Mind Games Women Play (25 Mind Games Women Play)

by April Maccario

It’s funny how women usually attribute mind games to men when we are master players ourselves. This is a rough estimate, but I’d say nearly 100% of women have played these games, one way or another, unconsciously or otherwise. Many of us won’t admit this, because no one likes to say out loud that they can be manipulative.

However, not every game a woman plays comes from a place of ulterior motives. Sometimes, it is merely to see who would stick around for us or get a glimpse of what the other person is thinking without asking. 

Without further ado, let’s get right into some of the mind games women play, shall we?

25 Mind Games Women Play

1. “We need to talk”

We all know the psychological impact these dreaded four words can have on a person you’re seeing. Vice describes it as an act of unmitigated aggression, and I couldn’t agree more! No matter how casual your relationship with someone is, no one likes to be on the receiving end of this phrase.

And this is exactly what makes it all the more enjoyable for women who play games to say. If you tell a man that, you can be sure you’d be on his mind all day, even if he doesn’t show it. The best players don’t use this often. The rarer it comes up, the more potent its effect. 

2. Playing dumb

playing dumb

Women also play mind games by acting clueless. This is fast becoming pushed to the back as feminism gains more ground in society, but it is certainly still a thing. The thing about women who play this particular game is that they are the exact opposite of dumb.

They understand that many men only claim to like a woman who challenges them until it comes to intellect. The fragile male egos of most guys can’t stand being the least clever one in the relationship. So, women adopt the ’silly me’ stance to make them feel smart. It’s enabling, but the game is the game.

3. “Look at me, I’m the weaker gender”

In the same way that acting dumb plays into men’s need to feel like the alpha, acting weak is another game women play. Women play games like this to spur up the hero instinct in men. These instincts set in when guys see a damsel in distress, especially if it’s a woman they like.

We know it pleases them to please us, but women still won’t risk asking for help directly because we also have our egos to protect. So, we resort to dropping hints with googly eyes and letting men think they’re willingly volunteering their service. He gets to feel macho, you get what you want. It’s a win-win.

4. The unlooking game

If you’ve ever done eye contact flirting with a guy, you probably know how to play mind games too. Even though men can be audacious, they like to get some kind of green light from you before they approach. Now, the easiest way to make sure you’d be interested is through your eyes - the way you look at them.

What’s the fun in making it easy, right? So, we play mind games on them by refusing to look their way. At least not so long that it can’t be chalked up to coincidence. If he’s brave enough to approach nonetheless, he has passed test number one. 

5. Withholding emotions

It is in our nature to seek approval, so it hurts when we put ourselves out there emotionally, and it’s not reciprocated. This may be why women have become so adept at withholding affection until we are at least convinced that they feel the same way or even like us more.

In the meantime, we don’t say I love you first or let him hear the excitement in our voice when he calls. Women play mind games like this intentionally and act uninterested to make sure what the man is feeling is truly love. As a woman, you don’t know if he’s playing mind games of his own too. 

6. “I’ll be right there”

The good old ‘making him wait’ game is part of the games women play. Does our makeup take a little more time than we anticipate even though it did the last time and the one before that? Maybe. Yet, sometimes, you finish getting ready early then while away time so that you don’t seem desperate.

Sure there are other ways than taking the fashionably late route, but how will he know you’re a whole catch if you actually show up on time?

7. “Do I look fat?”

Ah, I think men are catching on to this one. Those who grew up surrounded by women sure have an advantage. Even if it’s obvious that you’ve put on some weight, you pose this like a yes/no question when the only acceptable answer is really no.

Women play mind games like this to see how smart their partner is, or at least how much he knows about keeping a woman in a relationship. If you want to dial up the intensity of the mind games, you precede the question with an “It’s okay, I just need to know.” 

Now, if the answer is yes, he’s confused between telling the truth and staying out of trouble. Keeping quiet for too long doesn’t bode well for him either because it’s really just a silent yes.

8. The silent treatment

Men and women play mind games like this; the silent treatment is a sure way to let the other party know they’ve messed up. Of course, there is no shortage of what a man can do wrong to get him the cold shoulder. Failure to read our minds and expressions is a good start.

Of all games, I can confidently say I am guilty of this one, as are most women. My actions would show that something isn’t right between the dismissive attitude and the one-word answers, but I wouldn’t say what he did wrong. Figure it out, Mr.! or get out of my face (but not really.)

9. “I haven’t done this a lot”

Another smart example of mind games women play, especially in new-ish relationships, is claiming to be new to something so the man doesn’t raise his hopes too high. Zero expectations guarantee being totally wowed than raising it ever could.

