A woman striking a pose in front of the camera with strong eye contact

Why Playing it Cool Doesn’t Work With Men

by Eharmony Editorial Team - August 8, 2011

Are you guilty of watching what you say to a man for fear of appearing “too forward?” Christian Carter explains how you might be accidentally sa

Are you guilty of watching what you say to a man for fear of appearing “too forward?” Christian Carter explains how you might be accidentally sabotaging your chances of meeting and getting together with a great, available guy…and what does work to capture his interest.

Tell me if you’ve ever done this: you come across a guy who’s your type, but pretend not to be too into him because you think he might not be into you. Or perhaps you automatically assume he must already be taken. So you play it safe.

You look away when he looks at you, you get busy in a conversation with someone when he approaches you, or you distract yourself with something right after you talk so he can’t see how nervous you feel. And you do these things hoping he’ll make a “move” or do or say something that will send a signal that he’s interested in you, too.

If you’re thinking, “Yeah, that totally sounds like the kind of stuff I do when I meet someone I’m attracted to!” then you’re not alone. And you’re probably feeling pretty frustrated.


When you play it cool with a guy because you don’t want him to know you’re interested, guess what happens? You come across as disinterested – maybe even cold! Not the way you’d want a man you’re interested in to describe you, is it?

Most guys have been through the ringer – they’ve been rejected countless times by women. So a guy won’t automatically assume you’re interested in him. And he won’t attempt to decode your behavior. He’ll think you’re giving him the brush off, and he’ll try his chances elsewhere – with a woman who is warm, open, and shows him it’s safe to approach.


Now, I know why you play it cool – you’re trying to protect yourself. Just like it’s hard for a guy to drum up the courage to approach you and risk rejection, it’s equally scary for you to put yourself “out there” and not get anything in return. But here’s the thing. When you play it cool, you also unconsciously switch off that open place in your heart that captures a man’s genuine attention and interest. Instead, you end up taking in the attention of the men who choose you while limiting your ability to be the chooser.

You miss the opportunities with all of those wonderful, emotionally available men who are out looking for a woman who has the confidence to find them.


How do you think men would respond if you were that woman who believed that every man you start talking to could be single, interesting, and interested? And how do you think men would feel around you if they didn’t see that you looked at them suspiciously as though they might be like some of the other men who disappointed you in the past?

Here’s what I want you to do: for the next week, go out into the world and behave AS IF every man you meet will likely turn out to be a good guy…even your Mr. Right. That means that instead of playing it safe, you become curious and genuinely interested in the men you come in contact with.

When you let your guard down and assume the best in a man, guess what happens? He feels comfortable with you and accepted by you. These are two key elements a man needs to feel in order to see you as the kind of woman he can have a lasting, connected relationship with.


If you’ve ever wanted to know what a man really thinks about dating and commitment, subscribe to Christian’s free e-newsletter. He’ll reveal the kind of qualities a man can’t help falling for in a woman and what it takes to make him give up his “single” freedom for the love on just one woman…for the long term.