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3 Signs Someone's Not Interested In You, Even If It Looks Like They're Playing Hard To Get

OK, I'm going to be real: I don't get the point of playing hard to get. I don't get the point of games in general. If I made the rules of the dating world, I would say: If someone shows romantic interest in you and you feel the same way, then reciprocate it. If you're not interested, then indicate it. But unfortunately, I don't make the rules. Some people might make you work to earn their affection, but it's also possible that your crush may be stringing you along, and if you're looking for signs someone's not interested in you, then I've got you.

Of course, playing hard to get has its benefits. By curbing your affection, you can figure out who's really interested (and who's just a heartbreak waiting to happen). But if you suspect that your crush isn't just playing it cool and is instead just not that into you, it's better to find that out sooner rather than later. Elite Daily spoke to language strategist and political commentator Lee Hartley Carter, author of PERSUASION: Convincing Others When Facts Don't Seem to Matter, and she offered some advice on how to figure out what the person you’re trying to persuade actually desires.

Their Actions Don't Reflect Their Words

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As the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words. Someone who is sincere doesn't just make promises — they keep them. A major way to tell if your crush is reciprocated is to note whether that person's words are later transformed into actions. Even a person who's playing games won't make empty promises to you (even if they take a little longer than you'd hope to carry out that promise).

"If they say they will call and they don’t, listen to the action," Carter says. "If they talk about wanting to get together, but never follow through, that’s a message in and of itself." It's one thing for your crush's text message responses to lag, but it's an entirely different thing for your crush to say, "Yeah, I could do lunch next week," and never mention those plans again.

They Resist Labels

When I say "labels," I don't just mean the label of "boyfriend" or "girlfriend." If someone isn't interested in dating you, they'll avoid labels all together. For instance, you may ask your crush on a date, and even if you use the word "date," they might use a euphemism like "hang out" or "meet up" to refer to your plan instead. Their word choices may be totally subtle, or they could be telling you loud and clear that they aren't interested, but you simply aren't hearing it.

"Listen to what they are saying," Carter stresses. "When people aren’t interested, they will tell you. They might not be direct, but listen for cues. Things like 'I’m not ready for a relationship' or 'I don’t have time to date right now.' If they say that, they mean that. Listen to them." If only I had a dollar for every person with whom I was convinced I could start a relationship, even after they told me they just wanted to "have fun."

They Don't Have Any Real Reason To Be Playing Games

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Most people play games for a reason. Perhaps they've been lead on or hurt before, and they're more careful now about entering a new relationship. Perhaps they just ended a relationship and aren't quite ready for a new one but might be eventually. Perhaps they are simply preoccupied with work, school, family drama, or any other stressor you may not know about. But if there is no identifiable reason why your crush would make you work hard for their affection, this probably isn't a game that you'll ever win.

"Put yourself in their shoes," Carter suggests. "Where are they coming from? Before you read in to anything they say or do, you have to understand them. Are they busy? Are they preoccupied with something else? Why would they even want to play hard to get in the first place?" Though you may never know exactly what is holding your crush back from fully returning your affections, it should eventually become clear that the only reason is disinterest.

Not all people play games to be malicious. Your crush may actually be trying to spare your feelings by making you believe there's a chance of a relationship. But that's exactly why you need to look out for your own feelings. As much as you would like to believe you can win your crush over, the best relationships happen when there's mutual attraction, not persuasion, and you shouldn't have to persuade your crush if they really feel the same way you do.