The 3 Most Annoying Games People Play in Dating


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As children, we’re taught that games are fun. Unfortunately, the games adults play tend to be far less innocent. Confusing and infuriating – yes. Fun? No Whether it’s a little white lie here, or a healthy dose of exaggeration there, trying to unravel what people really think and who they are is a time-consuming business. Learning to recognise the most common games can save us from misplaced emotional involvement and tell us when it’s time to move on.

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Striving to be the best is OK if you’re competing in the Olympics. It’s not acceptable on a date. A typical situation is where a guy tries to extract information about his date’s past boyfriends. He then proceeds to try and prove how he is better than them in every way. His car is sleeker, his house better furnished and his earnings in a higher tax band.

It doesn’t have to be past partners that your date tries to best. He/she might want to prove themselves better than your parents, friends, or even the waiter. The most worrying kind of one-upmanship is where they appear to want to compete directly with you. This may happen if they feel threatened, but it’s pretty inexcusable nonetheless. The best advice in this situation is to run (though they’ll probably be able to run faster, and further etc.).

Truth be told

Dating almost always involves some degree of lying. We want to be liked and to impress. We don’t want to talk about things we’re not proud of. However, there’s a difference between omitting minor information and doling out brazen whoppers.

It’s relatively easy to spot when someone has dutifully avoided a particular subject. If it’s a major area of their life that they’re refusing to talk about, then we become rightly suspicious. If it’s something minor, we can let it slide.

The problem is where we’re presented with outright lies. Even worse is when these lies contradict each other. Worse still is where these contradictions are noticed, and explained away with fanciful stories. This would be funny if it wasn’t so painful. The moral of the story is that lies are anathema to getting to know someone – don’t do it kids.

Mixed messages

Saying one thing and meaning another is a cliché of dating. Someone who says ‘yes, I’d like to see you again’ might indeed like to see you again. They might also be trying to tell you that they have no intention of ever calling, and will be deleting your contact details at the earliest possible moment.

There are also non-verbal messages that seem to set out to intentionally confuse. A common example is the overly flirty man/woman who seems to be desperate for confirmation that you like them. Make the mistake of providing said confirmation, and watch as their interest in you evaporates before your very eyes.

Why do people do these things? Usually it’s a combination of low self-esteem, self-protection, poor social skills and good old nervousness. Your date might genuinely want to spend a pleasant evening with you. The problem is that they may have conscious and sub-conscious needs that want to be met at the same time. For example, proof of their attractiveness, or that they’re a good person.

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Have you experienced any games that get you particularly riled? Are they ever justified?

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