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Is she playing hard to get or not interested? 20 ways to tell 

It’s an old tactic, but playing hard to get is still a popular go-to method to attract a guy. Whether you agree with the technique or not, it can certainly be effective (if not frustrating too).

As the pursuer, you’re probably wondering what the heck is going on. One minute she seems interested, the next she behaves like a stranger.

But if all this turbulence is making you question whether she’s playing hard to get or not interested (which unfortunately is a real possibility) we’re going to get to the bottom of it.

By the end of this article, you’ll know whether she’s worth pursuing, or if she’s just out to waste your time with no intention of ever dating you.

Let’s jump straight in:

20 signs she’s playing hard to get

1) She won’t commit to anything (but she will show up)

Trying to make plans with a girl who’s playing hard to get is hard. And I mean, really hard.

Sometimes, she’ll lead you to believe that she’s up for making plans, she loves that band you mentioned and wants to go to their concert. Yet, when you try and narrow down a date, she won’t commit.

And here’s the tricky part:

She won’t commit, but she won’t say no either. Essentially, you’re left in limbo, wondering what the right move to make is.

But here’s how you know that she does like you despite her tactics – she’ll show up.

Whether it’s the party you invited her to, the concert, the bbq on the beach, even if she won’t confirm it beforehand, somehow she’ll appear.

This is because she does want to see you, but she doesn’t want you to know that.

Not committing maintains her “cool” image, but it also allows her to pick and choose when she sees you. It keeps her in control.

2) She’s always busy

A girl who plays hard to get acts like her schedule is busier than that of the president of the United States. She’ll have a flair of importance about her, and she won’t hesitate to tell you all the amazing plans she’s got (which don’t involve you).

The truth is, whether she has a bustling social life or not, she’s most likely exaggerating some of it.

Being busy makes her way more desirable. She appears popular, sociable, and most of all, important.

If she likes you, this is her way of showing off. She knows that every time she turns you down because she’s got other plans, it makes you want her more.

3) She enjoys your attention but doesn’t always return it

This is another key sign of playing hard to get – she enjoys your attention, but she’ll rarely give it back.

Whether it’s giving compliments, or taking note of her likes and dislikes, she’ll feed into it and almost dangle the carrot in front of you to keep you interested.

But, she won’t reciprocate it.

She won’t complement your new shirt or ask you what’s wrong when you look stressed out.

The truth is, she may want to give you attention, but this is all part of her plan to keep you sucked in.

Keep in mind that if she’s not interested at all, she won’t enjoy any attention you give her. She’ll ignore you, look unimpressed or even stay well clear of you.

4) She takes a while to respond to your messages

From hit series like Sex and the City to Rachel trying to keep the “ball in her court” when she seduces Danny on the popular series Friends, acting aloof and taking your time is a signature move when playing hard to get.

You may even be surprised to know that there are guidelines that women follow to determine how quickly they should respond to a guy’s message.

Some believe there’s a 24hr rule, others will go the extra mile and wait a few days. Some women crack sooner and will reply in just a few hours.

But one thing is for sure, if she’s playing hard to get, she won’t be replying to your messages straight away.

Why?

Because this all feeds into the image of her being busy and desirable. If she replied too quickly, you might mistake her for being desperate or needy.

5) She rarely makes the first move

Whether it’s asking you to meet up, or physically making a move, she’ll probably hold back if she’s playing hard to get.

However, there’s a catch.

She’ll pave the way for you to do it first. Stay with me on this one…

She wants to party with you, but she doesn’t want to outright ask you.

So, to plant the seed in your head, she’ll casually mention how her favorite club is having an event over the weekend.

That’s all she’ll say, but deep down she knows that your brain is connecting the dots and that you’ll probably ask her if she wants to go. In which case she’ll say “maybe”.

So why doesn’t she just initiate a date?

Well, for many reasons. She might want to see how willing you are to take the lead (some women love men who take control), or this could be part of her plan to get you to chase her.

6) She remains a mystery no matter how much you hang out

Does it feel like you still don’t truly know her, even if you’ve been hanging out a while?

If so, you’re dealing with a girl who’s playing hard to get. Remaining a mystery is her way of keeping you captivated.

If she revealed all on the first date, what would be left for you to keep coming back to?

Of course, in the real world, playing hard to get isn’t always the maturest approach to take, but keeping some mystery has been proven to work in attracting a new partner.

Scott Kaufmann of PsychologyToday agrees, “It seems that being unavailable isn’t attractive, but being mysterious is”.

