science

Are we too old for games? Research sheds some light on playing hard to get

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No one likes to admit that he or she plays games; why would anyone cop to something so juvenile or immature? But, what if there were some real data that supported game play? One of the most frequently played games—playing hard to get—describes the act of feigning disinterest in a potential mate to increase the mate’s interest. Honing this type of game was the basis of New York Times’ controversial bestseller for women, The Rules. It’s also described in The Game, a how-to guide for any budding pick up artist. Despite the manipulative undertone, could these old school tactics and strategies help us find love? Researchers Peter Jonason and Norman Li spearheaded the study on college campuses to find the answer.

 

To determine effects of availability on desire, 270 heterosexual students were shown three dating profiles all similar save for the profiled person’s availability. When asked which profile would be the best choice for casual sex, both women and men preferred a partner with high availability. Without having to determine emotional or mental compatibility, singles need only to notice physical attraction—a determination that can be made without more than a glance. Without having to account for a future, singles can skip the process of determining sustainability.

 

On the other hand, singles seeking dating or a serious relationship, preferred moderate to scarce availability. Those with minimal availability are displaying greater independence and are less inclined to commit to a single partner without due diligence—all positive attributes of a future partner.

 

Availability didn’t just affect the type of relationship, it also influenced how likely the students were to invest actual resources in the profile. When participants were asked which restaurant they would take the low, medium, and highly available profiles to—fast food, casual, or luxe—the low availability candidates were most likely to get the luxe meal.

 

Those who play hard to get have two motives: firstly, to drive desirability of their potential mate but also to test just how committed the potential mate is to a longer term relationship. For anyone seeking a relationship, this sounds like the perfect recipe. But, is it?

 

In another study by Jayson Jia, Xianchi Dai, and Ping Dong, results revealed that playing hard to get only works if there is already some semblance of romantic interest. If someone is not interested in you to begin with, it is highly unlikely that they invest more effort in “acquiring” the person. If, however, someone shows interest in something more than a fling, playing hard to get is a way to demonstrate that you have other options, a characteristic of singles in high demand. If you start playing hard to get right off the bat, your plans to drive interest could backfire. Instead, approach potential mates with a friendly, social demeanor. As these researchers concluded, “Playing easy to get always yields more positive affective evaluations of liking, regardless of the degree of prior psychological commitment.”

 

So, how can you play hard to get in a way that isn’t manipulative? Here’s the answer: You don’t need to. If you cultivate a life with people you enjoy and activities that hold your interest, you will need to schedule time for a date instead of being available at a moment’s notice. If you find yourself coming on too strong, switch the mentality. Instead of playing hard to get, be more discerning. Give your potential partner a chance to show you who he or she is before revealing your interest.

 

Here’s How to Escape the Friend Zone

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The friend zone—it is the place you’ll end up if your romantic interest thinks you’re nice, but isn’t attracted to you romantically. Despite your best attempts to show your “friend” how great being in a relationship could be, your “friend” just isn’t reciprocating. Maybe one or more of the following has happened to you:

  • A romantic prospect introduces you to other people, saying “This is my FRIEND…”
  • A romantic prospect refers to you as a “brother” or “sister”- perhaps after there was some sort of physical contact (i.e., a brief make-out that leads to them pushing you away…saying “I feel like you’re my sister/brother.” 😦
  • You’ve made obvious advances that were ignored

Shifting interest from “just friends” to something more is difficult, but not impossible. If you are perpetually finding yourself in the friend zone, consider these three principles and a few tips on how best to implement them.

  1. The Principle of Least Interest: The member of a relationship who cares least about it is often more desirable and powerful. In other words, letting go of your intense desire to be in the relationship is more likely to boost your chances of ending up in one. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s the same principle that explains why so many of us have played ‘hard to get’. Feigning a lack of interest can make oneself more desirable.

So what can you do? Entertain other options.

