Least Interest Principle and Dating

  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 19, 2009 3:08 AM GMT
    My friend and I were arguing about this earlier. In game theory, the Principle of Least Interest states that the party with the lesser interest in continuing the relationship has the greater amount of control over the relationship.

    I think the principle is valid, and provides an explanation for the perception that nice, sensitive, and overly-available (read: slightly desperate) guys finish last. The logical extension of the Principle is that it's worthwhile in the initial stages of dating to be interesting and exciting, but also to appear somewhat detached and ambivalent. In effect, I've always thought that it's a good idea to play a little hard to get.

    http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/least_interest.htm

    I've been noticing other guys that do this as well, and while the strategy is still broadly applicable, I've been thinking that if you have two people who are really interested in each other but playing hard to get too well, you can end up with a lot of failed fourth dates in a short period of time.

    Opinions?
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    Oct 19, 2009 11:54 AM GMT
    styrgan said it's worthwhile in the initial stages of dating to be interesting and exciting, but also to appear somewhat detached and ambivalent. In effect, I've always thought that it's a good idea to play a little hard to get.
    ...other guys that do this as well, and while the strategy is still broadly applicable, I've been thinking that if you have two people who are really interested in each other but playing hard to get too well, you can end up with a lot of failed fourth dates


    This strategy isn't a new idea, it's been in use since the Renaissance (for example, Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing). Occasionally it works, more often one or both parties decide it's not worth the trouble. Either they don't realize the genuine interest, or if they do, they'd prefer dating someone less into game-playing.

    If the relationship is going to grow and last it must be built on honesty. That's hard to do if you begin with a charade.
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    Oct 19, 2009 1:37 PM GMT
    The theory makes some sense, although it doesn't work for me.

    On one hand, a challenge and making something a little hard to get can make someone want someone even more and try harder. The person being pursued might simply not know what they want, but the pursuer does and he will try every skill in his book to demonstrate his resolve. This assumes there is some underlying interest for both guys..........but the one being pursued doesn't realize it yet and is denying it for whatver reasons....but its assumed the "romantic" outcome is that he will come around. ( it works in the movies...lol).

    But I've found most often that when a guy plays hard to get, he's not playing. He truly is NOT interested. I've been down that road before, when I was certain that me and him clicked socially, spiritually and emotionaly, and that he simply didn't know it yet, but I was wrong. All my hope was in my own head, not his.

    For me, I like it when a guy shows immediate interest and equal enthusiasm. In an ideal world, a spark should be there from the start.

    I don't like it when a guy thinks I'm playing hard to get when in fact I'm just not into him.......and when a guy is not upfront about how he feels and he doesn't recipricate the interest, I don't pursue.

    However, you never know. I hardly never say never....LOL

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    Oct 19, 2009 1:42 PM GMT
    Not interested in playing games, nor in having a relationship with someone who wants to have power in the relationship or manipulate me. Not all of us are fucked up.

    Besos

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    Oct 19, 2009 2:15 PM GMT

    lol styrgan, this reminded me of something, "I think the principle is valid, and provides an explanation for the perception that nice, sensitive, and overly-available (read: slightly desperate) guys finish last."

    ...an old saying; the good guys aren't usually first, just better. Both Bill and I fall into the category you describe in the above quote from your post.

    This is what happened; the men that avoided each of us because of our attitudes (as described in the above quote) were an example of our attitudes protecting us. Neither of us wanted a man that was at all aloof, or turned on by aloof-ness.

    And voila! Here we are, together and rather excessively happy. icon_wink.gif


    -Doug
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 19, 2009 2:16 PM GMT
    KissingPro said
    But I've found most often that when a guy plays hard to get, he's not playing. He truly is NOT interested. I've been down that road before, when I was certain that me and him clicked socially, spiritually and emotionaly, and that he simply didn't know it yet, but I was wrong. All my hope was in my own head, not his.


    I don't think the strategy is to deny interest. It's to minimize interest. In which case, I think we're talking about separate things.

