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5 Sneaky Mind Games Men Play: How to Win Them?

We all want to attract the attention of the people we like, but unfortunately, some manipulative men play mind games to attract the attention of women they like. What are mind games in relationships? Is playing these mind games harmful?

Read on to know the signs that a man is trying to play games with you and how to deal with them.

Key Takeaways 

  • Manipulative men play mind games to get the attention of the women they like.
  • The mind games can destroy a woman's confidence and leave her feeling rejected and confused.
  • Various signs can help you identify if a man is playing games with you.
  • You should call out a man for this type of behavior and keep your distance from him.

The Most Common Mind Games in Relationships

Men who play mind games do it to get their way with women. [1] Not all mind games are harmful, but some manipulative toxic guys play games that can leave women feeling confused, hurt, and rejected. Below are some of the most common mind games men play in relationships.

1. Silent treatment

In certain situations of conflict, it is wise to step back to stop an unproductive argument; however, the silent treatment is different as instead of a way to stop the conflict, it is a way to exert power and gain control on the other person. It is one of the most common mind games through which men ignore their partner, thus causing the female terrible emotional pain.

Guys play this game so that instead of taking responsibility they avoid conflict. However, doing this can make their partner feel guilty and shift the entire blame on the woman. It is a way to shut down communication, which can make the other partner feel rejected and have low self-esteem.

2. Sending mixed signals

A classic game men play is giving mixed signals, which is a hot and cold behavior that can be totally confusing. In some cases, a man might be giving different signals because he might genuinely not be sure about his feelings or the future. However, if a man is playing such games intentionally, then it is because he wants to keep you on your toes.

One moment it seems he is head over heels in love with you, and the next moment, he is looking for ways to avoid you, and then again, he is showing interest in you again. The purpose of this manipulative game is to get the woman's attention and make them desperate and confused.

3. Playing the victim card

Lots of men play mind games to manipulate others and gain attention. One of the most common games is where men show themselves as the victims so you are left feeling guilty. A man playing such mind games will be frozen in time and never take responsibility; instead will play the blame game.

He will blame his past experiences for the bad things he does and will always have a sob story ready with them.

However, there are chances that the man is not playing the victim card but is actually the victim or thinks of himself as a victim. No matter what the case, a relationship with such a man will make you feel responsible for their happiness, which can get frustrating after a certain point.

The low self-esteem of such men means they cannot take a joke as they see it as a personal attack. 

4. The chameleon game

Man holding up his collar

Men who play the chameleon game adapt themselves according to the qualities you are looking for in men. 

So if your ex-boyfriend was abusive, this guy would pretend to be all sweet and caring; if you were with a nice guy in your past relationship, this guy would pretend to be strong and aggressive. He will try his best to present himself as a man you always dreamt of, but all of this would be an act.

As the guy knows, he cannot carry his fake image for long; he mainly takes on this act till he manages to gain the trust of the woman and has sex with her. After that, he does not try hard to keep up with his fake image. [2]

5. Love bombing

Love bombing is a manipulation technique in which the man will shower all his attention on you when he is trying to woo you. He will surprise you often, keep calling you and send long texts. 

However, as soon as you fall for him due to his seeming ‘interest’ in you, he will stop this love bombing and leave you feeling like they have changed. This change in their behavior is because they never loved you, but they only liked the adrenaline rush of chasing you. 

12 Signs He's Playing Mind Games with You

In many cases, it can be difficult to find out if the man is trying to play mind games with you or is just not interested in you. Below are some signs that will help you figure it out

1. He tries to make you feel bad about yourself

Men playing mind games will always try to put you down at every opportunity you get to break your confidence. They will say negative things about your appearance, dressing style, family, etc., to make you feel inadequate and vulnerable. 

Insecure men show such behavior so they can crush your confidence so you can never leave them.

Being with a man who plays this kind of mind games will only make you feel unhappy and destroy your self-esteem, so you should try to come out of such a relationship as soon as possible.

2. He plays with your emotions

A man trying to play games with you will intentionally ask about how you feel about him, even if he already knows what they mean to you. Once you open your heart to him, he will change the topic or maybe even tease you for your feelings; they might also tell you about some other girl they like and try their best to put you down.

