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Game Over

July 26, 2011

He said he would call. Yet, two days have passed since you clicked with this exciting stranger and gave him your number at your friend’s birthday party. Hadn’t you hit it off? Hadn’t he seemed sincere? But maybe he’s not interested. Could that be it? You don’t want that to be it. Maybe you’ll text him. No, you shouldn’t text him. Maybe add him on Facebook? No…maybe try to get the dirt on him from a mutual friend.

It seems like everyone’s playing games these days, doing whatever they can to avoid rejection and soothe their fears of abandonment. In the dating game, even though much of the responsibility to pursue falls on men, both genders often engage in the push-pull, making dating feel like strategy game.

I once matched a girl named Irene with a really sweet guy named Adam. All Adam wanted was a girl who was as nice and caring as he was. I knew Irene would be a good match for him because she was sweet, too, but I also knew that she had a tendency to play games. She had read somewhere that they were effective. “Promise me you won’t play hard-to-get,” I said. “It won’t work with this guy.”

“Okay,” she said. “This time I won’t.”

Two weeks later, I called Adam to find out what he thought of Irene. He told me that not only had he not met her, he no longer had any interest in meeting her. He had called her as soon as I’d given him her number, and she had told him that she was with friends and would call him back…..But she didn’t call him back.

He tried her again the next day and got her voice mail. He left her a message. “And?” I said.

“And it took her two days to return my call!” Adam said. He laughed, but I could hear the annoyance in his voice. “Even then, she didn’t apologize for waiting so long. And then she told me she was busy until next week.” He laughed again. “Thanks for trying, Ziva,” he said, “but I can’t start my life with someone who plays annoying, time-consuming games.”

I tried to explain to him that Irene really was a great girl, but his mind was already made up about her.

Some weeks later, Irene called to tell me that she had met Adam by chance at a party. “He’s so nice! I really like him!” she said. “I don’t understand why he didn’t call me back. We had great chemistry! Can you please tell him to call me?”

I called Adam. “Can you give this another shot?” I asked.

“Look,” he said. “She’s attractive. She’s great. But I already know what she’s about. Maybe it’s my ego,” he conceded, “but I can’t date a girl who’s so selfish and unavailable. I don’t want her.”

What a waste! I thought. These two were probably really compatible, but silly dating games had destroyed the whole thing before it even had a chance to start.

Games will inevitably sabotage a relationship. Yet people play them constantly. Why?

1. To gain the upper hand over the other person
2. To mask insecurity

But if you play games, you are giving up

1. Trust between you and the other person
2. The opportunity to be yourself
3. The chance to discern whether the other person likes you or is just reacting to your games.

Games turn human relationships into a sporting event, and perpetuate problems on the Jewish dating scene such as communication breakdowns, emotional unavailability, and commitment phobia. So put an end to them. Just be honest. Just be you.

Articles delivered through a partnership between the OU and SawYouAtSinai.

Ziva Kramer- Ziva has been a matchmaker, dating coach and spiritual advisor for professional singles in New York City for many years. She gives seminars all over the country and she is well known for her inspiring, standing-room-only seminars and her “no-nonsense” approach to the art of romantic fulfillment. http://zivakramer.com/

SawYouAtSinai- With over 30,000 members and over 1,200 engaged members since 2004, SawYouAtSinai is the largest Jewish matchmaking network. Through its sites JRetroMatch, which focuses on secular Jewish singles, and SawYouAtSinai, which focuses on Yeshivish and Orthodox Jewish singles receive the personal touch of a matchmaker to facilitate each member’s unique personality & needs. Matchmakers pre-screen, select and send matches to members, and with profiles only accessible to compatible singles, privacy and discretion is maintained. With 300+ experienced matchmakers, SawYouAtSinai serves Traditional, Conservative, Yeshivish and Orthodox Jewish singles from communities around the world. People can sign up today at SawYouAtSinai.com. Plus, find out about upcoming Jewish Singles Events at JewishToDo.com.