From recently entered first-year students to seniors just a few short months away from graduation, it’s no surprise that the University of Miami is full of players. Why be tied down when there is so much to explore and many people to meet?
But if you want to pursue a healthy relationship with anyone, proper communication is key. Without it, there is no hope for a genuine connection.
Let’s relate this concept to something most people use daily: Wi-Fi. When you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection, you resort to playing games on your phone instead of responding to important emails or texts. Similarly, when a connection and the ability to communicate is lacking in a relationship, you are much more likely to have to play mind games instead of just talking things out. Get it?
A player’s power revolves around playing mind games. However, mind games aren’t like Poker or Candyland, as there is no real thought-out strategy for playing on the player’s end, which can makes these mind games seem unnavigable for everyone involved. Fortunately enough, there are ways you can win before the game even starts.
In her article, “10 Reasons Why Men Play Mind Games and How to Deal with Them,” love, marriage and relationships expert Ratika Pai lists 12 signs you are being played and another 10 reasons why men play these games with you.
“Men are usually very clear about their feelings for someone,” wrote Pai. “Men who play mind games aim to keep their partners vulnerable. They enjoy the power and believe that their partner will never leave them.”
While not all players are men, these signs could likely be applied to all players. For example, there are clear signs that make it obvious a player does not want to pursue a serious relationship.
However, the other signs may be harder to catch, especially if you get easily distracted by a player’s charisma. Pai’s first sign listed in her article is described as “hot and cold behavior.” She explains this phenomena by using inconsistent texting as an example.
“You used to constantly text each other for days and weeks before he suddenly cut contact without any warning or reason,” writes Pai. “You worry and wonder what happened to him. But a few days or weeks later, he reappears with a reason that sounds absurd to you.”
Players play mind games for various reasons, and make sure you are never fully aware of their intentions and unable to sense when they lack confidence.
Alex Martucci, UM freshman and self-proclaimed “former f*ckboy,” shares insight into the mind of a player.
“Being a f*ckboy means you get joy out of the chase,” said Martucci. “I was lucky that I matured and outgrew the teenage mentality of being a f*ckboy before I got to college.”
Pai’s number one tactic to deal with mind games is the advice we all need: do not panic. Wait for them to come back to you. You did nothing wrong, so don’t set out on what will end up a wild goose chase.
Nonetheless, some players genuinely do not have your best interest in mind and are out to hurt you for their own gain. It has nothing to do with how you look or behave and, honestly, there’s no room for negative energy in 2023. Don’t be afraid to cut someone off who puts strain on your mental health to focus on what brings you joy.
Once you realize you have been caught in a player’s game, you have two options. Play with their mind in your own way or beat them at their own game. Or of course drop them — but what’s the fun in that? Neither option is recommended for a healthy relationship, so whatever game you play should end with this player in the reject pile.
Playing with a player’s mind is about reciprocating actions. Take those random, unprovoked breaks from the player, do not immediately reply to texts and calls but stay charming and vulnerable. Instead of chasing after the player, attract them to you so you can initiate your own game. However, be careful of a boomerang effect, as overdoing the subtle avoidance tactic can rub them the wrong way.
If you want to beat a player at their own game, show them you’re happy without them constantly invading your life. Don’t make compromises for someone who wouldn’t do the same for you — go out with your friends, pick up a new hobby, talk to the player on your own terms and don’t conform to theirs.
Simply, the best way to outplay a player, is to stop playing.
words_amanda mohamad. photo_reese putnam. design_lizzie kristal.
This article was published in Distraction’s Spring 2023 print issue.