Women are supposedly the masters of mind games, so why are so many of us getting played by men? It’s easy to think only women play mind games, but guys have learned and now they play their own. While both sexes should just be upfront and honest, that’s not always what happens. It’s time to learn to recognize when he’s just playing you so that you can win whatever game’s on the table. After all, once you know what’s going on, it’s pretty easy to counter him and beat him at his own game. Here are a few to be on the lookout for at all times.
- If you do this, I’ll do that later If you just go along with what he wants to do, he promises to do whatever you want to do later. The thing is, later never comes. He’s great at making those deals, but he never delivers. He’ll always find some way out of it. He might even claim you didn’t completely follow through originally. To win, switch things around. The next time he asks you to do something, refuse unless he does something with you first.
- Blaming you for what he did wrong He knocked over your favorite knick-knack and shattered it. Instead of apologizing, he blames you for putting it too close to the edge of the shelf. The idea of this game is to blame you and get you to apologize for what he did wrong. It’s a great way to kill your self-esteem and keep you off guard. To win, don’t bow down when he blames you. Call him out on his crap and force him to apologize.
- Being the perfect guy This sounds like a dream, but it comes at a price. He’ll pretend to be everything you want until he has you hooked. Then the dream becomes a nightmare. He’ll still be perfect in front of your friends and family. The idea is to make you fall for him and when you want to leave, your friends and family turn against you for wanting to leave such a perfect guy. To win, dump him anyway. If your friends and family are choosing him over you, it’s time to find better people in your life.
- Pretending he doesn’t care We all have this tendency to go after the guy who doesn’t seem to care. We love that nonchalant attitude – it’s the classic bad-boy scenario. Bad guys love playing this game. They get to act like you don’t matter and you eat it up. To win, stop chasing bad boys. He either cares or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, then you’re not interested.
- The classic guilt trip While women are still far better at this classic mind game, men are getting the hang of it pretty well. We all know how this one works. He gets what he wants by playing with your emotions and making you feel guilty for something. To win, be strong and confident. You can’t feel guilty if you know you’re right to begin with.
- Pushing every button Believe it or not, some men love getting you angry so they can use your outbursts against you. They might use it as a guilt trip or as part of the blame game. The idea is to make you look like the bad one by subtly pushing all your buttons until you finally explode. He seems like the victim when all along, he’s the one orchestrating the whole thing. To win, keep your cool. Nothing will piss him off worse and throw him off his game than showing him he can’t play your emotions so easily.
- Flirting with other women I like to call this the jealousy game. He flirts with other women in front of you to show you he has other options. The idea is to make you do more for him in order to keep him by your side. Women are bad to play this game too. It’s only okay if you’re not in a relationship yet. To win, dump him and let him have his other options. Of course, you could always flirt with other men first and remind him what’s he’s losing before you say goodbye.
- Pretending to like what you like You’ll often see this one played alongside the perfect guy game. He’ll seem to love all your hobbies at first. Then suddenly, you owe him. It could be trying new things in bed, doing his hobbies or giving him time with the guys. The whole idea is to guilt you into doing whatever he wants. To win, don’t give in. Only do things with him if it’s something you want to do. You don’t owe him anything, especially if he’s lying and playing mind games.
- Using the ex against you I hate this one with a passion. I’ve seen far too many guys playing this one. You might refuse to do something so he counters with stories about his exes. He might tell you how she loved his hobbies or did that special something in bed. He makes you feel competitive and makes you jealous. You want to keep him, so you oblige and try to outdo her. To win, tell him if his ex was so much better, maybe he should go back to her. You’re not his ex and you don’t have to be. Remember, the two of them broke up for a reason. Odds are, she got tired of his games, too.
- Getting close to your family and friends When a man makes more of an effort to get close to your family and friends than he does you, watch out. This is a popular mind game. You just think it’s great he’s trying so hard. All he’s doing is getting everybody on his side. They see how wonderful he is and constantly tell you how lucky you are. It makes you not want to leave him. To win, let him do whatever he wants. It’s his time and if he turns out to be a jerk later, you’re still going to dump him. It doesn’t matter how much he cozies up to those you love.
- Giving back-handed compliments When a guy realizes you’re way out of his league, he might start giving you backhanded compliments. He’s afraid you’ll dump him for someone hotter or better. The idea is to subtly kill your self-esteem so you find him more attractive and think you couldn’t possibly do any better. To win, think about how his compliments make you feel. If you’re not feeling great, then it’s probably a backhanded compliment. Confront him and ask what his problem is. If the behavior continues, get rid of him already. Remember, you really can do better.
Mind games are nothing new. All you have to do is know how to play him right back. Don’t sink to his level. Instead, make it obvious you know what’s going on and put him back in his place.
How to deal with a guy who plays mind games
- Confront him about it. You don’t have to sit back and just deal with it when a guy plays mind games with you. In fact, that’s the worst possible thing you can do. It’s important that you call him out on it and let him know that you see what he’s doing and you don’t appreciate it. Sometimes, being pulled up on their BS is enough to make guys come to their senses and whip themselves into shape. However…
- Don’t put up with excuses or empty promises. Don’t be fooled if, after you confront him, the guy gets all sheepish and apologizes and swears he’ll never do it again. Words are empty at the end of the day — what you want is action. If he promises he’ll change or tries to make excuses for why he’s been acting the way he has but then doesn’t do anything to deal with his behavior and change his ways, that’s just not going to fly.
- Lay some ground rules. This is code for establishing boundaries, which should have been done from the beginning. If you’re going to continue seeing each other and exploring a possible relationship, this guy needs to know that you won’t put up with mind games and you’re not interested in being with someone who’s inconsistent, lazy, and thinks it’s fun to mess with people’s heads. If he can’t hang, that’s his loss.
- If the behavior doesn’t change, walk away. After you’ve confronted him and said your piece, it’s up to him to decide whether he’s going to get his butt in gear and start acting like he actually wants a chance to be in your life or if he’s going to continue on the same course and lose you. Ultimately, if you notice it’s the latter, you know what you need to do: walk away immediately.
- Keep your self-respect intact. As women, we have the tendency to blame ourselves for things that go wrong in our relationships. We try to convince ourselves that there’s something we could have done better/differently to save things but oftentimes, that’s ridiculous. You’re not responsible for anyone else’s behavior other than your own. If this guy wants to play mind games, he can go find someone else to play them with because you won’t be around to put up with them.