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How to Play Hard to Get

Yeah, it's manipulative. And old-fashioned. And kind of unseemly. But it works.


  • Step 1: Don't make the move Don't make the first move. Though it will likely get you a date—with a whopping 90% success rate—it will be for the wrong reasons. Basically, he'll think you're easy—and treat you accordingly.
  • Step 2: Don't be too eager When a man who interests you starts a conversation, be friendly—but don't act too eager. Eagerness can easily be misconstrued as desperation, which is never attractive.
  • TIP: Always be the first to end the conversation, even if you could look into his baby blues all night.
  • Step 3: Don't call first Never call him first unless you have an outstanding reason—like you've snared tickets to the Super Bowl and want to know if he's free to go.
  • Step 4: Take your time Don't be too quick to return that first call—and don't explain why it took you so long to get back. If he asks, be vague. Make him wonder what you're up to.
  • TIP: Don't talk about your romantic past. Better to be mysterious than to divulge past loves or—worse—admit you haven't had a date in years.
  • Step 5: Don't accept every offer Don't accept every offer of a date. Ideally, you should be politely declining about half of his invitations because you're genuinely busy. But even if you're not, pretend that you are.
  • TIP: Don't cancel other plans to be with him—unless he's got a private jet waiting to fly you to Paris for dinner.
  • Step 6: Refrain from sex Hold off sex for as long as you can stand it. Nothing torpedoes a romance faster than inhaling someone's morning breath or having to stay awake listening to them snore before you really know and love—or at least like—them.
  • Step 7: Book the minister Book the minister. He's hooked!
  • FACT: Fifty-seven percent of men say they change their sheets "for the first time in ages" before a first date.

You Will Need

  • A guy you like
  • And a lot of self-control

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