How to Tell if Someone is Playing Hard to Get or Just Not Interested?

Updated April 09, 2017

Trying to figure out if a person is playing hard to get or is not interested at all, can be frustrating and appear complicated on the surface--particularly with all of the mixed messages that may signal interest one moment and lack of interest the next. People often play hard to get because of cultural and gender 'rules.' Another reason a person may appear to be playing hard to get is simply because they are shy. Knowing, however, if there is real interest is crucial to taking the first step to commencing a relationship.

Make eye contact and observe returned eye contact. Typically interest is associated with sustained eye contact followed with a smile.

Start a conversation. If a person is truly interested in you, they'll be delighted you've started the conversation and though they may appear shy in the beginning, they will warm up to your questions and will likely ask similar questions as well.

Observe behaviour that suggests the person is showing up where you are unexpectedly. This could mean that they've asked other people about your schedule or have figured it out from previous observations in public places like the gym or grocery store.

Take a look at the person's friends. Do they giggle, smile or watch you. Also be aware of how the person you like responds as well. If they giggle or smile too, that could be a clear indication that the feeling is mutual. If the person suggests a gesture that tells a friend, stop teasing, then it could mean they aren't interested.

Take note whether or not the person is returning your calls-if they have your telephone number. If they don't ever call you back, this likely signals a sign of disinterest. If they do often call you back, then you can assume that there is some level of interest there.

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About the Author

Mary Cole resides in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and works as an engineer for a major wireless company. She began writing professionally in 1999. Cole holds a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College and attended film school at Columbia University in New York City.