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How to Be Elusive

The quality of being elusive can be elusive in and of itself. To remain outside the net of capture, perception, comprehension, or memory -- that is the goal of the elusive individual! Depending on your covert aims, there are many ways for you to go about creating an elusive atmosphere about yourself. Studies agree, being considered elusive among your friends or co-workers can make you a more more attractive, more elusively interesting person.[1]

Communicating Elusively

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    Try the "less is more" approach. Though it might go against your instincts, your elusiveness rating might get a boost if you are intentionally indirect, incomplete, or vague in your conversations.[2] You don't have to be withhold all the details from friends, classmates, and co-workers, but in a group setting people often imagine that other members are like themselves.[3] Use this to your advantage by allowing your conversation partner's imagination to fill in the details they already expect. Some example questions and responses:
    • Q: What did you do last night?
    • A: Oh, the usual. You know me, I've always got something going on.
    • Q: What are your plans for this weekend?
    • A: Well, I was thinking about meeting up with some people downtown.
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    Learn the value of a raincheck. The key to this strategy is to accept the invitation, but not the occasion. Tell your friend or acquaintance that you'll gladly take them up on the offer some other time, but that you already have plans for the date mentioned. Be careful not to deny offers too frequently, or you might end up appearing cold or distant.[4]
    • It can help if you have some emergency chores or errands in reserve. This can also be a kinder way of postponing plans with somebody, as it is less direct (and cold) than a simple "no."
    • When you are certain you don't want to be available and, instead, want to showcase your elusiveness, planned responses can be useful:
      • "I'd love to join, but I have plans already. How about next time?"
      • "I hate how busy I've been lately. I keep missing your parties. Next weekend I'm free if you are."
      • "You have no idea how much I'd rather be hanging with you, but something's come up and I have to take care of it."
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    Divide your attention. You might be thinking of dividing your attention between different people at a party, and that is a very effective strategy for amplifying your elusiveness.[5] However, you can also use body language to indicate that there might be more on your mind than your current conversation.
    • Look slightly upwards without completely breaking line of sight with your conversation partner to indicate distraction.
    • Repeated actions, like tapping your toes or casually checking your watch, also serve as signs that you might have other factors to contend with.[6] Try to use subtle gestures so that you don't end up upsetting anyone.
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    Associate yourself with high status. This doesn't mean you have to abandon your current group of friends for the popular group, but you might want to take some time to talk one-on-one with those who are well regarded in your community.[7] This can give the impression that you are broadly connected, which only makes you more elusive.
    • If asked about your relationship with high status members, be vague or hint at non-specifics. As an example:
      • A: Hey, what were you and the class president talking about the other day?
      • B: Nothing in particular, aside from what everyone is talking about. But I really don't want to continue that conversation here, so maybe we'll pick it up again later?
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    Use names sparingly. Language can sometimes have a strange effect on people, like making them unwilling to tear paper upon which the names of family members have been written.[8] By withholding a name in conversation, you leave the subject you are talking about vague and uncertain, which by association, makes you more difficult to pin down. Practice using general forms of address:
    • "I'll be downtown tonight with some people my cousin introduced me to."
    • "So this guy I met through a friend of mine from way back said he had exactly the same problem as you."
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    Appreciate the difference between being elusive and being rude. The point in being elusive is to evade physical or mental capture, but rudeness is hurtful to others. If you turn down a person too often or randomly disappear when hanging out, your friends might interpret your behavior as insensitive or disrespectful. Remember that the bonds of family and friendship require time and effort on your part to be preserved.

Making Elusiveness Routine

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    Develop, and believe in, rituals. Rituals have a proven psychological effect of improving luck.[9] When people see how well you do on your final exam after finishing your pre-test ritual, they might think you have some elusive insight into the inner workings of the world.
    • Get a lucky charm, like a rabbits foot, lucky coin, or game piece. These are highly portable, good conversation pieces, and can be soothing to trace or pet with your hand.
    • Consider a personal variation of a good luck gesture, like knocking on stone instead of knocking on wood, or tapping on the frame of a door before entering a room.
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    Have a "soft calendar." There's no point in wasting your time alone just to give the impression that you're an elusive person, so why not plan ahead and look up activities to keep you occupied in the meantime? A soft calendar is filled with events that might be nice to do but can always be done later. A soft event, like going to the park, is flexible, where a doctor's appointment you scheduled a month ago is not. A soft calendar can also be a source for excuses in the event you offer a raincheck.
    • If a friend asks you to come on an outing, you might tell him that you were planning on going to the museum, and that you would love to join some other time.
    • If you should change your mind, like in the case of you finding out your best friend was also going on the trip, you can always say, "You know, I can go to the museum any day. I think I will join you this time."
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    Stay aware of your surroundings. You never know when you might need to make an escape to sustain your elusive charm among your friends. When you are spending time at a public place, do some reconnaissance the day before or look up a map online. This way, if you feel the need to disappear discreetly, you can duck into an alcove unknown to others.
    • Use your knowledge of the lay of the land to your advantage. With a stopwatch you can time your return to the scene so that it's a surprise that makes people ask, "Where did you come from? And... when did you leave?"
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    Keep a wide circle of friends. This is a way you can extend your influence in ways that surprise your regular crew. You can attend less popular sporting events to show your support, quickly establishing new friends in the process. Having a broad network of friends will give you options for spending your time that are consistent with your elusive demeanor.
    • Make sure you spend enough time with the people in your life to keep your relationships healthy. Even if you do not feel the closest connection with a person, you should always take feelings into account.


  • Never try to be anything at the expense of your mental health or well-being. If you feel like your attempts at being elusive are making you less connected with your peers, this might be a sign that the elusive life isn't for you.


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