Is She Really Playing Hard to Get? 13 Tell Tale Signs

How to tell when a woman is playing hard to get?

Well, that’s the thing… you shouldn’t be able to tell! Otherwise, her method would fail.

You would know what to expect, and she wouldn’t have the upper hand anymore. 

But is this really a bad thing? Researchers at the University of Virginia say it’s not! 

In fact, they discovered something amazing: Uncertainty can increase romantic attraction. In other words, not knowing what she really feels for you makes you like her even more.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should mindlessly go with the flow. There is a slight chance this girl is not interested in you at all and you’re misreading her behavior.

Would you like to know for sure?

Look out for the next signs she is playing hard to get!

13 Signs She Is Playing Hard to Get

1. She doesn’t give you a clear “yes” or “no” when you ask her out

The first thing you can do to figure out this girl’s intentions with you is to ask her out and pay close attention to what she says. 

If she’s playing hard to get, she will let you down easy, by saying something like:

  • I’m not free that day, but I’m available the day after that.
  • I’m not into Mexican/Italian food, but I’ve heard a new sushi place just opened.
  • I’m not sure if I can make it. I’m not making any promises.

As you can see, she won’t simply refuse your invitations. She will give you what experts call an “open-ended no.


It’s not because she’s indeed busy or doesn’t like what you have in mind. It’s because she doesn’t want you to know that she’s interested you. 

By doing so, she basically encourages you to try again. She wants to see if you will ask her out again or if you’ll lose interest in her fast.

To some girls, it really matters how hard you try and how perseverent you are when you chase them. They don’t like to give in easily, so buckle up if you’re going to take this ride!

2. She won’t commit but shows up

How can you tell if she has romantic interested in you even though she’s playing hard to get game?

She doesn’t accept your invitations, but she honors them!

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you invite her to a barbeque. She gives you an open-ended “no” answer and basically leaves you in limbo.

But, to your surprise, she shows up.

She comes to wherever you invited her without calling or texting you before. 

What does this mean?

It means she facies you, but is playing a mind game with you to discover just how much you like her.

Let me give you more examples.

You invite her to various places and she says…

  • … wow, that sounds great. I hope I can make it.
  • … ugh, I’m not sure if I’ll be there.
  • … I’d like to have a beer, actually. Maybe I’ll see you there.
  • … thanks for inviting me. Who knows, maybe I’ll show up.
  • … I don’t think so, but I’ll have to check my calendar.

So, if you hear anything along these lines, expect her to come. Don’t take her answer as a definite no. 

In this regard, if you want to see her more often, find as many similar opportunities as possible.

3. She’s always busy

Let’s face it: Understanding a woman who plays hard to get is difficult.

Is she really as busy as she says she is or is that she’s playing hard to get?

Most often than not, she’s exaggerating.

I’m not saying she’s lying to you, but she’s definitely not that busy. She just wants you to think she is.


This trick works because it puts her in a more desirable light. Everyone wants a piece of her. Everyone wants to spend time with her. She’s popular, so you have to wait in line. 

The real question is: Will you wait in line? That’s exactly what she wants to find out – If you think she’s worth the wait.

When she turns you down, she does it because she has feelings for you. She wants to increase your desire for her.

If that’s true, she won’t hesitate to tell you all about her awesome plans that don’t involve you. If it isn’t, she’ll be highly secretive.

Red flag: She openly talks to you about dating someone. In that case, I hate to break it to you, but she’s not interested in you.

4. She doesn’t talk about her past relationships

Ask yourself this: Does she freely talk about her past relationships or not so much?

I know you might not care about her ex-boyfriends, but hear me out. Whether she talks about them or not can help you draw a conclusion about her feelings for you. 

If she likes you as a friend, she will talk to you more openly about her past and share genuine details. 

However, if she finds you romantically and sexually appealing, research suggests that she will downplay details related to her former partners.


She doesn’t want to give you the wrong impression. Your opinion about her matters a lot – even if she’s hiding it.

You see, even if times have changed a lot and the dating world as well, men still brag that they had many more sexual partners than they actually had. 

And the women? Well, they do just the opposite. 

With this in mind, gather some courage and talk about her exes and your exes. Who knows, maybe this will give you a definite answer to your question!

