15 Warning Signs of a Player

How do you know if a guy is playing you?

When you’re single, it can feel like all men are players. They’re the ones that’ll approach you at the bar, smooth-talk you at the networking event, or slide into your DMs.

It can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you don’t notice that the man’s a player until it’s too late.

Players get a bad rap because it seems like they’re deceiving or manipulating people. But, in actuality, they’re just not into the same type of relationship as you.

They aren’t looking for emotional intimacy or a long-term relationship. They just want to have some fun in the moment.

Fortunately, most of them give off the obvious warning signs of a player, and if you know how to spot them, you can avoid falling into a relationship with one.

15 Warning Signs of a Player

Before we go into the warning signs of a player, let’s define what a player is in a relationship.

A player is not just someone who is successful with picking up women. He’s someone that’s successful with picking up women and dating several of them simultaneously.

15 Warning Signs of a Player (1)

So by definition, a player is not monogamous with you, and that’s a deal-breaker for most women. Players know that their relationships will be short-lived, but they try to keep them going for as long as possible, or at least until they lose interest.

If you’re worried about how to know if a guy is playing you, by spotting these warning signs early on you can end the relationship before it gets too serious and there’s more for you to lose. 

Sometimes, you might not be able to figure this out by yourself because you’re too close to the situation.

#1 He’s Incredibly Charismatic

We all love a charmer, someone that can strike up an interesting conversation with anyone, but what does it mean when someone is too charismatic?

Usually, that smooth-talking persona comes from experience. So when your man is especially charming with women, it’s a sign he’s had plenty of opportunities to hone his craft and learn what women like to hear.

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Be careful though. A man might not be a player if his job puts him in a position where he needs to charm people regularly, such as in sales.

#2 He’s a Little Mysterious

It’s exciting not to know everything about your paramour.

That’s one thing that makes new relationships so intoxicating – your fantasies about their past and who they are now are almost always more thrilling than the truth.

He's a Little Mysterious

Players only reveal bits and pieces, so it’s impossible to construct a coherent narrative around them.

If your man is cagey about revealing personal details, this could be one of the more obvious signs that he’s a player.

#3 He Doesn’t Introduce You to His Friends

Meeting your partner’s friends is an important part of a relationship.

His circle of friends is a big part of who he is as a person, and when he feels that you’re a significant part of his life, he’ll naturally want to flaunt you in front of those friends.

However, if he doesn’t see this relationship lasting, it’s not worth the trouble of introducing you to those friends.

If he is a player, his friends are also probably tired of him bringing a new woman around every few weeks and don’t think it’s to their benefit to get to know you.

If you immediately receive a cold reception from his friends, this may be why.

If you’ve been dating for a while and he’s still not introducing you to his friends, that’s not automatically a red flag.

#4 He’s Way Too Friendly With Your Girlfriends

Players are always looking for new prospects, even in your presence. When he’s meeting your female friends, do you notice him using the same Casanova charm he put on when you first met?

You’d think players would know when to turn the charm off, but they can’t help themselves. If things don’t work out between the two of you, or more likely, when he gets bored with your relationship, he’ll have several more women in your friend group to choose from.

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Don’t think that your friends won’t fall from him either. Anyone can fall under the player’s spell. 

#5 He’s Never Available on Your Schedule

Is your man always making plans and setting updates that fit into his hectic schedule with little or no concern with what’s convenient for you?

This is one of the most flagrant warning signs a man is a player; he’s seeing other women, and this complicated scheme will fall apart very quickly unless he dictates the schedule.

He's Never Available on Your Schedule

He won’t come right out and say you can’t make plans, but he might tell you that he’s swamped at work and has limited availability.

A man that’s genuinely interested in you is willing to compromise and make time for you on your terms, at least some of the time.

#6 His Plans Are Always Last Minute

Players have complex love lives that leave them with very little free time. There are always cancellations, though, when he is texting you.

If your boyfriend calls you to make plans and feels like your dentist is trying to squeeze you in for a last-minute cleaning, you might be dating a player. 

This goes the other way too. Sometimes, a player makes a scheduling mistake and realizes he’s double-booked his evening.

In that case, he’ll be canceling on you at the last minute to see the other women. If these cancellations are a regular occurrence, he could be playing you, or he’s not interested in the relationship.

#7 He’s Never Available on the Weekends

More than likely, the player has a long-term partner, and weekends are reserved for her.

She’s the one he’s really into, or at least has the most to offer him in terms of status.

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Unless you can bring someone better to the table, he can only fit you in on weekend nights when he says he’s “staying late at the office”.

#8 He Has Lame Excuses for Cancelling

“I need to clean my apartment”, “the boys are coming over to watch football”, “I’m watching an episode of (insert TV show name)”.

