How Do I Avoid Wasting Time on Players and Narcissists?

How Do I Avoid Wasting Time on Players and Narcissists?

Dear Evan,

I think your male point of view may help women spot the good guys. You advise us to be careful with the alphas and Mr. Know-it-all types. Well, it’s not always easy to spot them for women, especially for the attractive ones. It’s easier for men to know other men, you can easily say if such guy is a player or not; but it’s sometimes difficult for women due to the mixed signals. I’m physically a very attractive woman, and this is sometimes a real curse since a lot of men compete for my attention, and they all seem nice, compassionate, chivalrous, and generous at the beginning, even the alphas and know-it-alls. They keep a low profile, at least for a while. I never know their real faces until I’m invested.

I wish there was a way — a kind of test for women to figure out who can walk their talks, who is genuinely compassionate and kind, before we got emotionally invested. I’m an observant person. I observe how they treat waiters etc., yet some of men are really good at hiding their true selves for a long time (until they’re sure of you). It’s a very frustrating experience for me. I wish women could have practical tools to measure up men before they got involved and eliminate the narcissists/players.

I’m looking forward for your advice from the male perspective.


Dear Ashley,

You didn’t ask me a question. You made a statement:

“It’s hard to tell if a man is a good guy. I would love to have a magic wand that would let me know if I’m wasting my time.”

Well, you’re in luck, my friend.

If your biggest concern is that everyone puts on his best face for a long time, then the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and observe him.

You asked for a “test” that women can give to men to figure out which ones are truly kind and compassionate, instead of selfish players.

I’m not sure if you were looking for a physical object (like the aforementioned magic wand), a personality test (like the 436 questions on eHarmony’s profile), or maybe just a subtle series of questions that you can drop into every day conversation (ex. “Are you a player or are you a genuinely sincere guy?”)

If it sounds like I’m teasing you, Ashley, well, I am.

Because, no matter how important such “tests” are (and they are), and how much women want them (a lot), they all pale in comparison to the one test that I can offer that’s close to foolproof.

Yes, this is a test that everybody knows about and it’s FAR more effective than “So, where do you see yourself in five years?”. And yet somehow, it’s not considered very popular in the female community.

You ready for it?

It’s called “the test of time”.

If your biggest concern is that everyone puts on his best face for a long time, then the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and observe him.

Literally ANYTHING else you try to do to “weed him out” is going to be obvious, tone-deaf, and likely ineffective.

How do I know this? Because, by your logic, my wife would have weeded me out really early on. Check out these red flags.

– We hooked up (without sleeping together) for a month before I became her boyfriend.
– I didn’t see her six times a week; closer to 3 times.
– I was never “whipped” and never had the “you just know” feeling.
– I didn’t tell her I loved her for six months.
– I had never had a girlfriend for longer than 8 months before.
– She wasn’t my “type” — liberal, Ivy League, ambitious, East Coast.
– I was open about my confusion and ambivalence. After 16 months, I was either going to propose or break up and I didn’t know which.

So why did my wife keep me around?

Because she could tell that I was 100% authentic.

If a man wants to get married and start a family one day, he’ll bring it up. If he never brings it up, he probably doesn’t want it.

That I kept absolutely no secrets.

That I really did want to settle down and start a family.

That my moral code and integrity were my most valued traits.

So even though she could tell that I had a wide alpha-male, know-it-all streak, it was always tempered by the fact that I was sensitive, open and honest with her — even when I was confused about our future.

If she had pressed me after one month or three months as to whether I intended on marrying her, it would have been a mistake.

After six months, as I said, I loved her, but I didn’t KNOW anything for sure.

And that, to me, Ashley, is your blind spot. You seem to think that a man is a player if he doesn’t want to marry you. I’d say that there are definitely some bad apples out there, but that EVERY man is a player until he finds the woman with whom he wants to stop playing.

Who is that woman going to be?