5. She doesn’t reply to your texts or calls right away

Typical hard-to-get behavior also includes the following:

  • When you text her, she takes a long time to reply. 
  • When you call her, she rarely picks up or calls you back.
  • When you DM her, she’s not even curious to read your message right away.
  • If she replies to your texts, her answers are short and dismissive.
  • If she picks up when you call her, she piques your curiosity and says she has to go.

Are there any exceptions?

On very rare occasions (only if she likes you) she will get involved in long conversations with you and talk openly to you. 

Yes, you guessed why… That’s how she keeps you interested. By feeding you breadcrumbs.

Now, if she never makes an exception, then she could be trying to tell you that she’s not into you. 

While it’s true that ignoring you is not the best way to tell you that she’s not interested, you might as well get used to it. 

Many people decide to do this because they hate confrontations and they don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. 

This could be her case, so stop contacting her if she ignores you over and over again. Don’t become desperate.

Fun fact: Some women deliberately wait for more than 24 hours to reply to a guy’s message, especially if they like him.

6. She acts Hot and Cold

Are women who play hard to get can be control freaks as well!

This type of behavior can be rooted in serious abandonment issues, then that might be true. These unpleasant past experiences are what causes a girl to play hard to get.

If you think about it, the girl you like could be playing this game with you because something bad happened to her in the past.

Maybe someone played with her heart before and now she’s doing her best to avoid that by testing any man who is trying to pursue her. 

Controlling women usually exhibit these signs:

  • They want to know where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re doing. 
  • They snoop through your things or look through your phone when you’re not looking.
  • They want your undivided attention and don’t understand if you don’t have time for them.
  • They get jealous easily and this makes them visibly upset and changes their mood.
  • They often criticize your friends and don’t want you to hang out with people who don’t like them.

Depending on where things stand between the two of you, she might threaten you that she will not show up if you also invite that girl she can’t stand or your “gross” friend.

7. She intentionally shows up late to every meet up

You know what they say: All good things are worth waiting for and worth fighting for.

That’s exactly what could be going through this woman’s mind when she shows up late.

On top of that, how else can she make an entrance if no one is there to see her?

If you really want to understand her and the way she acts, just think about how you feel when you’re waiting for her to show up.

You feel eager. You can’t wait to see her. The thought of seeing her makes you feel all sorts of happy emotions. 

Well, that’s exactly what she wants. She is betting on anticipation. While you wait for her, you become even more eager to see her. 

This is just one of the ways she maintains your romantic interest in her. However, this only applies if she runs acceptably late. 

In case you decide to meet at 8 PM and she goes silent until 10 PM when she arrives, you have the right to be upset. 

She’s either stringing you along or has the wrong idea about how long she should keep a man waiting.

8. She tries to make you feel jealous

Another part of she’s playing hard to get? 

She talks about other guys. Or, she could flirt with other guys in front of you.

What is this; is it reverse psychology?

In a way, it is. You see, she’s not really interested in other guys, and, at the same time, she might be lying. 

This woman has no reason to tell you about all the attention she gets from other men unless she wants you to make a move.

If you are her confidant or best friend, that would make sense. But if you aren’t, it’s only a tactic. Her purpose is to determine you to pursue her even more. 

She wants you to put more effort into winning her heart. That’s also why she might flirt with other men when she knows you see her. 

To show you that she has many options to choose from; that she’s valuable; and that you’d be lucky to have her.

However, if she starts telling you that things get serious between her and another guy, then it is a bad sign.

9. She shows signs of affection, but only occasionally

The hard-to-get seduction game includes two main parts: the part when she pushes you away and the part when she gives you her attention and even becomes affectionate.

Don’t expect her to go too far, though!

Girls who play this game are known for the way they tease. On the one hand, they allow some sort of intimacy. 

Gestures such as touching, holding, and even kissing can be involved. However, when it comes to taking things to the next level, they stop. 

Such a woman could tease you to the point where you are horny and… it shows. But she will not go on.

She’ll make you wait for sex

How long?

As long as she needs to prove to you that she is truly worth it. This is, of course, all part of her test for you. 

This girl wants you to see that she’s not easy. She wants you to be convinced that she’s not desperate at all.

She treats her body like a temple and for you to be allowed inside, you’ll have to show her that you don’t give up easily and you can control yourself enough to wait for her.

10. She teases you playfully

A girl playing hard to get will make fun of you. While it sounds counter interactive or even dumb but that’s how the mindset of a “playing hard to get person” works.

To her, making fun of you is a way to grab your attention. She could see it as a way to lift up the mood or make the conversation more interesting. 

