What is it about the concept of making a guy chase you that seems exciting, and do they ever fall for it?
We say we have a full schedule, but that we have an opening on a specific date and time. Are we testing his patience?
Or do we do it to separate the jokers from potential long-term partners, so it's really just about locking down the right man?
Turns out the intention behind our behaviour is backed by science – according to a 2014 study, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Toronto, and Stanford University, playing this counter-intuitive stretegy makes you more (romantically) attractive. Say whaaat.
A series of four studies published in the European Journal of Personality in 2012 also concluded that women (and men) are attracted to potential partners who play hard to get, and more recent studies back this up.
In the 2012 study, researchers found that one potential benefit of playing hard-to-get is attracting a higher-quality mate with the greatest level of commitment for a long-term relationship.
According to another study in Psychological Science, withholding information about yourself, or at least, your feelings, can be alluring to the opposite sex.
These ladies make some valid, truthful points:
We chatted to experts to make sense of it all.
Shannon Davidoff, relationship coach and CEO of Match VIP, says that while the practice can be effective, there is a fine line between being stuck-up, unapproachable and aloof, and being open to flirtation and the courting skills of a guy she is may be interested in with style and grace.
Davidoff explains that a man who values himself wants the best for himself, and he will fight and perservere for a lady that he deems worthy of winning over:
"The courtship tango will never die. Men need to be challenged. Likewise, women must rekindle their charms and make it clear that she is one hellova catch, but that she comes at a price. Love cannot be rushed; it has to grow from a tiny seed if it is of the lasting kind.
"Men want to please women. But women also need an affirmation these days that they are appreciated, and playing hard ball is also a way of saying that she is not desperate or needy, but worthy of a great guy."
So does pretending to be unavailable really produce the intended effect? It seems like we have to sit on the fence with this one.
Although it might work wonders, if you keep up this game – especially with someone you really like – you could ruin a potentially good relationship.
We spoke to Shelley Lewin, a life and relationship coach at TRA Coaching about the effectiveness of this.
"The paradigm of ‘playing hard to get’ fits into the ancient mindset that men are ‘the hunters’ which makes women the ‘prey’ to be pursued and caught.
"The women and men that agree, consciously or unconsciously, engage in these emotional and psychological games with each other.
"But the games people play are not conducive to having a mature, emotionally healthy and stable partnerships.
Lewin adds that part of the game-playing by women is to reel someone in and then reel them out, pique their man’s interest and acquire their attention, only to back off and play it cool for a while.
"It makes the ‘hunting’ for the men more fun and challenges the ‘hunter’ to win over the female. Often, once the hunter believes himself to have ‘won’ he becomes disinterested because the game is about winning and not about acquiring the prey (or the woman)," she says.
If you enter into a relationship with a game-playing attitude, Lewin says it sets the tone or creates a space for power struggles, winners and losers, and neither of these are ideal for long-term partnering.
So is it a definite yes or no when it comes to guys liking the mystical practice? We asked a few men, and here’s how they really feel about women playing hard to get.
"Men can’t read women’s minds so it really messes with our heads," says Lorenzo (29).
"And I think it’s dangerous because we don’t know if we’re being stalker-like with our behaviour or if we’re doing what the woman wants. What do women want?
Tyler (24) agrees: "It’s a waste of time and we end up being like doormats. No, thanks. Not for me. I don’t know why men fall for it. It’s not cute at all."
"I find it ridiculous. Playing hard to get is so childish. If you end up driving away the guy, it’s all on you. The minute she starts playing hard to get I move on," says Yusuf.
And for Mnqobi (31), the practice makes a woman come across as downright mean and rude.
"I don’t get how it boils down to her actually liking him. Why would you be rude to someone you’re interested in?" he says.
Mika-eel (28) on the other hand says he doesn't mind it, but the woman should know her limits.
"I enjoy a challenge, but she shouldn’t take it too far. There’s only so much effort I'll put into it until I lose interest in her games," he says.
Contemporary author Beau Taplin's words are thought-provoking:
But if you really do enjoy the fun of a challenge, the 'hunt' is not altogether a bad thing – that is if you're looking for something short-term, says Lewin.
"If you are open and committed to meeting someone as a life-partner, game playing is not the way to go. It is preferable to be transparent and to make your intentions clear.
"If, however, you are looking for a short-term, recreational, shared-pleasure partner, game-playing is appropriate because it adds to the excitement," she says.
WATCH: Playing "hard to get" favors men, not women | TODAY
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