I know sometimes it’s hard to scope a player out at first, but take it from someone who’s been there and if the red flags are smacking you in the face from waving so hard, don’t waste your time. Determining what his intentions are before you’re invested isn’t as hard as you think, anyway — you just have to pay attention. A player is swift with his words, clever with his actions and convincing to many, but don’t let him fool you. Here’s how to catch a player before he plays you:

Think back to how you first met.

A charming guy has a smooth way of getting girls to fall for him, but charm is one of a player’s key characteristics and in this case, it’s not a good quality. He may seem charismatic, but a player will say almost anything it takes to get you to like him and hopefully trust him so he can then pull the wool over your eyes. Think about when you met. Was he extremely convincing? Did he go over the top in trying to get you to like him? Warning!

Pay attention to what he does, not what he says.

 Is he constantly whispering sweet nothings and being flowery and romantic with the way he compliments you? This might seem endearing, but it could actually be manipulative. It could be his way of trying to make sure you stay  interested so he can get what he wants from you (and continue to get it elsewhere too). A player seldom makes a true effort to get to know you. Is he actually interested in what you’re saying or is he too busy spouting off romantic platitudes with nothing to back them up? He might try to tell you his intentions, but his actions will make them clear.

Ask around about him.

Find out what other people say about him, especially other girls. They’ll tell you straight up what he’s like. Players may be convincing, but they surely aren’t that sneaky. Girls talk and his reputation may precede him. If other girls have a lot to say and none of it is particularly flattering, you’re better off without him. Leave before you get too close.

Get to know his friends.

His guy friends say a lot about him. If they’re sketchy, deceiving and immature, he probably is too. Our friends have a lot of influence over us even if we don’t realize it. If his friends seem like players, he very well may be one too, so just be careful. Obviously he doesn’t have to be tarred with the same brush as his friends because he is his own person, but very often you are who you surround yourself with, so just be careful.

Stalk his social media.

We have these platforms for a reason, even if this action is sometimes frowned upon. Check out how he uses it and who he talks to. His social media presence can reveal a lot that he may not have thought you would see — for instance, his likes, comments and conversations with other girls. A player has a hard time hiding these things even if he tries. Don’t be fooled. If he’s confident enough to be a player online, he’s likely carrying that over into the physical world too.

Don’t be afraid to get real with him and see how he reacts.

Try to get him to open up to you about what he thinks and how he feels about life and love. Does he hold back or try to change the subject? A player avoids these topics at all costs because he just can’t give that part of him to others. He prefers a “hit it and quit it” type of relationship, even is it’s only hurting him in the long run. If he can’t open up to you, he’s probably incapable because of how distracted he is… by other women.

Figure out whether or not you can actually rely on him.

If he’s flaky and constantly cancels plans, it’s because you aren’t a priority. If a guy wants to see you, he will. It really is as simple as that. He could totally have other girls to hang out with and will make up lies as to where he really is. Take advice from someone who’s been in that situation — he’s just not worth it.

Trust your gut.

Your gut is a powerful mechanism. Use it to your advantage. If you just get the feeling that he isn’t being real with you or that he could be seeing other girls, he probably is. It’s better to listen to it now than trying to ignore it. Down the road, you’ll regret not acting upon it.

Your feelings say a lot.

A guy can only say and do so much, but it all comes down to how he makes you feel. If he doesn’t make you feel right or at peace, then it’s time to evaluate his worth in your life. Players can be deceiving and hard to see through at times, yes, but it isn’t long before karma creeps up on them. Notice the signs early and you’ll never get played. You got this, girl.

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