    For example, if you're on a date and a guy asks you if you're dating anyone, you could say something to the effect of, "I'm in a dating multiple people kind of place" - implying that you're sort of nonchalant about the whole relationship thing.
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 19, 2009 2:29 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    lol styrgan, this reminded me of something, "I think the principle is valid, and provides an explanation for the perception that nice, sensitive, and overly-available (read: slightly desperate) guys finish last."

    ...an old saying; the good guys aren't usually first, just better. Both Bill and I fall into the category you describe in the above quote from your post.

    This is what happened; the men that avoided each of us because of our attitudes (as described in the above quote) were an example of our attitudes protecting us. Neither of us wanted a man that was at all aloof, or turned on by aloof-ness.

    And voila! Here we are, together and rather excessively happy. icon_wink.gif


    -Doug


    I agree with you that it's a short-term strategy. You obviously can't go about a ten-year relationship actively playing down your attraction to someone. Anyone would break eventually, and it's kind of wrong.

    I also think it's possible to appear aloof. But someone who's not a newcomer to dating can play hard to get without appearing aloof. If you're sufficiently engaging, you make up for the shortcoming of appearing unavailable or unattainable. I think the drive for the unattainable is a strong aspect of human nature - especially if unattainable coincides with cool.
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    Oct 19, 2009 2:38 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]styrgan said

    I don't think the strategy is to deny interest. It's to minimize interest. In which case, I think we're talking about separate things.

    For example, if you're on a date and a guy asks you if you're dating anyone, you could say something to the effect of, "I'm in a dating multiple people kind of place" - implying that you're sort of nonchalant about the whole relationship thing.[/quote]

    You say potatoe I say patahtoe.........deny vs minimize.....Mmmmm.

    If I was out on a date with someone I really liked and he asked me if i was dating other people, I would say no even if up until that point I was. I would signal to him that I was only interested in dating him, and I would mean it.

    At least that's the theory.........
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    Oct 19, 2009 2:39 PM GMT
    Lostboy saidNot interested in playing games, nor in having a relationship with someone who wants to have power in the relationship or manipulate me. Not all of us are fucked up.

    Besos



    Agree 100%
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    Oct 19, 2009 2:42 PM GMT

    Hey styrgan, there's this:


    We understood your post completely - the technique you describe is excellent for meeting lots of men, but not so great at pre-screening them for having the guts for an LTR.

    We eventually decided it was less of a headache to be alone more often than ride that carousel of lovely but faint-of-heart men.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Oct 19, 2009 2:56 PM GMT
    I agree that it's only a short-term strategy. While appearing desperate is almost always unattractive, appearing aloof or hard to get is really a turnoff to me as well. I've been out with a few extremely physically attractive guys who never returned a phone call nor an e-mail nor an IM after the first date, so after the 2nd or 3rd lack of response I stopped trying. One of them later told me that he was interested in and attracted to me, but it's very important for him to feel like he's being pursued, so my giving up after 3 attempts to talk showed him I wasn't interested enough. My basic response to that was that as hot as he was, he would need to get used to being alone if he expected guys to read his mind about such things; if it's important to him to feel pursued, he should at least have the decency to tell a guy that rather than make a guy guess "If I call him again, does this show that I'm really interested, or that I can't take a hint and may have stalking tendencies?"

    I really hate these sorts of dating mind games. One of these days, I will finally go out with an attractive single gay Vulcan, who will clearly express his expectations and interest level and emotional status, and will take me at my word about mine.
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    Oct 19, 2009 2:56 PM GMT
    KissingPro saidThe theory makes some sense, although it doesn't work for me...

    Lostboy saidNot interested in playing games, nor in having a relationship with someone who wants to have power in the relationship or manipulate me. Not all of us are fucked up...

    I tried to do a double quote above, of 2 responses with which I agree. While I hope I can appreciate the impressive clinical precision of the OP's presentation, I wonder if I want to have relationships this way?

