15 Steps [With Examples] to Play Hard to Get

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Playing hard to get is the most reliable way to test how needy, committed and loving your man really is. 

And besides all of those benefits, playing hard to get is also a great way to build desire and sexual tension as we shall soon discuss.

Anyways, let’s get into the 15 seductive ways to play hard to get:

example of a girl playing hard to get

1. What to do before playing hard to get

I don’t care if he’s a Sagittarius, Cancer, Capricorn or Pisces man, arousing desire is an absolute prerequisite to playing hard to get.

Let’s explain why:

When you are playing hard to get, you are really playing with his desire for you. If he has no desire for you, you’ll have nothing to play with…

So always arouse desire before playing hard to get. [1]

Side note:

I bet you want to learn how to create that desire, however since arousing desire is only a precondition to playing hard to get, I can’t talk too much about.

However, here’s an article you will benefit a lot from reading: How to seduce a man: 19 techniques [with examples] and if you’re a guy, you’ll gain a ton by reading: 17 steps to seduce, manipulate and control girls

Anyways, let’s move on!

example of playing hard to get with a girl

2. Don’t even tell him that you like him

I know you want to break the tension and finally tell him that you love him, but… you can’t.

I know. And I’m sorry.

This is the hard part of playing hard to get (pun fully intended). Keep your feelings a mystery. 

Example number one

Your partner asks: What do you like about me?

Your response: I like how you never went fishing for compliments

Example number two

Your partner asks: Are you seeing any other girls?

Your response: Yeah, [start pointing to all the other girls in the room]

Example number three

Your partner: do you like me?

Your response: No, I love you. In fact, I’d be ready to marry you right now and have 2 dozen kids!

In each example, the key is not to take your partners’ questions seriously. Play with the questions and mess with your partner. 

Have the confidence to say whatever the heck you want without being afraid. 

example of a girl playing hard to get with a guy by seeming detached

3. Tease touch your partner

Tease touching is especially important when playing hard to get with a crush in middle school (because it’s much less complex) and here’s how it works:

  1. Give him a massage because “his back is hurting”
  2. Lay your legs over his legs while sitting on the couch side by side
  3. Accidentally run your hands around his inner thighs 
  4. Give him a big hug and let him feel your boobs

The second you notice your partner or friend starting to catch onto what you’re really doing, play it off like it was nothing and walk away. 

Then, of course, wait some time and do it again. 

Hot and cold, hot and cold.

4. Play hard to get by seeming emotionally self sufficient

Let’s start with a quote from Sigmund Freud to learn what exactly “emotional self-sufficiency” means and what makes it so seductive

Women have the greatest fascination for men…

The charm of a child lies to a great extent in his narcissism, his self-contentment and inaccessibility, just as does the charm of certain animals which seem not to concern themselves about us, such as cats…

It is as if we envied them for maintaining a blissful state of mind—an unassailable libidinal position which we ourselves have since abandoned.

The needy girl acts in the complete opposite way a self-sufficient woman would act, for example:

  1. Constantly texting just to get some attention
  2. Not being able to go places alone
  3. Talking super quickly
  4. Constantly smiling
  5. Always doing things to gain love

Obviously, this is not how you want to act!

5. Frustrate & criticize 

Why are you criticizing?

It’s too push your partner away and play with his emotions as you will eventually bring him back in. 

Criticizing is especially important if you’ve been the clingy one in the relationship because after implementing this, your partner will become the clingy one and chase after you.

Step one: find their inner weakness

Find something that your partner is truly vulnerable, something deep inside that they feel truly ashamed about, for example:

  1. Always wanted to learn fashion to look amazing, but never got a chance so he/she feels ashamed for not becoming everything he could be
  2. Vulnerable about being short or ugly
  3. Feeling like they can never be funny or inspire a fun conversation

Now that you know what can pop their ego, move onto step two:

Step two: criticize covertly 

Yes, that’s right: covertly, not overtly. You don’t want to destroy his ego, you just want to play with it.

Here are some things you could say or do:

  1. When he compliments you, just laugh at it
  2. Joke about his sense of style
  3. Ask the if they need any help reaching anything

If you play this right (and don’t take it too far), your partner will become the clingy one. However there will always be lingering anger…

6. Don’t worry about their anger

Your partner might even get what you’re doing, but if you follow all the rules and truly seduce his heart, he won’t be able to pull himself back.

If he asks you why you’re doing this to him, just laugh at it and tell him that he shouldn’t take things too personally.

7. Promise them a big reward

Having a big promise of a reward is super important when playing hard to get with your long distance boyfriend and really in any long distance relationship as it keeps him motivated to run after you (kinda like the “carrot and stick” concept).

So here’s the basic idea: 

You give a small kiss and insinuate that if he does this and this for you, he’ll get all of you. Once he completes that, you give him another small kiss and keep him working for you. [2, 3]

8. Have standards

Here’s a very simple, yet powerful mindset:

Don’t think of it as playing hard to get, simply think of it as having standards. If this guy (or girl) isn’t OK with chasing after you a bit, he’s just not worthy of you.