Most likely, it’s going to be the one who is confident enough in herself and her judgment to not have to administer “tests” to her boyfriend, no matter how fearful you are about wasting your time.

So, to come full circle, let’s give you something you can take away from this article — apart from the concept of being cool and patient and letting the man reveal himself over time.

Pay attention to whether your boyfriend shares the same life goals as you. If a man wants to get married and start a family one day, he’ll bring it up. If he never brings it up, he probably doesn’t want it. And that will probably mean that you’re wasting your time.

But IF he wants to one day get married and start a family, literally the ONLY thing you can do is sit back and watch him for two years to determine if you think HE’S worth of being your husband for the next FORTY years. If he passes that test, he may be worth your time.

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  1. 201

    To me, marrying down (or dating down) means going with someone who treats me with less respect and adoration than I feel about myself.     Some men have told me that I’m the only woman they have opened car doors for or done other chivalrous things for.     Not because I expect it or wait for them to do it.     They said it was because it made them feel like The Man: my queen brought out their king, and they loved it.
    Marrying down or dating down also means going with someone who puts less energy into our interactions — so much less that I feel drained or feel that I have to muster up my energy from reserves in order to get to a level of energy that feels right to me.     I’ll put in extra energy for a short while, in case there’s an anomaly, but I’d rather synergize with someone so our energies make more together than either do separately.

  2. 202

    “If a girl is dating a guy do you think they should they be upfront about what they want if they do just want a relationship or just casual sex?”

    Well it’s not gender specific: I think the onus is on whichever party is unhappy with the status quo to discuss their unhappiness with the other party, and until then assume that the status quo is all that’s on offer. I.e. if it’s only casual at the moment, the onus is on whichever party that wants a relationship to say that’s what they want. If they’re a couple but one party wants to get married and is unhappy simply being in a relationship, then they should voice that concern.

    I think relying on a societal ‘assumption’ that it will progress to an ltr and eventually marriage is a poor strategy.


    I employ the same strategy: I notice the women who notice me, then make eye contact and smile at the ones I’m attracted to before approaching. It almost always works, and when it doesn’t at the very least I’ll enjoy an interesting conversation.

    I like your advice to observe, observe, observe. We should all be observing the interactions of others and rigorously analyzing what works and what doesn’t work, then applying the lesson learnt to our own interactions.

  3. 203
    Karl R

    Jenna stated: (#212)
    “I know so many men who just get the girl they want, they go out and pursue her, and we women have to choose from a selection offered to us rather than go out and win over the people we want.”
    If it’s that easy, do what men do.  When you walk into a social situation, find the man  who you’re most attracted to and ask him  out.

    After you’ve tried that a few dozen times, you’ll discover a pattern. Either you’re rejected immediately, or you’re rejected after a short-term relationship  where his interest in you ends at physical gratification.

    I can’t  “win over” a woman who doesn’t want me.  Of the women I was attracted to, I didn’t waste my time with 90% to 95% of them … because they’d given no indication that they were interested in me. Of the ones who seemed interested,  about 50% declined a first date. (And  that 50% acceptance rate  is higher than most men see … largely because I became rather attuned to whether  women were interested,)

    A man’s options are down to a few percent  just getting to the first date. It’s only looks easier to you because you haven’t thought about (or experienced) the reality of it.

    Karisma asked: (#215)
    If a girl is dating a guy do you think they should they be upfront about what they want if they do just want a relationship or just casual sex?”      

    I don’t think that’s a fist date conversation. If  a man or a woman  implies that they’re interested in a long-term relationship too soon, they’re likely to scare off a partner who is undecided. Most of us (men and women) start the dating process attracted to our date (on some level), but  not knowing whether  that person has any long-term potential. For the men (at least),  it’s highly likely that we’re still interested in casual sex regardless of the long-term potential.

    If you know a way to express that desire without sounding desperate or crude, there’s no harm in saying so up front. Most people aren’t sufficiently eloquent to pull that off.

