10 Mind Games Men Play (& How to Handle Them)

woman with a gun faces a man with a knife

Why do men play mind games with women?

The answer is very simple: some men play games because they believe it will help them get laid.

This article shows you the games men play, and how you can handle a man who plays games.

By the end of this post, you will bring a gun to the male mind games’ knife fight.

woman hides a gun meeting a man who is hiding a knife

1. The Bait and Switch Game

The bait is showing interest first, then switching with (fake) disinterest.

Not proudly, I’ve been doing it myself a few times.

Not really to play dating mind games, but because I’m driven and busy with my stuff. And I lose interest if I don’t see reciprocated interest and/or if the first date is not hot enough to make us lovers.

However, some men might use this one on you in an effort to make you chase.

Here is how it looks like:

text example of mind game men play

This one also leverages the time-tested technique of mixed signals.
It first sends the signal he had a good time, but then never follows up, sending the signal he’s not that interested.

That vacuum often leads her to invest more mental cycles in him, which only gets her more and more hooked.

Handling The Bait and Switch

A basic rule of life:

Never consider anything real until it’s real.

Words are never real. They are warm air (in person) and a bunch of meaningless bytes (in texts).
Actions speak: is he taking you out, is he texting you, is he supporting you?

Also, make sure to work on yourself: these games always work best on fragile egos.

2. The Adventurer Game

This is a dating game that has been growing in popularity.

The plan is to date as a lover and presents himself as an adventurer, globetrotter, artist, or any other exciting seducer style.

Men use it based on the idea that women slow things down with potential boyfriend candidates.

But, here’s what they try to angle for, women move much quicker to bed if they know that he will never be their boyfriend… And if he is excited.

It’s not a bad idea, also considering all dating books for women suggest to indeed let him wait for sex –a strategy I don’t fully agree with-.

Very common in online dating

This game works well in online dating.

While traveling years ago I had a Tinder description precisely tailored to portray the “roguish” image of an adventurer.
I described myself as a free spirit traveling the world, a man who didn’t like chatting but preferred to enjoy human connections in person, and a fun-loving daredevil who was happy to share adventures with some local women, as long as they were “cool” (ie.: “DTF”).

Something like this:

bio description of a game men play on tinder

“unforgettable memories” often were not-so-unforgettable, basic hookups at my place designed to be quick and low-investment 

Worked like a charm.

Also, read:

How to Handle It

If you want to shame him:

You’re like the 10th guy who says that in the last two days. I think it’s insecure of a man to have to sell himself so hard

Then watch how quickly a pricked hot balloon can scuttle running for cover.

This woman also had an interesting approach to blowing the cover of my game:

text example to dismantle men games play

With “hoping you’re not a “poser”, she is using inverse psychology to make me prove myself to her, drop the “adventurer” mask, and be more “real”. Not bad.

3. The “I Never Date X” Game

Technically, this is a form of “disqualifier”, a PUA technique.

The goal is to sub-communicate that “you’re not good enough for him” and that “he’s not interested”. Ideally, you then chase him.

So If you’re a brunette, he might say:

Him: I only date blondes

If you’re white, he might say:

Him: I like black women

The idea here is that people want what they cannot have, which is in part true.
And by writing you off and pretending you can’t have him, he is hoping to turn the tables on you and make you chase.

How to Handle It

If you wanna get your hands dirty in power moves, then:

Him: I only date blondes
You: Oh, really, usually blondes like other blonde men. No offense, but can you find any as a balding dark haired man


Him: I like black women, they are X
You: Can you actually find black women? They like muscular guys…

The trick is to NOT sound mean. You should say these like you’re really worried for him. As if to say “poor you, can you really find any of those girls you like?“.
He’ll be thrown off and chances are high, very high, that he will reply with something like this:

Yes, of course I can…

No, they also like thin guys…

In either case, he is now proving himself to you.

4. The Chameleon Game

The sexual chameleon does what a chameleon does:

He adapts.

