6 Steps to Avoid Dating Liars & Players
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
By: Amanda Haynes
Haven’t we all met a man or woman who wasn’t honest with us? The woman who said she is no longer involved with her ex. The man who asked you for your number and didn’t tell you he was married. No matter the gender, people have the ability to lie and not be forthcoming with the truth.
Dating is all about risk versus reward, right? We put ourselves at risk for hurt, heartbreak, theft, assault, and so much more. We do so because the outcome, or reward, we hope for outweighs the potential for things to go terribly wrong. The rewards we long for are love, fulfillment, connection, bonding, companionship, and so much more. This is the reason we risk it for the biscuit. You would think the beauty of what could come from all that risk would outweigh the risk itself, but for many, many people, this is not always the case. We cannot know someone’s intentions because we cannot read minds. We step out on faith and hope people we date have our best interests at heart.
Due to the risks that exists in the world of dating, we develop fears. Dating fears exist within all people, especially those that have been hurt before. We develop these fears and hold onto them with all we've got. We become afraid to put ourselves out there. Safety is our natural instinct as human beings. Our GPS is chronically set to seek pleasure and avoid pain. We long for safety, and so we protect ourselves.
Being lied to is frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when it happens repeatedly. We are left feeling dissatisfied with people and the dating pool. We have less motivation to put ourselves out there for fear of being hurt, heartbroken or lied to again. Our faith in truthful people decreases. Our limiting beliefs are reinforced that it’s too difficult to find a suitable mate and that love might not happen for us. We sometimes even go as far as to convince ourselves we are satisfied with that narrative when this couldn’t be any further from the truth.
A concept to consider when trying to avoid liars and players is for you to evaluate what lying is, to you. Are white lies okay to save you from getting your feelings hurt or are do you prefer brutal honesty? Would you prefer a man to tell you you look fat in a dress if you ask? Or, would you prefer a woman to tell you your penis is smaller than she prefers, if you ask? It seems some people don’t prefer brutal honesty, but rather just enough truth to feel secure in knowing who they are becoming entangled with.
When trying to avoid liars and players, we frequently overlook, or flat out ignore, red flags. There’s a viral meme on the internet that references red flags looking like Six Flags if we like someone enough, and I’ve never heard anything truer, for some people. A red flag is the Universe’s way of saying open your eyes or pull back the veil. When trying to notice and interpret red flags, pay attention to your gut, or intuition. What does the feeling in the pit of your stomach mean? What is your body trying to tell you? If you get the feeling something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Red flags include overly secretive people. They don’t share what seems like meaningless information to most people. Don’t get me wrong, someone you are getting to know doesn’t owe you every detail of their life, but maybe they don’t offer basic information, like where they work, or who they live with. Someone who keeps you in the dark about things is questionable. Someone who goes MIA for an extended period, after developing frequent, consistent connection is a red flag. Maybe you were talking every day, consistently, and they decide to go MIA for days to weeks on end. Red flag. Another would be their stories seem outlandish, unbelievable, or overly detailed. Maybe their stories seem a bit rehearsed. This can sometimes be a red flag. Someone who contradicts themselves can be a red flag. Maybe they tell you the same story on two separate occasions and the details don’t match. Or you catch them in a white lie. Red flag. All the stated examples of red flags are not definitive. They are not black and white. There are occasions and scenarios where a person displays a behavior like the ones mentioned and is being truthful. This is also not a full list of red flags that exist; there are many more.
I have developed 6 steps for how to avoid liars and players.
Step One: Self-Reflection
Check in with yourself. Sit with yourself, alone and undistracted. This can be a foreign concept to many people but is a helpful tool to self-discovery and identifying unhealthy dating and relationship patterns. Ask yourself things like, Am I comfortable with what this person is telling me? Why am I questioning the legitimacy of what is being said to me? Am I projecting my past hurt and disappointment onto this person? Why do I keep attracting people who are dishonest with me?
Step Two: Trust Your Gut
We ignore the feeling in the pit of our stomach. We keep pushing forward with people even after we know something isn’t right and rarely question why these feelings come up. We make excuses for people. We try and see the best in people and end up shooting ourselves in the foot because we ignore what our intuition is trying to tell us. Explore the feelings that come up for you. Pay attention to when those feelings come up and what is happening when they do. What is your body trying to tell you? Have you experienced this feeling or sensation before?
Step Three: Verbal Communication
This is a commonly overlooked, yet simple way to spot and avoid liars and players. When you meet someone, specifically with online dating or dating apps, ask to talk on the phone or FaceTime. This is how you get an initial vibe check or energy check. We cannot get an accurate read on people via electronic communication whether email or text. Having a phone, or verbal, conversation offers you the opportunity to evaluate someone’s tone of voice and confidence level when sharing information with you. You can notice any unusual rise or fall in vocal tone which can be an obvious sign of someone being dishonest.
Step Four: Ask Direct Questions
I’m going to say it again for the people in the back. Ask direct questions! The simplest, most effective method to getting your questions answered is to ask them directly. Ask the questions you want answers to. Do not assume because someone is on a dating app, or asks you for your number, they are single. Sadly, this cannot be assumed in our culture. Don’t assume you are the only person someone is dating or getting to know. Ask questions like, Are you single? Are you married? Are you divorced? Do you have a girlfriend? Does someone think they are your girlfriend but isn’t? How old are you? Do you have a job? Where do you work? Who do you live with? Do you have children? These are the simplest questions and for some reason, we don’t ask them.
Pro-tip: I’m going to go a step further. Ask more direct questions that involve what outcome you want. If you want to be married and have kids, ask the person you’re dating if they want those same things. Not with you, right now, just in general, throughout life, and make that clear too. To my ladies, most women don’t ask these questions because they’re afraid to run a guy off. But you won’t run a man off that has those same motives, because he’s looking for generally the same things in life that you are.
Step Five: Call Them Out
If after step four, things still aren’t adding up, call them out! Confront them calmly and curiously. Confrontation doesn’t mean argument or aggression. It simply means acknowledging the information you are receiving isn’t making sense or adding up to you. Maybe details aren’t matching or there is some inconsistency. I suggest asking a question like, can you help me understand why things aren’t adding up, or making sense? I’m just having trouble connecting the dots. This is a passive, unassuming way to avoid blaming or pointing the finger at someone who very well may be truthful and honest with you, while allowing them the opportunity to make sense of it all.
Step Six: Ask for Proof
If after all five steps, you are still unclear, ask for proof. When it comes this far, it just doesn’t look good. However, ask for whatever you need to feel more comfortable. This can seem a bit extreme, but wouldn’t you prefer to be with someone who wants to make you feel comfortable? Ask for proof, such as a license or photo ID, divorce or separation papers, court documents, bank statements, etc. If someone goes Hell no, that’s all confirmation you need.
If after these 6 steps, you still feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t and may be best to disengage. The RIGHT ONE won’t feel so WRONG.