18 Signs He’s Playing You & You’re Letting Him

Some guys know all the right things to say and do to make you fall hard for them, even if they only see you as one of their (possibly multiple) playthings. No matter how much you like him, don’t ignore these signs that he’s trying to trick you into thinking you’re the only one he wants. He’s playing you and you’re better than that.

  1. He finds every excuse to not commit to you. “I just want to make sure it’s right.” “I like to take things really slow.” “I think you’re great and I don’t want to mess it up by rushing into anything.” These are all valid when you first start dating, but if you’re still getting excuse after excuse months into a could-be relationship, you can stop giving him the benefit of the doubt. He’s may never be ready to give up his single-guy lifestyle for you, and if you keep buying his “reasons,” he’ll have no reason to.
  2. He hasn’t deleted his dating apps. Even if you two haven’t specifically had the “What are we?” talk yet, most people delete the dating apps on their phone once they’re relatively sure they’ve found someone good enough to make them want to stop swiping. If he hasn’t, it’s not because he keeps forgetting. He’s still on the prowl, and whether he’s just looking for an ego boost or is still hooking up with other people, don’t let him fool you into thinking he’s pursuing something serious with you.
  3. He doesn’t bring you around his friends. Meeting close friends and family is a big deal, so in the early stages, it’s understandable if he wants to wait until things are clearly going somewhere before having his pals get attached to you. However, avoiding introducing you to his social group is only acceptable for so long before it becomes suspicious. After a few months, he either doesn’t see you as having long-term potential or he may be worried about what his buddies might say about the other girl he’s been hanging out with recently.
  4. He’s dismissive of your role in his life. Bringing you into his social group isn’t a sure sign that he’s not just jerking you around. Pay attention to how he speaks to and about you. Is he making a point to introduce you as his “friend”? If one of his buddies asks about your relationship, does the guy you’re seeing reply that you’re “hooking up”? If so, you’ve just learned what you mean to him, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
  5. He has flirty exchanges with other women on social media. Not everyone is into social media, so it’s not necessarily a big deal if he has no signs of you on his page. What is a big deal is if you see him making flirty comments on other women’s photos or posts. Some guys try to say that this behavior isn’t a big deal because it’s all online or “just a compliment,” but don’t let him manipulate you into accepting this if you’re not cool with it. He’s playing you and he shouldn’t get away with it.
  6. He makes plans that he never fulfills. Actions mean way more than words. We all have to occasionally cancel plans, but if this is happening all the time with this guy, something’s up. Best case scenario, he’s a serial flake. Worst case scenario, he’s blowing you off to spend time with someone else. Don’t let yourself get treated like a backup plan and definitely don’t spend your precious free time waiting for someone who won’t dedicate his free time to you.
  7. You never hang out at his place. Some people have terrible roommates, live in a bad neighborhood, or simply have an inconvenient housing situation (broken air conditioning, anyone?). At some point, though, it starts to become suspicious if he constantly insists that you two always hang out at your place, especially if you’ve literally never seen where he lives. Not only does this suggest that he might have some dealbreakers (or cockroaches) hiding in his house, but it can also mean that he’s scared of you finding evidence of another woman.
  8. He backpedals every time he starts to seem more invested. This is one of the biggest signs he’s playing you. If the guy you’re seeing is super hot and cold when it comes to commitment, you’re right to see it as a red flag. Sometimes a guy will know when you’re getting wise to his tricks and he’ll pour on the affection and promises as a way to keep you around. Then, once he has you where he wants you, he’ll pull back again, maybe asking to slow down or simply finding excuses to not spend time with you. It’s all a game to him and you’re just his toy.
  9. He makes a point to emphasize that he’s single. Do yourself a favor and take him at his word when he says you’re not his girlfriend. Even if you two do everything that committed couples do, even if he’s spending almost every night at your place, even if he has a cute pet name for you, you’re only fooling yourself if you expect him to be exclusive to you when he throws out phrases like “if we ever become a couple.” He’s just setting himself up to avoid looking like the bad guy when he inevitably hooks up with someone else.
  10. He limits romance to the bedroom. It’s not unusual to not be super into PDA. It is unusual to limit kissing, cuddling, and other forms of physical affection to times when you two are having sex. Someone who can’t bring himself to be romantic with you when he’s not looking to get laid isn’t someone who sees you as a serious romantic partner, no matter what he says otherwise.
  11. He only contacts you when he wants to “hang out.” You don’t hear from him all week unless he wants to meet up for a drink or have you come over. He doesn’t ask how your day went or what you did over the weekend. His sole reason for contacting you is to meet up and have sex, but there should be some form of communication when you aren’t together.
  12. The only time he wants to hang out is when it’s convenient for him. Whenever you ask him to hang out, he’s never available, but if he asks you to chill, you know you have to cancel your plans and drop everything because you know that you’ll miss the window if you don’t. It shouldn’t be that way. He should want to see you as much as you want to see him and there should be some flexibility.
  13. He’s extremely private about his personal life. He doesn’t tell you anything – not a single secret or personal detail. He keeps to himself and he never opens up about what’s going on in his life. There needs to be some form of intimacy when it comes to getting to know each other, otherwise he could be hiding something from you.
  14. He doesn’t want to meet your friends. Every time you ask him to hang out with you and your friends, he always says no. He doesn’t want to socialize or inter-mingle; he only wants to hang out with you alone, which means he’s probably not that serious about you.
  15. He doesn’t want you to meet his friends. He never invites you to hang out when he goes out with his friends. Even if you ask, he doesn’t include you in fear that you’ll be just another girl he was seeing for a brief period of time. It makes sense that he’d keep you separate if he’s playing you. Why would he bring you around the permanent people in his life if you’re temporary?
  16. You’ve never actually gone on a real date together. You meet up for drinks, veg out at his place, or just hook up when you’re together, but you’ve never actually had a sit-down dinner in public or had a real date night.
  17. He never stays the night. Even if it’s late at night, he never wants to stay over your place and always finds a reason to go home. If you’re at his, don’t even think about bringing an overnight bag, because you won’t be there that long.
  18. He avoids labeling the relationship. If you ever try bringing up the “What are we?” talk, he calls you nuts, reassures you don’t need a label, or just completely avoids the topic. He never wants to talk about it, and months later, you realize you’re still in the same exact situation.
Diana is a writer and waitress living in Tennessee with her "fur family" (two cats and a ferret). When she's not working, you can find her hiking, cooking, or taking really long naps.