Playing Hard to Get Wins the Girl

Women more likely to fall for a guy who keeps her guessing

Don’t you just hate when a guy plays with your head, sending mixed signals and not letting you know where you stand? Because a guy who plays game is immature and not worth your while! It’s better to be honest and upfront about your feelings -- and if you’re not going to be, well, then, we’re just not interested. Am I right, ladies?

Not even close. As it turns out, at least from the guys’ point of view, it isn’t better to tell you how he feels -- especially if plans on winning you over. New research shows that a man who plays hard to get drives women wild. Well, there go our high and mighty demands for being genuine and forthright.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that when women were unclear about a guy’s intentions, they thought about him more often and rated him much more attractive.

To test this, researchers recruited 47 female students at the University of Virginia and told them they were doing a study on whether Facebook could work as an online dating site. All of the women were shown fake Facebook profiles of four college boys who had supposedly checked out and rated the women’s own profile pages. Then each participant was told one of three things: that these guys were totally into her; that they had rated her as just average; or that they couldn’t reveal what the guys had said about them. 

Next, the women were asked to rate how much they liked the guys and how often they popped into her head. Lo and behold, the women who didn’t know where they stood rated their attraction to the guys the highest.

The women who believed the men were smitten with them found them more attractive than the women who thought the guys weren’t very interested in them did. That is, I suppose, a small consolation. At least we’re not so insecure as to desire the men who reject us. Perhaps we simply like a good challenge?

Though the study was conducted only on women, lead author Erin Whitchurch, of the University of Virginia's psychology department, believes they would have the same results with men.

So, ladies, if you want to make him fall in love with you, as much as I am loathe to write this, it looks like your best bet is to keep him guessing. All I can say is, let the games begin! Oh, and, thank goodness I am married. 

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