Cleo's Dating Blog

Playing Games

Posted on: February 8, 2011

After all the romantic comedies, dating advice books, episodes of Sex and the City, and failed relationships, are dating games still necessary?

My initial response is, “no.” As long as we are straight forward and honest, games should not be necessary. However, after greater reflection, I realize that this is a much more difficult question to answer than with a simple yes or no response.

Sometimes I like to pretend to be a thug and think, “Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.” This is true to an extent… playa’s just tryin’ to survive! But what exactly is “the game” and why are we all tempted to play it?

The Game

Since we are all individuals of unique ideas and thought,  what we interpret as “the game” is going to be different. Here are some broad categories of games we play:

1. Player– There is a level of respect to be gained by those who are highly desired. The more men or women who want you helps to reinforce that you are hot, you are a catch, and other people are jealous of you. Urban dictionary says,

“The more game a playa has, the more respect they command in their community. A person who has enough game (and hence, enough respect) can do whatever they want, dress however awful (or tacky) they want, say whatever crazy things they want to say, and still win the adoration of others. Often these skills are used to earn sexual or material favors…”

Everyone is tempted by a sexual or material favor at some point in their life… not everyone indulges. Social stature is also desirable, especially in the City of Angels. Thus men and women tend to date multiple people at one time, constantly have a wandering eye, and never put all their eggs in one basket. Is this wrong? Nope! If you are not in a committed relationship, not only is it good to keep your options open, but keeping your funnel full (concept stolen from Jessica McCan’s book, You Lost Him at Hello), can help you to protect yourself from getting attached to one person too quickly and consequently, getting hurt.

However, does being a player potentially jeopardize your chances of being deemed trustworthy? Yes. Can being a player cause your ego to grow larger than it should? Yes. Is a player lifestyle time-consuming and exhausting? Definitely.

Being too much of a player can also be a sign of insecurity. It can signal a fear of commitment and a fear of opening up to another- a recipe for a relationship disaster. Measuring your worth by how many dates (or hoes) you have is not healthy either- you are mostly likely just a number to someone else as well.

Thus, there is a level of being a player that is necessary and a level that is excessive. Practice is the best way to figure out your own happy medium- as it is different for everyone and at changes at different stages in your life.

2. Hard to Get– Women are always told that men love “the chase”. My idol, Sleeping Beauty, practiced this method and was wildly successful. But, could this strategy be just a fairy tale?

Playing Hard to Get is where a woman (or man) makes a conscious effort to give off the image of being independent, in high demand by other suitors, busy to the point of being unavailable, and being unimpressed by small gestures. A true master of this art accomplishes all the aforementioned images while concurrently encouraging further courtship by dropping intriguing hints of positive feedback- i.e. being sexy or mushy at just the right moment. This game also supports the theory that men love bitches, that they like a woman with a little sass and attitude to keep them on their toes. Confidence.

It is one thing to play hard to get, it is quite another to be hard to get. To a certain point, you should be busy, independent, confidently express your opinions, and have high expectations- no games. Too much playing and putting on a front will never get you where you want to go. Be who you really want to be so you do not have to pretend.

However, there is a time when this strategy is necessary in nurturing growth and I can give you a personal example. On my quest to become a dating guru, I am constantly evaluating myself. Thus, it seems that every time I date a guy I actually like, there is an ever persistent dating cycle…

First, I am only somewhat interested and extremely skeptical that this dude might be psycho.

Second, he is aggressive, sweet, and thoughtful. He plans dates, texts me good morning, etc. I feel in control of my emotions.

Third, things progress smoothly. I am happy and I let my guard down.

Fourth, sweet things slow almost to a halt. Statements such as, “you just have to trust that I miss you” are thrown into the mix. I become confused, needy and not in control.

Fourth, I finally realize that I am getting clingy! Not what I want to be. Something must be done.

Fifth, I convince myself that I should not feel as strongly as I do. After a few days, I actually am convinced. Playing hard to get becomes being hard to get once again. I am back in control.

Sixth, man senses change and tries harder. I scale back the addiction to over analyze each action. Things are good again. Yet, guard is back up, I am realistic again, and I am not so quick to bet on a future. After all, if you did not know already, Sleeping Beauty is not very realistic.

Seventh, well I honestly haven’t gotten this far in a while, so this step is TBD. Usually at this point I realize I am not interested anymore and I move on. When this changes, you will be the first to know.

Therefore, in my case, playing hard to get is sometimes necessary in gaining control of my emotions and getting my mojo back. Definitely worth it.

3. Jealousy– If you mix category one, player, with category two, hard to get, you get the jealousy category. By flaunting your player status to prove your worthiness, you are attempting to use jealousy to reel in a love interest. I have never found this to work. Making someone intentionally jealous is not an attractive quality. There will be enough times that you do it inadvertently, please refrain from high school tendencies. It’s not cute.

Roughly, these are the three main types of games I have come into contact with. If this were a book instead of a blog post, however, I’m sure I could write a lot more. As I explained, in some cases games are necessary, and in some they are more harmful than good. The only way you will know where you stand is by practicing, re-evaluating, trying new things and, of course, reading this blog!

Much Love,



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