Have you ever opened up to friends about your lack of a love life and got hit with a response along the lines of, “Ang hard-to-get mo kasi,” and consequently felt attacked and confused even though you know it was just a joke? Cue this iconic and ever relatable line: “Bakit parang kasalanan ko?” (Bobbie Salazar, 2013)
How does one fall under the category of hard-to-get? Is it a bad thing to be one? Should I be pakipot instead of marupok when it comes to relationships? Here are some things to consider:
You’re not required to like someone back just because they confessed their feelings.
So someone professed their feelings for you, but you’re just not entirely sure if you feel the same way for them. That’s okay. You aren’t obligated to reciprocate their feelings. And no, that’s *not* playing hard to get. That long and heartfelt, albeit mushy, DM they sent on Messenger as a confession of their affection shouldn’t pressure you to like them back--unless that’s also how you really feel towards them.
It’s okay to take your time to process how you really feel.
If the person who confessed they like you suddenly decided to do a 180 before you could even decide, then it's a loss we'll have to take. Maybe they don’t really like you enough to wait for an actual answer so they took it upon themselves to decide.
Relationships are one of the most complicated concepts to ever exist in the universe, but it’s also one of the most beautiful ones. And as with everything precious in life, it’s always worth investing time in thinking things through when it comes to matters of the heart, especially in the age of fleabagging and paperclipping, and other online dating trends that defined this decade.
That being said, taking your time shouldn’t be a free pass to string people along because…
There’s a difference between taking your time and leading someone on.
It’s understandable if you need a while to process your feelings, especially when school and other commitments are taking up so much of your life right now. There’s also nothing wrong if you end up with a “no” for an answer after mulling your feels over. Maybe you finally came to the conclusion that your current setup in life just isn’t conducive for relationships.
What’s not acceptable is leading someone on when you clearly have no intention of giving them an answer from the very beginning. Maybe you did it because it felt nice to have someone like you and shower you with affection, even if you’re just really not ready for a relationship right now. Still, it’s just a waste of time for both of you, and it's likely someone will just end up getting hurt.
There’s no shame in easily falling in love.
Many people play hard-to-get because they’re afraid of being branded as someone who’s “madaling ma-fall.” While relationships must always be regarded with thorough deliberation, being marupok isn’t a crime. Some people are naturally predisposed to fall easily for someone’s charms, but that neither implies that you’re weak for love, nor that should you resort to playing hard-to-get as a defense mechanism.
Certain studies may show that the hard-to-get tactic actually works, but it’s still best to keep in mind that this shouldn’t be our primary basis for how we navigate through relationships. When it comes to relationships, we still have to guard our hearts extra carefully and use our minds diligently. But it’s also nice to surrender ourselves to the process of falling in love and finding worthwhile relationships without the fear of being dubbed pakipot or marupok holding us back. You do you, as long as it feels right.