I have a paragraph which is about how to talk to women if you are a man. The writer said that a man should be direct when he talks to women. The paragraph has a sentence:

Being this direct is easy when you know there is no need to play games with women, to impress them, to hide your sexual intentions toward them, and that they actually enjoy when a male speaks to them like that, while communicating with women is also easier when you know they are usually indirect.

I want to ask that "play games" in this sentence mean "deceive other people", right? Or it has another meaning?

  • It's not really deceiving, just pretending to be a little too good to be true. Men, and woman, both play at flirting with one another, and on first dates, women tend to be put off (suspicious) by direct sexual advances. The initial stages of courtship is also called the mating game.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 30, 2016 at 16:41
  • The ‘game’ is the conventional avoidance of mentioning one's true intent, even though it's no secret. Apr 9, 2017 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


Play games means

To be evasive or deceptive

(free dictionary, under 'idioms')


deal with someone or something in a way that lacks due seriousness or respect.

(Definition that Google offers on a search for 'play games' define).

So it does not necessarily mean to deceive someone. In the context you provide it probably means much closer to be evasive: the author contrasts being (this) direct with playing games, among other things. But it could include the second definition I've cited. Having even more context from the source might help narrow it down.


I think that "play games" in your examples has a more specific connotation in that here the traditional roles between men and women come into play, as explained in the following extract from Quora:

"Playing games" happens when someone's actions don't reflect their true intentions.

  • Frequently, a man will ignore or insult a woman in whom he is romantically interested. Clearly, he does not wish to ignore her; he wishes to give her his full attention. However, he is acting on the well-established premise that a woman will be romantically uninterested in a man who gives her attention for nothing. This is the "nice guys finish last" phenomenon.

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