This is because an element of the unknown sparks our interest and keeps us wanting to know more.

Here’s the catch:

The trick is to not be completely unavailable, as this can be off-putting.

So, if she does like you deep down, she will give you tidbits of information about her life, she just won’t reveal it all straight up.

7) She won’t follow you on social media (unless you do it first)

Social media is such a huge part of dating now. After exchanging numbers with someone, the first thing we tend to do is look them up on Facebook or Instagram.

We pour over their latest Tweets, and sometimes even posts from many years ago (depending on how much of an internet stalker you are).

But what happens when a girl is playing hard to get?

She might still check you out online, but she won’t be sending follow or friend requests.

She’ll act like you don’t exist in the online world unless you make the first move and add her.

8) She refuses your help

The truth is:

Most women like being helped out from time to time. No matter how independent she is, it’s always nice to have someone to lean on when times get tough.

But if she’s on a mission to make you work for her love and affection, she’ll also make you earn the right to take on that supportive role in her life.

Why?

Because she thinks that letting you in too soon will turn you off.

You’ll see her vulnerabilities and recognize that she’s human like the rest of us, which diminishes that sense of mystery she’s trying to build up.

So what can you do about it?

Naturally, if you like her and want to be there for her, just keep doing it.

She’ll reject your offers of help, but she’ll still take note of the fact that you were willing to lend a hand. Over time, she’ll gradually let you in once she’s sure you’ll stick around.

9) She can be affectionate at times

Affection plays a major role when dating someone.

Those sweet first kisses, the exciting “accidental” brushes of her hand against your leg. What we don’t say with words, we convey with our body language and touch.

So when a girl is playing hard to get, she’s got to show her affection much more subtly.

She might not outright kiss you, but she will lean forward and make herself available to be kissed.

Instead of grabbing your hand first, she’ll rest hers on the table making it easier for you to make the first move.

And sometimes, she’ll “accidentally” brush her leg against yours, or rest her hand on your arm whilst she speaks.

Don’t overlook these small signs, because they all hint at her having an interest and an attraction to you.

10) She mentions other guys

Much to your dismay, the girl you’re pursuing may bring up other guys she’s seeing or thinks are cute. This is all part of, playing hard to get.

And there’s essentially only one reason she does it:

To see how you react.

She wants to find out if her ruse is working, and whether you find her desirable or not. If she sees you uncomfortable with her flirting with other guys, it’s a sure sign that you have feelings for her.

On the other hand, it’s also a case of keeping up her image as “hard to get”.

The more you think other guys are interested in her, the more you’ll work to come out at number one and win her affection (before someone else does).

It’s a simple tactic (she could be making it up, and the date she went on the other night was actually with her best friend), but very effective in provoking a reaction out of you.

11) She’ll test you in different ways

And just as a woman playing hard to get might try to test your jealousy, she’ll also test you in other ways.

Sometimes it’ll be in the form of teasing, making jokes at your expense, and generally pushing your buttons.

An important side note — playful banter and teasing shouldn’t ever become personal or offensive.

Of course, depending on how well you know each other, limits may be pushed but if it ever delves into hurtful waters, she’s not the right girl for you.

Another way she’ll test you is to be challenging or difficult. She won’t make it easy for you to make plans with her, and this is all to test your patience (and persistence).

And finally, she may even test you as a result of her insecurities.

Sounds a little crazy, I know. But here’s how:

The chances are you’ve already come across questions like “Do these jeans make my butt look fat?”, and as innocent as they seem, your response is being closely monitored.

When a woman asks you questions like this, she wants to know whether you’re going to respond in a way that reassures her insecurities, or whether you’ll shrug it off and leave her feeling like butt truly does look huge.

All of these tests are a way to measure you up and figure you out. But they also enhance this game of chase, whereby her testiness keeps you on your toes and engaged.

12) She replies with one-word answers

Let’s be honest here, no one enjoys talking to someone who grunts or barely replies.

And one-word answers aren’t much better. But unfortunately, if she’s playing hard to get, you may find your conversations are very limited and one-sided.

So why does she give you such curt responses?

It falls under a few of the different signs we’ve already mentioned, like:

  • Wanting to appear more mysterious. The less she shares, the more you’ll want to know
  • Boosts her image of being busy. She’s so busy, she only has time to text one-word replies
  • She’s enjoying your attention but not giving much back. You might have texted her a whole paragraph but her blunt reply shows she’s keeping you at bay for now

But ultimately, it can be quite rude and disheartening to make an effort with someone who won’t communicate properly.

