Mind games in relationships

Do you often find your crush sending you mixed signals? Do they seem to be totally into you one day and almost a stranger the other day? Are they quite unpredictable? Do you feel that they are giving your just enough attention to keep your around?

Unsure, whether you are just overthinking or….is it really your intuition speaking?
Well, If the answers to these questions is yes, then it is possible that your person is playing mind games with you.

But, but, but before you jump to the conclusion – introspect. Do not let your impulsiveness or even ego tempt you to declare that the other person as a mind-game-player. Analyze sincerely and be honest with yourself.

Now, the biggest question is,

What is Mind Games (in a relationship)?

Mind games is when one person tries to indirectly manipulate the other. They can do so by making the other person feel jealous, playing hard-to-get, leading someone on etc.

One person tries to control and the other person tries to normalize. Either way, the one who tries to make things okay is left in utter confusion, anger, and pain. People who have a pattern of playing mind games gets them into many relationships, but how fruitful they turn out to be, is a matter of question.

[It’s okay to use these tactics in the initial phases, but if you find them constantly using these tactics (even after 1-2 months), then it’s something to be concerned about.]

Why do people play mind games?

Wondering what shapes people into who they are? According to a study, This has to do with their attachment style. Do you know what is your attachment style?

People who practice this game, do not really know how to deal with their emotions. They try to fight off their insecurity by pretending not to care because it makes them look less desperate. As they are scared of being vulnerable, playing mind games helps them feel that the situation is in their control.

And to be frank, if we observe closely, there is some truth to it. You do tend to think lot more about your situation-ship with that person. Of course, it brings a lot of stress along with it and this is exactly what they fail to realize.

The reason for this behavior can be either because they were brought up in an environment where they received inconsistent affection or because of their past experiences. The wounds can be so deep that sometimes, people may not even realize how much it’s hurting the other person, or for that matter that they are even playing mind games!

They fail to realize that being vulnerable is not an act of immaturity, rather it’s an act of being mature. Being open and honest in your relationship is what makes it stronger.

4 Signs that your person is playing mind games (and how to deal with it)

Though there are no hard and fast rule to know whether a person is playing mind games with you, but here are 3 major red flags to avoid (and ways to deal with them).

#1 ‘Always’ Playing hard-to-get

To be frank, people should indeed play it hard-to-get while choosing long-term partner because you obviously don’t want to settle for a random person. You want to engage with people who find you worth going an extra mile for. But, I strongly believe that this tactics has some unspoken limits which many out there forget to realize.

Playing hard-to-get is a good way to spice up things at the initial stages. But, constantly playing small games like ‘leaving your loved ones on read for hours on purpose’ or ‘ignoring them for no reason’ (when you have known each other for a couple of months) is simply manipulation.

To Summarize,

  • Playing hard-to-get makes them look less desperate and more desirable. Thus, making them feel that they are in control of the situation.
  • In such situations, One person tries to control and the other person tries to normalize. Either way, the one who tries to make things okay is left in utter confusion, anger, and pain.

How can you deal with it?

Now, before you jump to the conclusion – Consider whether the person is really playing hard-to-get or they are genuinely busy or are they are simply not into you.
So, How do you do it? Have patience, pay attention to their behavior and learn to trust your gut.

  • Back off a little, don’t text or email them for a while.
  • If have been consistent till now, start being inconsistent.
  • Stop being vulnerable and open about your feelings.

There are 2 things that could happen – Either things will get back on track or it will fall apart completely. If the former one happens, well and good and if the latter one happens, well and good. After all, you can’t waste your life after a deceptive person. More over, there’s no point in watering a dead flower.

#2 Bread-crumbing *Important especially if you’re single*

Bread crumbing refers to giving one person just enough attention to keep them around. They might be not interested in having a relationship with you, but they need the validation and the benefits that comes with you. So, they lead you on.

They’d talk to you as if they’re super interested in you when in reality, they like you only as a friend. They would avoid clarifying their true feeling for you.

[I have no idea why this idea has gone main-stream these days, but

If you know that a person has a soft-corner for you, and you are not into them, don’t lead them on. If you are not ready for someone, do not string them along.

It’s that simple.]

How you can deal with it?

Be upfront and clarify whether you are expecting a long-term relationship or casual dating. If the other person seems to be constantly beating around the bush, back off and watch.

Do you know what the biggest problem with ‘breadcrumbing’ is?
The player think that they are ‘technically’ not doing anything wrong.

If you find a person playing around with your emotions then DO NOT hesitate to call out on them and if they always complain about not having enough time, always remember – Where there’s will, there’s a way. They can definitely take ‘at least‘ 5 mins off their schedule to check up on you.

To Summarize,

  • Be clear on what you expect out of your situation-ship.
  • If they constantly seem to be beating-around-the-bush, back off and watch. If nothing seems to happen, Move on.
  • If you have tried to communicate to them in every possible way, call out on them (politely).

#3 Trying to make jealous

There are 2 reasons behind this behavior- Either they are too insecure and indirectly trying you to show that they have many options around them OR they are not over their past, yet.

Either way, if things start getting out of the hands – Just walk away. Such behavior is both uncomfortable and disrespectful to you. Let them know that you do not want to be one of their many options.

How you can deal with it?

I believe that the best way to deal with this issue is by directly calling them out on their actions because, again, they think that they are ‘technically’ not doing anything wrong. If they still continue to use this tactic, move on.

[It has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with their insecurities.]

  • Call out on them. Tell them that you know what they are trying to do.
  • If they continue to use that tactic, let them know that you are not one of their options and just walk away.

If that person goes back on the track after this, well and good but if they don’t then congrats! you just saved yourself from an emotionally draining relationships!


Again, let me make this very clear. Mind games in the initial phases are okay, but if these tactics are used again and again, then it’s something to be concerned about.

At the end of the day, just remember that Relationships are meant for growing together, not to babysit the other person. You may find some people who would try to manipulate (intentionally/unintentionally) you by saying things like, “You should accept me the way I am”, “I just need some time, and I need you by my side” etc.

If a person needs to recover from their past, then the journey is best travelled alone. Strangling someone you like, just because you love their validation and the benefits that comes with them is something that I am totally AGAINST. The scars that you are gonna give them, will be something that would transform their whole personality.

If you have tried everything you can, but nothing seems to work then just run. Please do not feel responsible for other people’s growth. Don’t waste your life around people who don’t add value to your life yet have the audacity to make your life a living hell.

Do share your thoughts in the comment section.

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3 thoughts on “Mind games in relationships

  1. I love this✨ Very thoughtful👏🏾

    “If a person needs to recover from their past, then the journey is best travelled alone” —I couldn’t agree more. When in relationship both parties should know where they stand. Frankly, I cannot deal with mind games —it makes me too anxious.
    At the beginning it’s just about fine, but if you like someone you know you like the person. It should be easy. There’s no need to play hard to get or the jealousy card. But that’s my opinion.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed reading this🧡 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! I believe that there should be no mind games at all but because I wrote this article in general, I had to add that line. Thank you very much for reading my blog post. I really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

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