People who play mind games without realizing it usually have these 12 character traits

Sometimes people get so used to playing mind games that they’re not even aware that they’re doing it.

We can blame it on their upbringing, or it could simply be their personality…

Whatever the reason may be, they’re just naturally inclined to doing it.

If you want to know how to recognize these people, look out for these traits that are telltale signs that they love playing mind games.

1) They crave satisfying victories

They don’t just like to win.

They have to win in a way that’s truly satisfying—with a BANG and a shower of confetti!

They tend to chase after difficult challenges and take risky bets.

Why? Because they find safe challenges too boring.

This is the reason why they tend to play mind games

Sure, they can just discuss things with you in a mature way. And sure, they can prove their point without being dramatic and scheming.

But where’s the fun in that?

2) They display narcissistic behaviors

Narcs absolutely love playing mind games. It’s basically guaranteed, even.

That’s why if you see someone displaying narcissistic behaviors, you should be on the guard for mind games.

And when they play mind games, it’s not because they think “I wonder how I can toy with this person’s feelings?” or “How can I show them I’m superior?”

They don’t even think about it at all. 

They just end up toying with other people’s minds because of how self-serving they are.

3) They see people as things they can use

They’ve been led to believe that they need to step on other people if they must succeed in life.

“Use or be used” describes it—they’d rather “use” other people instead of letting themselves be used as a stepping stone.

It goes without saying that this way of seeing the world is thoroughly and utterly heartless.

But that does not necessarily mean that THEY are heartless. They might even be trying to break out of that mindset.

But it’s been such a big part of how they saw the world that they can still end up playing mind games on others by accident.

4) They like being mysterious and unpredictable

Some of them tend to avoid talking too much about themselves. 

They like to be shrouded in mystery—to be withdrawn, secretive, and hard to read.


Well, they think that people are naturally malicious.

They’d rather not give people information about them which others can later use to destroy them.

Where other people are open books, they’d rather remain inaccessible to protect themselves.

They think “Well, if they know nothing about me, they’ll have nothing to use against me.”

If someone has this mindset, they tend to play mind games.


 To “protect” themselves from people who they think are playing mind games.

5) They like minding other people’s business

They like to keep their secrets and would rather be left alone, but they do not extend that courtesy to everyone else.

They’re nosey, always trying to know about other people’s secrets and getting their fingers in everyone else’s business.

This might seem unfair and contradictory, but it’s not.

They want to know more about other people’s lives—especially their weaknesses and the juicy bits—because they know that they can use them later on.

But the thing is, they’re not even aware they’re doing it for those reasons. They just seem naturally nosy.

6) They’re always convincing and believable

People who play mind games are almost always good actors.

They wouldn’t be successful at the whole “toying with people’s minds” thing if they don’t know how to act, after all.

Their lies are always believable.

They know how to convince people of their “truths”.

And they know how to look either funny or scary or sad without even trying.

Now not everyone who is good at acting is necessarily going to be inclined to play mind games. 

But their talents allow them to get away with it, so they often end up manipulating people without realizing anyways.

7) They’re especially witty and charming

someone is secretly angry phrases People who play mind games without realizing it usually have these 12 character traits

Well, they’re not your average “witty” or “charming” dude. They’re on another level entirely—downright roguish, even!

It’s easy for them to become everyone’s best friend.

They know how to talk their way out of hard situations and win over people they’ve just met.

And unfortunately, if they’re not paying close attention to what they’re doing, they can easily end up playing mind games on people.

So if you ever find yourself in the company of someone who’s extraordinarily charming, take care. 

You don’t want them to play you like a fiddle, accidentally or otherwise.

8) They’re highly observant

People who play mind games without realizing it are the most observant people you’ll ever meet.

And when they observe, they do more than just watch the people around them. That would be too obvious.

Most of the time they would actually engage in conversation, paying attention to what’s being said and how people react.

The insight this gives them often leads to them knowing about and exploiting people’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

9) They’re addicted to drama

People who love playing mind games are drawn to drama and controversy like moths to a flame.

They’re always somehow up-to-date on the latest office drama, family feuds, and hot topics… even if it’s about something they don’t really interact with at all!

I mentioned earlier that these people crave satisfying victories, to be seen as mysterious, and to mind other people’s business.

Chasing after drama and controversy lets them satisfy all three at once.

10) They’re skilled at flirting

People who are naturally good at flirting will certainly develop traits that can make them good at playing mind games.

And in fact, some commonly used flirting techniques are basically mild takes on mind games already.

For example, they might flirt with someone else in front of you to indirectly tell you “If you won’t take me now, someone else will.”

Or they’d go hot and cold to keep you on your toes.

Flirting is a kind of manipulation…and if you know someone who’s exceptionally good at it, they just might be the type who enjoys mind games in general.

11) They enjoy seeing people suffer

Don’t be too surprised if they turn out to be a psychopath.

They’re not happy with simple confrontations and easy punishments. They find them too boring.

In fact, many of them have what we call Schadenfreude—the joy of seeing others suffer.

Why are they like this?

When psychopaths themselves are in pain, they almost always feel compelled to make others miserable. 

They can’t stand to see other people happy so long as THEY are unhappy. And most psychopaths, unfortunately, have a lot of pain in their hearts.

Mind games are just a means to an end.

12) They have a need to feel superior

Outwit, outlast, outplay. They live their life based on the Survivor tagline.

If it’s possible for them to one-up everybody, they would.

They have a need to be the one on top—to be the leader, to win all the awards, to be in control.

They’re likely the kind of people who are too ambitious simply because they crave power.

So if you know someone who’s power-hungry…who wants to be the best in everything, watch out. They might be playing mind games without realizing it.

Final thoughts

Most of us would rather not deal with mind games at all. 

Unfortunately, some people just couldn’t help it.

Sometimes it’s the only thing they know. They probably learned it from their parents, or the world has taught them that it’s the wise thing to do.

If you’re with someone who plays mind games without knowing about it, you can try calling them out.

While it’s tempting to make them feel bad for their behaviors, the fact that they’re not aware that they’re doing it just means they’re not inherently bad people.

So be kind and if you like, try to gently call them out whenever you notice them playing mind games.

If they don’t stop, however, don’t be afraid to care for yourself and back away.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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