So you're dating a new guy and totally smitten. He's the full package; he's well-spoken, good-looking, and confident. The only problem is, you have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Perfect might be hiding something... or worse, someone. Which might naturally lead you to wonder: Is he a player?
What are the signs he’s a player, anyway? To get some input, Elite Daily sat down with dating expert and relationship writer Demetrius Figueroa and Damona Hoffman, certified dating coach and host of The Dates & Mates Podcast. According to Figueroa, what separates a true player from a single person exploring their options is one thing — manipulation. "If you're a player, you're playing someone, whether that's telling the people you date that each of them is the only person you're seeing, or convincing someone you're single when you're not," says Figueroa.
Figueroa goes on to note that flirting doesn't necessarily mean they’re a player, so don't overreact if they’re giving friendly attention to other people. "If a guy is flirty, but is honest about his relationship status, and doesn't pursue anything beyond flirty banter, he's probably just a big flirt," says Figueroa.
But if you suspect the person you're seeing or talking to is going further than the occasional flirtatious exchange, then keep your eyes peeled for signs he is a player.
1. They’re Dishonest
There's nothing quite as sobering as finding out someone you trust isn't being honest — so sobering, in fact, that many of us try our hardest to find a way to justify dishonest behavior in the hopes of protecting the flawless image of someone we've built up in our heads. According to Figueroa, the bigger the deceptions, the bigger the warning sign. “This lack of truthfulness should also extend to patterns of convenient omissions. Does he spend a lot of time hanging out with 'friends,' none of which he bothers to mention the names of?”
It should be noted that being guarded isn't the same as being dishonest. Remember, if you haven't had a conversation about exclusivity, then they very well may be seeing other people. Until you've had this conversation, this omission doesn't necessarily mean they’re a player, but rather that they’re exercising their freedom to explore their options. There is a difference.
2. They Avoid Commitment
I probably don't need to tell you that if someone has explicitly said they are not looking for a relationship, then please, please believe them. Of course, we've all heard the Sasquatch-esque stories of a friend of a friend who convinced someone who was just booty-calling them to start dating exclusively. But it's rare that these types of dating narratives have a happy ending.
Unfortunately, due to unsavory dating practices like breadcrumbing and ghosting, people are being less direct about what they're looking for in order to keep multiple partners on the back-burner. This means it's important to learn to read between the lines.
Hoffman says that inconsistent behavioral patterns will show you how the person you’re dating really feels about you. “If they're going days in between dates and you haven't heard from them at all, that's not a good sign,” she says. “If you had made a planned date, and it's a little ways out and they don't confirm it like the day before, that's not a good sign.”
If the person you've been dating is avoiding taking your relationship to the next level without giving you any valid explanation for why, then there's a chance they’re seeing other people and using some form of manipulation to keep their true intentions concealed.
3. They Use Vague Language
If the person you're dating avoids being specific about details like what they do in their free time (i.e. what they did last weekend and who with), then this should also be taken into consideration, says Figueroa. You should also be on high alert if the person you're after uses vague language when confronted about the status of your relationship. Do they avoid acknowledging that you're their partner when introducing you to someone?
"If he's [not being specific] about where he's been, who he was with, why he was busy, or anything else like that, that should be a clear sign to you that he's a player," says Figueroa.
4. They Engage In Suspicious Behavior
If they’re acting like they have something to hide, then chances are they have something to hide. Again, this doesn't mean if they leave once to have a conversation with their ailing grandmother that you should assume they’re arranging a booty call. However, if they’re regularly acting sus when it comes to their phone, then there may be something they’re not telling you.
"[If he regularly] seems to avoid talking or texting on his phone near you, especially if he goes as far as entering a different room to check his phone," then this may also be taken as a sign he's a player, says Figueroa. Any behavior that seems to be too private or secretive should be cause for further scrutiny.
It's always imperative to trust your gut, even if you don't have proof they're up to no good. In this case, it never hurts to gently dig a little deeper. An honest person with nothing to hide won't be put off by follow-up questions as long as they are non-accusatory.
5. They Have A Wandering Eye
I hate to break it to you, but all genders notice people they find attractive — sneaking a quick look is totally normal. That being said, if the person you're seeing is constantly gawking at other people in your presence, then this is disrespectful.
“If you are on a date with them, and they are looking all around the room at what everybody else is doing, that's not a good sign,” says Hoffman.
Although hounding the person you're dating about subjective behavior like this can get tricky, there's absolutely no reason you need to tolerate someone whose actions are making you feel uncomfortable.
How To Respond
Once you've confirmed that the person you're dating is exhibiting player-esque behavior, is there anything you can really do about it? Well, yes, but according to Figueroa, how you should respond depends entirely on what you're hoping to get out of the situation. “If you're looking for a monogamous connection with someone who would like to build a serious relationship, the most productive thing you can do when confronting a player is to leave.”
If, however, you are interested in a non-monogamous relationship or a short-term arrangement, then Figueroa suggests having a conversation to let them know you are comfortable with them seeing other people as long as you are both honest with each other.
Hoffman also advises that honesty and directness with yourself is best in navigating these situations. “The signs are usually very clear and easy to read. If you're looking for them, and willing to hear them,” says Hoffman. “When people say, ‘I can't read the signs,’ it's because they read the signs, didn't like what the sign said so they're trying to change with the sign.”
But be forewarned: Engaging with a player can be a slippery slope. Since people like this can be withholding, it's all too easy to get caught up in the chase, think you're in love, and wind up confused and disappointed.
“Chase clarity over running from disappointment,” says Hoffman.
Can they change, you ask? Yes, says Figueroa. But not for you. “Players can and sometimes do change, but that change happens when they want to change. No matter how great you are, a player won't change for you; they'll change when they feel the time is right.”
So, if all signs are pointing toward player town, it may be a good idea to cut them loose and find someone who's looking for the same things you are.
Demetrius Figueroa, Dating Expert and Relationship Writer
Damona Hoffman, Certified Dating Coach and Host of The Dates & Mates Podcast
This article was originally published on