  4. 204

    Karl R

    I did not think it was a first date conversation either but you also don’t want to be strung along.

    Sometimes guys don’t bring up their intentions until you notice certain things while you are dating them and have to voice your concerns yourself months later if you do end up seeing a few red flags when you have already developed feelings for them.

    One of my friends mentioned to me don’t be afraid to loose him, if it is not what you want.

    I wish I had taken her advice earlier with the last guy and ended it a month into it. When he had just told me ‘I will see how it goes’ realising how much of a vague, non answer that is and questioning that more, would have probably saved me a fair bit of grief.

  5. 205
    Karl R

    Karisma, (#217)
    If your goal is to avoid pain, frustration and spending months in relationships that ultimately end … stop dating. Period.

    I’ve operated under the assumption that my odds of getting hurt in an unsuccessful relationship were a little over 50% … and my odds of getting hurt in a successful relationship were 100%.

    Karisma said: (#217)
    “I wish I had taken her advice earlier with the last guy and ended it a month into it. When he had just told me ‘I will see how it goes’ realising how much of a vague, non answer that is”

    That’s a normal comment that is said by many men (and women) who are interested in a serious relationship … but aren’t certain if the person they’ve been dating is the person they want a long commitment to.

    My wife and I were saying “let’s see how things go,” for at least the first five months of our relationship.

    If you think you’re getting strung along just because the guy doesn’t know whether you’re a potential wife at the one-month mark (or the six-month mark), you really aren’t ready for dating.

    Karisma said: (#217)
    “One of my friends mentioned to me don’t be afraid to loose him, if it is not what you want.”

    That’s true.

    But, you only want men who know they want to spend the rest of your lives with you after only the first month?

    Most women avoid those obsessed men. They even file restraining orders against some of them.

  6. 206

    @Karl: Congratulations on your wedding and the start of your marriage! I wish you a lot of happiness, and as little hurt as possible : ) Nice to read your great comments again!

  7. 207


    Wow, I wasn’t being sarcastic!   How poorly sarcasm (or lack thereof) translates over this form of communication.   Sorry you thought that.   I just meant that “ignoble” is a rarely used word these days and its meaning has gotten lost.   It is refreshing to see someone use it.

  8. 208

    I second what Karl R wrote re: options.   Dating for the majority of folks (even the good-looking ones) is about creating options and maintaining those options to see if a LTR (if that’s what you want) develops.   We can’t always create the option and most of the time we can’t maintain the option.

    As the options fall away, we’re left with what’s left.   Most of the time, both men and women can’t get what they want when they want it.   For women, it’s a result of who’s approaching you, for men it’s a result of who’s receptive to being approached.   Both genders arrive at the same opportunities and at the same closed doors, albeit in different ways.

  9. 209
    Karmic Equation

    If you’re only attracted to men you have to “win over”, you’re going to to be in world of hurt. They’re all going to dump you eventually. Guaranteed. You need to be a prize that men have to win over. If the only men that want you are ones you aren’t attracted to, you have to figure out why. I wonder if this is your problem. Also, I’m thinking you sometimes say things that come out the wrong way (like the post that Evan replied to–I felt and reacted to the same undercurrents he did) – Guys care how you talk. If you do this alot…say something that you have to backtrack on, I suspect that this could be a reason guys disappear on you.
    Listen to Karl R. I would add that once you had sex, you lost leverage in the relationship, especially if what you wanted was a relationship and not just fun. Do what Evan says: Don’t have sex with a guy until he’s your boyfriend.

    1. 209.1

      First of all Evan i just stumbled on your blog and i have spent days catching up on all the wisdom i have missed. it truly feels like i am church and the sermon is being is read!Thank you!

