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Think of John Tucker in John Tucker Must Die: He’s smooth, good-looking, popular – the ultimate image of what we think of when we hear the word “player.” And as fabulous as it would be to form a payback plan with three of your closest friends and give him a taste of his own medicine, not all players are this easily identifiable. They can be anything from mediocre-looking nerds to angsty artists trying to find themselves to prep-school elites who look like they’ve walked straight out of a Brooks Brothers catalog. Sound confusing? That’s because it is—especially when you’re the one being played. But no matter what shape or size or sexy leather jacket a player comes in, one thing is for certain: he’ll do anything in his power to keep you around. (Read: You’re going to get hurt.)

So if you want to protect yourself from his masculine wiles, scroll down to read HC’s list of the top 10 signs he’s a player.

10. He has wandering eyes

Let’s preface this by saying that no guy is going to have the stalker-like attentiveness of a certain vampire from Forks. You don’t have to have someone hold your earrings every time your guy notices other girls, especially if he’s just looking every now and then.  But if you’re starting to realize that every pair of legs induces a full-body check out plus head swivel, then maybe a few pages from Twilight would do him some good. (No, on the real, please don’t bring that book back.)

So what should you do if you’re starting to feel like there’s a magnetic force between his eyes and every PYT within a 10-mile radius? You could make a snarky comment about his having the attention span of a chipmunk. Or you could learn from his wayward glances. Dr. Ivan Young, holistic life coach and love expert says, “You can use his wandering eyes to your advantage. It provides a road map into what he’s attracted to. Moreover, it will let you know if you have what he likes.”

It’s a good idea not to jump to conclusions, so this is a great way of seeing if you’re really what he likes. If you find out the answer is no and that you don’t feel like he’s paying much attention to you at all, it’s time to roll up that road map and head on out. (Insert flippant chipmunk remark here.)

9. He’s sketchy about his Facebook

Delayed friend request. Limited profile. Always logged out when he leaves you with his computer in the room. Whatever the case, this guy does not want you in on his online life. Let us provide you with a few guesses as to why in four words: girls on the side. You know, those girls who “like” every picture and post all over his wall, “Hey, it was great running into you last night, let’s make that happen again ;).” Yup, that’s them.

“I had an amazing first date with this one guy I met a few months ago,” says one anonymous senior from Harvard. “We decided we wanted to see each other again, and we were texting back and forth. About a week later, I still hadn’t gotten a friend request from him, so I friended him myself. He accepted, and when I viewed his profile, I found out he had a girlfriend. Needless to say, we did not go on a second date.”

It isn’t just how he interacts with you on Facebook—it’s also an issue if he’s constantly being tagged in pictures from the night before with his arms slung around two or more girls clinging to his side.

This is obviously not to say that every guy who has a ton of girl friends—or girls who are interested in him—is a player. I mean, if he’s really, really, ridiculously good-looking, he can’t help it, right? But the fact of the matter is that if you’re looking for something serious, you’re going to need some clarification on that picture of his “friend” in his lap. Just saying.

8. He’s mastered the art of sweet talking

All that talking, not enough walking. He’ll say he doesn’t want to be with anyone else, but doesn’t want to hold your hand while he’s talking to that cute girl at his frat. He’ll go crazy about how good you look when it’s drunk o’clock, but blows cold the next morning. This guy knows what you want to hear, and he’ll use every line in the book to get you to do what he wants (read: sex, flattery, an ego boost, more sex). A good indicator is if your friends have paper bags at the ready every time you repeat the things he says.

“If he’s saying [stuff] just to get you naked, it’s clearly a line he uses,” says an anonymous collegiette from Hiram College. “Proceed with caution.”

Unless this guy is a stage 5 clinger, he’s not being sincere. Talk is cheap, collegiettes: if he cares about you, then he’s got to prove it. And as Dr. Young says, “It’s up to you to not get caught up.”

7. He’s never there when you need him

“Hey, sorry, my phone was dead.” At 10 pm? On a Saturday night? Convenient.

This is not going to be the guy who’ll be at your door with a bowl of chicken noodle soup on a Thursday night when you’re sick and can’t get out of bed. In fact, if you need anything at all from this guy—especially emotional support, then good luck. A player will be available only when it’s convenient for him, on his own terms. When he’s ready to see you (hook up), he’s at your door—otherwise, he’s MIA. By which we mean macking on other girls.

