For years, the concept of being a challenge in dating has been marketed to both men and women. It has been suggested by different dating advice sources that to be more desirable, you have to be a challenge. This means that you have to act like you are less available than you really are, harder to get a hold of, and are otherwise “hard to get.” While there is some degree of truth to that, taking this idea of being a challenge too far might have an opposite effect. Not only will it suggest that you are playing games, which most people with any dating experience are aware of, but you will also likely come across yourself as needy and desperate – desperate to raise your value by resorting to a rather extreme measures of making it look like you are more busy and less available than you actually are.
Being a Challenge Can Actually Make You Appear Desperate
Being desperate is an interesting term in the dating context. People often use it in reference to someone who is needy – someone who is eager to date or get into a relationship quickly and/or someone who has low standards and would rather be with just anyone, even someone they don’t really like, than being alone. Obviously, this quality is unattractive and is a major turn-off to both sexes.
However, there is another kind of desperation, which I believe is even more unattractive and damaging to a person’s dating and romantic life. This is the kind of desperation that you exude when you are not doing the things you want to and when you don’t show your romantic interest in another person simply because you are afraid of being perceived as desperate or interested. In other words – you are trying to be a challenge.
There are so many examples of this kind of desperation. A high school student is afraid to sit in class next to a girl that he likes because he is afraid that she and others will know that he likes her. The girl is afraid to make an eye contact with a guy at a bookstore because she doesn’t want him to know that she finds him attractive. A guy is not asking a girl out who has rejected him before, even though it’s clear to him that she changed her mind about him, because he is concerned that she will think of him as desperate. A woman texts or e-mails the guy she met instead of calling him because she doesn’t want to be too “forward” and be perceived as too interested.
The above situations mostly happen because people are somehow embarrassed of their romantic interest instead of being proud of it, and also because the idea of being a challenge when it comes to dating has been marketed to both men and women through just about every media source. Just about every dating and relationship book encourages both men and women to be a challenge and play hard to get for a reason or no reason whatsoever. Because of all that advice we often act as if it was some kind of crime to approach and start a conversation with someone, or even to make an eye contact with that attracted stranger who sits or stands across from you. We tend to forget that your interest in anyone, when expressed in a confident and respectful fashion, is a compliment to that person regardless of how he/she feels about you, and if they can’t recognize and respect that, be it accepting your advances or gracefully rejecting you, it’s their problem and not yours.
The Notion of Being a Challenge Should Not Stand Between You and What/Who You Want to Have in Your Life
You have been given the drive and the ability to want to be with a few specific people in this world for very particular and pre-determined reasons. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It would be a much greater problem if you weren’t attracted to anyone. You should not allow those who don’t quite know how to handle that power to either discount or discourage it in you by their negative reaction toward you. You are never desperate when you do what you want – when you take charge of your life and show initiative in your romantic interactions with other people.
Who do you think will get the job sooner – an applicant who sends in a resume, follows up by phone, and sends a thank-you letter after the interview, without being concerned about being too pushy, or another applicant who sends in his resume, and sits back waiting for the potential employer to pick his resume out of the hundred received and contact. Although comparing dating to looking for a job is not a perfect analogy, the point I am trying to make is that being passive when it comes to meeting people and dating is often as fruitless as being passive in job search.
Although a different kind of enthusiasm is required in dating, the bottom line is this: taking action and taking your own dating life into your own hands – be it showing interest the right way at the right time, or making it clear to the other person that you want to spend more time with them – is the way to go about improving your romantic life, and it’s not the same as being needy or desperate. Being a challenge has its time and place in flirting, courtship and dating, but taking the notion of being a challenge to an extreme can backfire and make anyone extremely unattractive, confused, or simply stuck-up.