Play Your Way to His Heart

Do you like games?

Board games? Frisbee? Video games? Pool?

Then invite your guy to play.

Or, if you don’t have a guy, invite someone you like to play with you.

You may just find that some silly fun unleashes incredible chemistry.

If you’re tired of the typical first date at a coffee shop, you’re not alone. It’s hard to drum up much excitement when you’re swapping stories over the din of a crowded café.

Coffee dates are low energy and low investment. You don’t expect much to happen.

Which is why the second date should get your juices flowing. You know you have enough in common to make conversation for at least an hour. You want to get beneath the surface and find out who he really is and what makes him tick.

But if he’s still acting reserved around you. It’s because he’s still trying to be on his best behavior. What can you do to get him to drop his guard?

You can play a game.

If you’ve worked in the corporate world, you might remember those team-building exercises where everyone goes out to bowl or play laser tag.

You’re supposed to be having fun and building goodwill, but that doesn’t always happen. The same old office dynamics can play out. The competitive team members take over, while others watch from a distance and gossip instead of participating.

For a game to work, everyone has to be into it.

Which means choosing something you’ll both find fun is your first test of compatibility.

According to Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, there are eight kinds of “play personalities:”

The joker, who likes practical jokes; the kinesthete, who loves to move; the explorer, who thrives on novelty; the competitor, who wants to win; the director, who wants to organize everything; the collector, who curates experiences; the artist, who needs room to create; and the storyteller, who loves to perform.

Play a game of mini-golf with him, and you’ll quickly see which category he falls into.

Once you’re totally immersed in the game, don’t be surprised if that smooth, polished guy you met back at the café transforms into a guy who’s much sillier and more enthusiastic.

Play is spontaneous, not calculated. You lose your sense of self-consciousness. Playing can make you feel more vulnerable, especially if you’re still mastering the skills.

It’s the perfect setting to tease out the qualities of a man who has, up until now, focused on showing you his best side.

If it’s a game he’s not good at, does he get frustrated and take his anger out on something or someone?

If you start to beat him, does he take it with grace or get extra competitive?

What you want to see is a man who doesn’t press his advantage, notices when you’re struggling, helps you out, and has a sense of humor about the whole thing. It’s just a game; it’s not the World Cup finals.

Playing is more than just a tool for sizing up a man.

It’s also a way of spicing up a well-established relationship. Here’s how it works…

A spirit of playfulness keeps you connected. It breaks you out of the routine of the everyday. Playfulness takes you back to the early days of your relationship, when all you did was have fun together.

Even if you don’t have time for a game, you always have time for some banter or flirtation. Getting silly helps you see the boy inside your man.

Dr. Brown thinks it’s unfortunate that the term “player” has come to mean someone who plays with hearts. Surely, we should all play more in our relationships. Not with emotions, but with each other.

“Life without play is a grinding, mechanical existence organized around doing the things necessary for survival,” he writes in his book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.

He adds, “I don’t think it is too much to say that play can save your life.”

Maybe you’re thinking…

“But that won’t work for me. Because I hate games. ALL games.”

Well, you’re in luck. Because play comes in all shapes and sizes. Dancing is play. Making music is play. Pretending you’re a kid again can be play.

So take some time to play.

Figure out what you both enjoy doing, and let your him meet your playful side.

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