If a guy is genuinely interested in you, he’ll make time for you. If a guy is somewhat curious but has found a better option for the evening, he’ll make up a decent excuse.

He Has Lame Excuses for Cancelling

Players won’t even bother with that because they don’t care enough. They have plenty of other women they can call on if you’re fed up with their lame excuses.

They also don’t have the mental bandwidth to come up with an original excuse when they’re juggling several women.

#9 He Loves Being the Center of Attention

They might be oozing with charisma, but most players feel insecure deep down. They need constant attention to prop up their fragile self-esteem.

If you notice that your man is always looking to be the life of the party or take control of group conversations, it could hint at his player lifestyle. 

#10 He’s Secretive About His Past Dating Life

Asking about your significant other’s past is a normal part of a relationship. It’s natural to be curious about who they used to date and their breakups.

Players don’t want you to know any of these details as they would reveal their true selves.

If you realize that the person you’re dating has never maintained a monogamous relationship for more than a few months, you might question how long this one could last.

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He's Secretive About His Past Dating Life

#11 He’s a Little Too Good in Bed

Like having too much charism, this could be a sign of experience.

If he knows how to make you feel good the first time you’re together, it’s probably because he’s tried those moves on several women before he got it right.

Experienced players are also more attuned to women’s reactions, which helps them hone in on exactly what you want.

Being with a man who knows how to make you feel good may not sound like a bad thing, but it could be a sign that he’s making a few other women feel just as good while dating you.

#12 He Loves Power

Players will often tell you they have a weakness for women. Yet, they can’t stop themselves from chasing after all of them.

They want people to believe they love women so much that dating one isn’t enough. This is little more than a facade covering their true love: power.

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Being desired by so many women and having the ability to date several of them get a guy drunk on power.

A certain exhilaration comes from it, and he can’t get enough of that feeling. But, unfortunately, that exhilaration rapidly subsides, and he discards you before moving on to the next woman.

The only way he can keep the thrill going is with a fresh supply of women to feed his power addiction.  

#13 He Never Talks About a Future

Relationships with players always come with an expiration date; maybe it’s a few weeks or a few months, but there’s never a long-term future in them.

Players are well-aware of this and do not discuss plans too far into the future.

For example, if you’ve heard his best friend is getting married in six months, but he doesn’t make any plans with you, there’s a good chance you’re not the person he plans to attend it with.

Also, take note of the pronouns he uses; does he say “I” when discussing future plans or “we”? 

#14 He’s Hot and Cold

One minute you’re the love of his life, next, it seems like he could care less about you.

This sort of unstable relationship is a hallmark of players and is a result of him constantly comparing you against his other options.

If things are going well with you, he might be scaling back his attention toward some of the other women that he’s dating and vice-versa.

He's Hot and Cold

You can never be certain where you stand because you have no idea what’s happening with the multiple women he’s dating. 

Hot and cold behavior can also be a sign of narcissistic personality disorder. He could be manipulating you through affection, showing you love when you do what he wants, and the cold shoulder when you’re not.

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Whatever the reason, it’s a toxic relationship you’ll want to exit as soon as possible.

There is a chance he might have some insecurities or personal issues prompting this hot-and-cold behavior. Everyone’s situation is different, and nothing beats personalized input from a professional telling you exactly how to approach a situation and what to do.

#15 You Just Have a Feeling

If you were to write out a list of his positive and negative traits, it might overwhelmingly be skewed towards him being a great boyfriend, but something still feels off.

Sometimes our unconscious mind picks up on subtle cues that the conscious mind misses. We have an uncanny ability to formulate judgments based on those cues but can’t explain how we came to that judgment.

Trust your unconscious mind. It’s picking up on the red flags even if you aren’t.

How Do You Know If a Man is Playing You?

You’ve been with a guy for a few weeks or a few months, but something feels off.

His behaviors are different from your past boyfriends – not always in a bad way, but different enough to raise some suspicion.

You’re getting worried that he could be seeing other women, but you’re not sure how to tell if he’s a player. These are some of the things to look for in the early stages of a relationship with a player.

#1 He Acts Like a Hero, but Isn’t

Players love to ride in and save the day because it makes them look good in your eyes and any other women who might notice.

He Acts Like a Hero, but Isn't

They’re all about building a larger-than-life reputation that’ll help them attract even more women.

So don’t be surprised if your player boyfriend goes around telling everyone when he’s sprung into action, no matter how small the deed.

#2 He’s Way too Nice

Players are concerned about one thing above all else, and that’s keeping the game going.

They’ll do anything to deflect suspicion, which can take the form of gifts, romantic trips, and grand gestures.

If a man’s behavior is always over the top, you should be asking yourself, “is he playing me?” 

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That’s not to say you should be skeptical of him doing anything nice, but be aware of the timing?

