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Guys Who Play Games: How to Recognize Them & What to Do About Them

It seems like most dating nowadays includes guys who play games, not only are these mind games but also emotional ones. What can you do about them?

As a woman who has been played like a fiddle many-a-time, I can tell you that guys who play games royally suck. There is really no other way to say it. They just suck. I wish I could tell you they play games due to past trauma or heartbreak or are hoping you’ll outsmart them, but that just isn’t the case.

Guys who play games are a tricky species. We overanalyze their behavior and try to play them back. We try to beat them at their own game. And we try to shut their game down.

But, the problem with all of that is that guys who play games are not that complicated.

They do not have a master plan. They are not playing hard to get or any other sort of game. They are making it up as they go along. And that is why it is so hard to deal with a guy who plays games. [Read: Understand the characteristics of a healthy relationship so you can end the shitty ones]

Who are the guys who play games?

Before we get into how you handle guys who play games, learn how to spot them, because it is true, some guys are just not smooth.

There are plenty of decent guys out there who are just clueless when it comes to dating. They don’t know what to do, what to say, or how to act. They are not the guys who play games and wouldn’t even know how to.

Instead, you are looking for a specific type of guy. The problem is they are really good at hiding the fact that they are playing games.

Guys who play games may not be smart or clever, but they are phenomenal liars, so good, in fact, you probably won’t even know they’re lying. You may not even have an inkling.

One obvious sign of a guy who plays games is this phrase, “I’m not like other guys.” Any guy who utters these words is not only exactly like “other guys,” but he is probably even worse.

[Read: These are the 16 types of guys you want to avoid like the plague]

How do I know all of this? Well, I have met more than a handful of guys that play games and play games well. Most recently, I was chatting with a guy that was too good to be true from day one.

We clicked on topics I had never had a guy agree with me on. He complimented me but not in an overwhelmingly creepy way. He flirted and got my sense of humor. It felt like talking to a male version of me.

Now, as a skeptic, of course, I questioned it. Ultimately, I let my excitement about finding a decent guy lead the way. This was until out of the blue he sends a text saying, “I’m going to be honest with you. I haven’t had pure intentions. I’ve been leading you on, and it isn’t fair to you, sorry.”

Next to ghosting and then haunting, this is one of the most classic moves of a guy who plays games. I have seen it at least four times in the last few years. The text messages are almost verbatim and always go on about how terrible they feel.

Guys who play games tend to have this persona of being a good guy with no intention of hurting anyone. They claim that they don’t play games when in reality they are the biggest players around. But, they barely admit it to themselves, so spotting it will not be easy.

Genuinely good guys that don’t play games won’t feel the need to tell you that they are a good guy. They won’t tell you that you are safe with them. They will prove those things to you with their actions.

If someone’s words and actions don’t line up they are playing games, even if they aren’t actively trying to. If a guy says the nicest things to you but doesn’t text you back for hours or days, cancels plans last minute, and ditches you to play video games with his friends, he is a guy who plays games, and not good ones.

Any guy that says one thing and does another is playing games whether he is trying to or not.

[Read: The 3 stages of why someone is blowing hot and then cold]

What to do about guys who play games

I am sure you have come in contact with at least one guy who plays games recently, if not more. And now that you know which ones are the guys who play games you can learn exactly how to handle their childish ways.

#1 Don’t feed into it. If a guy is playing games with you, try not to get wrapped up in his charm and cleverness. Instead of letting his “good” qualities take over your feelings, own your own self worth and don’t buy what he’s selling.

If he claims to be this great guy who was broken-hearted and is looking for love and thinks you’re the right one after two days of talking, proceed with caution. Don’t let his surprising gung-ho attitude sway your rationality.

#2 Back off. Most guys who play games are feeding on your desire for a boyfriend. They know you are interested and that is why their games work. They know if they don’t text you that you’ll reach out. And they know if they tell you they love watching The Bachelor that you’ll send them Snapchats of your reactions.

Instead of letting that work, back off. Now, usually I would advise against games or playing hard to get, but sometimes pulling back is necessary to really see what he is all about. If he reaches out then he actually wants to talk to you. If not he is probably giving the same lines to two other girls. [Read: How to ignore someone for attention and get what you want]

#3 Ask questions in person. One way guys who play games succeed is by getting you to bring up anything important over text. They overwhelm you in person so you don’t want to ruin the moment with a question like, “where is this going.”

But, don’t let your fear of awkwardness or making him uncomfortable stop you from asking the questions you need answers to. Over text, he can weasel his way out of answering or lie without a tell. In person, he can’t get out of it and will not be able to lie as convincingly.

#4 Beat him at his own game. This is also not the most sage advice I have ever given. Usually, when a guy plays games I like to shut him down and end all his fun. But, sometimes revenge is just too sweet not to take.

This is a move I once made and although my maturity winces at it, it sure felt good to give this guy a taste of his own medicine. A guy had led me to believe we were dating and had a future. He made all these claims and promises about the future until out of the blue he tells me he doesn’t want anything serious, leaving me in a lurch.

He wasted my time, disrespected me, and had the nerve to ask me to be his booty call afterward. Instead of ignoring that and moving on with my life I agreed to it and planned a time to meet up. I then stood him up and never responded to him again.

The whining texts from him sure felt good. Am I proud of this? No. Do I regret it? Also, no. [Read: How to play a guy at his own game and make him feel miserable]

#5 Call him out. If you spot the signs that he is a guy who plays games call him out. Instead of worrying you got it all wrong or not wanting to be dramatic, call him out. Tell him that his sister he told you about and makes him want to be a better man would be disappointed in him if she knew how he really treated women.

Call him out on his crappy lines and worse promises. Tell him that what he is doing is not just disrespectful, misogynistic, and gross, but that playing games like this is why he will always feel inadequate. [Read: The 13 reasons why he could be acting strange and distant]

#6 Turn him down. Finally, take the high road and just turn him down. Tell him that you are too good for his childish dating games. You deserve someone who treats you as an equal, not a toy.

When he gets all whiny and defensive, as all man-children do, just ignore him and block him if laughing at his pleas with your girlfriends is getting old. You’ve said what you wanted to. There is no need to hear his lame excuses.

With all of this, I hope you have learned how to better handle guys who play games. But, do remember that when it comes to these guys, there really is no winning in terms of changing him.

[Read: 10 ingenious ways you can beat the player who’s playing you]

The way to win when dealing with guys who play games is to move on. Find a guy who plays with you, not your mind.

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