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Bad dating game example: Fight for power, get a lose-lose brawl

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Games people play during socialization is a big topic of this website.

Games are not bad per se.
There can be good games and even great games fostering win-win.

But there can also be poor games that end up being lose-lose.

Look at this example:

example of bad game text

This is a variation of the "let's be friends" game.
But since it's even before a single "date" has even taken place, this is not so much a rejection as it is a gambit for power and control.

This is a double-bind for me, and I can't go anywhere win-win from here.
I can only cut my losses and make the lose-lose a bigger loss on her side.

I have 3 options here:

  1. Accept her friendship frame: I relinquish control of the interaction, chances of sex/relationship decrease (might be a lose-lose)
  2. Fight the frame: If I say it could be more than friends it makes me look like I want more but she doesn't, and I lose (and she might lose, too). If I say "we're not even friends", it gets offensive and... Why are even meeting? Another lose-lose

Unluckily, The only way I can go from here is lower, while trying to not be too dismissive.
My reply says "I'm not sure we can be friends, let's see".
And since I spurned her now, I retain the control and the judge power, as my reply also suggest "let's see if you are good enough for any role in my life.

But this is not going too well and it's not a good frame: this is a race to the bottom.

I don't like racing to the bottom.
I leave the door open, but she's lost a couple of points there.

Innon83, Social_Strategist#1 and 6 other users have reacted to this post.
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Does the book "Games People Play" explains this social game ?



Games People Play goes a bit into games people in relationships -like "now I got you son of a bitch", what a great name, LOL-.

Great resource, but not focused on dating and relationships. So yes it's helpful, but you're likely not going to master dating power dynamics from Eric Berne -the author-.

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Some people here would say to flat out deny the friendship. What do you think about that? Or about withdrawing the date at al?

Yeah, that sounds a bit like the "alpha male strategy" type of game.
And something recommended in the popular "The Rational Male".

I never bought into it.

Not because it's good to be in the "friend zone", of course.
But because there is much better than rejecting her.

Rejecting her is like "asshole game", it's "level 1", one notch above "pushover nice guy", but still far from the top.

What A Counter-Rejection Says About You

Put yourself into the girl's shoes.

Imagine you are telling a girl you'd like to be friends and she says:

Girl: Get outta here with that shit, go to Jolene if you need a bitch to talk to, I'm not your friend

What would you think about her?
You probably think "wow, what a bitch, there I was, extending some sort of olive branch, and she snarls at me".

And you'll probably reach the following conclusions:

  • She was really into you to react like that
  • She is so butthurt
  • She must have a paper-thin ego

It's like the kid who can't have the game his way and takes his ball and goes home.
It's like saying "my way or fuck off", and that signals an immature attitude and a childish approach to life.

That's why I prefer a different approach.

If she says "let's be friends" before even meeting and before you've even done your move, then it's probably just pre-gaming and it means little -like in this case-.

If she says it after you've done your move, gone out or, worst of all, professed your love, then it's obviously real.
Even then, I recommend you reply something like "yeah that's cool".
Or even "sure, we're not a good fit, but indeed we could be friends". So you're also slightly dismissive towards here and it's 1-1.

And then you stop pursuing her, of course!

So the effect is the same, you still cut contact, but by not rejecting her you come across like a cool guy instead of a butthurt guy who became spiteful and who retreated to lick his wounds.

And if she's a cool and attractive gal, you might even be friends.
You're probably better off with attractive and well-networked friends than without.

An attractive friend can open lots of doors, and it can also serve to learn how women like her function.
Evolutionary psychology researcher David Buss said that one of the benefits of mixed friendships is to learn about the opposite gender.

To sum it up:
Rejecting her friendship is better than being a friend-zoned pursuer. One hundred times better.
But it makes you come across butthurt.
An experienced, high-quality man knows there are plenty of other attractive girls who like him, so he doesn't need to react vindictively.

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It makes sense I agree. Thank you for taking the time to explain!

In response to "we're meeting as friends k?" do you think it would work better if you replied, "Of course, what else would we be?" This would imply that she was the one who thought you guys could be more than friends.

"I'm not sure we can be friends, let's see" seems a bit obvious that you're playing tit for tat, but maybe that's just me.

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Hmm, I like both your idea and your line of thinking.

As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid descending into a race of who plays the bigger game.

However, the "what else would we be" is the equivalent of the "agree and amplify" in frame control.
And the drawback is that it follows her lead and remains within her frame.

I wanted a clear break from that.
She wasn't my friend, so I didn't want to accept that frame.
The original reply highlights I got some standards, which is true. And it keeps me in the chooser position.

The smiley takes the edge off of it, just not to be too confrontational or demeaning.

Yes, it was a tit for tat in a way, but a socially calibrated one for the occasion.
And her next reply was a big laugh, if I remember correctly  (I got that picture up somewhere as an example, but can't remember where).

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How to learn to flirt with girls?

Thanks for the breakdown of the frame dynamics here!

I'm a person who enjoys coffee and am wondering if the following would work:
"Let's enjoy some good mocha they have at the cafe. My favourite way of making friends ;)"

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