Game Playing and Mixed Messages

Game Playing and Mixed Messages As boys and girls became more interested in each other in elementary school, did you remember how they started playing games with each other? The first games often consisted of simple teasing, joking, and making fun of each other, often with some light name calling or put downs. Such games allowed for the safest interaction. Boys and girls could begin to interact, but retreat to the safety of “it’s not like I was interested in them because after all, I was making fun of them”. These interactions often resulted in a mix of fun and laughing, but also could include some hurt feelings and embarrassment.

As boys and girls moved into junior high and high school, the games became more intense as interest in the opposite sex went full bloom. The games escalated to friends telling friends who likes whom, flirty glances, stronger joking and teasing, more physical touching, and other more direct flirty looks, actions, statements, and gestures. However, these stronger signs of interest usually included equally intense game playing and mixed messages as well. Such efforts of interest often were rotated with ignoring, distancing, playing hard to get, and even pushing the other away. The purpose for these mixed message actions is twofold: 1) in case the interest in not reciprocate, such distancing provides a way to try to save face and minimize hurt feelings of rejection and disappointment, and 2) the distancing allows the second person to then pursue/chase after the other person to confirm the mutual interest following feelings of jealousy and insecurity.

Game Playing in the Adult Dating World:

Does this game playing and mixed messages change as we get older and move in the adult dating world? It depends. Truthfully, such games often continue into adulthood for the same reasons as high school but hopefully to a lesser degree. However, the more seasoned, mature, and experienced you become—especially as you become more secure with what you have to offer in a relationship—your game playing should naturally lessen. Being clear, direct, and consistent in your interest is an excellent goal to maximize your dating success.

However, what do you do when someone you are interested in is rotating signs of interest with you, then acting aloof and distant? I suggest that you take that opportunity to securely befriend or even flirt with others until the one you are interested in swings back around. Is this response “playing games” as well? Perhaps in a sense as a reaction. But from my experience, acting secure, confident, and broadening your social circle when the other distance is a show of strength. When the other swings back around and again shows interest, welcome them back quickly and warmly without repercussion. This will train the other pretty quickly that there is no need to play games when you are interested in each other.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t like others playing games with you, that can be a reminder to you to try not to do so to others. Build your inner confidence, security, and dating cache to handle such moments with minimal jealousy and insecurity. Be patient when the other distances. When they leave, patiently allow them to circle back around. Confidence and security during these moments is far more attractive than when those attributes are lacking. So, when the other is playing games, win the game in a sense by holding yourself up with integrity and strength. Remember that you are a child of our Heavenly Father and you have worth and integrity, whatever happens in any particular dating scenario. Hold your head high, keep working to meet that special someone, and don’t allow any one person to hurt your esteem and worth. When it is right, it will be mutual, consistent, and strong. And when the games end, you have found each other and can be happy together, hopefully forever. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Dr. G

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2018-10-08 Randy Gilchrist

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to