For the past three days I have been vacationing with family in Florida, and the one thing that I have done every single day since I arrived is go fishing. There is a little dock right outside where we are staying, and there are lots of fish swimming around it, so it’s a perfect place to pass the time while enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery.
Over these past couple days I have learned a lot about fish. For instance, fish are a lot smarter than we give them credit for (at least some fish are). And due to this fact, I have had to teach myself the art of fish seduction. You see, it’s not enough to just let your bait hang in the water. It’s got to be moving around a little, taunting the fish, as if to say, “You couldn’t catch me if you tried!”
What’s more, many of the fish don’t want the bait if it’s dead. This week we’ve been using live shrimp, and if that little shrimp’s feet stop scurrying, then a lot of the fish will lose interest. A couple greedy fish won’t care and will eat the shrimp either way, but the big fish, the fish you want, can’t be fooled. For them, it’s all about the thrill of the chase.
Now this afternoon as I sat on the dock and carefully moved my bait around so as to catch the fish’s attention, I realized something. What I’ve learned about catching fish can be easily applied to dating men. Like fish, many guys don’t want a girl who chases them, because men also desire the thrill of the chase. Even once you start dating, guys still want some mystery to the relationship. They don’t want a girl who’s always available. They want a girl who makes them work for it. They want a girl who plays hard to get.
That said, the question I want to pose to you is whether or not we should play into this little game. If that is what guys want, and if that is how we can get them to pursue us, then why not try it? Well the obvious answer is “no.” Not only is it manipulative, but you are building a relationship that is not based on reality. What draws these men is not your personality at all. They simply want that which they cannot have. And oftentimes, once they get you they won’t want you anymore. They’ll move on to someone else who can offer that thrill of the chase.
BUT, just because playing hard to get can be manipulative, does not mean we should write off this practice altogether. The opposite of playing hard to get is not being available at all times. Rather, there is a kind of playing hard to get that can actually be godly. Here’s what I mean…
In my past dating relationships I have frequently been tempted to clear my whole schedule to accommodate a guy. I always wanted to be available for him, partially out of a fear that if I wasn’t available, he would move on to someone else. Unfortunately, this degree of availability is sometimes unattractive to godly men, not only because of their desire to chase, but because it says something about your priorities.
A godly man is not looking for a woman who rearranges heaven and earth for a boyfriend. Yes, he will want you to make some time for him, but a godly man is looking for a woman who is in diligent pursuit of God and has her eyes focused on Him alone. If your schedule consists of ministry commitments such as community service or spending valuable fellowship time with other women, then those commitments should not be thrown out the window as soon as a guy comes along. If you can’t spend time with your boyfriend because you are discipling another women, then that will indicate to him that your priorities are Christ-centered, and that will draw him to you, not drive him away.
If, on the other hand, you start to regularly skip out on those commitments to spend time with your guy, then it will also send a message to him and set a dangerous precedent. You are not only indicating that service to God takes a back seat to the relationship, but that your identity comes first from him, and second from God. Any godly man should find that to be very unattractive.
So when it’s all said and done, playing hard to get can actually be a good thing, but only when done in the right way. If a guy wants to take you out but you already have plans, it’s ok to say no and have him wait for another time. It shows him that your life is already full and complete with Christ and godly friendships. It indicates that you are not waiting on a guy to complete you, but to simply complement you.
With that in mind, be intentional about how you spend your time. If you are tempted to make yourself always available to a guy, resist that temptation, not only because he will find you more attractive when you have a strong sense of your own identity and calling, but because you will be guarding your own priorities as well. From that perspective, playing hard to get can actually be a pretty good thing.
I never thought I would hear myself say that!