It may be part of her plan, but you’ve got to weigh up how mature this level of behavior is and whether you can be bothered to keep pursuing her. That’ll depend on how often she responds like this.

13) She might allow some intimacy, but she’ll make you wait before sex

Now, when it comes down to having a bit of fun and getting it on, a girl playing hard to get will let you go so far…and then stop.

I get it, it’s one of the most frustrating things in the world — to be turned on and then left hanging. She’s teasing you, and she knows it’s driving you mad.

So what’s the goal with this move?

Well, the more she teases you, the more you’ll want her.

According to psychologist Gurit Birnbaum:

“People who are too easy to attract may be perceived as more desperate. That makes them seem less valuable and appealing than those who do not make their romantic interest apparent right away.”

So, this could simply be another ploy to make her look more attractive, wanted, and desirable, and to make you crave her even more.

And it links back to the different ways she’ll test you. Again, this is the perfect opportunity to see how patient you’re willing to be with her before giving up.

But on a positive note, the fact that she does engage in some intimacy shows that your feelings are reciprocated, she’s just holding back before going the full mile.

14) She’ll always be cool, calm, and collected

Most people try to put their best foot forward on the first date, but if over time they still don’t share parts of their true personality, it can be a worrying sign.

You might feel like she’s purposely holding back.

But the truth is, even if she wants to open up to you, she might feel like she can’t.

Being vulnerable and showing someone our weakness isn’t easy to do. One reason she’s playing hard get could be linked to having a fear of rejection.

Psychologist Omri Gillath explains:

“Insecure people (high on avoidance, anxiety, or both) use hard-to-get strategies to manage their psychological vulnerabilities”.

It can also indicate trust issues. So there’s always the possibility that she has a lot more going on under the surface, and she uses playing hard to get as a mechanism to keep you at a safe distance.

You’ll know this is the case if:

  • She hides her emotions
  • She never lets you in on her problems
  • She keeps up an appearance of being calm and collected, even when she’s stressed out
  • She doesn’t show her true reactions

But ultimately, until you get to know her better, you’ll never know the real reasons behind her calm, “perfect” exterior.

15) If you make plans, she’ll usually show up late

It’s believed that to make an entrance, you’ve got to be the last one to enter the room. Now, some women take that literally and make it a habit to never turn up to a date or event on time.

And if she’s playing hard to get, she may do the same to you.

You’ll notice that she doesn’t have a valid excuse, she’ll make something up about the traffic and move on with the conversation.

But you might be wondering, what’s the need to keep me waiting?

The truth is, she’s creating anticipation. The longer you wait for her, the more your excitement builds to see her.

But there’s a fine line. Making you wait for an hour with no communication is utterly disrespectful. Making you wait 10 minutes is more acceptable. (Don’t be the guy that waits an hour – she’s stringing you along).

16) She’ll give you just enough attention to keep you interested

Earlier we mentioned the fact that she’ll lap up the attention you shower her with, yet she won’t reciprocate it.

Here’s the thing:

She will give you just enough to keep you hanging around. I mean, if she was a complete ice queen, you wouldn’t be researching this topic in the first place.

So one clear sign that she’s playing hard to get is that she “teases” you with attention. It might feel very hot and cold. Sometimes she’s all ears for your problems, other times she doesn’t even check in to see how you are.

17) She keeps her barriers up

Keeping her barriers up ties in with not letting you help her, see her vulnerabilities or emotions.

But it can also translate into different areas – she might limit the amount of time you spend with her friends, or she’ll avoid introducing you to her family, for example.

There’s a catch here:

You can find out just how much she likes you by whether she mentions you to other people.

Around your friends, she might let something slip that indicates her true feelings. Or, she might accidentally divulge how she was telling her friends about your date the other night.

All of these signs show that even though she won’t clearly express her feelings to you, she is revealing them to other people.

18) You feel confused by her behavior

A girl playing hard to get may do some or all of the signs we’ve listed, but one thing will be certain – at some point, you’ll find her behavior downright weird.

You might have already got an inkling that she’s deliberately making you chase her, but because her affection towards you is up and down, it can make you question what her true intentions are.

The truth is:

Dating can be a confusing time for most.

The onset of romantic feelings, getting to know someone new, not to mention learning to open up again (which can be hard if you’ve been hurt in the past).

