I Guess I Came Across as Too Desperate

Another interesting research report from “Study Finds”.

This one looks at something I was never good at; perhaps it was the lack of practice.

One of the most frequently used dating tactics is “playing hard to get,” or purposely acting cold and even mean toward the person we’re interested in. But, does playing hard to get really work?

A new study from the University of Rochester concludes that yes, playing hard to get does in fact increase a potential mate’s perceived desirability.

“Playing hard to get makes it seem as if you are more in demand—we call that having higher mate value,” says Harry Reis, a professor of psychology and Dean’s Professor in Arts, Sciences & Engineering at Rochester.

“People who are too easy to attract may be perceived as more desperate,” adds co-author Gurit Birnbaum, a social psychologist and associate professor of psychology at the IDC Herzliya in Israel. “That makes them seem less valuable and appealing—than those who do not make their romantic interest apparent right away.”

Reid and Birnbaum set up three inter-connected experiments. Participants were told they were talking to another person of the opposite sex, but in reality they were just talking to an “insider” (member of the research team).

The experiments produced a number of interesting conclusions. First of all, participants who spoke with more “selective” (hard to get) profiles rated that individual as more desirable and valued across the board than participants who spoke with less selective profiles. Participants also universally rated profiles as more valuable and sexually attractive if they had to put in more effort to gain that individual’s attention and affection. Finally, participants who were assigned to the hard to get profiles tried much harder to convince the person they were speaking with to talk or see them again in the future.

The researchers do caution that going overboard while playing hard to get can cause the other person to see you as unapproachable or even unattractive.

I wish I had been aware of this research when I was in high school and college. I never thought to play hard to get, I was the more of the desperate type. Little did I know that such behavior made me seem “less valuable and appealing.”

I am sure there were other things about me that made me seem less valuable and appealing, but for now, let me just blame on my acting desperate.

Fortunately, such behavior only had to work once, and it did.

My junior year of college I met someone at a party who I then desperately pursued.

We have been happily married for nearly 38 years.

*image from The Modern Man

37 thoughts on “I Guess I Came Across as Too Desperate

  1. The thing is, someone has to be pursuing you before you can play hard to get. That was always my problem with that tactic.
    Congrats on having such a long-lasting marriage.

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  2. Thirty-six years next month for us next month, Jim. In my limited dating experience from my younger years, I would agree with the study’s findings. It’s almost like you can be too attentive at times. It seems odd, but the girls started calling (if they like you) to find out why you aren’t reaching out.

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  3. The study does reflect my own experiences in dating. But playing hard to get is all part of the “Game” that most people become so tired of. In all my years, the thing that makes you most attractive to others is having a girlfriend/boyfriend already. When you are single, you can hardly get someone’s attention, but as soon as you are spoken for, potential mates seem to come out of the woodwork. It is as if, someone else finding you worthwhile to engage with romantically, sends a signal that you are a good mate. Dating has always been a unique set of circumstances operating beyond the realm of science. Your method work perfectly for you and I congratulate you on landing such a wonderful woman!

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  4. you are all correct, and as someone who is actively dating again, it is one crazy mess, and i’m just winging it and not good at the game. i want to just cut out the dating part and say, ‘let’s just wear pajamas and watch a dumb movie while eating a carry-out on the couch.’ don’t know how that would play, i obviously am not too smooth, but i do have many funny experiences -)

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  5. 38 years of marriage is something to be proud of! I would say your way worked just fine. 🙂
    I didn’t play that game either and we are approaching 25years at the end of the year sooo…I say both ways work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so maybe the researchers need to look at the dating habits of people who have been married a long time, to see if there is a common thread…


  6. What can I say apart from what has already been said? I don’t like tose sort of games but did we do it way back then…probably… the memories are hazy…sigh..not all ..wink…I think I will shut up now…..

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