Showing interest in others demonstrates that you aren’t willing to forego other options for someone who isn’t feeling the same way about you. In other words, you’re not going to sit and wait for someone to start being interested in you. Though not seeming too eager can be hard when you really do like someone, actively meeting other people and keeping your options open will help you regain some of the power that you lost while pursuing a relatively disinterested person.

  1. The Principle of Scarcity: A close cousin of Principle #1… Because we value things that are scarce more than we value the things that are abundant, it’s in your best interest to remain somewhat unavailable. When you are always available, you’re depriving your partner of an opportunity to win you over and understand just how valuable your time is.

So what can you do? Fill up your social calendar.

Getting busy will give your love interest an opportunity to miss you. Committing yourself to other activities—and refusing to cancel them—is a great way to signal that your time and energy are valuable.

  1. The Ben Franklin Effect: This psychological phenomenon explains why people have better feelings towards the people for whom they do favors. In practice, this means that you are the favor asker instead of the favor doer.

So what can you do? Ask for small favors that can lead to spending time together.

Figure out a way for her to help you out and also to spend time with you. If your apartment feels a little stale, ask her to help you redecorate. If you need a weekend away, ask her to watch the dog; find a way for her to help you out. Instead of you driving to their home every day after work, ask them to drive to you.

How to Get Over a Break Up ASAP

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Both sides of the break up coin are agonizing. The person initiating the split has to fill the role of bearer of bad news, usually wounding the heart (and ego) of someone who he or she cares for deeply. He or she usually experiences guilt, confusion, and a unique type of stress that stems from knowing the end is near. On the other hand, we have the person receiving a final decision. Stripped of all opportunity to direct the course of the relationship, this person is left vulnerable, helpless, shocked, or disappointed.

If there was connection—real connection—pain is to be expected from all parties involved. We also know that every relationship that doesn’t make it to the next level will end with a breakup, yet we still find ourselves hurting after every split.

So, how do we heal from heartbreak faster?

  1. Avoid Numbing Agents—Shopping, food, alcohol, rebounds, pills, and drugs used to mask the pain will only prolong the agony of loss. Deriving relief this way will only push you deeper into depression, debt, or weight gain.

 

  1. Feed Yourself Well—When your heart is hurting, it’s even more important to monitor what goes in your body. Excessive sugar will crash your system; processed food will challenge your energy; and not eating will stress your heart even further. Now is the time to treat yourself to the best food you can get your hands on.

 

  1. Bring Yourself Joy—It’s easy to fall out of love with yourself just because someone else has. So many factors lead to relationships ending; we forget that so many of those reasons have nothing to do with who we are.

 

  1. Follow the Good Vibes—We tend to feed off of the energy around us. Experiment with a new crowd that offers you a fresh start. Science reveals laughing and smiling are instant mood lifters, so give yourself an opportunity to absorb the joy around you.

 

  1. Remove the Reminders—Pictures, cards, and other reminders should be out of sight. There is no need to live among reminders of relationships past. The mementos, seemingly innocuous, can derail your path to healing. Also, consider un-following—not unfriending—your ex on social media. You can always change the setting when you’re in a better place without anyone finding out.

 

  1. Keep it Simple—This is harder than you think. Attending parties he/she might attend? No. Finding reasons to reach out? No. Keeping in touch with his/her friends? No. It’s easy to think you can “be adult” about crossing paths, but the heavy emotional charge has a way of clouding better judgment.

Ironically, the things we are least likely to do during a break up — eating right, visiting friends, meeting new people—are the things that will help us heal the fastest. Giving yourself the time to cope with loss is going to fast track you to a better place with a better partner.

Why do we kiss?

How you ever changed your opinion of an awkward first date when it ended with a surprisingly good kiss? Or maybe you found yourself questioning the value of an otherwise wonderful experience after a date that ended with no kiss at all? There’s no denying that when it comes to relationships and romance, kissing is incredibly important. And even when it lasts for only a few seconds, sharing a kiss is one of the most intimate and revealing things that two people can do. How much importance do you place on a good kiss? And why do you think it matters? Arab casual couple flirting ready to kiss with love

Take a few minutes to watch this video from the Linx team about The Science of Kissing: