It’s official: Women have a thing for Mr. Mysterious.
To be exact, women like a man more if they’re unsure about whether he’s interested in them or not. They thrive on it, in fact.
A recent study, titled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…” and using only women as the test subjects, had two findings.
First, they confirmed the already-existing principle of reciprocity – we tend to like men if we know they like us too – moreso than if we know the same men think we’re average, anyway. Not much of a surprise there.
The twist came with the third control group of women, who were not set up at all by the researchers to think these men either liked or disliked them. These women were told the men they were ranking could have either “liked them” or thought they were “average”.
When the women were uncertain about how they were graded by these men, the response scale went through the roof. We respond much better to uncertainty and mystery.
We’ve all observed it firsthand in the dating world. Girlfriends of mine are known to obsess over the men that give mixed messages, and quickly dispose of the ones that are clearly into them.
And we say we hate it when people play games. Pfffft. Seems like games are necessary, ladies, if a man is to get anywhere with you.
One character featured heavily in pick-up manual The Game is onto it – so much so that he even resorts to calling himself Mystery (a little screamingly obvious if you ask me, but hey. Each to their own.)
Mystery notes that what women say and how they actually react are often two different things entirely. We may say we would prefer it if we knew a man liked us, but judging by this new study, we’d be lying.
So strong is this hardwired urge, that cult dating book The Rules has to spell it out for us in no uncertain terms: You want him to like you, ladies. If he’s paying you attention, if he’s obviously into you, then don’t let it put you off.
That’s half the battle – finding another person that actually likes you.
Don’t throw it away in favour of chasing a little excitement. I wonder why we’d prefer to play roulette with our hearts than go for a sure bet.
You may have noticed that certain type of girl who obsesses over a man when she’s not sure how he feels about her – and then, once it’s clear he’s into her, she reassesses and decides she doesn’t like him so much after all.
Be clear about what you want, and be careful that you don’t overlook the nice guys, because despite hardwired attraction, almost every single female I’ve ever asked says she wants the nice guy.
Mr. Mysterious may turn out to genuinely like you in the end, or he may just lead you down the garden path and then disappear to Wonderland, never to be seen again.