The sexual chameleon feigns interest in your same passions and pursuits and seeks to be just like the person you dream of date.

If your ex was either abusive or an asshole, the chameleon is kind and supportive. If your ex was a spineless too nice guy, the chameleon will act strong and decisive.

Here’s a quick story as an example:

I remember 4-5 years ago, sitting at the clinic and waiting for our turn. We had just met the day before and she was leaving the city on that exact same day.
So I helped her out to get a pill of the day after to make up for a broken condom. It was the third condom, but still.. You only need one sperm to get someone pregnant.

Anyway, as we waited, she was showing me the pictures of this art gallery she had been to.
One image was a big wall in red paint. Nothing else, just a big wall with red paint.
I looked at it thinking it was meaningless but didn’t say anything.

At that point, she blurted out:

Her: But… You don’t really like art

At that moment I realized I must have given the wrong impression the day before. 

Read more on how to develop a deep connection.

How to Handle It

First off:

Don’t think that all chemistries and commonalities are manipulations. You would lose your spontaneity and not everything is a game.
But at the same time, always reserve final judgment until you see concrete proof.

To uncover the “we’re alike” game, throw him some curveballs:

You: Everybody loves X because he’s good, possibly one of my favorite. What do you think of him

X is either someone almost unknown or a made-up name. You preface it with “everyone loves X” so that you will make it more difficult for him to admit he doesn’t really know him.
If he bites saying he also loves him, he’s trying hard to position himself as a kindred soul.

4.2. The “I Like What You Like” Version

A similar game is to present himself like what he thinks she wants.

Or going for a stereotypical “great guy image” he thinks will surely make an effect.

Here is an example from Sex And the City (before he started a fight of course):

Him: Great guy! And how about his wife? Now that’s my idea of a perfect marriage
Her: (totally sold on him and fantasizing already) Totally

In this case, he presents himself as the perfect boyfriend candidate. But since he’s such a high-value man, that works for him.
And he’d probably be able to have sex with her very soon.

5. The “My Girlfriend” Game

This is dangerous for women looking for a relationship.

And it’s mostly women who have a policy of “making him wait for sex” that will encounter it (delay sex like this if you really must).

So what does he do?

He will give you what you want as quickly as possible so he can get what he wants.

How is he going to do that?

He will call you his girlfriend.

The idea is to make you believe you reached your (alleged) goal of being in a relationship so that you can now “safely” have sex.

Not all men will disappear after sex and not all men play this game with malice, so don’t be next to him just because he calls you his girlfriend before sex.
However, it’s a possibility you should consider.
Look for signs of unreliability, a lack of past long-term relationships, and a pattern of lies, however small they might be.

How to Handle It

Say that you prefer not to use labels until it’s official and mutually agreed upon.

Don’t say it in a mean way of course, and the more you like him, the warmer you want to be with your delivery.
If he’s really great, then be excited as you say it, but add that “you don’t wanna rush things”.

And make sure you do it privately as anything similar in public would be a major embarrassment for him.

6. The Fake High-Value, With Fake Connections

When fake, this is quite manipulative.

He will first listen to your goals and dreams, and then fake that he has good connections in the industry you want to succeed in.
The most stereotypical example of this game is the model agent or model photographer -who doesn’t know anyone in the modeling industry except the girls he’s trying to scam-.

There is also a powerful, subconscious effect where you feel that to “fully unlock” that offer of help, you might have to give him back something first.
And gosh… What is it that he hopes you will give him?

I tried it a couple of times when I really had something to offer, and it works great.
This musician didn’t reply my text and answer my call, but when I had something to offer… Quickly called back:

when she doesn't text back

How to Handle It

Again, words are as cheap.

Let him come up with the facts instead and tell him:

You: Thank you very much, I’d love to meet this great connection. When can you introduce us?

Then stay out of contact until he proves he does have value to offer.

7. Games of Chicken

Games of chicken are power games to get the upper hand in the relationship.