      KARMIC EQUATION! I think you are pretty AWESOME! Reading all of your comments all i get is that you have a healthy SELF ESTEEM which i think is very crucial for women to have to survive in the dating world. I truly believe you when you say ” I really love who i am” you seem like you truly believe you are WORTHFULL ( Pardon me i truly believe it should be the opposite of worthless) and that you truly feel WHOLE by yourself. When a woman has a healthy sense of self, and self worth, when she doesn’t need a man to validate her existence on earth, she begins to view men as human beings FIRST and not boyfriend or husband. This is crucial because men don’t need women to validate their existence, we GIVE THEM THE POWER. A healthy self esteem is also why you are able to have sex with a guy and not have your self esteem crumbled if it doesn’t lead to a relationship, because you are so fucking SECURE in who your are and this is what i call SPARTAN behaviour!  

  10. 210


    Haven’t read many of the other posts yet but I think it’s possible you and I are talking about slightly different things.   I’m not saying Tom should walk into his first dates and proclaim at the beginning that he’s not looking for anything serious.   That would be like asking a woman to tell her first date she wants exactly two children and the proverbial white picket fence.   If a woman agrees to a one night stand or a date develops into that I agree that the woman allowed it to happen and that she should take responsibility.   But I think he mentioned at some point that he does not push for sex early.   I could be wrong about that in which case this whole discussion is moot and I apologize.   But if dates two, three, four or however many pass with escalating physical intimacy and Tom and his date appear to get along well, it would seem to most that it is the start of a possible relationship.   Of course there is no guarantee that it will last but there is the possibility of something more.   For Tom, if I understand correctly, there is not, at least at this moment.   He is not looking for anything serious. All I am saying is that it is the nice thing to do to let his date know that earlier rather than later.   In any case it sounds like it’s not a problem.   He says he hasn’t hurt anyone and he sounds like a nice dude so he’s probably dating like minded women 😉

  11. 211
    Karmic Equation

    Tom10 says if he doesn’t get sex within 2-3 dates, he moves on. If a woman thinks a relationship is developing after 2-3 dates she is naive at best or delusional and/or unstable at worst.
    So if a woman has sex on the third date without declaring that she’s looking for a relationship and not sex, then she can only blame herself.
    No woman should have sex in an uncommitted relationship if she can’t handle the “hit and run”. And if you don’t know the guy well enough to know whether he will run on you or not, then you actually don’t know him well enough to have sex with him.

  12. 212

    Thanks for that — yes it can be difficult to imply or detect nuance sometimes.

    I suppose I should clarify, as some of my posts probably sounded a bit contradictory. I don’t push for sex first simply because I think it’s a poor strategy — it can seem needy, aggressive and desperate. I find that when women are ready they push for it themselves. Luckily where I live they seem to do that quite soon (by international standards anyway) — i.e. usually by the first or second date.   When I say ‘early’ I mean a few hours 🙂

    If I meet a girl in a bar and we go back to hers I don’t say anything because I think it’s reasonable for me to assume that she knows that it’s just a hook-up / ons, or possibly more if we both feel it (though statistically unlikely). In the past if I really liked her and the sex was good I would continue to meet her for a few weeks or months without saying anything, until she dumped me. Now I say that I don’t want more and it’s up to her if she wants to keep seeing me. My point was why didn’t she say she wanted more?

    If I meet someone in normal circumstances and we go on a regular date and I know it’s only going to be a fling, then I think your point is reasonable that I should say I don’t want anything serious, so I do say that upfront.

    I did hurt someone before, although inadvertently, because I assumed women didn’t get feelings until after it was declared ‘official’. How naïve was I before I came here!

    However, Evan’s motto that “men look for sex and find love” applies to me too. I once fell madly in love with a woman I had a fling with, but as luck would have it she didn’t feel the same way and faded me out. This could happen again, whereupon I’m sure I’d consider a relationship. However, having read this blog for a few months I know that that was just a chemical rush and a poor basis for forming a long-term relationship. That’s why I’m waiting until I’m ready.

