I have a really, really hard time putting myself out there to someone. I’m super shy, which apparently works in my favor, but when dealing with a woman who won’t give me the time of day, I’ve got to get a little creative.
Now, I’m not usually one for making a big scene. In fact, I’m usually dead-set against it. But for some reason, when I feel like I can’t get someone to notice me, that’s when I want to be center stage. It probably has something to do with the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. I can’t seem to help it! It might not be a good choice every time, but I do my best to make myself memorable. I’m sure some of my friends can tell some rather memorable stories that I’d rather personally forget, but hey – that’s what makes humiliating yourself in front of your friends so much fun. (Only being a little sarcastic here.)
If you don’t want to take the long and embarrassing path that I took to figure out what to do in this type of situation, read on and I’ll share my advice for going after the seemingly unattainable.
DO: Understand the difference between “hard to get” and “not interested”.
Honestly, this is the thing I hate most about people who play hard to get: It blurs the lines between “interested” and “not interested”, and requires both people to play head games in order to get anywhere in the conversation. As a general rule of thumb, I try to avoid going after the women who play hard to get – but sometimes, the attraction from your side is really strong. It’s best if you can find a way to tell if she’s really into you and pretending she’s not, or if she’s not interested, but doesn’t want to be rude. If you can’t tell which it is, it’s always safest to assume she’s not interested.
DON’T: Push the issue if it’s a hard no.
Whether she’s playing with your emotions or she’s outright shooting you down, the best course of action when your efforts aren’t getting you anywhere is to move on. Sure, she’s attractive, either mentally or physically – or maybe even both! But no still means no. Pressuring her to give you a chance even though she has clearly said it’s not going to happen is sexual harassment, no matter how well-intended.
DO: Try to get her to talk more than you do.
I think our natural instinct when dealing with someone we’re attracted to is usually to take over the conversation and lead the way. Realistically, though, that’s not what you want. The more you say, the more can possibly be held against you if things go sour. Obviously, we hope the things we say won’t be used against us in the first place, but women who play hard to get are already exhibiting a bit of manipulative behavior – it’s best to cut off their ammo whenever you can. Instead, ask open-ended (but not pushy) questions and see how she answers them. You might even discover that you aren’t as interested in her as you thought on first glance, or you might create a mental connection in her mind. From a psychological standpoint, if you can make her laugh and feel nostalgic, you’ve got a better shot – so ask about funny memories.
DON’T: Interrupt or ignore her.
Some people claim the best response to playing hard to get is to play right back. The idea is to use reverse psychology to “trick” the other person into thinking they actually do want you after all. I do agree that ignoring her is often a good choice – but not if you’re trying to catch her attention. You see, if you make it easier for her to say no to you, when she’s already having a pretty easy time of it, you’re just going to blend into the scene you’re trying to stand out from. Instead, dig deep and pull out your absolute best listening skills – it’s time to put them to the test.
DO: Make associations with the things she likes and dislikes.
You can’t always win her over in a single day, but that’s probably a good thing anyway. When you let her leave, and then wait for your next encounter (whether chance or planned out – but please don’t be a stalker), you give yourself time to think of the things that matter to her. In a perfect world, it would be socially acceptable to take notes when you’re talking to someone you want to date, but in the real world that would probably come across a little creepy. You don’t need to remember a large number of things – but you do need to remember all the key points of the ones you choose to reference.
DON’T: Make a big deal out of it if she keeps shooting you down.
I know, I know – I already did my whole “no means no” spiel. But seriously, it’s important, so I’m going to say it again. She doesn’t owe you anything… No matter what you’ve invested already. Even if she hadn’t been playing hard-to-get, people are free to flirt without it meaning anything. Yeah, it sucks sometimes, especially if you dished out your cab money to buy her an expensive fruity drink – but she’s not your wife, she’s not your girlfriend, and she’s not obligated to return your affections. You haven’t been “friend zoned”. You’ve just not been bumped up to “girlfriend”, and that’s okay.
DO: Try to be a good friend.
Most relationships work best when built on a solid foundation of something. Whether it’s your core values and beliefs, mutual interests, or a combination of sarcasm and steamy sex, there’s got to be something that acts like glue and holds you two together. If you can’t find that thing before you get together, you’re wasting your time trying to get with her in the first place. No relationship can survive on physical attraction alone (and most can’t survive with strictly physical intimacy, either). If you can’t be a good friend, you’ll never be a good girlfriend – and she knows that.
DON’T: Befriend her with ulterior motives.
I know I literally just told you to be her friend. I still stand by that. But there’s a difference between acting like a friend to get in her pants and actually being a friend. For starters, that first “friend” is probably going to disappear the second she needs someone to turn to – especially if there’s another woman in the picture. The first “friend” is also going to get frustrated if it seems like things aren’t working out the way you want them to. A real friend, however, wants to see their friends happy – even if that means they need to back off. Real friends also get to be there for the emotional times, which helps strengthen the bond, and will probably work out to your (romantic) favor in the long run, as long as you follow proper protocol.
DO: Keep your mystery.
Ordinarily I’m an advocate for speaking openly about your feelings. In fact, on several occasions, I’ve opened up my own emotional baggage here, just to (hopefully) help others. But when you’re dealing with someone who likes being the center of attention (i.e. a woman who plays hard to get), you do need to keep a little leverage. Avoid offering up your feelings, and instead wait for her to ask you. Don’t dote on her, either; she doesn’t want that. Be present, but don’t interfere – she should come around in her own time.
DON’T: Hold your breath.
Most of all, you shouldn’t be waiting around on the person who doesn’t want to bother with you. Even if she’s not brushing you off completely, she is letting you know that she doesn’t want to be limited – so why should you be? Don’t date other women to make her jealous, and don’t date other women to “hold yourself over”. Both of these things are underhanded and manipulative. Instead, downgrade her importance in your life to just that of a friend, and let your love life progress how it would. If you hold out for her, and she is being intentionally manipulative, she’ll probably still never give you a chance. And, if you hold out for her, and she isn’t being manipulative, you’re simply denying yourself the possibility to find the woman who’s right for you. Leave your options open, but don’t pass up a sure thing.