How can you tell? When she playfully ribs you, watch what she does with her body. If she displays open body language and she isn’t mean to you, then you might have a chance!

So, if she points her body towards you, plays with her hair, touches you lightly, smiles, and makes eye contact with you while joking, that’s amazing news!

These are all good signs that you’re the one she wants but she’s playing hard to get.

Just to be sure though, there’s something you could do to check: Observe her behavior around other men. If her behavior is similar, then the brutal truth is that she’s only playing you and the other guys as well. 

She’s a woman who enjoys attention but doesn’t have serious intentions with anyone in particular.

11. She draws your attention through touch when you ignore her

Ignoring a girl who is playing hard to get is like beating her at her own game. Even if you don’t do it on purpose, she might react faster than you think!

Since one of the reasons a woman would use this method to attract a guy is the fact that she’s insecure, you could use this to your advantage.

To figure out whether she’s interested or not, ask her out to a group get-together and ignore her a little bit while you’re there. 

Do this only when she sits/stands next to you because otherwise, it won’t work. You won’t give her the chance to do something to draw your attention.

What could she do, though?

For example, if the two are sitting and you’re having a serious talk with another guy that bores her, she might touch your thigh. 

She might try to grab something from a table and place her hand on your leg to sustain herself and then just leave it there.


  • … she might lean on you and even place her head on your shoulder. 
  • … she might reach out to your hands to give you something like candy without interrupting you.
  • … she might get really close to you and try to warm up with the help of your body.

There are countless examples in this regard. However, if she does this, you’ll know.

12. She doesn’t make eye contact with you during a conversation

Wait, isn’t avoiding eye contact a sign she’s not interested?

No, not really!

There could be other reasons, such as the fact that you make her nervous or maybe she’s afraid she will fall in love. 

These are just two of the most common reasons in this regard. So, let’s take them one by one.

Although a woman who is playing hard to get is usually calm and composed, this doesn’t mean that she can’t get nervous. She can!

However, before that happens, she will do whatever it takes to avoid it. She won’t risk appearing nervous. That’s why she won’t make eye contact with you.

She doesn’t want you to notice her nervousness because she’d have some explaining to do. 

If you do manage to look into her eyes for a few seconds, try to get a grasp of how dilated her pupils are. The size of her pupils matters a lot. 

If they’re big, that means she’s attracted to you! Don’t do this from the first seconds you see her. Give her some time to adjust. 

13. She uses her body language to flirt with you

Non-verbal communication is also important when trying to determine where you stand with a woman. She might use her body to tell you things that she won’t say with words.

Things like what?

She could tell you that she is attracted to you or that she wants you to stop what you’re doing and pay attention to her. 

For example, if she licks her lips and bites her lips as well while you’re talking to her, then it means she’s sexually attracted to you. She wants to distract you.

But, if she starts to raise her eyebrows at you and make a sad face while you’re talking to someone else, then it could mean that she wants to tell you something. 

Depending on how expressive she is with her body, she’ll do more or less of these gestures.

What to do if she’s playing hard to get?

A lot of women play hard to get and if these signs have confirmed that your crush in doing the same, then the best thing you could do is stop playing her game and see what she does. 

Especially if you’ve been playing her game for a while now and you showed her many times that you’re serious about her, one way to get her attention is to stop giving her attention.

You have to be patient while doing so, though. This is because she won’t do something immediately. She is used to not talking or seeing you for days in a row. 

At some point, she’ll realize that something is wrong and that’s when she’ll have to decide what to do. 


Finding out for sure if a woman is playing hard to get is definitely possible. That’s why it’s important not to mistake her tactics for disinterest.

Research suggests that we are pretty bad at telling when someone likes us. So, jumping to conclusions is not recommended. 

What is recommended is to observe her behavior over a longer period of time. If you clearly notice when she pushes you away and when she tries to pull you back in, then it means she likes you.

But if she only avoids you and pushes you away, then it means you should give up because she doesn’t want a relationship with you. In this case, it would be best for you to move on.

However, if you like her then I recommend going through our article how to get a girl to like you so that you can spark interest in her.

Daniela Duca Damian
About Daniela Duca Damian

A journalist by profession, Daniela has been sharing her knowledge and personal experience in the psychology of love and relationships for the past 5 years. Her work is based on facts, practical advice and is meant to help everyone achieve their romantic goals. When she isn’t writing, she challenges her friends with meaningful questions about life.

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