How to Make Sure You Don’t Fall For a Player

April 30, 2010

Julie met James at a party. He was handsome and friendly. They talked all night and he requested her number, asking if it would be allright if he texted or called soon to plan a real date. She was flattered, and they exchanged digits. The next day he was texting repeatedly, wanting to meet up ASAP. Curious, she looked for him on Facebook. She saw that his profile pic was of a woman sliding a wedding ring onto a man’s hand. She couldn’t believe it could be him, but on his wall there he was thanking his dear friends for having shared his special day one month before.

Sara met David at a bar, and they had a great time dancing all night. He immediately suggested a followup. She checked him out on Facebook and saw that his status said in a relationship. She asked him about this and he denied that it was him. He claimed she had found another guy with his name. She requested that he friend her. He refused, but continued to harrass her to come out and meet up.

Brady and Liz knew each other slightly in high school, but that was four years ago. Suddenly he came out of nowhere, chatting her up online one night and texting for plans this summer when both get home. She was wary and joked, “I think you’re about four years too late.” He replied “I know I’m late but please don’t say I’m too late. You’re the one that got away.” After a month of constant attention, which Liz found flattering but a little sketchy, she saw a post on his wall from a friend saying it wouldn’t be long before he would be back home with his girlfriend, he must be psyched.


It’s hard to get away with much in the new world of social media. Still, you can waste a fair amount of time and energy being played before you realize what’s up. It’s very difficult in the early stages of attraction to know the motives of the other person. Do they really like me? Do we want the same thing? It’s can also be very challenging to assess someone’s character objectively, especially if they’ve got you feeling butterflies. Let’s face it, infatuation is all about putting the other person on a pedestal, seeing them in the best possible light.

How can you be careful and still go with the flow? How can you enjoy yourself, knowing that there may be hell to pay down the road? There are no easy answers, but it pays to be on the lookout for the red flags that signify a person is not relationship material. I’ve learned from a lot of the guys here that they have ways of figuring this out, based on a woman’s social and sexual history, as well as her behavior. They report that there are “tells” that a discriminating man can use to rule women in or out as a girlfriend. I can’t attest to the effectiveness of their methods, but it got me thinking about how women can use their own intuition and powers of observation to know when they’re dealing with a player.

Here are my rules for qualifying a man for your attention and affection:

1. Understand that he is in it for the sex.

All men are in it for the sex. The question is, are they open to the idea of being in a committed relationship? Men may not even know this themselves at first. Until you reach the point where you have established compatibility and real affection, you must operate under the assumption that he is not seeking anything more than sex.

2. Ignore what he says.

Men say a lot of things to flatter women. Players are obviously better at this than everyone else.

He’s really into it? Doubt it.

He is thinking about you all the time? Mmm-hmmm.

He would never do anything to hurt you? Never means in the next hour or so.

I’m not hooking up with anyone else right now. Literally, right now. Last night? Different story.

He is in sales mode. He wants P in V. Very few men are looking at you wondering if you would be a good mother. Obviously, if he says any of the following things and you get involved with him, you are beyond my help:

I don’t see what the big deal is about sex. Sex feels great, so why shouldn’t we just enjoy it?

I would be a terrible boyfriend.

I’m young, I want to have fun.

Call me if you want to hang out sometime.


3. Pay attention to what he does.

Players are obviously going to be more impatient in their desire to get sex fast. Impatient behaviors include the following:

  • Overly relying on texting to make plans. May also text in the early stages with “cute” and “sweet” messages, like “Good night, sleep tight” or “How was your day?” or “Home safe?” Players know that these kinds of texts make women melt and think they are real good guys. Texts are fine if they are backed up by other methods of communication. A player will not ask you to study together or call to say he’s thinking of you, for example.
  • Texting for plans last minute. He’s keeping his options open for as long as he can. Players are known for sending friendly inquiries out to multiple women at the same time, and then choosing from the responses they get. A favorite is “Where are you?” The player will then engage in an apparent effort to meet up, foiled in the end by circumstances beyond his control. “I want to see you! My friends won’t leave this bar – sucks.” or “Heading uptown finally and would love to see you, can I come over?” Naturally, this last text is sent when the bars are closing. A guy who likes you will make a plan that includes spending time together in public at a reasonable hour. It doesn’t have to be a date, but if you’re being treated like a dirty little secret, beware.
  • Wanting sex early. This is obvious, and many Players will walk away within days if you don’t put out. However, some will hang in there, going for the touchdown over a period that can last weeks. Of course, once they’re in the end zone, it’s Game Over.
  • Lying for any reason at any time is immediate grounds for dismissal. It is never justifiable.

