Several people who read my post on Natural Game were very concerned for my well-being. They said "be careful, this guy is a player." I appreciate very much that they are looking out for me.
And at the same time it's important to me to address this point because it is exactly this dynamic that causes so much unnecessary pain in human relationships.
What is a "player"? What do people really mean when they say that?
For me, if I use it at all, it's a term of affection. A player is someone who connects well with other people. Some of my absolute favorite people in this world are professional PUAs. Why do I love them so much? Because they are deeply connected with their own aliveness, and that brings out the aliveness in everyone around them.
But I see that other people attach a lot of fear to that word. If I empathize with that fear, I see a lot of unspoken assumptions. First of all, they are assuming that I want a traditional relationship, and that it won't be possible to have that with a "player." Second, they seem to be assuming that a "player" is someone who is insincere. What's really behind all that, if you break it down into the language of the heart: they are afraid that what I'm wanting in a relationship won't match up with what a "player" is wanting in a relationship. They are afraid that I'll want a lifetime of commitment, and he'll want one night of fun. They are afraid that I am going to suffer pain because of the mismatch. But all of that fear is basically unconscious and unspoken, wrapped up in one seemingly innocuous word: "player."
This is a way of going from zero to 100 mph in two seconds without checking first to see if you're about to drive off a cliff.
("My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world." - ACIM)
In non-violent communication, we don't ever stop at a label like "player." (In fact, we try not to use labels at all -- you'll notice that I did not use that word in my post.) We recognize that labels very easily turn into "enemy images" that will prevent us from connecting, through our hearts, with what is really alive in another person. Labels are self-fulfilling prophecies that can easily shut down communication and lead to exactly the result that the fearful person fears.
I feel sad when I hear women use terms like "jerk" or "asshole." Same goes for a zillion words of judgment that people use in the dating world -- "weird," "needy," "insecure," "arrogant." Every single one of those labels is a cover-up that prevents people from connecting at the heart level. Unless they are willing to look below the label and see what is really going on for themselves and the other person in that moment. No matter how much someone is rubbing you the wrong way, if you look deeper, you can be sure that person is meeting their needs the best way they know how.
Wouldn't you like to find out what's going on for them before you assume something? Say you see someone "littering" (another judgment). Maybe you have an initial knee-jerk reaction of anger. How liberating it can be to say out loud: "I noticed that you just dropped that piece of paper on the ground, and I'm concerned about keeping our streets clean, would you be willing to let me know what was going on for you when you did that?" And you may be shocked by the answer. Maybe they didn't even realize they dropped it on the ground.
It's funny, people think they are protecting themselves by using labels. "Well, I'll just avoid that person then," they often think. This saddens me because I see people cutting themselves off from others instead of realizing the best kept secret in the Universe, which is that true freedom and safety lie in vulnerability. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "Communication is salvation." There is no way to know whether your needs match up with someone else's unless you are willing to communicate. I would much prefer to ask a guy his intentions than assume anything. And sometimes I would prefer to live in the moment and trust that everything is happening exactly the way it is supposed to happen.
Just because someone has game doesn't mean he is not a human being with the same exact needs everyone else has. Labels are what is painful. Labels are limits. Labels are walls that we build between ourselves and other people.
Let the labels go, connect with your heart, and see the beautiful loving amazing person who unfolds before you.
For more on NVC, see http://www.cnvc.org/node/369.
I really love this passage from A Course in Miracles, which seems helpful here:
"Forgiveness lies in communication as surely as damnation lies in guilt. It is the Holy Spirit's teaching function to instruct those who believe communication to be damnation that communication is salvation. And He will do so, for the power of God in Him and you is joined in a real relationship so holy and so strong, that it can overcome even this without fear.
"It is through the holy instant that what seems impossible is accomplished, making it evident that it is not impossible. In the holy instant guilt holds no attraction, since communication has been restored. And guilt, whose only purpose is to disrupt communication, has no function here. Here there is no concealment, and no private thoughts. The willingness to communicate attracts communication to it, and overcomes loneliness completely. There is complete forgiveness here, for there is no desire to exclude anyone from your completion, in sudden recognition of the value of his part in it. In the protection of your wholeness, all are invited and made welcome. And you understand that your completion is God's, Whose only need is to have you be complete. For your completion makes you His in your awareness. And here it is that you experience yourself as you were created, and as you are."