When is a Game not a Game?

playing games - chess“Steve, all she does is play games. I can’t stand it.”

“Why do guys always play games? Why can’t they just return a call?”

If you have some single friends, I’m sure you’ve heard something similar. Maybe you’ve said it yourself. Games! We hate when people play games with us and we vow not to play games ourselves, am I right? So, where do these games come from and why do we still play them? If they weren’t successful we’d have stopped playing them, wouldn’t we? Could it be that the games are based on something that actually has value?

Since I love examples, here’s one:

I know this guy – older gentleman, successful, handsome, warm, and charming. He had kids late in life, is now divorced and, though he wants a relationship, freely admits he will put his kids first. Many women who are interested in him find this a showstopper. They don’t want to play second fiddle at this stage of their lives. Fair enough. But he’s a great catch. How can they convince him to change his priorities? Maybe they could game him?

What does that mean? Well, you date him for a bit, show him how special you are, and then play hard to get. Make him chase you. Tell him you’re busy on a night when he asks you out. Make him rearrange his life to find room for you. You’re totally worth it, right?

Sounds like gaming to me. But what if…

You date him for a bit, show him how special you are. You make time for him in between your volunteer work. Occasionally you bow out of your tennis league match to keep a dinner date with him. Instead of pretending to be busy to try to get him to chase you, you actually are busy. You actually have a full life. Now that is attractive to the man in my example.

It isn’t a game. It’s real. And it works. And there’s no scheme about it because it’s just you living your life to the fullest. And I think that’s where the games come from. They’re attempts to simulate having a full life without actually having one. The 3-day rule about calling after a first date? That’s to suggest you’re busy. Saying you’re busy when you’re not? Same thing.

If you’re faking it, you’re not making it. Get out there and live the life you want and you’ll find yourself attracting the kind of people that enjoy similarly full lives. And isn’t that what you want? Or do you seek a couch potato with a preference for his mother’s cooking?

Steve is the founder of Straight Talk Entertainment and currently produces and writes for the audio drama Aural Traditions, recently voted Charleston City Paper’s Best Local Podcast. He’s also an Information Security professional and avid shark tooth hunter.

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