6. He goes on too many “brocations” 

Don’t get us wrong. Space is really healthy in any relationship—official or unofficial. So if your guy wants to hang with his boys, then that’s a sign he has a life outside of you—just as you should have a life outside of him. The problem is, if your guy’s personality and morals do a 180 when he’s out with the bros – that’s a bad sign. If he has a history of getting a little too crazy finishing kegs and bottles of Bacardi, causing him to use his drunkenness as an excuse for questionable behavior with other girls, then you’ve got a player on your hands. It’s also never OK for him to try to hide the details of his Saturday night with the boys from you. Obviously, you’re not his mother: he doesn’t have to give you hourly updates on where he is and what they’re doing. But if it’s really a simple night out with friends, then there’s no reason he should be giving you misinformation or acting nervous when you press him for more details.

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5. He won’t let you near his phone

At first, you’ll probably think that he’s just so focused on you that whatever texts or calls he’s getting don’t matter. But as time goes on, and he starts to cave—angling his phone away from you to answer a text, leaving the room when he needs to answer a call, freaking out when you try to play with his cell—you know he’s got something to hide.

“If he’s super paranoid about his phone around you, watch out,” confirms one anonymous senior from Ohio University. “Everyone is protective of their phone, but when a guy gets jumpy every time you look at him while he’s texting, positions his body so you can never see his phone screen while he’s using it, or leaves the room every time he takes a phone call, something’s not right.”

Best way to test this? Ask to make a call on his cell and watch his reaction.

4. He won’t let you meet his parents

Let’s face it: someone who is truly serious about you will want you to meet the people most important to him. And if you’ve been with this guy for longer than three months, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be making plans for you to come visit his family—or at the very least to meet them when they’re visiting campus.

“Until a guy is ready to get into a really serious relationship the odds of meeting his parents are slim to none,” Dr. Young says.

So unless he’s got an estranged relationship with every member of his family, chances are that he’s playing you. Ask him about his family and see how much he opens up to you.

3. He’ll keep you as his unofficial girl

This one is tricky because some players like to be in a relationship while having other girls on the side. But one of the main characteristics of a player is that he strings you along. So if you find yourself around month four of the hook-up wondering why he’s never taken you out on a date or even brought up “the talk,” there’s an issue. Especially if, when you try to bring it up, he just sweet-talks you (see #8) until you feel like everything is better—when in reality, you’re still in the same position as before. If he wants you to be his girlfriend, then you’ll be his girlfriend. End of story.

2. He can’t seem to get the facts straight

“You like spaghetti, right?” he asks. Nope. You’re allergic. And you’ve told him about that time in the sixth grade that it made your eyelids swell up so much that you walked right into the cafeteria lady.

A player will confuse facts about you because he’s juggling too many other girls. (Cue Mambo No. 5 because you’re the little bit of Erica by his side.)  One or two slip-ups is completely fine—you never know if he’s got something like the stress of an upcoming midterm on his mind.  But if you start to notice a pattern of forgetfulness—especially with basic info like what you’re majoring in or where you’re from or how much you love Ryan Gosling’s “Hey Girl” memes, chances are he’s really been studying a little bit of Mary all night long.

“If he confuses details about you with other girls, run,” Dr. Young confirms. “The only two exceptions to this are if you’re dating someone that’s been in a long term relationship or he’s just being honest about dating other women.”

We all know that one of the signs that a guy likes you, cares about you, wants to get to know you is that he’ll not only remember what you say, but he’ll do his best to show you he’ll remember. So if this guy isn’t spitting back everything he’s learned about you—or worse, doesn’t even know that much about you, the message is clear: he couldn’t care less.

1. Trouble, trouble, trouble   

A lesson from Taylor Swift: “I knew you were trouble when you walked in.” Taylor knew, guys. Just like you know. Trust your instincts.

“[I] think we all kind of have a gut feeling about players,” says an anonymous senior from Skidmore. “If you feel like he’s playing games with you or messing with your head, he’s probably a player.”

So if you find yourself making excuses for this guy, compromising, feeling insecure, especially around other girls, doubting the things he says, and worrying about what he’ll do when you go home for winter break, something is up.

 

So now that you’re on to his game, make sure you blast Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” dump him and move on. Because you deserve so much better.

Share your list of signs he’s a player in the comments below!

Kema Christian-Taylor is a senior at Harvard University concentrating in English with a citation in Spanish.  As an aspiring novelist, she constantly jots down ideas on anything she can get her hands on—including paper napkins.  She has been dancing since age 3 and has choreographed for two shows her freshman and junior years in college.  Even though it means leaving behind her sunny home in Houston, Texas, Kema loves to travel and has been to every continent except Antarctica. Things she cannot live without include the Harry Potter series, Berryline, Pretty Little Liars, the Hunger Games, 90s music, and soy chai lattes.   
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