How to Spot a Player (Online and Off)

A woman who hasn't learned how to spot a player, closing her eyes as a man kisses her forehead.

Our current dating scene is packed with countless non-committals who are just looking to hook up. If you want to separate the guys hungry for action from those hungry for love, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for. Whether it’s offline or online, there are always subtle hints that a guy’s a trained romancer.

Here’s how to spot a player, either online or off:

1. He comes on strong.
If a guy’s in a hurry to move things forward quickly, it’s usually not because he wants commitment. Chances are he’s just smitten with lust. Although this can happen to non-players too, the good guys will deal with their excitement in a more respectful manner and won’t bring up physical intimacy right away. If you’re online and he’s already telling you how hot your body is or making suggestive comments, he could be testing the waters to see if you’re down for a casual hookup.

Real relationships take time, patience, and investment over a long period of time. Players, on the other hand, are good at sweeping you off your feet. You may feel like he’s just being flirty and fun, but if you’re not looking for something casual, you may want to slow things down.

2. He says he’s “open” to a relationship.
Ladies, hear this now, loud and clear: if he says he’s “open” to a relationship, that means he’s not looking for one. This phrase is a cloudy grey-area response to hide the fact that he won’t commit to you. With this response, he’s cleverly saying, “I’m not interested in a relationship, but I’m not against them in theory.”

Right. If he says, “I’m not against vegans in theory,” that doesn’t mean he’s going to become a vegan. It’s a sly way of giving you just enough hope he will commit that you’ll stick around without having him confirm it.

A guy who’s ready to commit will tell you clearly—no cryptic code, no mixed messages. You get pure clarity because he wants to know you’re ready for him too.

3. He makes sex jokes early.
He may play it off as innocent but it’s not. A gentleman doesn’t open conversations with references to nudity, showers, or sex of any kind.

Even if he tries to cover up his comments with a cute little monkey emoji, the truth is still there in front of you. He’s just testing the waters to see how many times you’ll dodge his sex jokes. He’s a player.

4. He only texts you late at night.
We all know this sign well. There’s no exceptions. If he’s only texting you after 11:00  a.m., and claims he misses you, it’s not your smile he’s missing. He’s just fantasizing about how long it will take to get you over before he has to fish for backups.

This behavior is one of the most obvious signs he’s a player. The only exception to this rule is if he’s wishing you sweet dreams—that’s a keeper!

5. He doesn’t ask personal questions.
Ever float on cloud 9 with a guy, only to realize you barely know each other? It’s easy to get carried away in a new romance without stopping to notice if he truly cares. Does he know where you went to high school? About your family? About your plans and dreams? Some guys are experts at making you feel like there’s a connection, even if don’t know much about each other.

Once you get the infatuation dust out of your eyes, and see things clearly, you’ll realize he cares little about getting to know you (beyond your lady regions). So if he’s not asking you deep, probing questions about your life, it’s because he doesn’t need the answers. He’s a player. Move on.

6. He asks for sexy pics.
Guys who request racy pics of you are on the hunt—and it’s NOT for your heart. He’s seeking short-term satisfaction and he’s not hiding his intentions. Don’t mistake his interest in building a photo collection of you as a sign he likes you. He’s a player who’s looking for someone who wants to play.

7. He gives over-the-top compliments.
A guy who makes grand, over-the-top claims to impress you is aiming for short-term reward. If he barely knows you and is making comments like, “You’re the perfect girl,”  or, “I’d marry you tomorrow,” he’s intentionally trying to bring your guard down—and not in a good way. He knows that if he can create the illusion of a future, it’s just as convincing and much easier than actually having to invest time and energy on building one.

These tall tales just get you giddy and excited about the idea of potential love. But in reality, you become much more vulnerable to his game. Beware of these players and always watch his actions, not his words.

8. He won’t introduce you to his friends. 
A guy’s friends symbolize the people he respects. By keeping you separate from his circle of buddies, he’s indirectly showing that he doesn’t see you two together long-term. Since he doesn’t desire a future with you, introducing you to his friends would just be futile.

However, be warned: there are players who will introduce you to his friends. But fortunately you can detect if he’s player based on his friends treat you. Are they genuinely interested in getting to know you because they’ve heard so many wonderful things or do they regard you with little interest?  When a guy is serious about someone, his friends will extend that respect and excitement onto you.

9. He openly mentions other women.
It’s a sleaze-ball move no matter how he spins it. In the early stages and dating, complimenting other women or worse, bragging about previous conquests, shows he’s not concerned about offending you or making you feel special.

Perhaps months down the road, after you’ve built a trusting rapport, you can jokingly refer to celebrity crushes and such, but in the early dating stages, he should be making you feel like you’re his queen. There’s also a chance he’s just insecure and hoping to show off, but in most cases, this behavior is also a sign he’s a player.

If a guy shows these signs, he’s not the commitment type; he’s the one-hit-wonder type. Players are very skilled at masking their true intentions because they want to be successful seducers. Unless you’re able to see the real deal, you’ll continue to risk getting hurt. Protect yourself by dating carefully and selectively so you never fall for a wolf in Romeo’s clothing.

Rachel Esco

Freelance Writer

Rachel is a lifestyle blogger, based in Toronto, who specializes in dating and relationships. Her articles have been featured in publications, including “Huffington Post”, “Life Hacker” and “Women’s Post”.

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