Playing hard to get actually works, according to science

Is playing hard to get childish, or smart?

If you’ve been sticking to the old school rules about not ringing a date back for a few days and pretending to have other things going on, then you’re doing much better than those of us who go down the honesty route. Playing ‘hard to get‘ which was everyone’s mum’s favourite dating advice, apparently really works according to research published by PsyBlog.

The game playing thing has got a bad rep recently, with millennials opting to be upfront about their wants rather than deliberately confusing someone that they’re actually interested in. But according to researchers, if you’ve been embracing honesty you might be making yourself seem less attractive.

The authors of the study explained that if you want to make an educated guess about how much person A likes person B, you can work on the basis that it will be about the same amount that person B likes person A. But what happens if they don’t know how much the other person likes them?

Well then the person who is unsure of how liked they are will probably like that person more.

The researchers tested their theory by showing test subjects Facebook profiles. When they told the tester that the person they were viewing had already seen their own profile and liked it, they were more likely to give positive comments to the profile. When they were told that the person they were viewing had called their profile average, they were much less likely to respond positively (go figure).

Researchers then had testers look at Facebook profiles without knowing if the people they were viewing had liked or disliked their own profiles. These testers gave the most generous feedback to the people they were looking at.

Even with all the research, we’re not convinced. Yes, playing hard to get might boost someone’s interest a bit, but do you really want to go out with someone who has to be manipulated into finding you attractive? Or, even worse, might end up playing you at your own game?

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