I'll put my hands up and say I am the first person to be strategic when it comes to communicating with new people. I do not disclose all things about myself because I have a lot of layers and I want you to earn the depths of me.
However, once I trust somebody, I am not hesitant to share all of my layers with you. I will stop using a filter, self-editing or having calculated logic behind my words. Yes, we all play mind games. The adage goes "play or get played". But, what happens once you are acquainted with somebody and they give you their confidence? Continue playing mind games? Absolutely not.
I love the George Washington quote "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence". I certainly put people through rigorous tests before I decide if they are a fit match for me. We can all relate to the idea that love hurts, I already willingly suffer enough and I am not ready to be a masochist for anybody until I know that their intentions are pure and there is no ulterior motive behind their courtship.
So yes, I do play mind games at first. Key word is at first. They stop immediately after I feel comfortable around you. Yet, I've noticed that this is not the case for everyone. Some people continue playing mind games until the end of their romantic relationships. Their strategy goes on forever. I detest this. If you are unable to put your guards down even after somebody has opened up with you, you probably have neurosis and need therapy.
There is nothing wrong with using mind games as a tool to prevent yourself from getting hurt. However, when does it end? Are you going to be eternally manipulative? I am sick of people who cannot be open and instead they mimic vulnerability just to trick me. As an empath, I am prone to being victimised by less caring individuals. I tend to believe the best in people and I get sucked into exhausting relationships with manipulative narcissists.
Nietzsche said that there are no facts, only interpretations. My advice to anybody who plays mind games is to ask yourself this, "Do I want to be right or do I want to be effective?", "What does my inability to be vulnerable say about my attachment to defence mechanisms?", "What would it take for me to stop manipulating people?", "Am I loveable?". I find that self-confidence teaches us how to be open with people because we are no longer constantly defending ourselves from potential attack. A hostile person fears the hostility of others.
If you are dating, do it with utter nakedness or don't do it at all. If you cannot be tender, you are not ready for love. If your only motive for dating is to possess or dominate another individual, you are misguided. If you find power struggles attractive, you may be addicted to drama and control. If dating is just another arena for you to exercise your authority, somewhere along the way you lost the true meaning of authentic vulnerability. Instead of allowing the world to harden you, resist being bitter and scorned, love does not need language. Don't explain your philosophy, embody it. Don't tell somebody who you are, show them.