Have you been asking him probing questions about his personal life or why he’s always staying late at work?

Have you found some incriminating evidence like text messages from an unknown woman? If you receive a gift shortly after that, he’s probably playing you.

#3 He’s Very Controlling

Maintaining the player lifestyle is a complicated game; the man needs to remember all the important details about each woman he’s dating without mixing them up.

He needs to keep a rigid schedule to fit all of them in, and fake genuine affection towards each of them. 

To do all of that, players must maintain control in the relationship.

For instance, he may not want to go to a specific restaurant because one of the other women he’s dating works there, and he wouldn’t be able to explain why he’s there with you.

Players may even want to avoid specific neighborhoods to prevent these run-ins.

If your boyfriend never lets you decide what to do or where to go, he may be trying to prevent his player’s house of cards from tumbling down. 

#4 He Doesn’t Communicate Well

When a player calls or texts you, he’s probably looking to meet up. He doesn’t text you to ask how your day is going or just say hi.

That kind of small talk builds a relationship; it shows he’s thinking about you throughout the day and wants to know more about what’s happening in your life.

He Doesn't Communicate Well

On the other hand, if he only texts you late at night and the conversation is geared towards sex, you are almost certainly dating a player. 

#5 Dates are Always at His House

Players can’t be public with their relationships, at least without a lot of planning and a decent amount of geographic separation between the women they’re dating.

So instead, players will suggest dates at their place, or yours, but not at a restaurant or attraction where they could be caught by one of their other women.

Dates at the house are also advantageous as they move to the bedroom phase a bit quicker, which is all the player was interested in the first place.

How Do You Know If You are Dealing with a Player?

The very best way to avoid the pain of getting played is to never get involved with a player in the first place.

While you’re in the getting to know each other phase, you might ask yourself, “Is he a player or is he genuinely interested?”

Players can be master manipulators, but most will give off a few hints of their true nature, even on the first date. 

#1 He Says He Doesn’t Want a Relationship

You can hardly fault the player when he’s this direct and honest; if he says he’s not interested in a relationship, you can’t expect he’ll be exclusive with you.

When a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship, most girls think that his heart’s been broken and hasn’t fully healed.

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Still, he simply doesn’t want the trappings of a relationship – monogamy, intimacy, and commitment.

Instead, he wants sexual variety, and there’s nothing you can do to change that preference.

#2 He Comes on Too Strong

Who doesn’t love a man who sweeps you off your feet, showing you adoration and affection?

You feel exceptional and oh so desirable, but is his behavior genuine? Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is no.

He Comes on Too Strong

He hasn’t known you long enough to be head over heels in love, but he has been with enough women that are just like you to know that this is an effective seduction tactic.

Unfortunately, the kisses, the gifts, and the grand gestures don’t last long. 

Players, especially men with narcissistic personality disorder, engage in love bombing, whereby they lavish attention on a woman until she is completely smitten with him.

Soon after, they pull back from the relationship, doling out affection and praise only to control the woman’s behavior. 

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#3 He Shows Interest in Your Looks, but Not Your Personality

Relationships with players are nothing if not shallow. Players only value women for their appearance and won’t take the time to get to know anything about them.

If your date is constantly complimenting your looks but doesn’t ask any questions about your life, it’s one of the more notable signs he’s playing you.

#4 He Lives a Player Lifestyle

Players aren’t distributed equally across professions – you’re far more likely to encounter one when you date musicians, bartenders, or busy consultants.

These men either travel frequently and can’t maintain typical romantic relationships or are surrounded by women and opportunities for sex.

#5 His Social Media Contacts are Only Women

Some guys have lots of female friends and only a few close bros.

However, if his social media profile is littered with attractive women, there’s a good chance he’s hooking up with a few of them.

Players cycle through women regularly, so they need to have lots of them in reserve for whenever the moment strikes. 

#6 He’s Into Playing Mind Games

In the initial stages of a relationship, playing games can add to the thrill of the chase.

Playing hard to get or flirting with another woman can drive you wild with desire and jealousy, but they’re a red flag if you’re looking for a stable relationship later on.

He's Into Playing Mind Games

Players are only interested in the chase and don’t care about establishing a solid foundation of trust and intimacy.

Final Thoughts

No one likes getting played. It insults your intelligence, makes you distrustful, and rattles your emotional core.

Players use people to satisfy their needs without any concern for those of their partners. They aren’t looking for a relationship, just power, and sexual fulfillment, and they’re willing to hurt their partner to get it.

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Fortunately, players give off many warning signs, though some of them can be pretty subtle.

Your subconscious mind is great at picking up on these cues, letting you know that something doesn’t feel quite right. So if you’re wondering, “is he playing me” the answer is most likely yes. 

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

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