10 Signs He’s Playing You

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So we spoke here about the signs he’s wasting your time, the signs he’s not ready for a relationship and the general signs that – quite simply – he’s a bit of a player. (Groan!) But what are the signs he’s playing you? How do you recognise it when it’s happening? Well in this post, we’ll break it all down, getting to the bottom of the burning question, “is he playing me?”

Is He Playing Me?

So first up, I know what it feels like, when you’re in a situation and you find yourself wondering, “is he playing me?” It’s not a very nice feeling for sure.

But these seeds of doubt – they’re usually coming from your gut. They’re there because something doesn’t quite feel right.

Yes, self-doubt and insecurity can come into it. But when you find the right person, generally, you feel more safe and secure – they make you feel safer and securer, naturally.

So if you find yourself wondering, “is he playing me?”, ask yourself:

  • Where is this coming from?
  • What little things am I picking up on here?
  • Why doesn’t this feel quite right?

Then from there, you can check back on our signs he’s playing you, and see which ones match up.

Signs He’s Playing You

So how do you know if he’s playing you? Or there’s a good chance he’s playing you? Well, these are the key signs.

1) It’s Not Just You

First up, it’s not going to be just you on the scene! See, initially, it’s pretty normal to date multiple people, healthy even, so the chances are – he’s doing the same thing too.

However, as time goes on, there should be a natural progression towards exclusivity. He can’t have his cake, eat it, and have his fingers in a load of other pies too!

Recommended Read: How Long Should We Date Before Becoming Exclusive?

How do you know if it’s just you or not? Well you won’t know, not entirely.

If the conversation arises, you can lightly ask if he’s still on dating apps. But you won’t know 100% for sure, even if he does say no.

Some signs however, may be if he’s often seemingly busy and doesn’t say what with, if he stops texting you during these times, or if his phones often going off.

These could actually be the signs he secretly has a girlfriend. (Yikes! Not what you want!)

He’ll most likely also follow a lot of females on social media. Perhaps he scrolls through instagram when you’re together and you start to see this female-feed of photos!?

And he’s going to be a little more distant and a little less devoted when there’s multiple people on the scene.

2) You Feel Like You Have To Watch What You Say

Another of the key signs he’s playing you, is if he wears the trousers – so much so – that you often feel like you have to watch what you say. He’s in control, the dynamics aren’t quite even.

Recommended Read: The Signs of an Unbalanced Relationship

Perhaps you’re nervous of saying something that will make him up and leave. Maybe you can’t quite be yourself around him. You often feel like you’re treading on eggshells.

And when it’s like this, you have an overall feeling of unease…

It won’t always be like this, of course. If it was, why would you keep pursuing him?

No, there’s still good times. He still makes you feel good. That’s why you want him. But there’s just an undertone of:

  • Is he going to get funny if I say this?
  • I really want to ask this, but I don’t know how he’ll react…

And you’ll probably get that because of some of the reactions he’s given you before. This leads me onto my next point.

Is he a player?

3) He Doesn’t Make You Feel Secure

If he’s playing you, he’ll give you enough to make you into him, to make you start to fall for him even. He’ll hook you in.

Then, once he has, he’ll kind of hold you there – be a little hot and cold, keep you on your toes.

That’s why you often feel like you have to watch what you say, ask or do. He makes you feel good for the vast part of the time, but you also wonder – if you step out of line – if he’ll leave.

Maybe if you say or ask something he doesn’t like, if you behave in a way that’s a little less than ideal, you’ll hear things like, “I can’t be dealing with this.”

Or he’ll become snappy or distant, cold even, until you win him around.

If this sounds familiar, then girl – that’s not healthy. In fact, it’s actually very toxic. So don’t let the good times taint your judgement.

You don’t have to be perfect and no-one should expect you to be 24-7, especially in the early stages of dating and relationships when you’re still trying to work out what the two of you are and what the two of you are like.

4) He Doesn’t Make Time For You

What else do we have in the signs he’s playing you? Well… he won’t make time for you. You’ll see him, of course, but it’s always him seeing you when it’s convenient for him.

You’ll find that you’re often the one initiating the dates – or asking when you’ll see each other again. In fact, you wonder when you’d see each other again, if you didn’t say anything at all!

