Are you looking for love in 2013? Keep this love lesson in mind – play hard-to-get! That’s the word, not from relationship experts – but from scientists. Researchers had 500 volunteers complete a questionnaire that asked things like “Do you play hard-to-get when you like someone?” And “What are your hard-to-get strategies?” The result? Both men and women pretend to be unavailable when they’re actually interested in someone. But their styles are very different. For example, women tend to turn down the first few date invitations, and they often don’t return text messages or calls. But when a man plays hard-to-get, he usually acts rude. Like, he’ll say he wants to make plans with you for the weekend, and then he won’t text you until Sunday night, after you’ve been waiting the whole weekend. But when he DOES text, he’ll say something oblivious, like, “Hey! What’s up?”

So, why do we pretend not to be interested in someone who we actually like? Researchers say that we’re wired to play hard-to-get because it weeds out potential mates that aren’t truly interested in us – or in making a commitment. It also drives up your demand. If you turn down a date because you’re supposedly “busy,” they’ll automatically think that you’re in demand – and they’ll want to go out with you even more.

And all of the back and forth process of “do they like me or don’t they like me” attracts a much higher-quality mate – one who’s interested in a serious relationship with you.

But don’t play too hard-to-get! The study found that women prefer men who are “medium” in availability, in other words, not too easy, but not too impossible to lock down. Meanwhile, single ladies, you might want to up your game because researchers say that men want to date a woman with extremely low availability – like nearly impossible to get!

Lesson Expert

Meredith McKenna