3. He tries to make you feel jealous

Lots of men play mind games because they want attention, and to get this attention, they play games of flirting with other girls. He might start talking to many women at a time in his childish way to induce jealousy. Many men, while cheating on their partners, try their best to cover their tracks, but if a man flirts with others in front of you, it is a sign of manipulation.

There are chances that he might be using this manipulative behavior to get an ego boost or to show you that he is a womanizer, so you do not ask him for a committed relationship. This behavior can leave you feeling jealous, confused, and insecure.

4. He continuously talks about his ex-girlfriend

Some men play mind games by continuously comparing you with others and making you feel inadequate. If your man is constantly talking about his ex, what she used to do, and how beautiful she was, you need to put your foot down before it starts affecting your mental health.

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This comparison might be his way of making you feel jealous. No matter why your man is playing mind games, you are enough in your own right and do not need a man to make you feel fulfilled. [3]

5. He does not introduce you to his family

If a man is serious about you, he will want you to meet his family. However, if you have been dating for long and he has still not introduced you to his parents then it is a sign that he is trying to engage in a game with you. Just meeting the guy’s friends is not enough as they would not reprimand him if he reeks off with you for some silly reason. 

Meeting someone’s family gives you an assurance that they are serious about the relationship. 

6. He makes you feel guilty

Lots of men play mind games to make you feel guilty for the things you were not even responsible for. Just because they do not want to take responsibility for their actions, they will manipulate you and send you on a guilt trip, so they are blameless. Men playing games will gaslight and present the situation in a way you are forced to believe everything is your fault.

This is done so they always have the upper hand in the relationship, and you are seen as “incompetent,” which will affect your self-esteem.

7. They seem too perfect to be true

Most women are indeed looking for an ideal man who will sweep them off their feet, and many men tend to use this against women. Men who play mind games know this, so they try to portray the image of a perfect man. 

An insecure man faking to be “perfect” is always on his toes near his woman, doing things she likes, whether planning a perfect date or missing work to take you out for a movie. However, there is always a reason behind them doing whatever you say: they have ulterior motives

Men play games and pretend to be ideal boyfriends and go out of their way for you because then you would feel “obligated” to do things for them.

Man smiling holding his glasses

8. He tries to make you feel inferior to him

A broken man can engage in mind games by passing snarky comments on your looks, intelligence, or other things. He will try to destroy your self-esteem by making you feel that he is too good for you, and he is making a compromise by being with you. He will constantly criticize you and make you feel unwanted and unloved. [4]

9. He bails on you often

If a guy makes plans to meet with you and never shows up, it is a sign he is trying to engage in mind games with you. His behavior shows that he is not concerned about your emotions and that you are not his priority.

Sometimes unforeseen events occur, which can make someone cancel their prior plans; however, if it happens often, it is a cause for concern. Moreover, if a guy is always busy; it can also mean he might have someone else in his life. If there is no genuine reason for a guy to cancel on you often, then it is just one of the games he plays.

10. He is not clear about your relationship status

If you have been seeing a guy for some time, and every time you ask for commitment, they change the topic, then it is possible they are not serious about you. 

It is a different thing if you both want a casual relationship. However, if he avoids the topic of commitment whenever you try to talk to him about it, then either he is a free spirit who does not want to be bound, or you are not the girl he wants to be in a serious relationship with. 

It is not uncommon for men to engage in mind games with you when they neither want to be in a relationship with you nor want to let you go.

11. He calls you only for sex

There is nothing wrong if you and the man have made an arrangement and you are friends with benefits. However, a man is trying to play mind games with women when she thinks it is a serious relationship, and he keeps calling her only for sex.

If you notice that the guy is never available to talk to you but showers all his attention on you when he wants to get physically intimate with you, then it is one of the signs of the mind games men play. 

In order to “get into your pants,” he might even falsely show his feelings, but you should know it’s superficial. Don’t let them use you.

12. He has not taken down his dating profiles

If a man is in a serious relationship with you but has still not taken down his dating profile, he might be playing games with you. He might want to keep his options open. [5] 

It is possible that after meeting you, it might have skipped his mind that he has a dating profile and thus completely forgot to take it down. However, when you talk to him about it, and instead of taking it down, he accuses you of being unreasonable or jealous, it is a sign that he is playing mind games with you.

