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The Ultimate Guide On Mind Games: Why He Plays Them, How To Beat Him, And Turn It Around

I know, I know. You wish guys would stop with their bullshit games and just be upfront. I agree! While I know why men do what they do (and you will too after this article), I believe everyone would be happy in the long run if they just stop with the games, communicate better, and go from there. Unfortunately, that is not the case and I believe the next best step in helping you get what you want from men is understanding why the hell they decide to do the weird things they do. 

In this article, I am going to go through it all. I am going to explain each mind game tactic he does, why he does it, what everything means, and more. 

First, How Mind Games Came About: Me Vs You and Our Goals

I am just going to start off by leaving this video here that explains everything I am about to say in this section of the article but in better detail:

As you can see, based on our physiology, men and women have different “advantages” in nature. Based on these advantages, we go down a path that we believe is most beneficial for us! For a lot of men that would equate to quantity while for women, it would equate to more quality. 

At the end of the day though, we both want the same thing: to have healthy offspring we are able to pass down into the next generation.

Today, mind games are a little more complex. With technology and the mind games developing over time, there is more we have to look out for. It’s a back and forth battle between the sexes to see who can one-up the other.

You may ask, “Why don’t we just date until we find the right mate? That way, we can agree to be together and forget all these games?”

While that does make logical sense, there is more to the puzzle than people may be aware of. There are variables that people don’t take into consideration unless they’re thinking deeply about the subject.

For example, sex and a relationship are two completely different things that are not always correlated. Women would like them to be correlated. That is why it’s easy for a woman to say, “Let’s just pair with people we like so we are all happy.” Guys agree with that. 

The problem is what guys do in the meantime! They’re not only going to have sex with women they’re officially dating. There is nothing wrong with that but you must go back and look at it from an advantageous standpoint: Why do that when I can have my cake and eat it too? Why not hook up UNTIL I find the right girl?

There are also more benefits to a man hooking up with numerous women. Here is a small list:

  • Options
  • Raises status
  • Ego boost
  • Pride
  • Revenge
  • Fills a void/gap
  • Insecurity
  • The feeling of belonging
  • FWB advantages

There would be a lot of stuff a guy would be missing out on if he were to do it any other way. He also knows that you’re not dumb enough to just let him hook up with you and not expect anything in return. 

Therefore, tricks and mind games come into play.

Is He Really Playing Mind Games? Or Just Not Interested

I am going to contradict a lot of what I just said but hear me out. I want you to look at these two statements:

“The guy I am talking to wants a relationship”

And

“Men like advantages.”

Okay, depending on if you believe these two statements are true or not, we can find out a lot about these mind games men are playing and if they’re actually playing them.

If you believe both these statements to be true, then you’re guy isn’t playing games despite not being in a relationship with you just yet. That doesn’t mean he isn’t going to play little games here and there but for the most part, it’s less likely. Why is that?

Because if we agree upon that man like advantages, we could argue that it would be a great disadvantage in playing with a girl’s head who he likes, she likes him in return, and they can transition into a relationship. What would be the point of the games? If anything, a high-value woman wouldn’t put up with it and he could actually lose her because high-value women like consistency, loyalty, and committed men. If he shows her signs that prove otherwise, he may look unstable. It’s not sexy to a woman for a guy to show a lot of interest to only pull back later on so he can fulfill his own validation and ego. Women will look for more stable men. 

On the other hand, if we only believe the first statement that your man wants a relationship is false or unreal and the second statement of men liking advantages to be true (because it is), we can assume he’s playing games. Why is this the case?

Because of the heavy emphasis on context and men wanting advantages.

If we assume he doesn’t want anything serious (or you’re not sure), the context is you’re still in the picture, and it’s not really progressing towards anything serious, we can come to the conclusion that you’re still in the picture for….ADVANTAGES! Exactly!

In this case, he may be playing games to keep you around so he can drain you of the assets.

Are Men Always Playing Games? Nope! 

