Playing hard to get is something just about everyone has been told to do when they want someone in particular to look their way. It’s not always clear what that means though. Figuring out how to do it right is even tougher to figure out, but it’s well worth your while to learn anyway.

When it’s done right, playing hard to get works like a charm for one simple reason. Whether they know it or not, people like to feel they’ve worked for what they have and that includes relationships or meaningful encounters with other people. There are even numerous studies out there that back up the theory that playing hard to get works. Here’s how to get it right.

Draw Things Out When It Comes to Sex

Sure, there’s nothing quite like a super-hot one-night stand when you’re looking to scratch that familiar itch. However, there’s a lot to be said for letting the sexual tension build over time and simmer on the back burner for a while, even if you’re ultimately only interested in something casual with the person.

Spend a little time getting to know each other – your likes and dislikes, your turn-ons and turn-offs. Fan the flames a little. You’ll enjoy the anticipation and waiting will give them something to look forward to. When you do finally have sex, don’t let it become part of your routine together right away either. Treat it like a special treat instead.

Don’t Shower Them With Attention

When you like someone, it probably feels like the most natural thing in the world to give them what they want. If they’re smitten with you, they want you all over them and you probably want to be all over them… but that’s not exactly playing hard to get. Resist that urge at all costs, but without swinging to the opposite extreme.

Yes, you’ll give the person your attention. You’ll flirt with them and you’ll share your little electric moments. However, the trick is to give them just enough attention to keep them interested and wanting more, but not so much they’re getting everything they want. Remember, successfully playing hard to get is about making the person work for it a little.

Don’t Be an Open Book Either

Everyone has a friend who’s in the habit of telling every potential partner their entire life story, usually within the first couple of dates. It’s hardly uncommon for people like that to have trouble landing more dates after that point and the reason why is obvious. No one wants to be flooded with information about someone the minute they start getting to know them.

A little mystery, on the other hand, goes a very long way. Yes, tell the person about yourself, but give just a little bit at a time. Let the person have the fun of wondering about you and getting to know you slowly, one nugget of information at a time. You should certainly save the truly personal things for later on in your relationship.

Maintain a Space of Your Own

People who are great at playing hard to get truly value their independence. They like seeing and talking to another person they might be interested in, but they’re not keen on being around someone 24/7. They’re especially protective of their living spaces and other aspects of their personal lives.

The idea is to let this person know you want them, but also to make it clear that you don’t need them to feel happy and fulfilled. Spend time alone doing the things you like to do and have your friends or family over as often as you normally would. If you do have the person over to your place, set clear boundaries and limit the amount of time they spend there. Letting them make themselves at home where you live is the polar opposite of playing hard to get.

Show You’re in Demand

Social proof is a very powerful thing when it comes to making someone want something. Again, people want what they can’t have, especially if they can see everyone else wants it too. Show them your time is valuable and that your life is full of other people who want to be part of it.

Go out with your friends. Have fun on the weekends. Continue to fill your free time with activities that you love. Do get together with the object of your affection when you feel like it. Don’t skip your workouts, nights out with your squad, or anything else you have going on to spend time with them.

Play your cards right, be patient, and it won’t be long before you find out just how well playing hard to get works when it comes to grabbing and holding someone’s interest. It’s all about playing the game the right way.