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12 subtle signs she's playing hard to get | Ultimate guide

Are you puzzled by her behavior? Then this article will tell you what it all means. Find out with these 12 signs if she's playing hard to get!

Author picture of David Hall
Dating Expert David Hall August 8, 2023 • 8 minutes read
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We’ve all been there: the lingering glances, the playful teases, the maddeningly elusive text responses. You’re left wondering if she’s genuinely busy or just weaving a captivating dance of ‘catch me if you can.’ Navigating the world of romantic pursuit can feel like deciphering a cryptic puzzle.

Don’t worry, we’re about to embark on a journey to uncover the age-old question: “Is she playing hard to get, or is she just not into you?” Dive in, and let’s demystify this romantic riddle together.

1. She takes her time texting back

1. She takes her time texting back

If a woman takes a lot of time to write back, it’s probably the biggest sign that she plays hard to get. Playing hard to get often means making the other person wait, even if it pains you too.

But we also have to talk about what “a lot of time” is. If it takes her an hour to reply, that’s not a long time. A day? Maybe. Three days? She’s playing hard to get without any doubt, especially if you know that she’s on her phone constantly.

2. She says she’s busy

If she frequently says “maybe” or “I’ll see if I can make it”, she’s likely playing hard to get. A person who’s playing hard to get will always make an effort on seeming desirable. And people who have less time for you than others are especially desirable.

But if her calendar seems to be full all the time and she says “no” to almost all of your invitations, she’s probably not interested in you at all. It’s time to let her go and back off.

3. She teases you playfully

Playful teasing is usually a sign that someone is interested in you. And when it comes to playing hard to get, teasing is one of the things that people do to make the other person want them more because it often also results in mixed signals.

But be careful because there’s also a thin line between playful teasing and being mean. If her teasing is more hurtful than funny, it might be time to back off.

4. She talks about other people she finds attractive

4. She talks about other people she finds attractive

When a woman starts talking about other people she’s attracted to, it’s often a sign that she’s not interested in you. People who are playing hard to get will oftentimes try to make the person they’re interested in jealous.

By talking about other hotties, she tries to send the message that you have to try hard to earn her, because like mommas used to say: “there is plenty of other fish in the sea.”

If you suspect her of not being interested in you, read this guide about signs she doesn’t want a relationship with you!

5. She flirts with other people in front of you

When a woman is flirting with other people in front of you, she’s either not interested in you or playing hard to get. It’s a similar thing as the previous point, just a bit more drastic.

She wants to see how jealous you get. The best thing is to encourage her and act like you don’t care at all. Turn the tables and take control of the situation!

Do you want to find out for sure if she likes you or not? Here are 19 telltale signs that a girl likes you!

6. She doesn’t make any moves

When a woman is interested in you, she’ll often try to make physical contact. If a woman is playing hard to get, she’ll usually avoid any physical contact. She doesn’t want to make it too easy for you. She may touch you occasionally like it’s no big thing just to keep you on the hook.

But there’s also an exception to this rule: some women are just shy and don’t feel comfortable making the first move. So if she’s touchy-feely with her friends but not with you, she might just be shy.

7. Her friends know who you are

7. Her friends know who you are

If she gives you mixed signals, but all her friends already seem to know who you are, she was definitely talking about you. This could mean she was talking good or bad about you, of course, but normally you can tell by the reactions of her friends.

If her friends seem curious about you and smile a lot in your presence, she probably gushed about you. If they seem repellent and a bit mean or sympathetic, it’s a sign that she isn’t into you but only talked to them about you because you are a nuisance for her.

8. She is always late

Lateness could mean a lot of things, but it’s often a sign that someone is playing hard to get. When someone is trying to make you wait, they’re trying to gain some power in the relationship. It makes them feel more wanted and desired.

But there are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Some people are just chronically late, or they might have had a tough day. So before you write her off as being a player, make sure to rule out these other possibilities.

But if you’re sure that the reason for her being late is just playing hard to get, then turn the tables: spend your time waiting more wisely.

This means that you, for example, already order a drink at the bar you’re supposed to meet her and flirt with the hot bartender in the meantime. Or talk to anyone for that matter; just don’t stare into your phone.

If she lets you wait for too long, though, just leave and go home. Nobody has time for that!

9. She’ll allow some intimacy but let you wait for sex

A woman who’s playing hard to get will let you wait. This goes hand in hand with the last point: If a woman is playing hard to get, she’ll often make you wait for sex.

It’s pretty normal for a woman to let you wait a while (for example, until the infamous third date). But many women will let you wait way longer than that.

The reasons for this can be manyfold. Either she’s very unsure of you, she had traumatic experiences in the past and just needs the time, or she is playing hard to get. The latter is most definitely the case if there were several instances in which you almost went down to business, but she stopped just before things got exciting.

10. She’ll give you just enough attention to keep you interested

10. She'll give you just enough attention to keep you interested

When a woman is playing hard to get, she’ll often give you just enough attention to keep you interested. She doesn’t want to seem too eager and make you lose interest.

Sometimes this takes the form of mixed signals like mentioned before: she’ll be attentive one moment and then ignore you the next.

But it can also be a lot more subtle than that. For example, she might always reply to your messages but never initiate contact. Or maybe she only agrees to meet you for drinks but never wants to go out on a date.

All these things are meant to keep you interested while she retains the power in the relationship.

11. She always looks smoking hot

If she sends off mixed signals but always shows up as a bombshell when meeting you, she definitely wants you to be interested in her. This is a classic ploy of women who are playing hard to get.

They want you to be drooling over them while they retain the power. It’s a way of making you feel like you’re lucky to even be talking to them.

12. You feel confused by her behavior

12. You feel confused by her behavior

This is probably the number one sign that she’s playing hard to get. If you can’t make sense of her behavior, it’s because she’s doing everything in her power to confuse you.

She wants you to be second-guessing yourself so that you’ll become more pliable and easier to control. Also, this makes you want her even more since a little bit of mysteriousness always makes us want to solve a puzzle.

If you’re feeling particularly lost, it might be helpful to talk to someone about it. Friends or family can often give you some good insights into her behavior. And if all else fails, there’s always the internet!

But the best advice I could give you is to stop pondering. This will make her plan crumble before her very eyes. Don’t act the way she intends you to. Look through her game and show her that you’re not falling for it.

The best way to stop her from playing games is to play a game yourself. Never accuse her of playing a game or lose control. This way you’ll lose her. Remain calm and just enjoy the interaction. Don’t take everything too serious!

Dating and relationship books for men: The ultimate guide

If you’re looking for some guidance when it comes to dating and relationships as a man, you’re in luck. This list features a variety of books that offer advice and insights on everything from how to approach women and start conversations, to what to do on dates, to how to develop a lasting and fulfilling relationship.

  1. For Married Men Only: Three Principles for Loving Your Wife
  2. The Single Dad's Survival Guide: How to Succeed as a One-Man Parenting Team
  3. From Shy To Social: The Shy Man's Guide to Personal & Dating Success
  4. Dating for Men: A Guide for Attracting Women: Practical Advice from a Female Dating Coach
  5. Becoming Mr. Right: A Young Man's Guide to God-Honoring Relationships
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Author picture of David Hall
Dating Expert

David Hall

David Hall is a self-taught dating expert who works as a freelance writer to help people improve their love lives. He has always been interested in dating, physical attraction, and …

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