It depends on what you mean by “game”. If he’s giving you hope and keeping you around without wanting a relationship or telling you he wants a relationship, then yes he is playing games. However, sometimes something very common and usually associated with mind games such as showing a lot of interest in the beginning and pulling away, later on, can tell a different story.

For many cases, I do believe that when men do show a lot of interest in the beginning and it slowly dies off, later on, it’s due to feelings changing. It’s not because he thought, “I want to hit and quit this girl.” It’s probably because context changed what was going on and/or he realized, later on, he didn’t want anything. 

I know that sounds like a convenient way to get out of this thing you two had but it’s the truth. I have been there.

I remember years back I used to go to a therapist for my hypochondria and for some odd reason, we started talking about my dating life and came to the conclusion I had commitment issues. I told the doctor that I did have good intentions with these women I dated and no reason to leave them. However, when things got serious, I got cold feet and couldn’t follow through. 

Long story short, we dug into my past and figured some things out but I would argue that a lot of men aren’t emotionally available/ready for a relationship. That doesn’t mean they don’t want one, can’t like you, can’t try for one, and so on. 

I truly believe many women who come to me are victims of this situation (both him and her). They’re two people who do like each other but are not ready for a relationship. Wanting a relationship, being able to be in one, and being able to have/maintain one are all different things. Keep that in mind!

So when a guy shows a lot of interest in the beginning and it dies off, this may be one reason why.

The other reason is what I call rationing resources or finding stability. A lot of people will do a lot of investing in the beginning. This is in all areas of life, not just dating. Some people when trying to change their diet do drastic changes where they cut everything out that isn’t good for them. Or if you’re trying to wake up early, you try to go from your horrible sleeping schedule to waking up at 5 am with 4 hours of sleep. These things aren’t going to happen overnight. No different from dating.

People are always going to front load and love bomb in the beginning. It is new, they like you, and want to see where it goes.  Heavy investing is going to happen. But is it sustainable? Of course not. I have clients come to me saying they talked to their guy on the phone for hours every day.

WTF?! Seriously?

Yeah, that isn’t going to last.

Then they call me and tell me he doesn’t call anymore. No shit. That is crazy talk. That is not something that is sustainable and will immediately be seen as a liability (as in, it is taking resources such as time and energy) with enough time. 

The Types Of Games Men Do Play And What To Do About It

Here is a video I made that is a tier list on the power and effectiveness of certain mind games men like to play. The higher ones are the stronger and more effective ones whereas the lower ones are weaker and less effective:

S-Tier Mind Games:

He’s Lovebombing You

This is in the S tier due to its effectiveness. I cannot tell you how many times I have clients come to me and say, “I know he likes me. He did everything in the beginning. He would initiate, chase, call me all the time and we would talk for hours, he couldn’t keep his hands off me, he would always bring up wanting to see me, and so much more.”

Oh trust me, I know how the technique works. It works well for several reasons.

For one, why would the average woman, who doesn’t watch my material, fall for it? You should assume he’s doing it because he likes you right? And you like him right? So you’re going to justify everything he’s doing instead of qualifying him. It’s also moving towards the path of a relationship so as long as he’s showing you the investment and consistency (two things women LOVE), then everything is peachy right?

That isn’t always the case. Whether he’s doing it on purpose or not, lovebombing is a powerful tactic if you fall for it and let the guy lead the pace.

What To Do: CONTROL THE PACE! I know it sounds simple but men move fast for several reasons.

It could be out of insecurity or validation. The faster he moves, the more of that validation he has due to you going at the same pace! Men love validation. Sadly, our self-worth, to a degree, is wrapped up on our ability to attract the women we want. If you flirt yet be elusive, he will have to invest more in you to see where you actually stand with your feelings. He doesn’t have to do that if he sees you complying with everything.

