One Shockingly Common Dating Mistake To Avoid Like the Plague

February 16, 2021  

  minute READ

Photo by Tyrell James on Unsplash

By many, it’s assumed that playing hard to get is the right thing to do for both men and women alike, but is this true? This advice is given to women stereotypically, however without gender dimension, similar worded advice is given to men as well. The logic is that if you make them wait for it, and they do, they are interested in you rather than what you bring to the table or sex. Give some attention then pull it back, be aloof, don’t let her know that you’re interested, don’t text back too quickly, and pretend you’re busy.  Does making someone work for your attention or sexual access to you really prove that you’re more wanted? Is this how you’d like to start a relationship? 

For a lot of people, this feels like common sense. Don’t we value things that are harder to get? Don’t we take care of something more that we had to work for in order to receive it? With this ask yourself, who benefits from this behavior and what is the likely end result? Playing hard to get plays into this spectrum of self-sacrificing vs dominance, when the real question should be what do you want? The benefit to it is potentially avoiding rejection or to make sure, with a degree of certainty, this person is interested in you. However, is this proving that you are able to manipulate by withholding? Ask yourself, is a manipulative relationship the kind of relationship you want to get into? 

Begin As You Mean to Go On

Rather, “begin your relationships as you mean to go on.” If you meet someone who isn’t interested or capable of starting a relationship with communication and honesty it may be a case of priority mismatches. For example, if you highly value honesty and you’d like to show up this way in relationships, playing hard to get would mean you’re not being honest from the jump. 

Playing hard to get is indirect, and you want a direct relationship. A relationship where you can share your wants and desires. The precedence set by playing hard to get just means prolonging that direct communication and makes it more difficult in the long run. “This is part of the system that keeps us in these cages of limiting masculinity or limiting femininity”. Who benefits from this being limiting? 

Internal vs External Value

By playing hard to get or being aloof you are making yourself appear more valuable in the eyes of others, like a ‘prize’. If that is how you are going about creating value for yourself, you are relying on external dependence on your value and dissatisfaction in the end. ‘Confidence people generate worth from the inside.’


Move away from you must do ‘X’ to be happy or fulfilled. If communication and vulnerability are important to you in a relationship, it should also be important while courting and potential mate. It would be naive to think a relationship that began with game playing is going to easily transition into one of honesty. 

About the Author

Sarah Martin, MA, CSC is CEO of Dignified Hedonist, a sexuality support company that helps horny people get laid ethically. Sarah loves rainbows, books, and Pokemon Go.

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