Posted by: Lula in London | December 18, 2007

How to spot a player

No Guide to singlehood would be complete without a section on how to spot a player and some helpful experiments to try. This is not a complete list by any means, but I have found it helpful out in the field.

He talks about his wonderful mom, a lot.
Guys have heard that the way they treat their moms is the way they will treat their future wife and girls will watch for that. And while this does carry a lot of truth to it, talking about their mom is not the same. Since their mom is usually not around when you are interacting, they try to put her there by proxy in conversation. While a comment or two is good, more than that I have found is usually a sign of a genuine player.

You call him “player” and he gets upset.
This is like the litmus test for players. Easy to apply, just throw in a sarcastic joke about him being a player and if he turns red, it may be true. If he stays his original color, he may be good at covering up or just good. If he turns blue call an ambulance he’s probably needing medical attention.

He plays guitar, and flaunts it.
In a made-up survey of my own, over half of players play a guitar. Common songs and bands include “More Than Words” Third Eye Blind, Dashboard Confessional and for the super players, Jack Johnson. If he can play Dave Matthews, well just sit back and enjoy because he’s probably cool…um that was also in my made-up survey.

He looks at himself in the mirror more than the average guy.
Test this by having a conversation near a mirror aimed at his face. Leave the room for a brief period of time and observe at a distance.

He’s always trying to point out his physique.
This goes beyond the “Where’s the beach?” arm flexing routine. This may involve him pointing out a sore muscle from all of his gym activity, doing a dance that incorporates the ab wave, and showing you strange stunts like handstand pushups.

He spends more time on his hair than you.
Rough up his hair and see if he spends the rest of the night trying to undo the damage. If he has a flat iron, proceed with caution.

Carbon copied flattery.
He pays you a series of unique comments, you find have also been used on a series of other girls.
Note: Pay special attention to British blokes. Common phrases to them are rare jewels in the US and don’t carry the same intensity in their eyes. Calling you “love” saying “it’s a pleasure” and asking “you alright?” translate into: “girl” “nice chatting/see ya later” “how are ya?” This may be said without bad intent usually, but some do play up the ‘Hugh Grant’ factor. Don’t worry, a British guide is in the works with more details.

He gives out his phone number during his testimony, twice.
No kidding, this happened in one of my wards. Sweet guy, but a true player.

Spiritually showy.
Reads scriptures in very public places where he can be spotted easily magnifying his priesthood for the ladies.

I’m selling you on my future family.
Talks sentimentally about his future wife and kids the way a salesman would. Usually borrowing phrases you may have said already, to show how much you want the same thing, and how mating could be good for you.

I’m broken and only you can fix me.
You’ve just met, but he has faith that you can save him from his weaknesses. Gathering sympathy for past problems and using your charity to take advantage of the situation, does work very well for players. Knowing you don’t want to be judgmental, he’ll use your good naturedness to work his way in, and make you feel bad if you pull away “just like his ex-girlfriend/judgmental friend did”. If you see this, emergency evacuation.

Heavily invested in his car.
Big tires, loud speakers, tinted windows, peeling out in the driveway. He is trying to get everyone’s attention. Usually though, only the guys are lusting after that.

Sporting around you.
When you are together, he is more into watching the game, or playing PlayStation to notice you are completely bored out of your mind. Cheering on favorite teams or games here and there are fine of course. But if he’s more interested in entertaining himself than you, there could be some indications you are spending time with a player.

Other things include:
Wears expensive sunglasses in unnecessary situations.
Uses his phone to text during Church.

Why you don’t want a player
They are usually interested in the superficial, which will leave you feeling excited at first and then totally unfulfilled later. Kind of like a roller coaster that ends with you feeling nauseous. They may grow out of this phase eventually, just let them finish it completely before you jump in.

Well that’s my little list. Feel free to add more of your own stories in the comments below, or submit a question of your own at the tab above!



  1. Those are very good ways to spot a player. Its true all guys want is to use and abuse you. there are some well more then some who will treat you like a princess you know with love honesty respect admiration but not all of us can show you this kinda life maybe its all in how you were brought up but that is not all ways true. But in a world that is growing ever day it will get harder to spot a player because the game they play changes faster then can catch up.

  2. That picture is awesome. Since coming back to the church I have been quite surprised at how many men don’t behave like I thought they would when it comes to dating. It seems like there are two extremes. The one in which you describe here and the other being the guys that don’t have the courage to ask anyone out. I feel bad for the women, I do. Which way is the beach?