    In spite of all that, I think Evan and Karmic’s point stands: that the obligation to state what people are looking for is equal, and that if a woman is liable to feel hurt and used after finding out that the man she’s with just wants casual, then she should take responsibility for those emotions and should state what she wants prior to having sex.

  13. 213
    Karmic Equation

    We’ve spent most of this thread talking about players, not narcissists. They’re not necessarily mutually inclusive, imo. My exhusband was a narcissist but not a player. He was almost puritanical. My current bf was a player and still a narcissist. LOL.

    What I find interesting they have in common is that they are both the youngest children in their family and their next closest siblings in age were 15 and 16 years older than they were. We all know about the father/daughter bond and mother/son bond, so I think that, basically, they were the center of the universe for their mothers and thus grew up thinking that the world revolved around them and that women were placed on this earth to cater to them.<roll eyes> They had no siblings close to their own age to “fight” with or learn to share with, etc.

    Do any of you know if the narcissists that you dated/married/divorced were the youngest (with no close-in-age siblings) or the only child in their family? Just curious.

    1. 213.1

      I dated a narssasist. think his brother was a year or so older. I’m pretty sure his mommy put him up on a pedestal. He mentioned he and is brother argued and faught at times but not too much. But I think his brother wasn’t there for him much.

  14. 214

    Unfortunately I think most women define ‘player’ as a man who dates them but decided HE doesn’t want it to go longer. Clearly we as men date women who decide after a date or a few or even   few months that we ‘aren’t a match’. Does that make them players? I mean heck not only did we end up w/o a relationship we probably spent $1000s in the process. Did we get ‘played’?

    I think women who complain about players are generally the ones who are chasing looks and clothes and cars and jobs.   Which doesn’t mean btw the men they are chasing are jerks or players. It means the men they are chasing have the things and qualities that mean they have more options. So they, just like attractive women have the opportunity to date more and be pickier about who they want to commit to.   If you   really want a man who is going to appreciate you and choose you, you are going to have to choose more average looking guys with more average jobs/finances.   Good chance you will end up with a man who really appreciates you but make no mistake it is in some part due to the fact he does NOT have many options so appreciates the one he has.

    It is no different then dating women; the younger/prettier/more well dressed/successful/educated/etc women I date, the greater the competition will be and the greater likelihood she will choose someone else if we date whether it is after 1 date or 1 year.


    1. 214.1

      Nope, I don’t see men as players who dates for a few months to see if “we are a match”. But someone above on the previous page   there should be progress happening. Things should be progressing and reevaluation should be happening and communicating where each person feels they   are in the relationship.

      Some people do string people on far too long because they don’t know what they want and too scared to make a decision. I still don’t classify that as a player, just someone that is a bit weak or too scared to be the “bad guy”.

  15. 215

    Karmic — men rarely disappear on me. And of the many men I also rejected, (after dates 1-3) I had real reasons for doing so that were not superficial, such as obvious incompatibility of life goals and lifestyle. Or kissing them repulsed me. I have dated enough and explored myself enough to get that for me personally, right now, being single and sustaining myself with a fun social life and casual dating and flings feels better than it would have to have a relationship with any of the men who wanted one. I get that there are consequences and frustrations to that but I’ll deal with them. My frustration in part was about the relative passivity encouraged of women in the dating game. Yes, it makes sense to lean back and let men pursue -I’ve done it many times – but there is something to be said for learning from what, say, pick up artists do and using game to build rapport and connection and use disqualifiers as well as have them qualify themsrlves to you, teasing, coming up with inside jokes, etc etc — all to be more proactive about making pursual happen.

  16. 216
    Karmic Equation


    Makes sense. All I’m saying is that if you’re looking and not finding what you’re looking for using your current mindset, which seeming denigrates the feminine quality of passivity into a negative rather than exalting in being feminine/passive — you’re inadvertently cosmically/karmically/male-female dynamically/what have you–driving away the guys who want the feminine/passive. In other words your masculine energy may be driving the most masculine minded men you really want away. The very masculine are attracted to the feminine, not to masculine. Strong, smart, successful women are looking for strong, smart, successful men, (commonly known as projection) but those men aren’t looking for strong, smart, successful, they’re looking for sweet, feminine, receptive.