He’d still speak to you, keep you there (of course!) but it can sometimes seem like a battle to see him, like he’s not totally fussed either way and your feelings are a little one-sided.

When you do see each other then, it’s likely that you do the same sort of things – the things that he wants to do, the things that work for him.

Whether you become like a bit of a booty call, or not, it’s still very much on his terms.

5) He Makes Empty Promises

Next up then, it’s those empty promises. That’s right – if he’s playing you, get used to disappointment, because this will become a pretty regular thing!

It’s like when he says he’ll phone, but he doesn’t. He says he’ll be there and oh look, something crops up. You can’t take his word as truth and never really know when his intentions are pure.

But gee, he doesn’t fully know either… All he knows is he’s not quite feeling it as much as he’s leading you to believe.

That’s why he’s so inconsistent with his behaviour. He doesn’t know if he’s coming and going, because really, he doesn’t know how he’ll feel or what he’ll want to do from one day to the next.

Recommended Read: What To Do When He Pulls Back

Signs He's Playing You

6) He Says All The Right Things

One of the biggest signs he’s playing you, is when he says all the right things.

He’s charming. He wants you to like him, wants you to fall for him. It works in his favour. That’s how he can then play you.

The expression “being played” generally means being taken advantage of by someone you care about.

So him saying the right things, doing many of the right things initially – it’s what puts him in that position of being able to play you.

And it’s not always vindictive and thought-out to the degree of him intentionally playing you. But often, a player knows how to play the game.

So he will naturally say the things that he’s said to everyone, without fully caring if he means it, or thinking of the implications of you believing the things he says.

He will treat you like a queen, like his partner – which also makes it evermore confusing.

See, he wants you to want him. And it works. Because when it’s good, it feels so good. Almost scarily good. But there is such a thing as too good to be true in some cases.

So, my friends, we can equip you with the knowledge you need!

Before you read any further, jump on over to this article: How To Tell If He’s Being Genuine. We’ve also got this one, with the 7 Signs You Can’t Trust Him.

That’s right – there will be no fooling you now!

7) He Keeps You Very Separate

We’re storming through these signs he’s playing you now! So what else should you look out for? Well, if he keeps you pretty separate.

  • You hear about his friends and family all the time, but he doesn’t want you to meet them.
  • There’s light little social events with friends and partners, but you don’t get invited.
  • In fact, you may find he goes to a special effort to make sure the two lives don’t align – perhaps getting uneasy if you’re out and about together, or avoiding places where he might “see people he knows.”
  • There will be no sharing things on social media, with you in it.
  • He also won’t be telling his friends and family about you, so you won’t catch him telling you about any conversations they’ve had about the two of you.

This is one of the biggest signs he’s playing you. Remember: actions must match words.

He should be proud of being with you, he should see potential for the two of you and where you might progress. He should want to take you out – not keep you as this seedy little secret!

Of course, you’re not asking to meet everyone days or weeks in, but as time goes on – there should be a progression.

So if he’s reluctant to move things forward in this way, you should start to wonder what exactly you are and where this is going.

EXTRA: He’s Distant When You’re Apart

Is he playing you? Well, what you’ll also notice with this one – is when he’s not with you, you’ll often not hear from him.

He’s secretive, doesn’t really say what he’s doing or where he’s with (not that he has to report everything to you) but it’s weird…

It’s not the natural sharing you’d expect from a healthy, new, exciting relationship.

Whether he’s preoccupied with other women, or just not thinking of you when you’re apart, the all-then-nothing is not a good sign. (He’s hot and cold texting and it’s not good enough!)

You don’t expect him to be glued to your phone, but you also don’t expect him to cut you off completely! And when he does – it’s always on his terms again.

(Not that you feel like you can say this to him of course!

8) The Conversations Are One Sided

So this one comes in two parts, because if he’s playing you, you’ll often find:

  1. Either he knows far more about you than you know about him. He doesn’t really let you in or share anything too personal. He’s keeping you at a bit of a distance, and so you’ll probably feel like you know him, but don’t truly know him – not the real him anyway.
  2. On the flip side, you could feel like you know far more about him than he knows about you. He’s constantly talking about himself, it’s always you asking the questions and he doesn’t tend to return them. This is a problem, because it shows he’s not really interested in getting to know you. He’s just talking at you. It’s self-indulgent and again, not a sign that he’s into you.