    I suppose I'm more content with a "messier" approach to these things, still embracing the Army adage of KISS: keep it simple, stupid. When it comes to romance I give my heart the lead, and leave the analysis for later. To paraphrase from the New Testament: "Render unto your heart what is your heart's, and to your mind what is your mind's."

    While interesting to study the dynamics of a relationship, for myself I trust first to my feelings, which rarely let me down. Although I do apply rather strict military strategies to some things I do, when it come to my romantic relationships I tend to put most of that aside, and let my emotions rule me. I want to love my man, not out-flank him.

    Humans are a fascinating blend of the intellectual and the emotional, the Vulcan versus the Earthling. I would like to flatter myself that I can play in both those worlds equally well, but the real accomplishment is knowing when & where to choose which we do. For all the wisdom the OP gives us, I'm not sure I really want to use it very often.
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 19, 2009 2:58 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    Hey styrgan, there's this:


    We understood your post completely - the technique you describe is excellent for meeting lots of men, but not so great at pre-screening them for having the guts for an LTR.

    We eventually decided it was less of a headache to be alone more often than ride that carousel of lovely but faint-of-heart men.


    You're pre-screening for a connection. Other than openness and a natural chemistry, I'm not sure what other prerequisites are required.

    Men are fairly simple. We either want to do something or we don't; we either want to work on a relationship or we don't - which is I suppose the second aspect of how the principle can be applied to long-term relationships. My experience is that it's not a matter of guts, and that I have limited control over the long-term result.
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    Oct 19, 2009 3:15 PM GMT
    This is a very interesting thread. Thanks

    I don't play hard to get. If I'm interested and communicate that feeling at the start, I don't feel I am being desperate. Wanting someone you think is special should not be thought of as being overly needy.

    However, to me, it sounds desperate when a person plays hard to get because he craves validation and attention. We should be stroking each other's ego, rather than it being a one way street.

    And as another guy here said, I can't read his mind.

    Besides, a guy is playing hard to get because of his past experiences and feels this tactic might work for him with me. But what he fails to realize is that he is not dealing with other guys. He is dealing with ME. And if he can't/won't see where I am coming from, then he's not listening.

    BTW.....playing hard to get is not the same as expressing strong interest while at the same time taking it slowly and gradually earning each othere's trust.
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 19, 2009 3:19 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidWhile I hope I can appreciate the impressive clinical precision of the OP's presentation, I wonder if I want to have relationships this way?


    Believe me, though this model has been extremely successful for years for me, I'm having some doubts about it as well.

    I'm getting older, more grounded, and more seasoned. I'm not sure if this fits who I am anymore. My days of being able to rely on my youthful good looks and style are numbered, and these kinds of antics won't work forever.

    This is why I've decided to be Peter Pan for Halloween.
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    Oct 19, 2009 3:22 PM GMT
    heheh, we think some people get 'desperate' confused with quietly determined.

    We also think that some guys see 'desperate' when they stumble across someone who's open about themselves, their feelings, and their interest in another.

    styrgan said, "Other than openness and a natural chemistry, I'm not sure what other prerequisites are required."

    ...my gorsh, OK. There are other pre-reqs. Those come out with the 'openness' you talk of. Although, we don't see how being aloof can also be openness.

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    Oct 19, 2009 3:23 PM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidI agree that it's only a short-term strategy. While appearing desperate is almost always unattractive, appearing aloof or hard to get is really a turnoff to me as well. I've been out with a few extremely physically attractive guys who never returned a phone call nor an e-mail nor an IM after the first date, so after the 2nd or 3rd lack of response I stopped trying. One of them later told me that he was interested in and attracted to me, but it's very important for him to feel like he's being pursued, so my giving up after 3 attempts to talk showed him I wasn't interested enough. My basic response to that was that as hot as he was, he would need to get used to being alone if he expected guys to read his mind about such things; if it's important to him to feel pursued, he should at least have the decency to tell a guy that rather than make a guy guess "If I call him again, does this show that I'm really interested, or that I can't take a hint and may have stalking tendencies?"

