Getting a read on what a guy is thinking and feeling is no easy feat. In fact, it can feel impossible to figure out what’s going on in his brain – especially if you’ve just started dating. Well, there’s no need to feel frustrated. With the help of Burton Silver and Martin O’Connor, coauthors of Everything He Hasn’t Told You Yet (Ten Speed Press), we dreamed up seven sneaky games. They’re designed to give you the info guys don’t easily fess up to. Don’t try them all at once – he might sense you’re analysing him. Just choose a game based on what you want to glean, slip it into a casual conversation, then use our guide to decode his responses.
What You Can Glean: His attitude towards commitment
In this quiz, the animal kingdom is a metaphor for human relationships. To get the most honest responses, ask him to complete these sentences as quickly as possible.
There are two fish in a bowl. Their names are…
There are two horses in a field. Their names are…
There are two tigers in the jungle. Their names are…
Decode His Response: The names he gives are a fair guide to whether he sees a world of couples or girls and guys leading separate lives. If he gives a male and female name to two or more of the animal pairings, he thinks it’s only natural for men and woman to link up. If he offers male names, he’d rather be with his buddies than tied down – especially if he deems the dominant animals (like tigers) males. If he dubs all the animals females, he may feel alienated from or intimidated by women and unsure about fulfilling your needs.
What You Can Glean: His deepest values, how he’ll respond in a crisis
He’s alone is a boat with a bunch of item: old love letters, a survival kit, and an MP3 player. The boat starts to sink. What does he get rid of first? Ask him to ditch stuff until he’s left with just one thing.
Decode His Response: Gauge what matters most to him by the item he holds on to longest.
LOVE LETTERS: Romantic? Check. Practical? Not really. When problems arise in the relationship, he might stick his head in the sand in hopes that they’ll go away on their own.
SURVIVAL KIT: Okay, so he’s not the fuzziest person on the planet. But he’s a take-charge guy who’ll man up in a tough situation.
MP3 PLAYER: This laid-back dude loves a good time, but tuning out during a crisis suggests that he has a wicked escapist streak.
BONUS: Does he stress over the decisions or regret each one and ask to start over? That could mean he won’t step up to the plate in a crisis. But if he was ruthless about chucking everything, he might not take responsibility.
What You Can Glean: His self-confidence level
Ask him to imagine he is in the following scenarios, then have him explain exactly how he got into each situation.
He’s at a restaurant, covered in soup.
He’s running down the street with a ladder over his shoulder.
He’s walking along a road, holding flowers.
Decode His Response: Look for any common threads in the explanations he comes up with.
Men with high self-esteem are proactive (he’s about to rush into a burning building to save someone), while those with lower self-worth are reactive (he just ran out of his burning office building and isn’t looking back). You’ll also be able to tell if he’s an optimist or a pessimist. Is he carrying flowers because he’s heading out on a romantic date or because he’s visiting a grave? Is he covered in soup because you just threw it at him or is he a chef whipping up a new recipe?
BONUS: Clue in to whether you make a cameo. It could mean he sees you as a big part of his life.
What You Can Glean: What role he wants to play in life
Every guy has dreamed of having superpowers. Ask him if he could have one exceptional ability, what would it be?
Decode His Response: Pay attention to not only how lofty his superhero powers are, but how he intends to use his newfound glory. If he craves abilities that would further humankind or save people in crisis, he will make a good protector and tends to put others first. But watch out for his traditional, old-fashioned tendencies. Does he want X-ray vision to see through women’s clothes or the power to turn water into imported beer? Since he’s using his skills for his own pleasure, he’s likely to be somewhat self-serving. Does he crave a more down-to-earth power? For instance, does he long for the ability to speak three languages or run really fast? On the surface, his response may seem realistic, but don’t be fooled. Instead of being grounded, he could have a low opinion of himself and his place in the world. After all, if he doesn’t think he can reach such a goal without the help of a magic lamp, you could be trying to rid him of his feelings of mediocrity forever.
What You Can Glean: What he’s looking for in a lady
Explain to him that he’s buying a used car. He’s found one at a good price, but before he shells out his hard-earned cash, he wants to take a closer look at the ride. Ask him what he’d check out first.
Decode His Response: In this analogy, you are the car.
UPHOLSTERY AND RIMS: Looks – your looks – are paramount to this guy. Since he cares about keeping up appearances, he might want to trade you in once the relationship gets some mileage on it.
RUST ON THE FRAME AND CHIPS IN THE PAINT: He’s checking for ‘wear and tear’ – read: your past.
HORSES UNDER THE HOOD: lf he eyes the power of the engine, he has wild ways and wants the chick riding shotgun to be adventurous.
ONLINE RATINGS AND REVIEWS: He’ll never make a rash decision, but he probably cares too much about what other people have to say.
HOW IT DRIVES: lf he says he’d burn rubber first and ask questions later, he lives in the moment and bases decisions on gut instincts.
Sticks and Stones
What You Can Glean: His biggest turn-offs
In this name game, offer up two negative qualities, and ask him which one he’d rather be called. For example:
A cheat or a copycat?
A killjoy or a kiss ass?
A whiner or a weasel?
A lightweight or a loudmouth?
Feel free to throw in your own alternatives. Just make sure both options are undesirable.
Decode His Response: The goal is to focus not on the word he chooses, but on the one he doesn’t. Since he’s picked from two no-win options, those not chosen are qualities he finds truly despicable. Chances are, he won’t want his significant other to have them either. That’s why it’s crucial to throw in a trait of yours that you fear might rub him the wrong way down the road. For instance, if you’ve been known to bend over backward and kiss a few asses and he chooses killjoy, he might have a beef with your people-pleasing ways.
BONUS: Ask yourself if he was able to put a positive spin on the options. If so, he’s probably more willing to compromise, since he doesn’t appear to have a static set of deal breakers.