I recently saw this in a column by Maura Kelly at Marie Claire:

I had dinner with my BFF Daisy Milliner over the weekend, and she told me a horror story about a friend of hers–a nice, successful, smart girl who waited till the SEVENTH DATE to have sex with a guy she thought she liked. After the sex–and SEVEN DATES!–he didn’t call, didn’t text, didn’t contact her in ANY WAY. Nearly a week later, when she texted him Thursday to find out if they were still on for a Friday dinner, he texted back to say, “I’ve been meaning to get in touch. I think this isn’t going anywhere. So maybe dinner isn’t such a good idea.”

She brought this tale to two good guy friends, successful, mid-30s. This was their take:

“If a guy likes a girl a lot, there’s not much she can do that will turn him off–including sleeping with him on the first date. On the other hand, if he’s mainly looking for sex, it also doesn’t matter how long she holds out. The guy will keep taking her out on dates–even as many as seven–until he gets laid. And then he’ll ditch out.”

Here’s the key: A player will pressure you for sex. Even if it’s charming and he couches it in terms of wanting you really badly, it’s still pressure. A man who wants something real with you will respect your decision about timing. Daisy may have waited till the seventh date, but you can be sure the guy had a clear indication he was headed for success and made a sport of overcoming her resistance.

Most players in college won’t put up with a girl who doesn’t hook up immediately. And a girl who hooks up to make out but won’t go all the way? She’ll be dead to him on campus come Monday. If this happens to you, be thankful you got out quickly.

4. Observe how he carries himself. Red flags include:

  • Swagger
  • Smirk
  • Touches women carelessly – lots of hand on the lower back behavior
  • Grinds on the dance floor with anyone
  • Extroverted, enjoys being the center of attention
  • Eye f*cking, or excessive direct eye contact
  • Moves into your personal space boldly

These are all signs that you are not likely to be someone special over a period of time. Men like this go from hot to cold with the flip of a switch. If you observe this behavior when you meet a guy, don’t even give him a shot, he is bad news.

5. Understand his relationships.

How does he interact with his family? Is he protective of his sister? Does he love his mama? Does he respect his father? Anything off in the family sphere is a major red flag.

What are his male friends like? What is the friendship based on? What do they do together? Is he close enough to any guy to confide in him?

Do his friends seem eager to reassure you that he is a really good guy? This is usually a bad sign. In fact, in my experience it means he is a total douchebag. Guys don’t get their friends to wing for them in this way if they have no need of providing extra reassurance.

Are most of his friends women? This is a bad sign. There are some very good guys who don’t have a lot of female friends, but there are very few good guys who have no male friends.

Is he still connected to his ex? Being cordial is fine, but making plans, talking, texting, etc. are not. If a guy is in regular touch with his ex for any reason, he is unavailable emotionally. That means he isn’t capable of wanting more than sex from you.

How do women in his circle regard him? If you see women pulling him aside at parties and in hallways to “talk,” you can be sure he has unfinished business, at least in the eyes of those women. If women are inexplicably hostile to you, it often means that he treated them poorly, and they resent your coming on the scene as the new favorite. Anytime a guy says, “She’s a psycho” or “I don’t know what her problem is,” be careful. Usually, this is projection, and the woman has a very good reason indeed for being pissed off.

Is it important to him that you meet and like his friends? He should be more than just willing, he should be invested in making this connection if he has any interest in something lasting.

Is he eager to meet your friends? Does he go out of his way to be attentive and interested, determined to make a good impression? If he is all about his own circle, expecting you to come to him all the time, he is not relationship material.

6. Watch how he displays physical affection.

Hand holding is a must, but lots of players know this, and use it to pretend to be caring. Ditto for the nose kiss and the forehead kiss. Hugs are completely meaningless. This is all known as intimacy lite.

He should be at least a little nervous about the first kiss. If he has his tongue down your throat an hour after hello, move on.

When you’re out together at a party or gathering, does he stick close by, making it clear you are together? You should have a sense that he is attentive and a little protective. He should also be anxious to show you off if he is invested.

If he “invites” you to suck his d*ck, move on. I can never get over guys who say, “You can go down on me if you want.” If he thinks his penis is a rare and precious sword he’s a player.

If he’s smug about the size of his penis, move on. Lousy at sex, guaranteed. Funny, it’s always the guys with big ones who don’t like going down on women.

Cads are generally bad in bed. In the one published report from a woman who had sex with Tucker Max, she said he was terrible. Jackhammer all the way. What did he care? He was just taking the shortest route from Point A to Point B. If you get to the point of sex with a guy, and he makes zero effort, he’s a player.

There is one exception. Players will work hard to please you during sex if they have reason to believe you’ll report on their skills. So if he wants to do all your friends next, he’ll probably make an effort. This shouldn’t ever happen if you’ve paid attention to all the other signs.

OK, that’s all I got. What did I miss? Any other ways of telling when a guy wants nothing but panty? I suggest that you print this list and carry it around in your wallet. It should be the only weapon you’ll need to ward off the condom in his.