Secondly, men freak themselves out and don’t even realize the speed at which they’re going. Context is very important and when you two are doing so much so fast, it is painting a picture that will probably freak him out later on. You can prevent this by slowing it down yourself so he doesn’t automatically assume you want a relationship and has to work for your resources.

He Told You He Wants A Relationship But Doesn’t

This is S tier because sadly, it works. I am not saying men should do it but if you want what he’s selling AND he knows he has what you’re looking for, you’re very likely to buy.

I do agree this is probably the most effed up thing you will see on the list of mind games because it has no care for your feelings. He’s just saying it to get in your pants.

What To Do: Obviously leave. To give you more in-depth of an answer, do not stick around with this guy in hopes that he changes. I know a lot of you reading this are talking to him and letting him in because he talked his way back in and convinced you that he’s different, likes you, and all that other crap. No. That isn’t how it works. He just wants access to the assets. Move on from the dude. If you don’t, I can’t say I feel sorry for you.

Must Read: Ultimate Guide On How To Get A Guy To Miss You

A-Tier Mind Games

The Guy Who Buys Time

Have you ever heard any of the following:

  • “I like you so much I don’t want to lose you.”
  • “I just ain’t ready for anything serious but I still want you in my life”
  • “Not right now but maybe in the future.
  • “I can’t, I just got out of another relationship. Please give me some time.”

yeah, I know you have. This is A-tier for a reason. When men use phrases like this to buy time, women stick to it like flies. Why? Because of hope. We hate the feeling of regret. Regret is a feelling only created by us believing we made the wrong decision. When you like a guy, he builds hope, you don’t want to regret anything, and you believe there may be a chance that you two can be together, you’re going to take the bait almost every time. It’s just human nature. Unless, of course, you’re aware of what is happening and it has happened to you before.

The effectiveness of this tactic is no joke. It works. I don’t think men do it all the time to literally lead you on. I do think men generally like the women they’re talking to but if he’s not ready, he’s not ready. That doesn’t mean he wants you out of his life. That is why tactics like this are effective. He will still have access to the assets and is able to buy time until he can make a more rational decision….

The problem is, why does he have to make the decision? If he’s buying time, it’s working, you’re wanting what he is selling, he can tell you really like him, and all that other stuff, he’s going to believe you’re not going anywhere. If that is the case, there is no catalyst for change. There is no reason for him to make the decision.

What To Do: I am going to give you my most overused but classic advice: after 8 dates, I don’t give a shit if he looks in your eyes, tells you he loves you, and means it. You’re out. You give him the ultimatum and that is that. You tell him what is up and what you want. If he can’t give you that, end it on a good note and move on. You don’t deserve to have your time wasted. I don’t give two shits if he’s your ex, you talked for 8 months, he’s so good to you, and he acts like your boyfriend. Move on.

When He Ignores You Tactics

So powerful. Especially if used at the right time. The video below kind of goes into detail on what I mean by timing. The video is made for women but the concepts still apply with men. 

Basically, if you ignore the right person at the right time, it works. Why? Because you build up enough rapport and investment on someone who is in desire of a relationship. If you ignore someone too early, the rapport isn’t there and they can move on. If you do it too late, as in, they’re pulling away so your reaction is to pull away and ignore, you’re just a convenience. But at the height of attraction. It’s deadly.

What To Do: In theory, only low-value men ignore. High-value men focus on reciprocal investments so don’t really worry if the guy is ignoring you. Call him out and see what is up. If he’s not complying and giving you the answer you want, you need to let him go.

I can already tell that some of you read the above paragraph and don’t like what I said. You don’t want to confront the guy because he may pull away, or you don’t want to come off needy, or you want a better tactic to hook him. SMH…Do you not see why you’re in the situation you’re in with that mindset?

Must Read: The Ultimate Guide On Men Ignoring You

Must Read: The Ultimate Guide On Ignoring Men

He Doesn’t Want A Relationship But Won’t Leave Either

This tactic is very common amongst my clients. What is important to understand is that a lot of men while they may not want a relationship, that DOES NOT mean they don’t have feelings for you. A relationship is something different than feelings. Yes, they’re correlated but I can like someone and not want a relationship.