I don’t know about you, but I like to wow people, so I could be an expert at something and still tell you I haven’t done it a lot. Technically, it’s not a lie because ‘a lot’ is relative, and that gives you some wiggle room. *inserts wink emoji*

10. Waiting to reply texts or call back

Women play mind games like this in new relationships, just to show the guy they aren’t easy or interested. A guy who texts and calls a lot is practically saying “play games with me,” because a woman with a few tricks up her sleeve will keep delaying the answers to those texts and calls. It’s all part of playing hard to get, but that’s not all there is to it. 

Also, women play games where they let the guy talk more and refuse to give much information just to keep the mystery going. The man is probably over at his side, wondering if she’s even feeling the connection he is. 

Meanwhile, the woman is probably staring at his messages, feeling thrilled by all the attention. An average girl has been hurt by a guy before, and that makes these mind games justifiable sometimes.

11. Dropping hints on social media

Between hinting your crush on the gram by deep-liking his pictures and posting quotes as a sub to someone, social media can be a tool in unspoken messages. Although deep-likes usually happen as a slip of the thumb during stalking, some girls are actually brave enough to do it on purpose. But that’s by the way.

A woman may agree to keep things casual with a guy then go ahead and drop hints online, suggesting they want a relationship. I’d explain the rationale behind this, but I don’t even understand myself half the time, talk less of why another girl does what she does.

12. Flirting with or dating other people

flirting with or dating other people

One of the most common mind games a woman enjoys is doing stuff that makes the man they are seeing jealous. How far we take it and what exactly we do depends on how far along we are in the relationship and what we hope to gain from it.

If you are looking to become exclusive and he keeps avoiding the subject, girl, you can flirt with other guys in front of him to see if he gets possessive. If he takes the bait, we take it a little higher by dating other people and see how he feels about that. If he wants it to stop, he knows what to do.

13. “You can tell me, I won’t get mad”

Men and women say things they don’t mean, but this particular line might as well be tagged ‘the angry girl line.’ What’s even more surprising is that guys still fall for this despite how long it’s been around. I mean, our parents used it on all of us while growing up. If they could lie to you, what makes you think your woman would be any different?

Personally, if I use this line, chances are I already have the facts, so lying won’t be any good. But that doesn’t mean the truth will win you points either because why the hell would you do that?! 

14. Flaunting the options

Some of us don’t have the guts to actually flirt with other men in front of our man. No, we respect him too much to do that. However, these mind games are still too tempting not to take part in, so what do you do as a smart woman? You’ innocently’ flaunt the competition to gently remind him that you are highly sought after.

It can be as simple as occasionally picking an admirer’s call in front of him or telling him about the compliments you got from guys while talking about your day. There are also the men in your DMs and the exes trying to come back, let him know about that too.

15. “I only do that with my boyfriend”

Women play mind games when they are trying to be cool but also want a relationship with a guy. You don’t want to come on too strong, so he doesn’t see you as needy or desperate. However, I know a lot of women are tired of just going with the flow, and would rather have you define the relationship. 

If you innocently follow men, they will string you along and date other women while making you feel crazy for even thinking they’re cheating. So that begs the question, should women sit around and play the fool? No! 

As a woman, rather than initiating the ‘what are we’ talk, start dropping subliminal hints for him. If he tries to lean in and kiss you, hit him with the line above, guys respect women that know what they want and aren’t afraid to ask for it.

16. “Accept me for who I am”

At the end of the day, we are all hypocrites. We tend to hold others to a higher moral standard than ourselves, albeit on varying scales. Women do it to men as well as to each other. 

That said, part of our hypocrisy is how women play games where we want a man who accepts us as we are without extending him the same courtesy. We say we do, yet occasionally try to change a thing or two about him so he becomes more of an ideal partner

17. “Do whatever you want”

On a lighter note, have you ever told someone you’re in a relationship with to do whatever they want? Did you, in all honesty, actually want them to do that? I bet you didn’t, because that’s what we do as women, we play games.

You make plans with your man, and he calls to ask if it’s okay to cancel at the last minute. So you remind him of his right to do whatever he wants. I mean, who wants to be the demon who says no to a grown man’s request?

18. Bringing up the ex

While it’s a little more bearable when it’s in their favor, men hate it when you compare them with your ex at all. To them, it means you’ve been thinking about him, and that sets their insecurities off. Knowing this makes the ex-card reliable ammo when you’re trying to play petty games.

So women do this when they are looking for a little drama, where they subtly insert their ex into a conversation to make their partner jealous. We make it look unintentional, but you and I know it’s anything but that.

19. Hot today, cold tomorrow

An average girl gets hit on more than her male counterpart, so we’ve come to normalize putting men through more scrutiny than they do us. Nevertheless, beyond just making a choice, women play mind games with men who have the hots for them because it makes it all the more exciting. We tease and taunt to see how far he’s willing to go before he breaks. 