Often, they’re threats or ultimatums that put the whole relationship on the line unless she invests, chases, or… Put out.
When she crumbles and eventually follows through, she submits and gives him the reins of the relationship.

In a committed relationship, threatening to break up is a form of a game of chicken (albeit women play that more often).
Early in dating, simply not replying to a text can be a game of chicken.

In this example, it was a tit-for-tat game after she misbehaved by canceling on the same day with a weak a*s apology:

text example of games men play
If she was playing a power game first… She lost it.

By the time she came around, the power was all on my side and… I had already mentally moved past her.
The only date I was willing to offer at that point was a “come over and we’ll cook something together” type of date.

This is one of the reasons why I strongly recommend women to play little “chase me games“: they mostly work with non-busy, lower-quality men and drive away all the cool ones (read more about the biggest dating mistakes women commit).

7.2. The False Takeaway

He pretends to walk away to make her chase.

If she doesn’t go to him, the interaction is over.
But if she really cared, chances are she will go.
And once she goes, the power is on his side.

Example from “Under the Tuscan Sun”:

Her: (laughs at his romanticism, framing it as “sappy”)
Him: What?
Her: No. It’s just that’s exactly what American women think Italian men say (laughs again)
Him: (looks down, plays offended) thank you (walks away)
Her: (walks to him) Marcello, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry

8. The Date Ending “Near His Place”

This isn’t really a “bad mind game”, but it’s still good for you to know about.

Men who are more experienced in the game, either because they’ve read about, or because they’ve been around, don’t date randomly.
They got a system.

And also won’t date far away from their home place.

Instead, he plans the date to make it seem spontaneous. But it’s designed to increase the odds of you two having sex.

Some examples:

  • Doing something exciting (excitement rubs off as sexual attraction)
  • Pretending to do something “spontaneously crazy” but actually planned
  • Changing several venues and ending up close to his place

How to Handle It

If you like him, great: let him lead.

However, it might be better if he knows you’re not that naive and that you are letting him lead, rather than him moving you like a muppet.

So tell him:

You: oh what a coincidence, we went through all these places and now we are just near your apartment. Isn’t that neat, John.
Could it be that it’s not really a coincidence, John?

Say it not in a mean way but as if you wanted to say “you naughty boy” or “how random, eh?”

This is a great way to test how he reacts.

The best answer would be:

See “Seduction University”.

9. “Beauty is Common & I’m Deeper” Game

He’s trying to frame himself as experienced, deep, and interested in your personality.

Maybe you tease him he is only looking for sex, or that he is a fuckboy.
And as an answer, he will launch on a tirade that while “beauty is common”, he is looking for something deeper as well.

That way, he communicates pre-selection (other beautiful women probably wanted him) and that he can appreciate you for who you are on top of whatever flashy thing you got (big boobs, shiny hair, etc.).

Of course, it will be true for some guys.
But it’s a minority.
So you have to judge based on other indicators you see of him.

10. The “Sex Provider” Game

Interesting approach:

Rather than pitching commitment, resources, personal qualities, a future together, or all the other things that most men offer… He offers (great) sex.
Either directly offers sex, or implies it with his heavily sexual undertones and mannerism.


Him: Listen, sweetheart. Give me an hour in the sack, and you’ll swear I’m the jolly green giant

The best players of this game do it more subtly, with stories, sexual talk, and body language.

Feel free to go for this one if you are so inclined -just be aware of the game, and that the great sex might or might not be true in the end.

And now the worst kind of mind games men play:

11. Power Moves & “Negs”

Some of the early pick-up artists advise “the “neg”, shorthand for “negative hit”.

The neg often was a back-handed compliment or a light insult.

Why would they do it?


  1. Lower the woman’s self-esteem
  2. Make her chase him to regain his approval (emotional power dynamics).

Is it effective?
Sometimes it can be.

It’s an inherently lower-value game though because men who are obviously higher sexual market value wouldn’t need to push women down -unless they’re socially sadistic-.
It’s lower-value men who need to push her down closer to his level.

