Most people hate games, but there may be times when playing games is actually necessary. While games in an established relationship are silly, they can be beneficial in a fledgling relationship. At their worst, games are tools of manipulation, but because it's so rare for people to be up-front, game playing is an accepted necessary evil in the following situations:
Games Played to Hone Your Game
If you're not a game player at heart, forcing yourself to do some game playing here and there will rescue you. Those of us with our hearts dangling from our sleeves could benefit from playing games once in a while. I used to think the honest approach worked: Let the girl know I'm into her, wait the required 2.5 days to call her, ask her on date #1, then date #2, and so on. Be up-front about my interest and don't confuse the girl.
But there are many romantic comedies that feature the smooth character helping the clueless character figure out the ropes of attracting the opposite gender. A little game playing can help the "too honest" person in love. It injects some coolness and aloofness into a too-honest game.
You don't have to be a total jerk, but a game here and there might even out that person with their heart on their sleeve. It's just like breaking a bad habit: You don't change yourself completely, you just discipline yourself. In this case, a game might add some discipline.
Games Played to Get Answers
Once in a while, a game helps you figure out if someone is into you. If your relationship flatlines, and you're not sure if it's going to turn into something, games might steer someone into admitting that they are into you. Making it look like someone might lose you or miss their chance, for example, might get them to fess up that they have feelings for you.
Games Played to Respond to Others' Games
Once a person plays enough games with you, you realize they are immature and — most likely — nothing substantial will come out of the situation. There are two ways to deal with a person who plays too many games: Walk away, or play games right back at them. Either way you're just standing up for yourself, and sometimes an eye-for-an-eye is an acceptable way to justice.
Games Played by Accident
Some people can't make up their minds. They send mixed signals and/or they don't know what they are doing. Of course you want someone to know what they are doing, but you can't blame them if they play you a little by accident. The easiest way to solve this situation is get out of their life and let them make a decision on their own.
Playing games might benefit you in the long run, but the person you're interested in might get fed up with it and move on. Sadly, there are few instances in which two people are up-front and tell each other they like one another. In fact, one person might not even find the other person attractive at first. It takes time, and little games are part of the dance. A romantic world without games would be wonderful, but I suppose they are accepted as necessary evil at times.
Do you agree that the above situations are OK for game playing, or do you always see game playing as a sign of immaturity and look elsewhere for an easier, honest relationship? What situations would you say that it's actually OK to play games? Is there a limit — are games ever OK in a mature relationship?
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