Why Do Girls Play Hard To Get?

It's a frustrating part of our love lives when we start a new relationship, and our lady interest holds us at arm's length.

She is often busy, hard to get hold of, and seems to want your attention and then just as easily ignores it. It's easy to get confused between all the mixed signals a girl might send you.


The reason why girls play hard to get is to protect themselves from poor mate choices and to ensure that men intend to pursue a committed relationship. Playing hard to get increases a women's perceived value as a mate and increases the likelihood that men will invest more time and effort into their relationship.

Playing hard to get can be seen as a strategy in the economics of romantic involvement. By withholding availability, a woman increases her value and ups her stakes in the dating pool. If you wonder why girls play hard to get, here are some reasons why your love interest may not return your calls.

Why Do Girls Play Hard to Get?

There are a variety of reasons why your love interest might be acting distant or unavailable. It is natural for a woman to be cautious of potential love interests when a long-term commitment is at stake.

Women are more selective than men when it comes to long-term relationships and often need more time to assess the seriousness of a man's commitment and avoid men who are not suitable long-term mates. Here are some of the main reasons why your girl might be sending mixed signals.

For self-protection

Some women are not playing at all when they affect strategies of indifference. In an evolutionary sense, the human female stood much to lose by choosing the wrong mate. The lengthy gestation of a human child left our female ancestors vulnerable to harm and decreased the chances of infant survival.

By remaining aloof modern women have much to gain from not making themselves readily available to potential partners. Through creating a courtship with a deferred sexual culmination, women have more time to ascertain whether their potential mate is suitable for a long-term relationship.

Quick Note

Often men who are seeking short-term satisfaction may mimic those mates who express an interest in long-term commitment. A more lengthy courtship would often eliminate these men who would turn their attention to more sexually available partners.

By creating a longer courtship, a woman stands a better chance of finding a mate who is less likely to stray and cause emotional harm through promiscuous behaviors.

Playing Hard to get and Scarcity Theory

People tend to value something more if it has limited availability, which occurs in commerce, gaming, and dating. The psychology behind the attraction of scarcity is that things that are difficult to possess are of higher value than readily available things. This psychology is behind value is as much valid for diamonds as it is for a potential mate.

This principle can tie into the theory of reactance, where scarcity forms a threat to a person's freedom of choice, motivating them to pursue the object more intensely. A woman who presents herself as unavailable may trigger a scarcity reaction in a potential mate and increase her desirability.

Playing Hard To get and the Economy of Dating

In the competitive market of dating, where demand outstrips supply, the 'product' is not only more desirable, but the buyer is also willing to pay a higher price to obtain it. So researchers from the University of Padova and Singapore created a study of 425 students, of which 53% were women.

The study found that men would be less willing to spend time and money on the more available female prospects than the less available candidates.

This result suggests that men are willing to allocate more resources, including time and money, to women they perceive to be less available and therefore of higher market value. Consequently, a woman has much to gain from being less available as her market value increases, as does her perceived value from a potential mate.

Playing Hard to Get as a Game

Some women aren't being selective and ensuring that their potential mate is a long-term option. When a woman uses indifference as a tool for potential suitors with no intention of making themselves available, they merely engage men's attention to satisfy their egos.

Women might attract men without the purpose of availability to increase their market value to other more' valuable potential suitors.

If the woman continually turns you down for dates or stands you up, she may not be interested. Often it is hard to tell if she is playing hard to get or if she isn't interested in pursuing a relationship. Typically a woman limiting her availability will give a consistent signal that she is interested, even if she might limit her availability.

Do Men Prefer Women Who are Play Hard to Get?

Unfortunately, we as men are partly responsible for our potential mate's strategies for courtship. Abundant research has shown that men do value less available women more highly and long-term partners.

There is an evolutionary imperative in human males to seek a partner who would not make herself openly available to other men. By selecting a less available mate, they assured that their offspring (not another man) would carry on their genes.

By committing to long-term mating, men stood to gain the advantage of protecting their offspring from harm and a greater assurance of passing on their genetic material. Modern men still bear the traces of these evolutionary adaptations, although they may manifest differently in the modern dating pool.

Fact Checked

Men favor Women who are less sexually available are over those who are not in long-term partners because they showed signs of being less likely to stray or be promiscuous.

When Is Playing Hard to Get Just a Waste of Time?

Sometimes your potential partner is selective and exercising due diligence in finding a serious and suitable long-term commitment. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes women may have less noble intentions in holding their affections back while you win her approval.

You may have heard the term 'benching,' where a woman expresses interest in you but does not allow the relationship to progress from the starting point, essentially leaving you benched from the game.

They may use this strategy to keep you on hold while they explore other potential mates and not have serious intentions to commit to you. Some people with a narcissistic style personality may use strategies similar to those being hard to get to inflate their ego. They enjoy your attention and attempts to contact her without any intention of committing to a relationship.

Signs You Are Being Benched

  • You are confused about how the woman feels about you because, despite her expressions of interest, she never allows the relationship to progress.
  • They hardly ever initiate plans and often cancel at short notice or not show up at all.
  • Plans only happen on the woman's terms, and she may give several excuses to defer meeting with you.
  • She may often be provocative and enjoys your attention without ever engaging with you in real life.


It may be in your favor if your potential mate has the savvy to keep you at arm's length while she assesses your suitability. After all, a woman who offers herself to any man might be promiscuous and not long-term relationship material.

Ensure that you take the time and the necessary steps to allow your potential partner to make a considered decision, and it may benefit you in the long run. Successful relationships rest on open and honest communication, and if your potential partner is consistently evasive and unreliable, it may also be time to seek a new love interest. 

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