How to Handle a Man Who Plays Games and "Win" the Game?

It’s important to keep your distance from a man who plays mind games with you as they can affect your mental peace. Read on to learn how to deal with a guy who plays mind games so you win this game.

1. Set boundaries

If you do not want to play games, it is time to set some boundaries. Tell the man you are not interested in the games and let them know how you wish to be treated. Be firm in what you want, and ensure you both are on the same page. Have an open conversation and lay down your expectations and the consequences of not following the set boundaries. [6]

2. Stay calm

Man blaming his girlfriend

Men play games to manipulate you and gain your attention. The mind games men play can leave you confused and frustrated. In such a situation, it is important that you stay calm and do not lose your patience. 

Even if you think the player is a great guy, take your own sweet time and move forward only when you are sure there are no mind games involved. After all, you do not want to betray yourself or get involved in a drama. Instead, work on yourself and your happiness!

3. Back off

Not all men play mind games, and sometimes they might genuinely be confused about their feelings; therefore, the best thing to do in such a situation is to keep some distance. This way, you can both assess the situation and “beat them” in their own game. 

If he still makes an effort to be with you, then it shows that they are really into you. However, if they do not make an effort, it shows they are trying their mind games on some other gal.

4. Let him know you are aware of his games

If you find out that a man is trying to play mind games with you, then instead of ignoring it, call him out. Take a stand and let the man know that you are aware of his mind games and you won't tolerate them

You do not need to feel bad or guilty for taking a stand against manipulative men. It would help if you let a guy who plays mind games know how you feel. The way they will answer will tell you if the relationship is worth saving or not.

5. Talk to him face-to-face

Most men are successful in playing games with women because instead of doing it face-to-face, they do it over the phone, which is a comfortable environment. So whenever you are with a guy who plays games, make sure to ask him questions, even if you think it can be uncomfortable. It is easy to lie over texts, but only a few guys can play games face-to-face.


What kind of person plays mind games?

A manipulator who wants to control you, destroy your self-confidence, and make you feel jealous will play mind games with you. This person is usually insecure and believes you to be in a stronger position. Thus to gain control, he plays mind games.

Why do men play mind games?

Guys who play mind games do that to get attention and exert their power on women. They think doing it would get the girls interested in them. In most cases, these men are not looking for an actual romantic relationship but only for sex. The mind games give them a sense of self-worth and an ego boost.

Is he playing games or not interested?

If a man is trying to play games, he will contact you at his convenience and mainly for sex. He will also try to break your confidence and humiliate you for no reason at all in front of your friends and family. On the other hand, if a man is not interested in you, he would not show hot and cold behavior and would rather keep his distance from you. 


You should be aware of the men who play mind games as they can disturb your mental peace and leave you feeling confused and rejected. Focusing on boundaries and looking out for the signs that tell you that a man is trying to play a mind game can help you deal with a guy who is fooling around.

Have you ever been in a relationship with a guy who was playing games with you? What was your experience? Share your experience with us.

Utilize this tool to verify if he's truly who he claims to be
Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.

6 Sources:
  1. Bottino, Rosa & Ott, Michela. (2006). Mind games, reasoning skills, and the primary school curriculum. Learning, Media and Technology. 31. 359-375. 10.1080/17439880601022981. 
  2. Butcher J. Mind games: do they work? BMJ. 2008 Feb 2;336(7638):246-8. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39462.534630.AD. PMID: 18244994; PMCID: PMC2223056.
  3. Rogoza, R., P. Wyszyńska, M. Maćkiewicz, and J. Cieciuch. 2016. Differentiation of the two narcissistic faces in their relations to personality
  4. Mitra P, et al. (2021). Narcissistic personality disorder.
  5. Urbonaviciute G, et al. (2020). When is narcissism associated with low empathy? A meta-analytic review.
  6. Aravind, V. K., Krishnaram, V. D., & Thasneem, Z. (2012). Boundary crossings and violations in clinical settings. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(1):21-4.

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