Three Dating Games You Shouldn’t Play

Everyone plays games, especially when you’ve just started dating someone new and you don’t want to come across too interested. But there are some games we should end for good.

Why do we play games? For power, of course. There is nothing more vulnerable than being in the state of liking someone. You risk showing your feelings and being rejected (and you know from previous break-ups how much that sucks). If you play some harmless games, such as being a little mysterious to keep your date’s interest brewing or playing a bit hard-to-get so that he rises to meet the challenge, you don’t give everything away. And what’s wrong with that? Well, sometimes the game-playing strategies get out of hand.

Here are some times when you should hit the ‘off’ button on your game playing:

1. He Shows You His Feelings

Playing Games in RelationshipsYou’re laughing with a date, eating hotdogs and watching the sunset, when he gets this weird look in his eye and you wonder if he’s possibly having an allergic reaction to the ketchup. Then he says, really earnestly, that he loves you. Wow! You never saw that one coming. Instead of being honest with what you feel, you turn the moment into a joke, slap him playfully on the elbow and tell him to snap out of it, or you just play the role of the steely-eyed maiden, thinking you could use his feelings to your advantage. If you don’t show how you really feel, you’re still in the power position.

End Game: This is not game playing, this is toying with someone’s feelings. If a guy has really told you how he feels, you should respect it. If you don’t feel it for him, let him down gently, but if you do feel the same now is not the time to play the role of the Ice Queen. Don’t let your pride get in the way of something that could be good.

2. Being Fake Online

Online dating is not easy. It’s a bit like hoping to win the lottery. You’re just one hopeful in a batch of millions, so to increase your odds you might consider tweaking your profile. You’re not alone. According to a study by Pew Research, 54 per cent of online daters have ‘seriously misinterpreted’ themselves on dating sites, lying about age, income, and height. You might say you enjoy adventure sports, that you work in the advertising industry, as well as other lies to make you appear more interesting. You might even go one step further and Photoshop your image – or use a model’s pic stolen from the internet – to catch attention.

End Game: The problem with lying online is that you think you’re winning at dating odds but you’re placing yourself at an immediate disadvantage. You’re already starting on a bad footing. Sure, lies relating to age and income might only surface much later in the relationship, but they are never stand-alone lies. Say you lie about your age, claiming you’re 35 instead of 40. That’s five years of your life you’re writing off – imagine how many experiences you’ve had in five years that you’re pretending didn’t happen! As for lies such as your height, weight, or how you look, these will be busted immediately upon a face-to-face meeting. I don’t know about you, but if a man who looks nothing like his online photo walks over and introduces himself, I will immediately want to press the ‘eject’ button on my seat.

3. Pushing Him Away to Spark Interest

He tells you he’ll call and then he doesn’t, making you decide to reject his calls the next time he does. Or, you reckon that you won’t be available when he asks you out on a date, just to show him that you’re busy. Some might say that this is just playing hard to get, something women should do to set standards and not show a man that she’s desperate or doesn’t have a life.

End Game: A woman of worth doesn’t have to play games in order to show that she’s worthy of attention or being asked out. If you lie about being busy because you don’t want to show the guy that you’re interested in him right off the bat, but then you sit at home and feel miserable, your game-playing has come back to bite you in the you-know-what. And really, does this spark interest in a man? He might just shrug and think, ‘No biggie. I’ll ask her out another day.’ Before you keep a guy at a distance, think about why you’re doing it. Showing him that you have a life is a good thing – and yes, we’ve all lied about having a prior engagement when we didn’t want to look like we were waiting for the guy’s call – but don’t do it because you want to try to manipulate him into feeling insecure. Don’t get into the mindset of him having to jump through hoops to get you. That’s really just highlighting your own insecurities and it leaves no room for authentic fun.

Yes, fun! Sometimes we play so many games that we totally forget about having fun. Relationships shouldn’t have to be such hard work or involve strategies because then they’re all about the ego, leaving you no room to give yourself a real shot at something possibly amazing.

Images courtesy of marin /
The following two tabs change content below.
I am a writer living in South Africa. I have been working as a journalist and blogger for ten years. I am passionate about writing, and I have to confess I love it even more than my favorite high heels and Lindt chocolate. Writing on the topics of dating and relationships is an interest of mine, and I love keeping my finger on the pulse of the latest dating trends.

Latest posts by giuliasimolo (see all)