So with all that going on, chasing after a girl who’s playing hard to get simply adds to the mystery of the game. If you feel confused, now things should make a little more sense.

19) She isn’t afraid to disagree with you

Another sign that she’s playing hard to get is if she quite happily challenges you on your views.

She might do it seriously, or playfully, but this is her way of showing you that she can hold her own.

Think about it this way:

If she agreed with everything you said on the first date, would you find her interesting?

Some guys would, but others prefer a bit of challenge and a woman who has a strong personality, and chances are she’s aiming for the latter of the two.

Healthy disagreements can be a great way to get to know someone, to learn new ideas, and to provoke thought in others, so in many ways, it’s great that she’s voicing her opinion.

20) She always looks good

Well, that you know of, anyway. A girl playing hard to get probably won’t show you herself at her worst – she’ll always look fantastic whenever you’re around.

She’ll take extra care with her appearance, and you might even notice her checking herself in the mirror when she thinks you’re not looking.

All of this is simply to get you to notice her.

But what if you try to show up at her house unannounced?

She’ll make up an excuse not to see you – especially if she’s having a rough day and doesn’t look like her usual glammed-up self.

Here’s the thing:

Letting you see her when she’s not comfortable with it goes against playing hard to get.

It shows the vulnerable, real person behind the mask of confidence, and this is precisely what she doesn’t want to happen.

Now, we’ve covered the signs that she’s into you, but she’s playing hard to get.

Hopefully, you’ll be reassured that you aren’t wasting your time chasing after the wrong girl, but if you’re still unconvinced, here’s a few signs that she’s just stringing you along:

Signs she’s not interested in you

This next part might not be as nice to read. In some instances, your advances are for nothing, because she has zero interest in you.

Now, hopefully, if she’s made it clear that there’s no chance, you’ll have picked up on those signs already. Especially if she’s hostile to you or ignores you.

But in some cases, it might seem like there’s a chance, but in reality, she’s just having fun stringing you along for her amusement.

Let’s be honest here, it’s cruel but it happens.

Both men and women have been known to do this. Maybe she’s been single a while, and although she doesn’t like you back, she’s enjoying the attention.

Or, she’s teasing you just to check whether she’s still got it or not. It’s a game designed to boost her ego and reassure her that she’s still attractive.

So what are the signs that she’s not interested in you?

  • She doesn’t bother replying to your messages. When she does, it’s clearly out of politeness and nothing more
  • She often cancels dates at the last minute
  • She never encourages the conversation or keeps it going
  • She never accidentally touches you as we mentioned before
  • She only speaks to you when it’s convenient for her
  • She doesn’t pay any attention to you at all

For more excellent signs that she’s leading you on for nothing, check out this article written by Hackspirit founder Lachlan Brown.

Now, you’ll notice that some of these signs listed are similar to those of playing hard to get, but there are differences.

When she makes you chase her, she will reply to messages, eventually.

She will show up to dates, even if she arrives late.

She will talk, touch you, and give you some attention, but it’ll be in small amounts.

It’s always enough to let you know you’ve got a shot, but not too much to make you think she’s desperate.

The bottom line is:

If she’s not interested in you, move on. You can’t force her to change her mind, and even though she’s sending mixed signals, it’s not worth your time if there’s no genuine affection or connection.

What to do if she’s playing hard to get

And finally, if you’ve concluded that she does like you but is playing hard to get, you’ve got two options:

Stick it out

By sticking it out, you’re showing her that you’re truly invested in getting to know her, regardless of her reasons for playing hard to get.

Most girls give up this ruse after a few weeks, especially once they feel more comfortable around a guy.

The truth is:

Playing hard to get can be fun but in small doses. As we’ve covered, sometimes it can be borderline rude, but if she does it tastefully without offending, it can be a great flirting mechanism.

Give up

On the other hand, if her behavior is immature, she doesn’t respect your feelings and she uses playing hard to get as an excuse to be rude, you should move on.

There’s a line, and once it’s crossed, playing hard to get no longer looks very attractive. In some cases, the person can come across as arrogant or cold-hearted.

And, as much as playing hard to get in the beginning can be fun, it’s not something worse wasting months and months on, especially if you genuinely want to pursue a relationship.

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Written by Kiran Athar

Kiran is a foodie, writer and traveler. She considers herself a citizen of the world, who gets her inspiration from the people she meets along her journeys. She's currently living in Spain, where she spends her time writing, watching the shepherds and eating tapas in the mountains of Andalucía.

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