We all know the feeling of being played in dating. You were mislead by someone who seemed to be into you. There were no warning signs that someone was about the flip the script but just as you were letting your guard down and starting to get excited about the promise of a long term relationship, the person you were dating totally flakes. They pull away. They dump you. They ghost.
At the end of the day, leaving you feeling like a fool for believing in something that clearly was not real. So how can we avoid getting played, or made to feel like a fool in dating? First understand what it means when someone plays you. Essentially they have tricked you into giving up something that you would normally never give up unless you were guaranteed to get something in turn. This could be sex, money, time, or intimacy. But a player, makes you believe in the promise of a return on your investment. They make you feel like you can trust them, when in fact they are completely untrustworthy.
You’ll be played if you can’t say “No.”
Learning to say, “No” is the first step in never getting played. No is the most powerful statement in dating. No is what we are all afraid of hearing and why we put ourselves through so much drama. No is a denial, it’s a rejection. No says, I’m putting my needs first. The ability to say no to someone and not feel guilty, or “like a bad person,” is one of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself.
If you want to avoid being played, you have to learn how to say no without coming across childish. Your no has to be in power and not in protest. You can’t spring a no on someone that you’re dating after having said yes a million times. The minute you start to miss the person that you’re dating, then you will go back to saying yes to anything they want.
You’ll be played if you’re afraid to lose them
We get played in dating because we are afraid that if we don’t give in, we will lose this person’s interest. Never be afraid to let someone walk away. Our fears vary as to why we risk apart of ourselves for the affection of someone else. Maybe we fear that we will never feel this good again. Maybe our chemistry has been altered and now we’ve bonded with this person in a way that we’ve never bonded with someone else. Maybe this person triggers our ego and we need to prove our worth through their affection. Whatever the reason you have to remember that losing the wrong person is never a bad thing. You have to notice when you’re acting out of anxiety and fear of loss.
If someone is threatening to walkaway because you aren’t giving them something, they are using you, and you are in a prime position to be played. Often times we’re willing to feel bad apart from someone we care about just so we can justify being with them. If we only feel good when we’re with them, we rationalize, then it must be real. But think about this. If you only feel good when you’re with someone else, you’re actually perpetuating a fantasy. What you have to offer will be accepted by the right person and rejected by the wrong person.
You’ll be played if you don’t create boundaries
There’s a saying: any plan is better than no plan. And some boundaries are better than none. Boundaries are a very confusing concept to most. Especially when it comes to creating boundaries in dating. Boundaries are the safety zones where you feel good. When someone oversteps a boundary you know it because it makes you feel bad. Setting any boundaries is better than no boundaries in dating. If you decide that you won’t spend money on a first date, or that you don’t go out with someone before speaking on the phone then those are your boundaries.
Tony Robbins interchanges boundaries and rules. What are the rules for dating you? What can someone do and not do? What is allowed and what isn’t allowed. By establishing your own rules, or boundaries you make it harder for someone to push past them. It’s when we don’t set boundaries or worse, we ignore them is when we make ourselves vulnerable. If you don’t kiss on the first date, then you shouldn’t change that behavior because someone else thinks you should. Stick to your rules, and those who don’t want to play by them can kick rocks.
You’ll be played if you don’t ask more questions
It’s easy for us to be played when we are afraid to ask questions. It might sound insecure to want to know more details but the truth will set you free. For example. If the person you’re dating cancels a date, don’t be afraid to ask when you can plan another one. If the person you’re dating doesn’t return your text, don’t be afraid to ask them if they received it. If the person you’re dating is behaving in a way that is bringing questions to your mind, then don’t ask your best friend, ask them directly. Our unwillingness to ask questions is really our inability to handle the answers. The truth might reveal that this person isn’t that into you. The reality is, they aren’t.
They are playing you and you are going along for the ride. Imagine yourself being promised to be taken to a destination. Players make the promise, that they have no intention of keeping. When they divert from the original route, that’s why you should ask questions to why. If you’re not asking questions to hold your date accountable then you’re going to get played.
You’ll be played if you allow bad habits
If you do anything once its a accident, if you do it twice it’s a patten. If you do it three times then it becomes a habit and habits are hard to break. When the person you’re dating asks you to make concessions, you have to assume that this behavior will continue the duration of your relationship. If you don’t want to be the person always going out of their way then don’t start the trend. For example, if your date wants you to go out of your way to see them and you don’t want to continue to be the one going out of your way, just say no. Ask to reschedule the date when it’s more convenient for both of you.
Getting played is about giving today on the hopes that you will be given something better later. Unfortunately, there is no way to know that you’re investing in the right person until you actually know them. Before you give someone more than you’re comfortable with such as your body, your money or your time, you should ask for what you want sooner than later.
For example, you spend a lot of money on your date. The next time you want to make plans you ask them to split the bill and they refuse. You shouldn’t hedge your bet and think that in the future things are going to be different. If you don’t want to get stuck paying for all dates, plan a date that’s free. To expect that they will reciprocate before you have actually asked them to, is dating on potential. Sure they could, but will they?
If you are making assumptions that when you’re ready to recoup on your investment the other person will gladly reciprocate then you’re dating on potential not the reality. If you don’t want to get stuck in a behavior that you don’t like, don’t agree to it in the first place. If the other person dislikes your boundaries then they aren’t for you. That simple.