7 Mind Games He Plays & How to Deal

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We all know the guy (or guys) who plays uncool, perplexing and completely ridiculous mind games that leave you wondering, “WTF?!” While it’s generally best to stay away from these mystifying men, sometimes it can be worth sticking it out with a confused cutie who may just need a little direction. But when should you stick around, and when should you run out the door? Here are seven mind games guys play and how to deal.

1. The “Ghost Texting” Game

What he does

You had a fantastic time on your date—and he did, too. At least, that’s what you thought until he suddenly dropped off the face of the planet. You haven’t heard back from him in a week. What’s going on?

What you should do

“You may never know for sure what's up with him,” says Marla Martenson, a matchmaker, author and motivational speaker. “It could be that he is seeing multiple girls, or he is just not that into you. But whatever it is, that's not your problem. Get out there and date like a guy.”

If he still hasn’t responded to your texts after a week, stop dwelling on that dude and move on. A guy who leaves you on the line just isn’t worth it. After all, you want a man who won’t disappear sporadically (and that’s really not too much to ask).

2. The “Roller Coaster” Game

What he does

On your dinner date, you were both laughing at each other’s jokes. And that sweet nighttime stroll you went on afterward? It was so romantic; he held your hand and gave you a kiss. But the next day, he seemed kind of weird and distant. What’s with the mood swings?

What you should do

“It sounds like he's probably unsure of his feelings, or the feelings he experienced the night before may be something so new to him that it may be making him feel a little scared,” says Suzanne Oshima, a matchmaker and dating coach at Single in Stilettos.

Whether he’s feeling shaky about his emotions or your awesomeness intimidates him, one thing is certain—you won’t know for sure until you talk to him (and not over text!). In person, gently ask him what’s up with his behavior: “Hey, Mark, you’ve been acting a little distant lately. Is there something going on?” He may open up and have an amazing heart-to-heart with you. But if he still gives you the cold shoulder, it’s best to see what else is out there.

3. The “We’ll Never Be Official” Game

What he does

You’ve been seeing this dude for three months, and every time you bring up the completely un-crazy notion of a relationship, he totally shuts down.

What you should do

“If every time you bring up the 'girlfriend' concept he shuts down, the worst thing you can do is to put more pressure on him,” Oshima says. “It's important to find out the reason why he's averse to the idea of a girlfriend.”

It’s likely that this guy is flat-out terrified of commitment or has been hurt in the past. Threatening him with an ultimatum isn’t a good idea; give him time to see how wonderful you are! However, Oshima also recommends keeping your options open—give him competition. That guy may never open up to the idea of a relationship, and you don’t want to end up heartbroken.

4. The “Secret Girlfriend” Game

What he does

He’s the sweetest guy ever when it’s just the two of you. But that’s the problem—it’s always just you two! You’re getting the sense that he’s hiding you from his friends. Why would he do that?

What you should do

“If you've been dating for a while, then that's a big, red flag when a guy never wants you to meet his friends or family,” Oshima says. “If you're an important part of [this] man's life, he will want you to meet his friends, so he can show you off to them."

Next time he mentions his posse, ask to meet them! Or tell him you want tag along to a party he’s going to. If he says okay, great! But if he finds a way to get around your requests, let him go. You’re fabulous, and your guy should want to show you off, not keep you a secret.

5. The “Spontaneous Jerk” Game

What he does

You think the world of him. He’s gentle and kind, and he treats you like the princess you are. But when you’re hanging out with him in a group setting, he suddenly enters douche mode and you’re left feeling confused and disgusted. Does his evil twin take over every time you guys hang out with friends? Which is the real him?

What you should do

“This guy is very insecure and feels the need to show off in front of his friends,” Oshima says. “He may be the type of person who feels like the bigger man by putting other people down in front of others.”

If your man feels the need to make awful jokes and mean comments in order to fit in with his friends, this is never okay! Talk to him about his behavior: “Tyler, I think you’re awesome. But when we hang out with other people, you don’t seem to be yourself. I wish everyone could see the sweet guy that I see.”

Give him time to fix his behavior after you’ve talked. If he does it again, Oshima says to “get up and walk out.” If he never comes around, cut ties with this guy. You want somebody who’s secure enough to be nice all the time.

6. The “Never Texts First” Game

What he does

He seems like a perfect fit for you: You both have a ton of fun hanging out together, and he seems totally interested. Except for one minor little detail that you can’t stop stressing about—he never texts you first.

What you should do

“Don't chase,” says Tyler Young, dating coach and owner of Attractology. “It's hard sometimes, especially when you like someone and feel a connection.  However, it is vital to allow the man to pursue you.  Men are wired to hunt.”

Young recommends not being available 24/7, so stop texting him first! If he starts initiating the convos, awesome—you’ll know he is interested. But if that dude doesn’t make any moves, then hey, there are plenty of other fish in the sea—fish who are entirely willing to say hi first.

7. The “Super Flirt” Game

What he does

He’s a great guy, and you two just click. You always have a ball together! Unless (and this is a big “unless”) there are other ladies around. Suddenly, he enters mega-flirt mode.

What you should do

Chatting it up with other women while you’re around him is totally rude, but there’s the possibility that he doesn’t even see it as flirting. Confront him about his behavior. Let him know that it’s not cool to flirt in front of you— and be sure to use the word “flirt” so that he knows how you view it. Get straight to the point: “I don’t like when you flirt with other girls in front of me. It hurts my feelings.” If he’s the good guy you thought he was, he’ll stop his offensive actions ASAP.

Collegiettes, the most important thing to remember is to never play his game, no matter what it consists of. “There's really only one way to deal with mind games from a guy: don’t play into them,” says online dating expert Gina Stewart. “You need to be brave.  Call him out on BS behavior. Don't just ignore it, even if you are strong enough to walk away.” 

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About The Author

Ashley McDonald is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in journalism and minoring in English. In addition to her role as career editor for HerCampus.com, she's a blogger for The Huffington Post and a contributing writer for HelloGiggles.com, EliteDaily.com and About.com

If she's not doing all of the basic things that life requires, she's probably on Microsoft Word or flipping through a glossy women's magazine. Or YouTubing (is that a recognized verb yet?) videos of French Bulldog puppies. Or possibly shoveling mint chocolate chip ice cream into her mouth while watching reruns of Sex and the City. She leads a glamorous life.

If you'd like to know more (you totally do!), follow her on Twitter @ashley_pmcd.