“Girls only want guys who don’t show interest. They like the struggle.” I can’t tell you how many people have said some variation of that statement to me. I am sure you have, too. Maybe you even said it yourself. Both men and women seem to have come to this conclusion: we only want what we can not have.
This idea has lead to countless dating books marketed to both men and women, with countless followers proclaiming that they got results. Numerous articles online talk about hookup culture, and it seems even that group has been infiltrated. Because apparently in that world, “he that cares less, wins.”
I won’t try to convince you that this concept is untrue. It definitely has some truth to it. I believe we pick up on underlying qualities and feelings about people, unconsciously you could say. Sometimes when we are not ready for a relationship, we are attracted to people that are clearly not interested in us, or not interested enough. In addition, people can be turned off by neediness or desperation. We want to feel special; not just the right person in the right place. So yes, perhaps when we are not interested, or not looking, our level of attractiveness increases.
However, if we all act aloof or hold back our feelings, then how will love prevail? Even in friendships, somebody has to call. Somebody has to make the first move! Not only that, but in a world sick with FOMO, we also do not waste our time very long with one person. Why should we waste it on someone uninterested (once we come to terms with that fact)? And what is the perfect balance of aloofness and interest? We do not want to come across as uninterested, do we? So what is a single person to do?
I would say “just be yourself,” but WTF does that mean anymore? Be myself? When we are dating someone, or pursuing someone, we feel this constant struggle. Should I contact him? Should I say how much I really like her? Part of us wants to show how crazy about the person we feel, but part of us does want to hold back for fear of getting hurt. While holding back does not really protect us, it certainly is more traumatizing to say “I love you” and get no response, then to think it and know the person does not feel that way. My point is that while playing hard to get is phony, showing every ounce of emotion is not our natural state.
That leads me to believe that the best technique is simply to “mirror.” We tend to do that naturally in our friendships, and how we act in our friendships often does give us a good template for romantic relationships. For instance, if we constantly ask a friend to hangout and they always say no, we usually move on. Relationships thrive off of give and take. We want to give, but we also want to receive. That is why “coming on too strong” does not work. You are giving too much! However, the objective is not then to not give at all. Then you are just becoming what you hated in the beginning!
“Yeah, no shit,” you might be thinking. Yes, we all know this on some level, but we don’t act on it. Before we send that next “how are you?” text, why don’t we ask ourselves when the last time they texted was? My point isn’t to teach you anything, but to remind you to ask yourself the right questions.
Lastly, my intention is not really to give advice on dating, but simply to ask, “who wants someone that does not really show interest?” Even when we like someone who does not like us back, our fantasy of them usually revolves around them finally showing interest in us! I don’t know about you, but my fantasies surrounding my unattainable crushes usually involve them calling me or asking me out. My fantasies aren’t about them ignoring my texts one more time! So I simply say, why do we waste a minute on people who aren’t giving us what we want?! Sure, we will never get everything we want at once, but if we want someone responsive, we should stop playing games with people that aren’t.