Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Quote of the Day: Playing Hard to Get Works for Guys

“When people first meet, it may be that popular dating advice is correct: Keeping people in the dark about how much we like them will increase how much they think about us and will pique their interest.” — researchers, Erin Whitchurch, Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia, and Daniel Gilbert of Harvard University.

A new study, published in this month’s issue of the journal “Psychological Science” claims that men may have better success with women if they play a little hard to get. Take that with a grain of salt, though. Only 47 women — all undergrads — participated in the study that used fictitious Facebook profiles to gauge the ladies’ interest level. The women were shown (fake) profiles of guys and were told that the same men had also been shown their profiles. One group of women were told these guys saw their profiles and liked them the most, a second group was told they had rated average, and the final group was given an ambiguous rating (the guys just couldn’t make up their minds, you see).

Guess which group was most intrigued by the fictitious men? The final group! The women who were told they rated average were least into the guys, and women who were told they rated highest were just somewhat interested. Moral: college girls like flaky, noncommittal guys. Now, what does that mean for the rest of us … hmm? [via Live Science]

15 comments… add one
  • LK7889 February 10, 2011, 12:11 pm

    Ok, I don’t understand this. I take people’s word at face value and hate game playing. If I got an “eh, I don’t know, maybe” from a guy, I would take that as him not being interested and MOA. Are there really that many women out there that like playing these sorts of games?

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  • Laurel February 10, 2011, 1:22 pm

    Seems like bunk to me.

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  • Wolvie_girl February 10, 2011, 1:45 pm

    Is it just me, or do the standards for what type of study will be published seem to be slipping a little???

    Only 47 women in the pool
    They were only given 4 profiles to judge
    They were told that all 4 liked them the most, all 4 found them average, or all 4 were unclear about if they liked them or not
    More women in the last group liked and thought about their 4 fake dudes than the other two groups, therefore women like men who play hard to get

    Seriously? That got published??? I could come up with a better study than that and I was an English major in college! With such a small pool of women and such a limited amount of choices these women had, isn’t it just more likely that the dozen or so women in the last group just happended to be more attracted to the guys than the 20 or so in the other two groups? How can you make any kind of conclusive decision on 47 people?

    Also, wouldn’t it have been better to show the girls lots of guys, tell them which ones found them attractive, mediocre, or undecided, and then ask which the girls found more attractive; rather than say all these dudes found you mediocre, how much do you like them?

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    • Elle February 10, 2011, 2:09 pm

      Completely useless stats trivia – from a random sample of 30 observations, you can draw inferences about the population statistics. Their sample is 47, so they got that covered. The sample doesn’t seem to be random though – it’s only made of college female students. And their research methods can obviously be improved along the lines you suggested. But in research, as long as you are the first one doing a certain type of study, you can get it published (sketchy, I know). Looks like they left A LOT of room for improvement :).

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  • fast eddie February 10, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Actually I believe it having been told on more then a few occasions that I was pushing too hard for a deeper relationship. In the same era the women that I wasn’t all that much into griped about my lack of attention and/or commitment.

    My conclusion remains that neither sex knows what they want beyond feeling that what they have in hand which isn’t fulfilling. In my single years I yearned for a committed relationship, but when one started going that way my interest waned. Sometimes I still feel that way after 23 years of marriage.

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    • cdj0815 February 10, 2011, 3:39 pm

      Fast Eddie, what does your wife say about, “Sometimes I still feel that way after 23 years of marriage”. This is interesting.

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      • fast eddie February 10, 2011, 8:14 pm

        To judge from our “discussions” the feeling’s mutual. I know why we stay together but sometimes it’s hard to remember it. The reality is neither of us could do better alone or with someone else.

    • plasticepoxy February 11, 2011, 3:05 pm

      I love reading your comments FE. I feel like you express yourself well. When I don’t agree with your viewpoint, I understand where you’re coming from, something I really appreciate. I also enjoy the perspective from someone outside of my generation. It’s nice to know that people aren’t that different from each other, despite all the differences we have. Pretend that sentence makes sense for me, will you?

      I hope you’ve considered participating in Wendy’s male-perspective pieces!

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      • fast eddie February 14, 2011, 5:43 pm

        Oh ya, I’d never pass up a chance to put in my 2 cents worth. Like Wendy has said, it’s the varied perspectives that make this forum what it is. Thank you for your kind words.

  • LWilson February 10, 2011, 11:18 pm

    Unfornately I have met quite a few men and after the first date they are texting me immediately telling me what a great time they had and they can’t wait to see me again, etc. I enjoyed my dates with these guys, but with their immediate admoration I was completely turned off :(.

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  • Red_Lady February 11, 2011, 12:11 am

    Soooo, women like men who don’t seem to be interested in them? Wow, that’s sad. I’d much prefer to like a guy that likes me back.

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    • TheOtherMe2011 February 11, 2011, 11:05 am

      It’s’ the George Costanza syndrome ! He became infatuated with a woman just because he found out she couldn’t stand him !

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  • _jsw_ February 11, 2011, 11:56 am

    I agree that the study is fairly limited in its predictive power outside of perhaps for female college undergrads, but the results make sense. In general, getting is more enjoyable than having, and something which is easily attainable is less attractive than something which isn’t.

    Obviously, relationships have intrinsic value that makes up for the initial thrill of pursuit and those first moments together, but the “do they like me? can I get them to go out with me? will we kiss?” moments possess a lot more thrill than most post-relationship-start ones. Not more value, not more contentment, but more thrill.

    As a result, I think we generally tend to want the person who isn’t blatantly available to us more than someone we know we can get, as long as they’re not disqualified (not our type, as it were) for some other reason.

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  • Calliopedork February 11, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Hmm I dislike men who don’t obviously like me based on principle. Maybe ive been missing out on a bunch who have just been playing hard to get

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    • fast eddie February 14, 2011, 5:48 pm

      I have a lot of doubt that men “play” hard to get, but many are simply to unsure of themselves, as in fear of rejection, to take the initiative. From what I read, lots of women are the same way.

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