How to play it cool (and not be clingy)

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play it cool


Avoiding the extremes of being either the Ice King/Queen or Mr/Miss Clingy is a delicate balancing act when it comes to dating someone for the first time, especially when playing it cool might leave you frozen out, says Sloan Sheridan-Williams

Acting desperate in any situation is not a good look, but this is especially true when it comes to dating. Clients often come to me having had a string of short-lived romances, starting one immediatley after another. Others have been single for a while and worry that their thoughtful, considerate approach might be interpreted as disinterest.

It’s common in dating for men to play it cool and women to play hard to get. All this boils down to is both sexes playing games to avoid both rejection and looking needy, which can result in the object your affection thinking you’re cold and disinterested. By playing it cool, you are  unconsciously shutting yourself off from genuine love and connection because you are not capturing the attention or interest of a potential partner, and thus stifling one of your basic emotional needs.

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When playing it cool backfires

A common tactic when playing it cool is to not reply back to a text or WhatsApp on the same day. However, an eharmony poll of 1,000 single people found that being stand-offish is not enticing, with only 4% agreeing you should wait before replying to a message. It’s important not to answer immediately every time but you don’t want to keep him or her waiting too often.

Rather than trying to keep his interest by playing hard to get, cultivate a genuinely varied and busy life. People who keep themselves occupied with hobbies, classes and activities sound more intriguing than those who claim to be ‘super busy’ all the time. The truth is that if you have a varied life filled with commitments then you won’t need to play waiting games.

Also genuinely busy people tend to answer as and when they get a text. They know that if they don’t answer, more messages and tweets or meet-up invitations will come their way and before they know it they are snowed under. Often people who take longer to answer are putting too much thought into it and making it all about their ego. There is a difference between being cool and acting cool.

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Less is more

Another tactic is to be vague, even secretive. However, it is much better to be authentic and drip-feed details about yourself. When it comes to information less really is more, as there is nothing more unattractive than verbal diarrhoea. Over-sharing can be a sign of nervous anxiety but no matter the reason, the details you leave out can be more powerful than those you share.

This is especially true when it comes to talking about past relationships as it can be a real turn-off for your date to picture you with other people. If you have to share details about your ex (perhaps in the case of children) then keep it light, positive and brief. In the early dates, it is best to talk about your work and interests but hold back on the meatier information until you get to know one another better. As their curiosity about you builds so will attraction. When you do share more your date will feel they have earned your trust.

Control issues

Should you end phone calls and dates early just to show you’re in charge? It’s not a terrible tactic, demonstrating both control of the situation and a refusal to be rushed; any potential partner must not believe that they have a guaranteed place in your diary. 

Rather than go to extremes, all you need to do is maintain your own life and show the person you’re dating that you like him or her but your world doesn’t revolve around them. Being independent and confident in this way are two very attractive traits that will make you more alluring. Men enjoy the chase, so using these tactics will encourage them to move towards someone who is just out of their grasp. Women are more attracted to confident men who don’t smother them. It is less about playing hard to get and more about both of you looking forward to next date without exhausting the honeymoon period.

playing it cool

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To flirt or not to flirt?

Making your date jealous by flirting with someone else is sometimes seen as the perfect way to play it cool: supposedly your date will respond positively to the perceived competition. However, such behaviour could also lead them to show you the door.

Instead of playing these games, work on the assumption that your date is with you for a reason. If you feel complacency creeping in, maybe it’s time to rethink your date and place value on yourself over his or her opinion of you.

Non-negotiable deal breakers

Psychologists talk about the “Law of Least Interest,” which states in essence that whoever is least interested in the relationship holds the most power. It follows that wanting to talk about the progress of your relationship is merely conceding that power.

With that in mind, it’s important to know your deal breakers and stick to them. Honesty, trust, respect, integrity and love all make a strong basis for a successful relationship and none of those characteristics require one to play it cool.

It’s important to remember that dating should be fun. At eharmony, they have designed a system that places a huge emphasis on compatibility, so that you don’t have to worry about playing it cool or not. Your should be too busy having a wonderful time to concern yourself with who rings whom after the date because. It should flow naturally and if it doesn’t, there is always another date waiting to be matched to you. So stop playing it cool and just be yourself, because that is more attractive than any game.

Visit Sloan’s website for more information or  follow Sloan on Twitter @sloansw_london and Facebook


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