15 Surprising Things That Make Him Toxic

There are some pretty obvious red flags displayed by toxic guys—physical, mental, or emotional abuse and the inability to commit come to mind—but there are also more subtle signs that the guy you’re dating is not worth your energy. Here are 15 of them to keep an eye out for:

  1. He makes contact, he just has “bad timing.” Your guy will call or text you but he’s the king of bad timing. For instance, he calls when he knows you’re busy AF or not going to be checking your phone. WTF? This isn’t bad timing, he’s being an a-hole. He can’t deal with not being able to reach you (clingy, much?) or perhaps he feels jealous that you’re doing other things. Ugh, what a man-child. On the other hand, maybe he tries to contact you when he knows you’re unreachable so it looks like he’s making an effort when he’s really lazy AF.
  2. He’s quick to say he didn’t mean what he said. If he makes a cruel comment and you get offended, a toxic guy will quickly claim he was “just kidding” or “didn’t mean it that way.” He might even go back and try to twist his words around just to get out of the situation. Ugh. These are all attempts to get his true feelings across without taking responsibility for them or mess with your head.
  3. He’s happy for you, but… When you’re celebrating a victory, he’ll claim to be happy for you but then he’ll find a way to make the evening about him or he’ll be too busy to come to your party, citing some work emergency. He’s not really giving you support.
  4. He acts like he’s present when he’s actually checked out. If you feel alone in the relationship, your BF might say, “But I’m right here!” or “But you know I love you” to excuse himself and make you think he really cares. The truth is that he doesn’t. Just because he’s in your life and sitting on your sofa, it doesn’t mean that he’s actually being a good boyfriend.
  5. He’s always had it worse. When you tell him about the horrible day you had, he’ll always try to make you feel better by saying, “That’s nothing. My day was loads worse” and then launch into his story. Is he really trying to help or is he trying to compete and steal the spotlight?
  6. He makes intense eye contact. Looking into your eyes is romantic but intense eye contact that makes you feel uncomfortable isn’t a good thing, especially if you feel like he’s cornering you with his stare. It sounds paranoid, but it’s been said that sociopaths use an icy or blank stare to frighten you. The eyes are windows to the soul!
  7. He doesn’t resolve arguments. He argues with you but then says, “Let’s pretend it didn’t happen” or “Let’s forget it.” Why? He claims he doesn’t want the ugliness of a fight but really he just doesn’t want to resolve relationship issues.
  8. He gets advice from other people. If you’re pissed off about something he did or said, he might bring other people into the situation. For instance, he might say, “How can you be upset that I spoke to that woman at the party? My sister/best friend/colleague heard about it and said you’re overreacting.” Don’t think that he’s just trying to make you see a different perspective – he knows what he did wrong and is trying to use the power of numbers to make you back down. Ugh. This is just humiliating!
  9. He “worries” about you. He doesn’t want you to leave the house without a coat because you’ll catch your death. He doesn’t like that you’re not going to the doctor for that common cold – it could lead to something more serious. He doesn’t like your best friend and worries that you’re going to get hurt if you remain friends with her. He seems like he’s concerned about you, but honestly? He’s just trying to control you.
  10. He loves the spotlight. When you go out to a club or party with him, he’s always the life of the event, charming and fun to be around. The problem? A guy who always has to be in the spotlight craves attention and is insecure AF, desperate for other’s approval and love.
  11. He phubs you. A guy who’s in a relationship with you should have the decency to speak to you instead of hiding behind a laptop or phone screen when you’re together. If he’s always busy with other things and chatting to God-knows-who, he’s taking you for granted.
  12. He’s unpredictable. It might seem like fun for the guy you’re dating to be spontaneous and unpredictable, but it can easily become toxic. For example, if you never know what mood to expect from him or you find yourself walking around on eggshells.
  13. He’s big on apologizing. When he does something wrong and you’re angry or hurt, he’ll be quick to tell you how sorry he is and tell you why you’re so wonderful and he’s blessed to have you. He might even buy you that pretty dress you had your eye on. He sure knows how to lay it on thick. Too much of anything is bad, and if he’s trying so hard to make you see him in a certain way, he’s got a dodgy agenda.
  14. He takes initiative in the relationship. If you find yourself following the guy a lot in your relationship because he’s the one choosing where you go for dinner or what you do on your holiday, it’s a red flag. The guy’s selfish and not keen to meet you halfway. It’s all about him.
  15. He’s such a charmer. Yes, he’s super charming to people… but only when he needs something from them. The rest of the time, he’s actually really nasty, ripping others to shreds or being cold to the waiter. Charm isn’t the same thing as genuine kindness!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.