9. Never actually give into them fully

As mentioned in number 7: promise them a big reward, you want to keep the carrot in front of the donkey without actually letting him eat the whole thing.

You want to keep him hungry and motivated to run after you.


  1. Always keep some emotional distance
  2. Never kiss fully
  3. If sex would close the deal, don’t sleep with him
  4. Never disclose everything about him, maintain mystery
  5. Never confess your feeling 

So now that you have the basics of playing hard to get: the criticizing and the reward part, let’s put it all together with number 10…

10. Keep it playful

Keep it playful!

Say that to yourself 10 times because I don’t want you to start thinking of playing hard to get as a straight jacket.

It’s OK if you have to break some rules because the goal, at the end of the day, is to get your partner to fall in love with you like never never before.

So if you want to relax on the rules and just have some fun, go for it!

11. Stay in the tension 

Tension is a word you probably don’t like to hear, but unfortunately it’s at the core of seduction.

Well actually, what’s the point of me explaining when Robert Greene talks about it so eloquently in his book, The Art of Seduction?!

Here’s what he says:

The ability to delay satisfaction is the ultimate art of seduction—while waiting, the victim is held in thrall. Coquettes are the grand masters of this game, orchestrating a back-and-forth movement between hope and frustration.

They bait with the promise of reward—the hope of physical pleasure, happiness, fame by association, power—all of which, however, proves elusive; yet this only makes their targets pursue them the more.

Coquettes seem totally self-sufficient: they do not need you, they seem to say, and their narcissism proves devilishly attractive. You want to conquer them but they hold the cards.

The strategy of the Coquette is never to offer total satisfaction. Imitate the alternating heat and coolness of the Coquette and you will keep the seduced at your heels

I don’t have much else to add on besides for: the longer the hold the tension, the greater release.

12. Pretending that you don’t enjoy spending time with him

A quick technique that I like using to pretending like I don’t like spending time with my partner, by doing one of the following:

  1. Making it super hard to set up dates
  2. In a playful manner, talking about how boring she/he is
  3. Taking a lot of time to respond
  4. Always try to end conversations faster

Another technique you can use is… 

13. Making space between yourselves

I don’t just mean emotional or mental space, I mean actually physical space between you. 

This may be necessary when playing hard to get with a husband who takes you for granted.

Simply take a vacation or go out with friends, and with time he’ll start to miss you and treat you that way you deserve to be treated.

14. How to play hard to get through text messages

Whether your playing hard over text or on tinder, here are some things you’ll want to send:

  1. Oh please, you know I don’t have time for you tonight. You know I have classes.
  2. I’m hanging out with my friends tonight, but why don’t you hit me up next week?
  3. You’re gonna have to come up with a better compliment than that!
  4. Alright, let’s go out tonight, but wear something different. That sweater looked super weird on you!
  5. So tell me again, why do you deserve a date?
  6. When I first met you, you were a lot more fun to be around, now you’re just so needy for a little kiss

These texts seem flirty for a reason: you want to push him away without scaring him away. Remember: keep it playful.

15. Don’t play hard to get for too long 

Now that you know exactly what “playing hard to get” is, why it’s so important to any relationship and how to do it, I need to leave you with one last warning with the words of the great Robert Greene in The Art of Seduction:

Coquettes face an obvious danger: they play with volatile emotions. Every time the pendulum swings, love shifts to hate.

So they must orchestrate everything carefully.

Their absences cannot be too long, their bouts of anger must be quickly followed by smiles. Coquettes can keep their victims emotionally entrapped for a long time, but over months or years the dynamic can begin to prove tiresome. 

Here’s how that works practically:

After you’ve been making him chase you for a kiss, let him have it and kiss him good. Don’t wait too long otherwise he’ll be too frustrated and give up on you.

But that doesn’t mean you’ve finished playing hard to get because no you can make him earn other types of things: sex, compliments, hugs, blowjobs, etc.

The point is that the game never needs to end, however, don’t make each level too long.


If you use these methods correctly (and ethically) you’ll not only have any guy hooked to you, but your confidence will double.

So go out there and practice, you’re never gonna master a skill by reading articles about it!

Good luck, 

Colt Smith

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About the author 

Coach Colt here, the founder of Dating Armory, your go-to source for no-nonsense, practical relationship advice. I'm a bisexual male in a same-sex open relationship and a researcher in sex, love, and relationships with 7+ years of experience. I specialize in helping both men and women navigate the crazy world of dating.

Don't miss my other guides packed with practical dating advice (no bullshit repeated Platitudes) and tons of real life examples:

My Top 57 First Date Ideas That Always Work (As a Dating Coach)

Are Coffee Dates Good? It (Kinda) Depends

17 Basic Coffee Date Tips (From a Dating Coach)

How to Get a Gay Boyfriend: 25 Tips That Work