Navigating the player’s handbook – ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play’

Heather Inglis

Finding college romance can be quite a task. It seems as though some people can snag a boyfriend or girlfriend with no problem and claw at the chance of a college romance turned happily ever after.

I am not one of those people.

By no means am I a bitch all the time (part of the time, yes), and I don’t think I’m ugly or anything, so what gives? I meet guys who I think are wonderful, we get close and as soon as it’s time to “label what we are,” poof he’s gone. And I know, based off of countless retweets and subtweets from guys and gals alike that I’m not alone in this boat.

My last attempt at a college relationship ended that exact way. I met him in the way that every wide-eyed college girl meets “the one” on television — half-drunk at a party. Considering you probably don’t know me very well, I’ll tell you this isn’t exactly my scene to meet anyone — let alone boys — so sparing the details a bit, I woke up the next morning utterly embarrassed and ready to never talk to this guy again.

Then, he asked for my number.

Okay, Heather, he’s going to add your number to his little list and never call you, right?

Wrong. For weeks he texted me daily, needed to see me all the time and genuinely seemed to care about my life, job and goals. I’ve done the whole hook-up scene before, and this is NOT how it works. My friends tried warning me he was bad news, as friends should, but to me, it appeared that this one-night stand was turning into something.

Or so I thought.

As I found myself starting to like this guy, he vanished. Wouldn’t take my calls, was less talkative and when I finally said something to him, he fed me some bullshit line about how he “just can’t do this right now;” and that’s because he was seeing me plus a couple of other girls.

Long story short: I got played.

You might be reading this thinking, “Wow, that’s actually my life,” or you think I’m a complete idiot. Regardless, with the prevalence of hook-up culture all around us, it’s easy to get played by both boys and girls. We like the idea of having someone close to us, so we have a date to formals or family functions, but when it comes down to committing, a lot of us choke.

And it’s a hard game to play because feelings get hurt. Having been the player and the playee, I know that no matter what role you have, it all ends the same: Everyone ends up alone.

But there are some ways to guard your heart a little, and while I might be a bit long-winded, that’s what I’m here to tell you.

Recognize the weasels. Yes, the weasels, the eels, the snakes. The people who are so slick that their game works on everyone. When you’re out, keep an eye out for who’s chatting up all the pretty girls in the room or all of the attractive guys. Watch how they carry themselves. Do they walk with confidence or narcissism? You can tell a lot about a person based off of how they act alone.

Language is key. This is something my mother taught me a long time ago and is becoming more true every day: Communication — physical and verbal — is everything. Does this person want to know about you, or are they only talking themselves up? Are they making eye contact with you and is this person’s body facing you? A person’s conversation skills and body language can give signs as to whether you’re the only person they’re focused on. In my case, I wish I would have noticed bro’s wandering eyes a little sooner.

Trust your gut and guard your heart. This is the part that sucks. It’s hard to let go of someone who you thought you had something with, especially if that person made it seem as though they wanted something with you, too. However, you’re the only person who knows what’s best for your emotions. If your relationship with this person makes you uneasy or you can’t trust the person, you need to back out. It’ll hurt at first, but in the long haul, you’ll be better off ending it on your terms than hearing the asshole you’re seeing tell you, “I just can’t do this.” Trust me, please.

The moral of the story here is that navigating the world of love and relationships can be hard, and sometimes, it’s the absolute worst. But that doesn’t mean to give up altogether. As the old saying goes, it’s always darkest before dawn — so treat the darkest like it’s 5 o’clock and have a good time while you’re waiting. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet some nice person partying

Contact Heather Inglis at [email protected].