calling the nice guy bluff

I recently bought a new laptop and was sorting through my old files. I came across a folder of articles I wrote five years ago and giggled a little to myself.

My very own time capsule of a 22-year-old me.

I thought it would be fitting to republish them in the lead up to my wedding to a guy I wouldn’t have dreamed existed.

For those still looking for love, I hope these stories help you see it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes love hurts but from this, we grow and find something a lot more meaningful.

28-year-old me now realises that each life stage plays a part in laying a foundation. Without the previous experience, you’re not able to build something solid.

Happy reading!

– tgfs x


I always think of dating like a game of poker, it’s all about playing the hand you’re dealt. Knowing when to fold, call or go all in, takes years of skill and practice. Even after then, you still can’t be sure the odds are in your favour.

Not the most experienced poker player out there, I’m new to the table and am picking up on the tricks of the game. One thing I am noticing more often than not is the nice guy bluff.

Usually only pulled off by the ‘professional players’ the ‘nice guy’ card is used to trick you into believing they are a genuine person.

Trouble is, spotting this bluff early is almost impossible, and by the time you do, you’re down a couple of chips or worse, gone all in and come out empty-handed.

Now although this is a less than favourable situation to be in, it got me thinking, what happens to the no-tricks good guys at the table? It’s these professional players making us fold on the opportunity of getting to know a new guy, out of fear that he may be bluffing.

I recently met a guy at a party through my cousin and we got to talking and found we have a lot in common. What I discovered after we exchanged numbers is he a sweet and down to earth person and to me, an overall great guy.

Now here’s the problem, having been fooled in the past by the ‘nice guy’ card, I am hesitant to bet on this hand, out of fear I’ll come out empty.

Why is it that I find it so much easier to fold on the potential of getting to know a new guy, than gambling it on the chance of it paying off? In the past, I’ve seen my chips disappearing before my eyes. Naturally, I draw them closer whilst clutching my cards a little tighter to my chest. It’s almost as if I’ve put up walls around me to protect myself from even the most cunning bluffer.

Could it be that we’ve learnt the games and tricks of the serial bluffer? The whole not-replying-straight-away, playing hard to get kind of games becomes second nature? So when we’re confronted with someone who doesn’t follow suit, we’re left confused and sceptical. All the while he’s going out of his way to be thoughtful and sweet. We’re more caught up on when exactly he’ll stuff up and we’ll be able to spot the bluff.

It seems that these serial bluffers have raised the guard of many women, making it super difficult for nice guys to be given a chance. We assume that no one can be “that nice” and we begin looking for the catch. We doubt his sincerity before any cards have been put on the table, we don’t buy-in and we let the hand go.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Edward Norton once said “life, like poker, has an element of risk. It shouldn’t be avoided. It should be faced” and I couldn’t agree with it more.

Poker is a game of risk and chance. If you sit by and play it safe, folding at every hand, sure you’ll be sitting at the table for a while, but for what? We should be excited about the risks in our life. It’s these risks are what make life worth getting out of bed in the morning.

Instead of folding or going all in, I’ll take it slow and see which hand I’m dealt. There’s no shame in wanting to let it naturally pan out. In the past, I’ve found it so necessary to make a decision on the spot instead of going with the flow.

At the end of the day, we don’t know the next card coming out of the deck, but we might as well be hopeful than apathetic.

Every new person you meet should be treated as a new game of poker, cut your loses and begin fresh. Give the guy a chance and as the saying goes, high risk, high return.

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