it

This is especially true if you don’t know how to play hard to get in a way that actually makes a guy more interested. In this case, you could be doing a bad job of it.

And instead of him being interested in you, you’re showing him that you don’t like him. Some guys get the hint and take off without trying to win you over. That means you’ll turn him away instead of bringing him in closer.

3. He only likes the chase

Some guys have a problem when it comes to chasing women. And that problem is that they ONLY like the chase. Once they get a girl, they don’t have any interest in her. [Read: All the ways to show a guy you like him and still be a tease]

If you run into one of these guys and play hard to get, you might hook him. But if he’s this type, he’ll end up leaving once he has you. So what’s the point?

4. You’ll seem immature.

This is probably the biggest reason playing hard to get with a guy is more harmful than it is helpful. He might look at your playing hard to get as a really immature way to get someone to like you.

And that’s because it is. If you’re serious about finding a guy and having a good relationship with him, playing hard to get is such a childish way to go about it. Be mature and just get to know him.

5. He’ll have a hard time knowing how you really feel

It all has to do with you playing a game. Because that’s what it is. He can’t tell how you really feel if you’re dodging him or not responding to his texts in an appropriate time frame.

He’ll be clueless and that can hurt your chances of getting him. [Read: 17 signs and the best ways to tell him that you like him]

6. You’re setting your expectations very low

This all has to do with the fact that you’re playing a game. And if he knows what you’re doing, he must think you don’t care too much, and therefore, he won’t either.

He might even play along with you and then not treat you well because that’s how he sees you treating him. It sets your expectations low and leaves more room for a guy to mistreat you. [Read: Is he playing hard to get or is he not into you?]

How to play hard to get selectively

If you play hard to get selectively, then you will usually be happier in a relationship for a longer time and would hardly ever get dumped or two-timed.

Two subsequent studies supported this idea. The selectively playing hard to get woman is the one who is easy for “the guy” to get, but hard for all other men to get. 

She is happy to date this special guy, and she talks sweetly with other men, but she declines dates from all other men and never really oversteps her boundaries. 

This keeps the selective man who’s wooing her on a high. He respects her more, and each time he is with her, he realizes how lucky he is to have her around him. [Read: How to make a man fall in love with you]

So, we can safely say that the optimal strategy would be to give the impression that you have many offers for dates with other guys. However, you refuse them while indicating that you are willing to date the one guy in your life, but it will take some effort on his part to persuade you to completely give yourself in.

If you think about it, this makes sense. It is a much-enjoyed ego boost for the man to know that he is dating a woman who could be with countless other men. 

But at the same time, when you play hard to get with a guy, it keeps him on turbo-boost when it comes to impressing you because he’s still scared of losing you. [Read: What men like in women more than anything else]

What to do instead of playing hard to get

If you’ve decided that playing hard to get is too risky for you, then you can do other things instead. Because you don’t have to play hard to get in order to win yourself a great guy. 

In fact, you can do a number of other things to get him to like you and show him you like him. Here’s what you should do instead.

1. Flirt

Flirting is so much more powerful than pretending like you don’t care about anything. Firstly, it shows that you’re actually into him and it also makes you seem playful and fun. Flirt more and play games less if you want to win yourself a great guy. [Read: 30 really sexy flirting tips for girls]

2. Withhold only small amounts of information

You can still make a man work for it while not exactly playing hard to get. What you want to do instead is make yourself seem a little mysterious.

You can tell him stuff about yourself but leave some stuff a mystery so he has to work a little bit to figure you out. It’ll be fun for him and it has some of the same elements as playing hard to get, but it isn’t harmful. [Read: How to be mysterious without appearing too distant]

3. Be blunt about how you feel

For many reasons, this is far more effective than trying to conceal your feelings. You can straight up tell a man that you think he’s amazing and you’d like to get to know him more.

This works because it’s surprising. It’s a shock and it’s extremely flattering. Not many people have the courage to do something like this and it’ll stand out in his mind. That’s exactly what you want.

4. Laugh at his jokes

We tend to like people more when they think we’re funny. That’s just how it works psychologically, so if you want this guy to pay attention to you and like you, laugh when he jokes around.

You can even tell him he’s funny and talk about how much you like his personality. When you express this, he’ll be more intrigued than if you played hard to get. [Read: How to be funny and make people love your company]

5. Tell him you think he’s interesting

And say the word “interesting” in particular. The reason you want to use that word is that it can have a number of different meanings. Don’t tell him how you mean it, either.

It’ll make him use his imagination and he’ll be intrigued as to what you truly think of him. That intrigue will keep him coming back much in the same way you think playing hard to get will.

6. Have fun and let your sense of humor shine

Just relax and be yourself. Let your sense of humor come out so he can see how funny you really are. Get goofy and just enjoy your time with him. The more fun he has with you, the more he’ll want to see you again. [Read: 15 ways to make a man chase you and fall hard]

Final thoughts 

When playing hard to get, there’s a difference between acting distant and just encouraging him to chase after you. It’s really all about the element of mystery and being secure enough not to let your world and life revolve around him.

If you think this will be a good strategy for you, then go for you. But if you think that there are more risks than rewards, then don’t. In the end, it’s all up to you.

[Read: How to talk to a guy – 34 tips to sweet talk any man and make him fall hard instantly]

Learning how to play hard to get with a guy isn’t a bad thing or a good thing. If you like a guy, it might even encourage him to chase after you and win your heart. Or it could discourage him. Choose your strategy wisely so you can have a happy ending!

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...