Now that we can meet again with people, we can finally go on a date again. Soon on a date? Playing ‘hard to get’ turns out to be the best strategy to win someone’s heart.
Scientists from the University of Rochester in the United States and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel consulted 130 single students dating online. During their virtual dates, it was checked whether the singles felt more or less attracted if someone showed less interest.
What turned out? Single people find their date more attractive when it plays ‘hard to get’. “Because that gives the impression that he or she is better in the market and can, therefore, afford to show less interest,” says lead researcher Gurit Birnhaum.
“People who respond too easily to the advances of others can come across as desperate. As a result, we find them less valuable and less attractive.”
A second part of the online experiment showed that if you play hard to get, it seems like you want to invest more time and effort in finding the right partner. That, in turn, makes potential partners want to put in more effort for you, but also make them find you more sexually attractive.
Finally, the researchers found that people want to make more effort to see someone who is less reachable than for someone who shows their interest openly.
Although the ‘hard to get’ strategy does not always work. “If you seem completely disinterested or arrogant by playing ‘hard to get’, it will, of course, be counterproductive,” says co-researcher Harry Reis.
But how do you best do that? “Show your interest, but don’t reveal too much about yourself,” said Birnbaum.
“People are less likely to long for something if they already know everything. Try to build your bond gradually. In this way, the other will want to learn more about you and long for you.”