Let him chase you.” “Play hard to get.” You’ve probably heard these classic dating tips thousands of times! It’s a common belief that acting aloof and unavailable will drive someone crazy, and send them right into your arms. 

For instance, you’d love to talk to that cute guy you met, but your friends say you aren’t supposed to call or text for at least a few days. And even then, you should come off as cool and indifferent! The weirdest part about these advices is that sometimes they actually work!

Should we always play games in order to appeal to other people? Here is a tough one for the one who always has our backs when it comes to relationship advice, Identity’s Relationship Expert, Marwa Rakha

Why do people feel the need to play games to attract other people to them? Is it okay or not to do so?  

If you call them “playing games”, then the answer would be: NOT OK!

I have written about the Five Stages of Dating, suggested by Dr. John Gray, before. I have read that book back in my twenties and I still use it as a reference today – more than 15 years later!

To simplify things, let’s go through what happens when two people meet, and like one another.

In the beginning, there is so much “chemistry”! There are butterflies in the stomachs, phone calls, eagerness to meet, and sometimes hot sex. A few weeks, or a few months, into the relationship, things change.

One is too available, too attached, too caring, too eager, and the other is “not as before”! Dr.Gray called this phase “uncertainty” because the person who is pulling away is having doubts about the relationship. The person who seems to have changed is having second thoughts. 

The “textbook mistake” is that his/her partner chases after him/her and becomes clingy. The natural response from the “uncertain” person is to back off further away and eventually the relationship ends dramatically.

Streetwise advice is to play hard to get!

Dr. Gray’s advice is not that far off! Basically, when someone is uncertain, and you feel a change in their level of attention and care, stop, and give them space. The person who is having doubts, then, will have a chance to think, examine how he/she feels about the relationship, and will either come back certain and steady, or will take more steps away from the relationship.

If playing hard to get is appealing to the person you’re attracted to, should this be an indicator that they are immature? What should you do then? 

After having explained the truth behind “playing hard to get”, let me explain how it should be done.

Dr. Gray clearly urges people in the “attraction phase” to take it slow! They need to remember that “Easy come easy go” and that it takes time to know a person and to get steady in a relationship. Unless you are looking for a quick affair or a summer fling, do not say or do things that would get you more involved than you should be. For example, do not say “I love you”. Do not “tell your story”. Do not “bare your soul”. Do not “get intimate”.

This could minimize your loss if the relationship ends there and then! It would also help you maintain your emotional stability and mental balance while giving your uncertain partner his/her space.

If, instead of chasing your partner, you give them space, and if he/she comes back with more steadiness and interest, do not startle them with too much attention and eagerness to be “a thing”. Slowly but surely explore one another until you both decide to officially date exclusively. 

Back to your question, if your partner does not show interest or eagerness unless you are distant and aloof, then this is not a relationship and will never develop into anything steady or solid. Uncertainty is just a phase not a state of being! If the only thing that interests your partner about this relationship is “the hunt”, then it is not worth any emotional investment from your side.

If a person is not willing to play the hard to get game, how do they avoid being seen as desperate to be in a relationship? 

What do you do with yourself and your feelings while giving your uncertain partner time to figure his/her feelings out? This is another way of rephrasing that question. Dr. Gray advises you to “have a life”. Go out with friends, have fun, enjoy your hobbies, and date, 

Yes! Date! You are not in a committed relationship! You are not dating exclusively! You are not even sure if that person will ever come back from the “uncertainty phase”. 

At any point of your relationship, do not give up on your family, friends, and hobbies. Never build your whole life around a man or a woman. Do not spend your days waiting by the phone or refreshing your inbox. Do not stalk a person on social media looking for answers or information. Remember that if a person is into you, that person would never keep you wondering.

If a person wants to be with you, nothing would ever stop them. Remember that you deserve to be loved and accepted, not hurt and rejected.