12 Things I Do With Guys Not Because I’m Playing Games But Because I Have Standards

I don’t play games, so it always amazes me when guys think that the following 12 things are strategies or manipulations to get one over on them. They’re really not — they just help me suss out who I’m dating and ensure that I don’t settle for less than I deserve. I’m not playing games, I just have standards.

  1. Saying I’m too busy to meet up When a guy wants to see me and I can’t make it because of work or other social commitments, he’s quick to think that I’m just playing hard to get. Oh, please. I really am busy, but it happens naturally that not being too available does show me how a guy handles it. If he throws a fit or acts like a sulking man-child, my busy schedule has helped me dodge a bullet!
  2. Waiting for him to make a move I don’t think it’s bad to let him make an effort. He has to meet me halfway and I need to gauge his level of interest before I jump into the relationship, right?
  3. Not sexting before a committed relationship This is something I do because I have standards. I don’t like to sext with a guy I don’t know very well. It might make me seem like a prude or tease but I don’t care. Besides, where’s the fun in sexting before we’ve become intimate in real life? It zaps the mystery.
  4. Not blabbing about my feelings I don’t like to tell a guy that I like him or enjoy his company too early on. I’m shy and worry about putting myself out there only to get rejected. However, if he lets me know how he feels, then I’ll be honest and tell him that I like him. I think that’s fair.
  5. Not being in contact 24/7 Sometimes, even if I really want to text the guy, if he hasn’t been in touch with me for a few days, I just won’t do it. It’s not a game. It’s a way to make sure he’s not fading me out or ghosting me. I don’t want to look desperate because that’s the last thing I am.
  6. Putting my demands on the table I expect my boyfriend to behave a certain way and treat me with respect and if he doesn’t, I’ll tell him about my relationship expectations and demands. One guy told me that this was just a game I was playing. He thought by telling him what I wanted I was nagging him so that I could try to control him. Ha!
  7. Giving him radio silence sometimes The silent treatment is a dating game, but when I pull back and don’t talk to the guy, I’m just taking some space to figure out if I want to be with him or not. For instance, if he’s upset me and I’m not sure if I should continue dating him. Of course, going silent on him can also be that I’ve changed my mind. Why is it okay for guys to do that but not women?
  8. Saying I’m not interested When I’m not interested in dating a guy and tell him so, he might immediately think I’m just playing hard to get. Ugh. It’s happened to me before and it’s so annoying. It’s really not a strategy to make you chase me harder, dude!
  9. Delaying sex Some people use sex as power, but that’s not my idea of fun. However, I do take time to get to know someone before having sex with them. It’s just so that I can be sure we’re on the same page and have something great going. Again, this might get me labeled a tease, but whatever. Again, I have standards.
  10. Being a bit mysterious at first It’s ridiculous to tell a guy everything about me when we’re in the early stages of dating. I mean, whatever happened to the slow burn? I like to build some suspense. It might sound strategic but it’s common sense: people want anticipation and a spark. If that dies, then the whole relationship dies too.
  11. Checking his reaction to other women If he spots a hot woman at the restaurant where we’re having dinner, I might ask him if he thinks she’s hot. I’m not trying to put him on the spot but I want him to know that I notice his wandering eye and how he’s drooling into his salad. If he mentions a work colleague a lot, I might worry that he’s with her so I’ll ask him about her. Is this such a bad thing? I want to protect myself and know what I’m dealing with before I give my heart. I don’t have time for players and I want them to know it!
  12. Having only one picture on dating app profiles It’s not kittenfishing — I just don’t like the idea of putting loads of pictures of myself on dating apps when I’m single and checking Tinder out. It makes me feel too exposed. I stick to one picture, so if that labels me a game player because it’s not a full-length snap, then so be it. I’m not hiding myself or trying to be deceptive, I’m just not sure strangers need to know every detail about what I look like. I’d rather they get to know my personality a bit. Is that so much to ask?
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.