People want to be wanted …

just not too much.

This is how one can honestly claim, “I don’t like games in dating,” while also being turned off by the far-too-direct suitor who doesn’t “play games.”

Finding the perfect line where one shows enough “want” without coming across as “wanting” is the stuff of magic.

Some guesses as to why such a line exists:

  1. For all but the most narcissistic, it’s natural to doubt oneself. Hence, it is nice to hear compliments. However, too many compliments are a bit suspicious: Doesn’t this other person know how flawed I am? Is he/she just lying?
  2. There are perks to being a big fish in a small pond. So, it’s common for pleasure to be derived from liking another person slightly less than he/she likes you. There is power in this discrepancy. A too-large gap, though, indicates something in the perception of a shared reality is off and you may be settling for a très tiny fish.
  3. We want what we can’t have.
  4. Endless attention can be exhausting and downright uncomfortable. Plus, ceaseless unreciprocated attention shows a certain lack of awareness in the suitor, which is an unquestionably unattractive trait.