Sadly, I’m willing to bet every one of my female readers this week has been played one time time or another. If you haven’t—well heck, you’re one of the lucky few who don’t need today’s blog!

There are countless sweet and loving guys out there. They only want one thing—but it’s not the “one thing” we usually talk about. They want to meet someone amazing, someone who shares their values, dreams, and passions, and settle down. Trust me: I work with these men every day.

But how do you distinguish them from the players? How do you stop wasting time, energy, and love on those guys who only want that “one thing”? Today I’m laying out 5 key ways to avoid players until the right guy comes along.

(And believe me: If you follow these steps, you’ll know when he’s arrived.)

1. Beware guys who never take you anywhere

Probably the easiest way to spot a player is this: He never seems comfortable being seen with you in public—and if he does plan something, it’s out of town.

He also just doesn’t organize dates—it’s always your place or his. You’ve never met his friends and family. You don’t feel remotely integrated into his life.

Wake up and smell the coffee. This guy has no interest in building a meaningful relationship.

2. Avoid guys with a severe lack of self-esteem

At least as far as romantic relationships go, you can’t truly love someone if you don’t love yourself.

A guy with a fundamental lack of belief in himself will struggle to see his own value. This often leads to guys only seeking short-term relationships, because their low self-esteem makes them believe they don’t “deserve” anything longer-term. It’s a vicious negative cycle.

Of course it’s natural to be empathetic when someone struggles with their confidence. But when it comes to dating you need to be savvy, and understand the ways in which low self-esteem can manifest.

There are lots of signs to look out for:

  • He can’t make decisions.
  • He’s excessively self-critical.
  • He’s heavily dependent on others.
  • He has difficulty expressing himself.
  • He’s overly defensive or quick to anger when criticized.
  • You’ve noted a lack of strong non-romantic relationships in his life, potentially signaling an inability to form and maintain anything meaningful.

3. Watch out for overpromising

‘I would never do that.’ ‘I will never lie to you.’ ‘I’m here to take care of you.’

Sound familiar?

Extreme promises might seem sweet, but they’re like candy. Sweet with no substance.

Overpromising is a red flag, especially when you barely know each other. It’s a surefire sign of a player: saying, not doing. When the right guy comes along, you’ll never have to guess his intentions. He won’t overpromise and underdeliver. He will do—not say.

4. Be skeptical of guys who go too hard too early

Players are professional pretenders—especially when it comes to declaring their supposed affection.

An obvious red flag is a guy who says he loves you when he barely knows you. Easy enough to spot, sure.

But most players are far more subtle. That’s why it’s so easy to get hurt. For example, say a guy is seriously intense from day one. Constantly texting and calling. Showering you with gifts. Laying on the compliments—it’s like you can do no wrong.

Is he making you feel perfect in his eyes because that’s truly how he feels—or is he softening you up so you’re less attuned to his predisposition for playing?

5. Observe what he does—not what he says

It all comes down to this one.

Does your new man follow through on what he says he’ll do? Does he make you feel safe, secure, and relaxed simply by being himself and giving you the space to do the same? Is he there for you when you really need him, not just a part-timer ready with a smooth line when it suits?

Saying the right things is the easy part. Doing the right things isn’t exactly not easy—it’s easy when you’re doing them for someone you love—but it does require authentic commitment to you and the relationship the two of you are building. And you simply can’t fake that.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.