When this happens, a man still sees the value in your assets and likes the situation he’s in. He is going to try to have his cake and eat it too by trying to convince you to stay. He will even bother and pester you a lot in hopes that you cave due to your emotions. It also fools some women into thinking, “Wow he really likes me. Maybe I will give him a chance. I think he will change his mind.”

That will not happen! There is no reason for him to change his mind if he can simply convince you just by bugging you. If he doesn’t want a relationship, there is a reason. He sees it as he doesn’t want to pay the cost of your assets so convincing you to stay by bothering you is a renegotiation on the situation you’re in. 

If he can convince you to stay when you KNOWINGLY realize he doesn’t want a relationship yet stick around AFTER him telling you “no way”, you just renegotiated that you’re okay with friends with benefits. Otherwise, why stay?

What To Do: Make that guy squirm. I am a big believer that you should make the guy think you’re staying around but you’re not. Make him feel he’s close to getting what he wants then leave him hanging. Is it mean? Yes. Should you do it? No. Does he deserve it? Probably. Remember, this guy was going to ring you out for everything you’re worth despite knowing he can’t give you what you want…

The last thing I would care about is what this guy wants. 

B-Tier Tactics

Says He Wants A Relationship, Means It, But You’re Still Not Together

Unfortunately, women for some reason think that once a man says he wants a relationship and that the two of them are talking, she is obligated to be his girlfriend. That is not the case. In fact, that is why men don’t tell women things all the time. I have a video about men hiding their feelings and the reasons why here:


There are two things happening if a guy says he wants a relationship but you’re talking for more than 8 dates and still single:

  • He does want one but not with you
  • He said it, meant it, but the feelings have changed.

What To Do: Move on. I know you’re seeing me say that a lot but I truly believe that 90% of the problems women are in can easily be erased if she stops giving the guy the opportunity he didn’t work for.

There is absolutely no reason to stick around after this. He’s not going to change his mind.

A Man Who Slowly Pulls Away

Pulling away is different than ignoring in the sense that if we include attachment types (secure, anxious, avoidant, etc), the anxious type of woman (which is a lot more of you than you think) is very keen on the downward spiral when a man starts pulling away. You start to questions things like:

  • He used to ask to see me all the time but now he rather hang with his friends
  • He doesn’t send me good morning text anymore
  • He doesn’t text me as much in general
  • When he does reach out, it’s always the last minute.

It works well because of two reasons:

  • As humans, we strive for perfection and completion
  • As women, you feel like you had something great and it’s slowly slipping from your grasp

Not only that, but you are also probably wondering what the hell happened! You think you did something wrong and that in itself drives you crazy. A lot of the times, I tell my clients that men are probably going to put it on heavy in the beginning with the initiation. That is normal (kind of). It will almost always die off though because it’s not sustainable and it’s a successful tactic when it comes to getting a mate. 

What To Do: It’s going to die off naturally from that high intensity and should mellow out into what I call a maintenance stage. This is something that is more sustainable. However, if you just feel there is a lack of effort on his part and he is taking you for granted, you need to say something.

IOI’s For Either Party

Men want validation. That is why I tell women, most of the time, it’s okay to flirt but you must understand the context. Everything you all do, say, and what you don’t do or say, paints a much bigger picture than what is going on in the moment.

You may think you’re playing a strong game but guys have good ways to tell if you’re interested. One way they do this is to try to seek indicators of interest or “IOIs” to see if you like them.

They do this by making small statements and see how you respond to them. For example, if he starts to talk about something he likes such as traveling and that he needs a woman who wants to travel, you may say, “Oh gosh I love to travel. Have you been outside the US?”

There is nothing wrong with saying this or showing IOI’s but do know that men do like to gather them up and apply them to the context. 

