All the single ladies, this one is for you, from the bottom of my heart. Maybe you want to change your relationship status ASAP, or maybe you don’t care and are just out there having fun on dates. Either way, playing certain games when meeting someone new (and deciding whether they are interesting enough for dating) seems to be our default, though we all know deep down it doesn’t do us any good. But if everyone we meet is playing too, how do we avoid it?
Entering the world of dating can be—and more often than not, is—crazy confusing. Back in high school we rarely had any idea of what we wanted, not just from the other person, but from ourselves, too. The assumption was always that as we grew older, we’d grow wiser too. I laugh now when I remember how I used to think growing up would mean everything would be neat and figured out.
A friend of mine has a theory I accept with a bitter taste in my mouth: Everything is simple, she says, when the person is right. And we’re not even talking a romantic version of a love for a lifetime, but the right person in the right moment. Judging from a number of successful relationships around me, I have to (reluctantly) agree. Sometimes all it takes is a mutual interest in one another for things to develop naturally and easily. No grand gestures; no agonizing about what they meant or didn’t mean by what they said: just two people working toward making a relationship work. No games.
Why are games in dating such an issue, anyway?
Isn’t dating supposed to be fun and exciting? Years of experience tells us the answer to this question. People decide on calling each other based on the number of times the other person has already called first—instead of just giving the a call when they feel like it. They are ambiguous—all the time. They say one thing but do another, leaving you to wonder what it all meant and what they really think.
People tend to do that for two reasons: they are afraid to tell you they just aren’t that into you, because it’s never a pleasant talk; and because they’re human, and it’s incredibly ego-boosting to know someone’s into them. This combination makes it really easy to forget about being fair and just be flirty instead, because hey, who doesn’t like to be liked? But a person who genuinely cares, as my friend’s theory goes, won’t do these things. They don’t want to chase you away; they’ll probably be direct and truthful. Those are the people you want to be involved with.
So how do you avoid playing games in dating?
Truth be told, this is actually quite simple—though there is a chance you will have troubles accepting it. Avoid the people who are playing games. You know it deep down: you don’t want to waste your time. A person who is playing hot and cold is probably more cold than hot.
Focusing on things you really want, in this case a truthful dating companion with the potential for something else, might seem hard or almost impossible when it seems that not showing your feelings is a scenario we all play by. Turning your back to those who like playing games with you is a million times easier said than done, but after a while you get accustomed.
Yes, it takes an unearthly amount of self-control, especially if you really like someone. You will tend to find excuses for them and a million ‘what if’s’. Deep down, though, you will know what everything is about. Playing games is (probably?) fun. But there are people who are more into other people than the fun.
And I know you know this too. So just put it in work. And if you disagree, we’d love to hear your point of view! Tweet us your comments at @feather_mag!