These games, when repeated over and over in a relationship, are potentially dangerous because they can semi-permanently lower her self-esteem.
See “Seduction University” for more.

How to Handle It

This game often shows a value-taking mindset and personality.

Games designed to devalue and lower your self-esteem are the first red flags of potentially abusive men. And abusive men can only give you one thing: abusive relationships.

I have a whole article on how to play the same games back on him.
But best of all is to drop all games.

Say something like this:

See Seduction University.

12. The “Dread Games”

There is a whole class of red-pill men who discuss how to control women with the so-called “dread game”.

Dread games consist of keeping her in fear so that he can keep control of the relationship.

How to keep her in fear?

Some of the “techniques”:

You can see here an example played on a friend of mine by her current boyfriend:

text example of triangulation games men play

Did he really have so well-endowed exes? Who knows. Sure it’s helping him keep her on the edge though. But the fact she tells her ex-lover that, is not a great sign for him.

You can play the same back in what I call “my study exes game”, see “how to make him value more“.

Sadly, there is a subset of the male population in The Red Pill, a group often bordering on the misogynists, who purposefully learn how to play dread games.
For men, please see “how to move beyond The Red Pill” and become better leaders who don’t need to lower women’s self-esteem.

These games lead to toxic relationships.
Luckily, this website helps you spot value-taking men and abusers early and reliably, so you can avoid them.

Also, read:

13. Broken-Man Game

You might be surprised that “broken men” can be attractive.

But they are very attractive to a subset of women referred to as “women who love too much“.
These are women who always end up with men who need to be saved and rescued.

The best men at this game though do have some appealing traits.
Maybe they’re rebels, or they’ve got a deeply romantic soul, or they’re troubled writers… Or maybe they just need a little help to get back up.
Their appeal is to look like a diamond in the rough.

Some of them can seem fearlessly intelligent, scornful, and angry at society, somewhat melancholic, sad, and with an attractive artistic streak.
What are they hiding?
Who broke their hearts?
With a little bit of fixing maybe they can be hers. And since she fixed him, he will be eternally grateful.

Or so she thinks.
It appeals to her maternal side but, more times than not, he drags her down.

There is some overlap here with the “Byronic hero”, but the “broken man” takes less care of hiding his darker side.

The movie “The Good Girl” presents a great example of “broken man seduction”.
Unluckily the video was removed, but he comes across as a poetic soul who can’t find satisfaction in a world that doesn’t understand him.
And on his menial job, he bonds with her:

Her: I hate my job
Him: That makes two of us

And be aware, on top of the dark, many of these men are also (emotionally) abusive.

How to Handle It

Just stay away.
98% there is nothing you can do to help them and they will drag you down and emotionally abuse you.

14. The Average Joe Games

We have reviewed a few popular mind games men play in dating.

However, the most common and widespread games are the ones you are probably already familiar with.

And they include:

  • Exaggerating the depths of his feelings

In Buss’ survey, 71% of men admitted to having exaggerated the depth of their feelings to have sex with a woman.

  • Appearing better than he is (richer, smarter, cooler…)

At the extreme are the men who rent a car or borrow to show off resources they don’t have.

  • “Buttering up” compliments

Gushing compliments about your sexiness, tastes, or personality.
Other times, buttering up compliments is an obvious attempt to get something from you.

How to Handle Men Who Play Games

See “Seduction University”.


This post showed you the mind games men play during dating.

Games men play in dating are not always and necessarily bad. Learning the types of games and their effects also helps you recognize the good men from the not-so-good (and from the abusive ones).

2 thoughts on “10 Mind Games Men Play (& How to Handle Them)”

    1. LOL, awesome name 😀
      Yeah, they’re all based on real-life. Every woman is likely to see some of these, in one shape or another.
      Good to stay prepared. Games are OK, nasty games that only benefit one partner is what we need to watch for as they are indicators of poor potential partners.
      That’s for the longer term. Shorter-term, you can use the games to learn, but then choose based on how attracted you are to that person.

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