Another common IOI is priming or fixing your appearance in front of him. I am very guilty of this and it’s effective because it’s mostly subconscious. I realize when I walk by an attractive girl when I am on a walk, I run my hands through my hair before I get to her. I don’t know why since my goofy self isn’t going to get her anyway but you get the point. 

It’s just little things that add up and tell a guy/girl where you stand. Men know this and will try to find ways to get some information.

What To Do: There is nothing wrong with IOIs. Just be aware of it. 

C-Tier Tactics

When He Says He’s Going To Call But Doesn’t AND A Guy Who Never Initiates.

I am going to group these two tactics together because I think they’re the same thing just told in different ways.

The lower the value of the woman, the more effective this works that is why it’s in the C-tier. If it works on you, please don’t take offense to what I said. It’s the truth.

I don’t think men do this to play mind games. I think men don’t call/initiate even if they say they’re going to for several reasons:

  • Forgot
  • Got busy
  • Tired
  • Just doesn’t give a shit

More than likely, and you can argue all bullet points fall under this category, he just doesn’t care enough.

I talk about offensive and defensive dating mindsets in several of my videos. To sum it up, when a guy is attracted to you and actually wants something, he will more than likely go into one of two mindsets (or can transition between the two):

Offensive mindset: This is where the guy is showing interest, you two are talking consistently, and over time, you eventually transition into a relationship. This is what we all experience and see when it comes to normal dating. 

Defensive mindset: This is where a man sees the value in the woman he wants and must do something about it. A high-value woman will never stay on the dating market for long if she’s playing the game right. Because of this, the man has to defensively come up with a strategy to take you off the market. The most logical way is to just commit. But there are other ways men do it:

  • Convince you to only talk to him and no one else
  • Buy time
  • Stalk
  • Push other men away
  • Manipulate you into thinking he’s on the same page

You get the idea. Usually, a man thinks, “I need to take her off the market because if I don’t someone else will.”

This mindset is why I tell women to not remain friends with a guy who you were intimate with but now wants to be friends. Or to stick around with a guy who isn’t on the same page as you. Doing so will erase this mindset and there will be no fear in losing you. There will be no urgency or consequence for his actions. 

What To Do: Don’t put up with that crap. If he does it once, give him the benefit of the doubt if there was a warning prior. If you go to dinner and he literally never shows up, he’s a piece of crap and you need to leave. However, if he tells you the same day hours before BUT things have been good up to that point, maybe give him the benefit of the doubt. If he does it again though, he’s out.

D-Tier Tactics

Anything in this category should NOT work but for some reason, it does. As low on the tier list these things are, there are psychological reasons why they work and I will explain to you why.

He Negs You

If you don’t know what negging is, here is what I believe is an accurate definition from Wikipedia:

Negging is an act of emotional manipulation whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise flirtatious remark to another person to undermine their confidence and increase their need of the manipulator’s approval”

You would think this would only work on insecure women but that isn’t the case. The PUA community for men taught this in the early 2000s as a tactic to use against high ranked women such as 9’s and 10’s. There was no reason to use it on lower numbers because you’d be doing more harm than good bringing someone down even further. It’s best to bring them up and make them feel good.

The reasons it works on high-value women were the following:

For one, you instantly break the dynamic that she’s used to which is she’s the prize. You show this by giving her a backhanded compliment in hopes that it catches her off guard and she tries to recover. A lot of men who walk up to very attractive women want her validation and will use validation seeking behavior to get it. The negging man on the other hand does it in a subtle way where he’s not straight up offending her but he’s not playing her game on her ground.

The other and more effective reason it works is if the girl is actually confident and doesn’t need a man’s validation, and if he does it correctly, it may work. Why? Because as I said above, most men come up to a girl with the same routine. They act all beta and want her approval. It is the same game over and over again. Think about being a hot young woman who always goes out and gets hit on with the same routine every time. Not fun. But if you have a guy who comes up and challenges you and tosses it up a little, it can be attractive. Especially if he does it correctly.

