Your eyes meet across the bar. As you hold her gaze you’re completely mesmerised. Whilst returning his gaze you notice the dimples forming on the corners of his mouth. The magnetic attraction pulls him towards you. He puts his hand out and as it meets yours, you can feel the chemistry. “Hi I’m Raj, it’s nice to meet you”. “Hi, I’m Simran, it’s nice to meet you too”. “I noticed you across the bar and just had to come over to say hi and ask you out for dinner. Are you free this Friday?”. “Thank you Raj, that’s very nice of you, yes I’m free for dinner...” Oh OK then! I’m going to stop before I get carried away and this turns into a Jackie Collins excerpt.
Sadly, the reality is that situations like the above probably occur infrequently. Whilst honesty is a trait highly sought by both men and women seeking their life partner, the irony is that during the dating process, it’s also the trait that many struggle to display. Yes, I’m referring to game playing in the dating world. How much easier would it be if we could all just be forthcoming, direct and honest about our feelings? So what stops us from doing this?
It‘s a well documented fact that men need the chase to satisfy their inbreed alpha male instincts, consequently some women engage in the act of ‘playing hard to get’ (note: some men do also participate in this too!). The idea is to increase and build up desire for the person who is acting attainable. If you do get together, the person who has been doing the chasing will have a greater sense of satisfaction and appreciation for that person. Whilst emotionally this may make sense, logically you have to question what’s the point? We’re all adults, leading busy lives. Meeting someone that you like is challenging enough, why play games, waste time and make things even harder? If you like someone, tell them and just get on with it, or move on if it is not reciprocated!
Next up we have jealousy. Frustrated that the person that they desire is making no attempt to declare their feelings, despite giving signals and being flirtatious, people use jealousy as a means of invoking a reaction. This can potentially be a dangerous game to play, with the risk of backfiring. The person that you are trying to make jealous may interpret your actions as disinterest on your part and walk away all together. How much emotional energy could you be saving, if you were direct and asked that person to clarify their feelings towards you?
Calling, texting and replying to emails. Before making contact, or responding, you start deliberating about the time frame. “If I text her straight away, she is going to think I’m desperate, I’ll leave it a day or so”… “He took one day to text me, so maybe I should also wait and not reply straight away”. And therein starts the communication game playing cycle. When you think about it rationally, communication is a normal everyday act. Why over analyse it and make it into something else? By delaying communication because you do not want to be perceived in a certain way, what are you really gaining? Surely, the time lost between not communicating could be better spent identifying whether you are in fact compatible?
Some people also play games to hide their true feelings because they fear rejection. They do not want to disclose their feelings to the other person until they are sure it’s reciprocal. Whilst this makes some sense during the first couple of encounters, what happens if the other person is also doing the same thing? How do things move forward if you are both guarded and masking your true feelings by playing games. In this situation, unless one person takes a leap of faith, a potentially good relationship opportunity could be lost. What’s the worst thing that could happen by being honest? Apart from perhaps a dent to your pride, if the feelings are not mutual, you get to walk away without having made any real emotional investment. And that’s a good thing. Furthermore, can you really lose something that you never had in the first place?
I guess they don’t call it the ‘dating game’ for nothing, or maybe it’s just a self fulfilling prophecy? Who knows; but wouldn’t dating life be so much easier if more people were just honest and forthcoming about their feelings. I wonder, is it time to take a leaf out of Gandhi’s book “we must become the change we want to see..."