How to Win a Woman's Heart...Why Science Thinks Mystery is Sexy!

December 20, 2014

By: Anna Agoncillo

Image Credits: Lena Vasiljeva via Flickr
A current study of forty-seven female undergraduates at the University of Virginia showed that women were more attracted to men who liked them a lot than those who liked them a little bit. But interestingly, they were most attracted to men whose feelings for them are uncertain (Whitchurch, Wilson & Gilbert, 2011). Not displaying your affections too openly and appearing as a bit selective seems to be more attractive. 

Even Socrates agrees that "waiting and playing hard-to-get" will help you win the sincerest of friends by being as desirable as possible. He once said these…
"They will appreciate your favors most highly if you wait till they ask for them." 
"And how can I make them hunger for my fare?” Theodota asks.
“Why, in the first place, you must not offer it to them when they have had enough…then when they feel the want, you must prompt them by behaving as a model of propriety, by a show of reluctance to yield, and by holding back until they are as keen as can be; for then the same gifts are much more to the recipient than when they are offered before they are desired (Cleomenes, 2002)."
So, why do women prefer men who are hard to read? 
Image Credits: Ivan via Flickr


Mystery breed curiosity. A mysterious guy is like a closed book that is waiting to be discovered. A woman can get so curious of learning more about you to that point that she may ask your friends’ help to squeeze juicy information.

When we don’t really know who you are entirely, our brains create hundreds of possibilities. You may enjoy playing Basketball, cooking delicious food, buying video games, indulging on pizza or just be lazy. The curiosity of wanting to know more about you draws women in. As it takes time to get to know your good qualities, it also takes time to discover your bad ones. Before we know it, we’ve invested a lot and have fallen to your trap. 


The desired guy who is reluctant requires the woman to give more effort in the pursuit than she would normally do. Thus, to explain her extraordinary behavior or to justify one's actions, one must conclude that she must really like the person a lot. This phenomenon is called Cognitive Dissonance.

Aside from this, in the pursuit of winning the guy’s heart, constant contemplation and confusion whether “he likes me or he likes me not” will arise. She will find you more attractive if she thinks and dwells about you a lot. She will develop vivid fantasies and sweet expectations of how you will admit to her that you like her or how your first date will go. 
Image Credits: rhiannonmckinley via Flickr

Truly, the thrill of not knowing what happens next increases one’s desire. The challenge of decoding the uncertainty and prolonged arousal allows the likeness to strengthen. The weight of a reward has more impact if you've done your best to get it. Thus, finally winning the guys heart after a long pursuit (with mixed hints here and there) will make the chase more worth it. 

Click here to read the previous post: Learning and Positive Reinforcement: You Can be Tamed! , Ask Anna #2: Interpret My Weird Dream

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Cleomenes, N. (2002). A circumstantial evidence on Socrates' life.  Retrieved on November 14, 2014 from

Whitchurch, E. R., Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2011). "He loves me, he loves me not": Uncertainty can increase romantic attraction. Psychological Science, 22, 172-175.

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