    Just be aware that exalting in your feminine energy increases your choices, not diminishes them. Feminine energy attracts-and holds the attention of-both alpha and beta males. Masculine energy, for the most part, only holds the beta male’s attention. The alphas may be somewhat attracted for the ego-stroke, but ultimately, will walk away. I am a totally alpha female at work. But I’m a totally feminine woman away from work. My alpha-ness does sneak out every now and then, but that just adds to my charm rather than detracts…gives me an unexpected spicy edge. Were I always in my masculine energy, I’d lose my options. As a woman, your job is to have as many options as possible to choose from.

    That said, it appears you have a lot of choices, yet they’re not the choices that you really like, so you need to change your strategy to increase your options. Changing your mindset is free so why not try it? You’ll feel less frustrated and more relaxed when you let the men come to you and you know you’re attracting all types of men, not just one type. Being feminine doesn’t make you weak. If that is what you think, you need to stop thinking that.

    In the battle of the sexes, understanding and exalting in your femininity gives a woman an edge. The problem as I see it, is that most of the smart, successful women on this board have had so much success at work based on their alpha-ness, that they’ve either forgotten or never learned or are uncomfortable with their feminine side. Feminine doesn’t mean simpering and being vapid. Feminine means understanding the qualities that make a woman a woman and fully leveraging that when “on the hunt” (i.e., dating :))

    “Lead a man to chase you until you catch him.”

    Let a man think it’s all his idea. That’s how you get what you want.

  17. 217

    Karmic #226: My first husband was/is a narcissist and he WAS an only child…..

  18. 218
    Karl R

    Jenna said: (#228)
    “My frustration in part was about the relative passivity encouraged of women in the dating game.”

    I wouldn’t call it passive. It could be more accurately described as reactive (instead of proactive).

    “Mirroring” isn’t the only viable strategy. Evan recommends it because it applies well to his typical clients, the type of men they’re normally attracted to and  the type of relationship they’re trying to get. Furthermore, it’s very easy to teach.

    Jenna said: (#228)
    “there is something to be said for learning from what, say, pick up artists do and using game to build rapport and connection and use disqualifiers as well as have them qualify themsrlves to you, teasing, coming up with inside jokes, etc etc – all to be more proactive about making pursual happen.”

    If you want to do something like that, go ahead. But you may have to be like the early PUAs who had to invent their own technique through experimentation, trial-and-error.

    I know there’s a dating expert who gives women advice on how to be more proactive. (I’m not sure which one, since I’ve never read the advice.) You might have to modify the advice, because it may be geared toward long-term relationships, not the shorter-term ones that you seem to be most interested in.

  19. 219
    Karmic Equation

    @Karl 231
    I wouldn’t call it passive. It could be more accurately described as reactive (instead of proactive).

    I agree. This is a much better description.

  20. 220

    Karl and karmic, thanks for your insight. I have tons of experience dating and have usually played the feminine role and mirrored, though have tried other strategies as well. I was never one of those women who was aggressive and controllong as some of Evan’s clients are described. I’m now at the point where I’m willing to experiment a bit more and see in the field what is working for me. One’s technique should be tweaked depending on age, attractiveness, life goals, and personality type of you as well as the type of guy you are looking for. I don’t just do something bc dating experts say so, i just date lots of folks, try things, and observe for myself what is effective in my own life. While on one recent date that started off super awkward and I didn’t look all that good bc I was sick, I was able to totally turn things around by using some things puas taught me, such as teasing and coming up with inside jokes. I was proactive , yet got the guy to fall all over himself to pursue me that week for another date. Yet such advice is rarely mentioned in dating advice for women, which usually boils down to don’t act crazy/clingy , delay sex, and don’t initiate contact.

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