The only reason I have this on the list is I feel it’s a little outdated. While it can work, I do believe a guy who is quick-witted, funny, charming, and doesn’t fold right away to a woman is the much better approach.

What To Do: Just be aware of it and its effects on you. A huge majority of men shouldn’t be doing this tactic, let alone don’t even know-how.

Stands You Up

If he stands you up as if you have a planned date but he never shows up, move on. If you don’t, you lose. Have some self-respect.

Why Do Men Play Mind Games: The Mind Games Of Low-Value Men

Let’s say hypothetically that men are always playing games. On the one hand, we know why. The first video in this article explained that. However, how and why does it get to that point? Why do guys have to play games? There is a reason I am bringing this up.

Just so you know, a guy who wants to talk to multiple women is not playing games. A guy who shows a lot of interest in you and the attraction genuinely dies off and he’s talking to someone else is not playing games. Even if he doesn’t tell you his feelings change, I don’t think it’s fair to automatically put him in the same category as these narcissists and manipulators who play heavy games.

When I talk about games, I mean deeper and more messed up tactics like lying straight to her face saying you love her, want a relationship, and don’t. I want to talk about the tactics of low-value men (LVM) play.

LVM are more likely to play games. Why? Well, they’re low value for a reason. IT can be many things:

  • Maybe in their own head, they don’t have the skills or confidence in getting high-quality women.
  • They can’t compete with higher quality men.
  • A woman messed him up in the past and he is insecure.
  • He doesn’t have the resources as a higher value man.
  • He doesn’t have as tight a game as higher value men.

I think you see what I am trying to get at here. Usually when there is a weakness or void in some area of the guy’s life that is affecting his job is survival (confidence, security, ego, mindset, etc) and reproduction (attracting a quality mate, being able to keep her, convince her to sleep with him, lack of game, lack of resources, and so on), he is going to make it up by using tactics that can boost his Sexual Market Value. 

This can include:

  • Lying
  • Deceiving
  • Negging
  • Lovebombing
  • Manipulating

Subconsciously to him, it’s all about security and leveling the playing field with other men. If he can’t compete, he will “cheat.” I constantly tell my clients to ask questions like:

  • Why would he do that?
  • What is in it for him?
  • What does he gain/lose for doing it?

Sadly, dating is a game. People don’t want to believe it but it’s a game of economics: How can I get the most bang for my buck? Better put: How can I get the girl with the least amount of resources. Resources (time, energy, effort, money, emotional investment, etc) is finite. It’s limited and for a man who focuses on quantity, you want to find ways to maximize workload with the resources you got.

High-value men don’t have to worry about this as much. I am not saying they’re perfect or never play games but they’re the top dogs. Women crave a guy who is a 10 and wants a relationship. That is much harder to find than you think and if he has that, he’s not just going to pick anyone. He can have his pick of the litter. Because of this, he doesn’t need to automatically dive into tactics to get a woman. He has what she’s looking for. From there, it’s a reciprocal investment and seeing how the relationship unfolds.

Conclusion

I will always be expanding on this article and the articles I write. Hopefully, I gave you more than you were wanting when it comes to the information. I think a lot of people try to dive too deep into trying to understand men when we are fairly simple creatures. It’s all about advantages and limited resources. If he likes you, he will transition into a relationship. If he has not done that and it’s over 2 months or 8 dates, you’re being drained for your assets. It’s that simple.

Best of luck and love you ladies! Please, if you haven’t yet, subscribe to my channel, and check out my course Attraction Academy. I get into EXTENSIVE DETAIL on everything Attraction. You will be doing yourself a disservice by not getting it. Especially if you’re serious about your dating life. 

Elliot

What's going on everybody? It's your favorite dating coach, Elliot Scott! I am a 32-year-old who loves to read, write, and play games. Yes, I have a life outside of giving advice :)

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide On Mind Games: Why He Plays Them, How To Beat Him, And Turn It Around

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