Your Call: How Can She Tell If a Guy Is Playing Games?

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We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call on the letter below by leaving your advice in the comments section. 

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Dear Em & Lo,

How can I tell if a guy is looking for something serious or is just playing games? I meet a lot of men who tell me one thing and do another and it’s very frustrating because I am ready to settle down and don’t have time for all the games. What signs do I need to be on the lookout for so I don’t waste my time?

– Scrambled

What should Scrambled do? Let her know in the comments below.

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6 Comments on "Your Call: How Can She Tell If a Guy Is Playing Games?"

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If he is telling you one thing and doing another, he is most likely playing games. I have dated “players”, and actually enjoy it when I’m not looking for anything serious. Here are some signs that he is playing games: 1. He acts differently toward you when you are alone than when you are around other people 2. He sometimes seems to have a different personality around other people…and not because he is just more comfortable with you 3. He’ll text/call you and be very friendly, but when you text/call him, he isn’t always in the mood to talk 4.… Read more »

^ Serious guys show transparency, well said.

I would add that men who are serious about relationships usually have a certain amount of transparency. They let you meet friends or family without it being a big production. They share details of their day or their nights out. They call/ text when they say they will and return your calls in a reasonable amount of time. If a man is veiled in secrecy, it’s probably because he is playing games. Or, a spy. But I’d put my money on the former. The main thing I would suggest is to listen to your gut. If you feel like he… Read more »

What figleaf said. Also – online dating! You can put out there, right from the get-go, exactly what you’re looking for. Yes, you might still get contacted by men who aren’t looking for the same thing, but it will filter out a considerable number of them.


OMG! How untrue! I’m sure not everyone is 100% (or even close to) being honest on an online dating site. These days, I,personally, would NOT use these sites. Anybody can be WHO they WANT to be ” behind closed doors ” so to say! If people have a hard time with knowing if guys are “for real” or just “players in person, Why would they trust someone ” behind “closed door” (so to say??

I’m going to turn this around and ask what signs are you showing that you’re serious? I’m actually fairly certain most men, at least the ones past maybe age 23, are able to tell when they’re serious or playing, but it’s kind of a two way street. Put another way, while it’s a cliche that all women are looking for husbands and all men are looking for attachment-free sex each myth nevertheless has an impact on the ways heteros perceive each other. Suspicion and, as you say, impatience results. As does the perceived need for “Kremlinology” style analysis of what… Read more »