You treat him like he’s the only man in the world, shower him with both attention and affection till he starts to buy it and get comfortable. Then you withdraw and stop putting effort into the ‘relationship.’ When he decides to take a step back, you step up and restart the cycle anew, ‘just because’. 

20. “It’s not you, it’s me”

This infamous phrase of evading responsibility is another line women use to play games. We use it to reject an undesirable guy when our inherent need to be nice won’t let us say the real reason. Of course, most of the time, when we use this line, it is, in fact, them.

Whether it’s flirting taken a little too seriously, someone you led on, or outgrew your relationship with. “It’s not you, it’s me” lets you spare their feelings by avoiding the unpleasant details of why you’re dumping them. And that’s what makes it a favorite for women.

21. Resorting to tears when all else fails

If emotional manipulation were human, it would probably be a girl. Women play mind games with men and then burst into tears when backed into a corner. The truth is, we can’t take half of the games we dish out. No matter how patient a guy is, he’d get frustrated by his girl’s drama from time to time.

But not every woman accepts responsibility. Some would rather get upset and cry because they know that is something most men can’t stand: seeing their girl weep. By the time the waterworks are over, all is forgiven, and she lives to play another day.

22. Mixed signals

This is another variation of the hot and cold games, one you are probably guilty of, as am I. We put out mixed signals when we don’t exactly want to date a guy but also don’t want another woman to have him. 

You want to live your life as is, but you also don’t want the attention to stop, so you do the barest minimum to maintain it. You say all the right things, but your actions say different and vice-versa. You play this game and the only time you try to be consistent is when you are at risk of losing the said person.

23. “It’s fine, I’m not that hungry”

Someone once said relationships mean never getting to enjoy your food alone again. A girl could order the exact same thing as her man and still end up eating out of his plate. (Hi, guilty!) But we don’t even stop there. 

Sometimes, I order a light meal because “I’m not that hungry” then the appetite comes from nowhere when he starts eating. Do I have a problem, or can you relate? As far as mind games go, this is a light one, but a man who knows to order an extra plate, just in case, sure scores some more points.

24. “It doesn’t get to me”

A woman who never gets jealous is yet to be born. It is a natural emotion we feel when faced with the possibility of losing someone we care about to another. However, most women prefer to pretend that they don’t care when the person they like looks a little too cozy with another woman.

Showing you’re jealous lets the guy know you’re crazy about him, and that is a secret we like to hold on to for as long as we possibly can. He may or may not eventually figure it out from the ensuing attitude, but he sure won’t be hearing it directly from your mouth.

25. The Guilt-trip game

the guilt trip game

Guilt-tripping is another one of the games women play. A woman who is deeply into this makes her partner feel guilty until he does her bidding. She wouldn’t take responsibility for anything in the relationship if her life depended on it.

You could never hear such a woman say she had a hand in the failure of her past relationships and everything wrong with the current relationship is her boyfriend’s fault. God help him if he actually does something terrible like look at another woman. He’d be atoning for it for the rest of his life because everything that goes wrong after that would be because of it.

FAQs

How do you know if a girl is playing mind games?

Girls playing games are in it to win, one way or another. Whether in relationships or casual hookups, women who are only trying to play games will always make themselves the priority. She’d be inconsistent with her feelings and attention, and would always prefer to keep her options open.

Why do girlfriends play mind games?

Women play mind games to get a reaction out of you that they fear they might not get with a direct approach. For instance, an insecure girlfriend who requires more validation from you would probably be too embarrassed to broach the subject. So instead, she’d resort to games to get it out of you.

What are mind games examples?

Some games people play on others include gaslighting, comparison, guilt-tripping, body-shaming, slut-shaming, withholding affection, ghosting, giving ultimatums, and other forms of emotional manipulation. Typical mind games women play include sending mixed signals, feigning disinterest, passive-aggression, playing victims, and other games that make you jealous.

How do you beat a woman’s mind game?

Women who play mind games thrive on attention. To beat her, you simply have to stop giving her what she wants. Stop enabling whatever games she’s playing by making yourself available every time she calls. Balance the power by standing your ground and stating clearly what you won’t take.

How can you tell if someone is playing mind games?

Men or women, anyone playing games with you would be grossly inconsistent. The signs would always be there because their words won’t often match their actions and vice-versa. You can tell they don’t really want to be with you, but they won’t let you be long enough to move on successfully.

To Conclude

So there, you have it; some games that women play. If you’ve gone through life as a woman seeing mind games as something only men did, I’m sure this blog post has been enlightening. Feel free to leave your own opinions on the subject in the comment section and share the article, too, if you please.

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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