    I really hate these sorts of dating mind games. One of these days, I will finally go out with an attractive single gay Vulcan, who will clearly express his expectations and interest level and emotional status, and will take me at my word about mine.


    See... now this is why Real Jock needs a "Like" button. LOL

    Being mysteriously interesting in the beginning is ok. Thinking that if someone wants you, they'll chase you to the ends of the earth is not. Being open and honest with someone is ok... but theres a difference between owning your shit and letting all of your shit hang out.

    Anyway, you can play hard to get (I prefer not to)... but what you SHOULDNT do is act ambivalent. You're sending mixed signals if you like a guy, but act ambivalent towards him and lead him on. If you like a guy, tell him. You don't have to say "I like you"... you can do it in other ways. Just don't over pursue, because guys love to clam up and run away.

    In the words of Zoolander: "its hard to be really really rediculously good looking!"
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    Oct 19, 2009 3:25 PM GMT

    styrgan, this:"Believe me, though this model has been extremely successful for years for me, I'm having some doubts about it as well."

    ...makes us ask in what what regard you're saying successful.
  • styrgan

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    Oct 19, 2009 3:26 PM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidI agree that it's only a short-term strategy. While appearing desperate is almost always unattractive, appearing aloof or hard to get is really a turnoff to me as well. I've been out with a few extremely physically attractive guys who never returned a phone call nor an e-mail nor an IM after the first date, so after the 2nd or 3rd lack of response I stopped trying.


    You're not alone. I think not returning calls also means someone's not interested. Not everyone plays hard to get well.

    KissingPro saidI don't play hard to get. If I'm interested and communicate that feeling at the start, I don't feel I am being desperate. Wanting someone you think is special should not be thought of as being overly needy.


    I just want to apologize if my use of the term "slightly desperate" offends anyone. I just think that's how gay men look at guys who are too available.
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 19, 2009 3:36 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    styrgan, this:"Believe me, though this model has been extremely successful for years for me, I'm having some doubts about it as well."

    ...makes us ask in what what regard you're saying successful.


    Do you want a rate of return? icon_cool.gif

    I think it's led to alot of exciting experiences with people I may not have necessarily become involved with otherwise. It's also led to several deep and lasting connections.

    EDIT: I also object to your use of the word "aloof"
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    Oct 19, 2009 3:45 PM GMT
    meninlove saidheheh, we think some people get 'desperate' confused with quietly determined.

    We also think that some guys see 'desperate' when they stumble across someone who's open about themselves, their feelings, and their interest in another.


    BINGO! However, if the guy is playing hard to get then all bets are off.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Oct 19, 2009 3:51 PM GMT
    Seinfeld had a show called "Seinfeld". The characters had a theory that is similar to your hypothesis. It is called "THE HAND", meaning you have the upper hand in the relationship. George always wanted some of "The Hand".
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Oct 19, 2009 3:56 PM GMT
    styrgan said
    Red_Vespa saidWhile I hope I can appreciate the impressive clinical precision of the OP's presentation, I wonder if I want to have relationships this way?


    Believe me, though this model has been extremely successful for years for me, I'm having some doubts about it as well.

    I'm getting older, more grounded, and more seasoned. I'm not sure if this fits who I am anymore. My days of being able to rely on my youthful good looks and style are numbered, and these kinds of antics won't work forever.

    This is why I've decided to be Peter Pan for Halloween.



    Dude, you're 25.......do guys even hit on you anymore? Come join us in the old folks home. ;-)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2009 3:57 PM GMT
    So... all those people are actually feigning disinterest in me? I never knew I was so popular!

    I guess that theory worked for Peppy Le Pew...
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 19, 2009 4:04 PM GMT
    Celticmusl said
    Dude, you're 25.......do guys even hit on you anymore?


    It's gotten much harder. I have to usually take my shirt off to get the ball rolling.

    icon_eek.gif