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Playing ‘hard to get’ has always been a prominent tactic in the dating world and while some may be skeptical of using the tactic in their own dating life, a recent study confirms that playing hard to get does increase a potential mate’s desirability.

The dating tactic has the ability to stroke ones ego or provide a person with the confidence to pursue a partner. There is also a level of uncertainty that comes along with pursuing someone that you aren’t sure is in to you. Mixing the thrill of the tactic, along with uncertainty creates an exciting game of cat and mouse.

The study was conducted by the University of Rochester where three inter-connected experiments were set up. All of the participants were told they would be chatting with another person of the opposite sex, but really they were just talking to a member of the research team. During these experiments, participants were asked to discuss their perception the other person’s potential value as a mate was, how much they desired the person sexually, and how “hard to get” they felt the person they were talking to was.

The results found that participants with a “hard to get” profile were seen more desirable by the person they were talking to across all three experiments than participants who had less selective profiles. Participants across the board felt that if they had to put in more of an effort to gain an individuals attention, they were seen more valuable and sexually attractive.  Participants who spoke with hard to get profiles tried a lot harder to convince the other person to continue interactions in the future.

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

“We all want to date people with higher mate value. We’re trying to make the best deal we can,” Reis added.

Dating is always going to be a gamble and people shouldn’t put so much emphasis on one particular method working over another.  The authors of the study suggest using caution when playing hard to get to ensure you aren’t coming off as uninterested or arrogant to a potential mate. They suggested that the best approach to dating is to be semi hard to get. You want to be approachable without revealing too much too soon.

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