On both sides, this isn’t how a new, flourishing relationship should be. It should be the two of you – equally as interested, sharing equally, bonding equally.

So if it’s not reciprocated it’s certainly one of the signs he’s playing you. He’s not as emotionally invested in this as he’s making out.

Is He Playing Me?

9) He Calls You Crazy If You Act Up

You know what guys love to call girls? Crazy! You hear it all the time – the crazy ex, the crazy girlfriend, crazy, crazy, crazy.

It’s their go-to word if a woman actually speaks up or acts up, about their behaviour.

Recommended Read: What Is Gaslighting? Are You Being Gaslighted?

And that’s one of the key signs of a player – a key sign you’re being played. If you pick up on something he’s said or done, he’ll get defensive, put it on you, make you out to be the one who’s being unreasonable.

A player doesn’t want to be accountable for their actions. They just want to have fun. By deflecting the blame and making you look like the bad person, they avoid any negative emotions. Just know – this isn’t actually on you.
Forgetting Fairytales

Calling you crazy for simply expressing how you feel or pointing out the truth – it’s manipulative. It’s also disrespectful and immature.

Instead of having an actual conversation, of listening to what you say, he just cuts you off and puts you down.

Whether you’re right or you’re wrong about whatever you’re saying, calling you crazy (or anything to that effect) – it’s not okay.

So this is one of the biggest warning signs you should look out for. #CutOutTheCrazy

10) He Makes You Feel Unsure or Insecure

To finish off the signs he’s playing you, I want to go back to the first point I made. See, if he’s playing you, you’ll have these niggling feelings, these doubts.

This is because of the inconsistent behaviour or actions that just don’t match up with words. It will also be because of his (intentional or not) mind games.

He’ll make you doubt yourself, bring out that needy, insecure side of you – that you really don’t want to see. You’ll find yourself blaming yourself.

Like “I shouldn’t have been so demanding”, “I’m just being insecure”, “I need to get a grip”, “I’m asking too much…”

But often, you’re not. Like I said, no-one is going to be perfect from start to finish – when dating or in a relationship. Don’t beat yourself up or lower your expectations and standards.

If he’s playing you, he’ll know he’s not as sure about you, or the situation, as he makes out.

He’ll see you when he wants to see you, he’ll feel good by the love and attention you’re giving him and will totally take that – but it’s not returned, not equally.

He’s all about what he can get. He’ll push your boundaries, not really listen to what you say, make you feel pressured to do things to make him happy.

And when he can no longer get what he wants, or it’s no longer ideal for him, he’ll walk away. Don’t let it get to that stage.

Are You Being Played?

So hopefully, after reading this, you should now feel a little more confident in answering the question, “is he playing me?”

The thing to bear in mind is that you’re never going to know for sure if you’re being played. However, what you do know – is how you feel and how this other person makes you feel. So don’t be so fast to put the blame on yourself.

Know what your relationship standards are, know what your dating standards are before that, and don’t settle.

Because I promise you, for every guy that will come into your life and play you – there will be a guy out there who would come into your life – if you let him – and worship you!

Forget the “bad boys”, they’re overrated. Raise your self-worth, and demand more. Because you deserve the best of the best. Give that love and joy to the right person!


Signs He's Playing You

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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

1 thought on “10 Signs He’s Playing You”

  1. I’m interested in your thoughts…I’ve been seeing a guy for a month. We met by sheer chance and ironically, even though we’re both 2000 miles away from home, he dated one of my friends and she spoke highly of him. He doesn’t really meet any of the things on this list (ie he’s introduced me to two of his good out-of-town friends when they have visited, convos are even and he’s made a strong effort to see me 1-2x a week, actions match words, extremely respectful) but he definitely strikes me as a player. He is full-on aware he is charming, sexy, and that most guys are assholes (ie handsy, not respectful), and he sums it up as “it makes my job easier since respect isn’t hard” – so it’s like being a player in the opposite direction. He’s respected my physical boundaries (ie I told him “no” to start kissing one night and he immediately backed off…and then helped me with my car that same night) and has made an immense effort to impress/help me. Maybe it’s my heavy previous trauma, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s just too good to be true? For the record, I am usually extremely good at spotting liars and bs’ers so I wouldn’t call myself naive or easy to manipulate. If anything, I have a strong guard up all the time.


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