  3. …but i find it hard to belive becuase i cant get a mormon girlfriend and i been in the chruch for more than a year and stilll nothing even though
    all the girls know me i went to insuate nothing i even went to the singles club thing we have nothing can you tell me what im doing wrong????
    i mean i know al;l the guys and girls by name please i begg you to help me i want a mormon girlfriend thank you:)

    • You should pick up a good book about how flirting works and maybe something about bringing out the charm and masculity you already have, probably one of the same books many “players” would read. You dont have to become a douchbag to learn how female/male dynamics work, its pretty universal stuff. Important things are smile/eye-contact, Dont be all serious, Avoid your inner-dialogue (analysis paralysis) and be a confident male. There are many good books/articles/forums just avoid the main-stream media/magazine stuff. Remember be true to yourself.. knowledge does not make you a bad person. My girlfriend would have have learned what a great person i was if a hadnt gotten her interested in me in the first place, thats the way it works.

    • Also Shawn,

      Make sure you have a goal and are doing everything you can to better yourself. Almost all the guys in my mid-singles program have no job and have no degree to fall back on! Obviously it’s not necessary to have a degree to get a stable job, but in this economy it is best to get a degree so a person can get a long-term stable career set in place for when he /she finds a companion!

      I actually knew one guy who was 37, working at a closing bowling alley and didn’t even bother to look for a new job. He waited until the bowling alley closed and STILL hasn’t gotten another job. He lives off of unemployment now and STILL has not pursued a degree to better himself or his situation. When people ask him his plan he talks about going back to school but he hasn’t done a thing to put that plan into action. In the meantime he’s living on someone else’s couch!

      Women do not find this type of man attractive. Don’t be him!

      Good luck in your search!

  4. So true… so true… I know this from personal experience. My ex-boyfriend exemplified the majority of these points. I only wish I had known this before…

  5. Uhh, i’m not a player or anything. But NO girl should feel its ok to rough up a guys hair. He styled it to look good for YOU. And to feel good about himself.

    what guy WOULDN’T spend the rest of the night trying to fix it?



  6. Sweet post. I’m seeing some definite parallels to player and douche bag.

  7. many players are easy to spot, they use lines, tricks, patterns and same physical touch escalation. If a guy accidentally bump into you and then does light touches gently touching your elbow or lower back or similar and repeats these light sometimes accidental touches, if this feels like a pattern it probably is. This is used by players make a girl comfortable with them touching them aswell as stirring some physical “feelings” if the girl isnt aware of it and if she feels comfortable around him. A player would say “Dont change her mind, change her mood”. Hope this helps, stumpled on this sight by accident, my family are Danish mormon’s on my fathers side.

    • That’s funny and sad at the same time! “Don’t change her mind, change her mood.” I can see how that would work. Love is blind so if a player uses that motto to use someone it would be effective.

      Lies, kindness, touch —> Attraction —-> Love —-> Blindness & denial

  8. most of these are the traits of a player who doesn’t know what he’s doing. not the frank sinatra type.

    a good player uses most of the same techniques any catchy, morally-clean guy would use to get a date. but they use it for a different purpose… to get some action.

    a player will often be calm and cool, i guess. the “uses phone in church” one is good.

  9. hey…’m vineet…..just now i publish my post i just tried to search my post on Google n i found yours… seems u know many of players…..

  10. Wow, you’re so much nicer than I am! I just posted what is apparently considered by some to be a blistering piece on Singles Men. Me, I think it’s and accurate account of my experience. Still, I’d like to know what you think!

  11. I *love* this list! It made me laugh but is all too true at the same time. Thanks for putting it together.

  12. Okay, this just made me laugh. I really enjoyed this article. I think some of the things you mentioned is more common in the under 30 group because the over 30 group are using some different tactics.

    However, the three clues I look for that have yet to fail me: flowery compliments, talking about bodies and sexuality within the first conversation and the selling his future family thing. One of the biggest things we deal with once we’ve divorced is dealing with the whole sexuality thing. Many singles find quitting having a sex life difficult and makes for easy prey.

  13. I think that some of the qualities that you posted are accurate, but some of the qualities that you said were less seen in most guys. some guys spend more time with their looks than others, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a player. even if they are more focused on their looks than other guys. what matters is despite their focus or less focus on their looks, is looking good or their overall image more important than their relationship with you? ask yourself… are they more concerned with how they appear to others (their overall image and being with you). Does he only treat you better when other people are around and watching? Usually when a guy is starting to date you he will treat you better. When you are his girl friend or wife, you should still be dating him and he should still open the door for you, knock on your door instead of honking, tell you he loves you, help you with the dishes. A date doesn’t have to be an expensive or elaborate dinner, It can consist of a picnic lunch in the park, it’s still a date. When he gets you a nice gift, or flowers is he thinking about how it will make you feel, or how it will make him look getting you this great gift? Just some things to think about

  14. Hahaha, too bad every guy who reads this will know that REAL players don’t do any of those things. You just provided a list of common social mistakes that guys make. Many of these things not only make guys look like douche’s to women, but most guys think dudes who do this are dbags as well.

    The secret is; Women never even realize that the real players are players at all, they are too busy throwing themselves at them to see it!

    And I’m not even a player, I’m just a dude, ask any of us, we know that everything I have just said is true.

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