Published on February 19th, 2011 | by thevyne


Game Playing vs Game Planning

By Keesha Boyd

I’m convinced that the complexities of the male/female relationship are never more highlighted than when two people first commence the dating process. As such, I’ve decided to embark on a journey to better understand the mechanics of dating. After having a discussion over chai latte in a local bookstore with a dear friend and Vyne contributor, I came to the conclusion that dating is a dance along a thin line called “managing your emotions”. If you wobble to the left of that line you end up in the “game playing” zone and if you wobble to the right of it, you end up in the “game planning” zone. Each zone has its pros and cons and for sure, whether you referred to them in this way or not, you’ve experience each side of that line at some point or another during your dating excursions.

Think of the “game playing” zone as that space when your actions and reactions in a dating scenario are purely driven by bruised ego. You know the whole “well he didn’t call me so I’m not going to call him” or “he went out on a date so I’m going to go out on one too”. Or better still, the old “I’m not showing you or telling you how I feel until you show or tell me how you feel”. These are just a few examples but you know that you’ve slipped into “game playing” when it feels like you’re going “tit for tat” or that you are manipulating and fabricating scenarios to get a reaction. Those are horrible sounding words, I know, but let’s be honest you know you’ve told a guy or two that you were “busy” when you were really curled up on your couch staring at the bottom of an empty pint of haagen dazs while watching a slew of Real Housewives re-runs on your DVR. Whether you fabricated the “I’m busy” story to make him think you have an active social life or because you wanted to punish him for being “busy” when you asked him out is beside the point. The point is, according to another girlfriend and Vyne reader, “we all need to learn how to play the game, or get left out in cold…otherwise play solitaire.” At the end of the day, game playing happens and both men and women do it.

“Game planning” on the other hand is more about your actions and reactions in a dating scenario being driven by logical thought process and practicality. It’s when instead of going immediately to the space of feeling hurt because you didn’t get a phone call back you instead tell yourself “self, so he chose not to call…. that’s his prerogative, as he is certainly not obligated to call me. So when we do speak again, how will I choose to handle it? Am I upset that he didn’t call because I had something important to share with him or am I upset because I simply had an expectation of him to call but didn’t voice that expectation to him?” Game planning is about taking yourself through a series of evaluative questions to come up with an appropriate and mature response. It’s also about sizing up the situation at any given point and making decisions about whether or not it’s working for you. Game planning is about exercising that part of your brain that understands the need for mutuality in a relationship and being forward enough to express that need openly and deal with the response straight up. Game planning is the result of decisions made with your “head” that are less emotional and more deliberately rational/methodical.

Know that if you stay in the “game playing” space for too long you run the risk of setting up that dynamic indefinitely in the relationship. The pro of course is that if done effectively he’ll likely be enticed and keep chasing you…but at some point, don’t you want to get caught? With “game planning,” know that if you stay in this space too often you run the risk of removing the spontaneity and excitement of the getting to know you phase. There is often some attraction, chemistry and passion that gets expressed in a good way when two people let their emotions fly every so often.

All that said, what do you think Vyne readers? In your dating excursions, have you found yourself slipping back and forth between “game playing” and “game planning”? If so, tell us about it.

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2 Responses to Game Playing vs Game Planning

  1. bullet man says:

    In the interest of time, I ‘m going to chime in with my 2 cents in the form of bullets.

    • Yes, both men and women dabble on both sides of that scale. Though as we mature and gain confidence, we primarily live in the managing the game sector of the scale.
    • It’s my observation, women spend a little more time on the playing the game sector than we do. By no means should this be viewed as negative. I interpret this fact as – you are training me as to what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in your mind. We don’t assume that you are always fibbing your status, or saying something to evoke a response, but we understand and accept you do it sometimes. It’s keeps us sharp, interested and comfortably suspecting.
    • As mature men we achieve that same result by telling you (by planning the game) “hey, that sh!t had me effed up last night & this is why…..If the roles were reversed, how would you feel?”
    • As mature men, we are informing you (training you) to what we deem expected or unexpected behavior in our minds.
    • It’s through these initial exercises that we determine whether you are psycho, normal, delusional, daddy issues. Whether we are going to let you in closer or keep you where you are at.

    A couple of side notes:
    Mature men – we are at a point in our lives where we are no longer looking for the short-cut from the bar to your bedroom. We’re actually listening to what you are saying and interested in getting to know the real you. The age differs depending on the man. For me I’m going to say I was about 34/35 ish, when I actually started really listening to what ya’ll were saying.
    Who am I – Soon to be 38 brother to two younger sisters also in their 30’s.

  2. UrFaveNigerian says:

    I think it’s interesting that the position stated has folks on one side of “the line” versus the other. I for one do not believe that it is entirely possible to be on one side at a time. I feel that in order for there to be a progression of the “Game”, both the Game Planning & Game Playing are usually simultaneously occurring. Both the planning and the playing continue to feed each other towards the common goal (sex, relationship, break-up). The inability to manage either of these well will not yield favorable results.

    Game ON!

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