Usually I can spot a toxic guy from a mile away—narcissistic, arrogant or downright creepy guys set off my radar immediately and I know instinctively to avoid giving the impression that I’m remotely interested in them. But there’s a new threat that’s managed to slip under my radar once or twice: the predator posing as a sensitive new age guy.
It’s in a guy’s best interest to be a SNAG. With the turn of the century came the invention of the SNAG—the Sensitive New Age Guy—as men everywhere realized that being a jerk isn’t necessarily the best way to woo a lady. Who would have guessed it? Getting in touch with their emotions, embracing their feminine side, turning away from toxic masculinity—these are all things that most self-respecting women are attracted to.
That can sometimes be a terrible motivator. Unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet. If a man’s motivation for getting in touch with his feelings is solely to increase his chances of getting laid, things are going to go south fast. True sensitivity and self-reflection have to come from a desire for self-improvement. If he’s faking it or half-assing it, he’s not really conscious of anything, except what’s between his legs.
At first it can be impossible to tell the difference. When you can’t see what’s going on behind the scenes, it can be hard to tell the difference between an actual SNAG and a douchebag posing as one. This is where things get tricky and why so many women fall for guys like this. It takes a bit of probing to find out what’s really going on and separate the wheat from the chaff.
It’s a fine line between being trusting and being naive. Of course, not every kind, caring, chivalrous guy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, before I really know someone and have seen them in a variety of different contexts, I’d prefer to play it safe. Without being paranoid, I’d rather not put myself in positions where I can be taken advantage of.
They talk the talk. Your guy might gush compliments at you, espouse the virtues of feminism, be well-versed in conscious sexuality, talk to you about yoga, meditation and tantra, and still have only one thing on his mind. It’s not enough to talk the talk—he has to walk the walk.
They probably hang out in all the right circles. Sadly, men like this tend to infiltrate circles of very trusting people because those are the ones easiest to take advantage of. The probably have a vast network of other conscious and sensitive individuals. In fact, they might even be at the center of it. It can be tricky to weed out the bad guys when they’re so well disguised as good guys.
Try testing the waters if you’re unsure. Sometimes, even if everything on the surface looks legit, you’ll get a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right. In that case, listen to your intuition and test out his reactions to certain things. How does he respond if sex isn’t on the table? Does he try to coerce or guilt you? Does he pout for attention? Does he lash out?
Eventually, red flags will start to show up. Any guy who’s just trying to get into your pants will slip up at some point and reveal their true identity. No one can keep up a façade forever, especially if they’re focused on a single goal. He’ll either get impatient and bail out or become more forceful and show his true colors. Either way, you know who you’re dealing with and can get him the hell out of your life.
Sooner or later, word gets out. For guys like this, their time is limited. Their covert predatory tactics will only last so long before people start talking and their reputation is tarnished. Their position among actual conscious people will be cut short and they’ll have to lurk off to some other social group to play the game again.
You’re a strong, independent woman and you don’t need a guy. If you feel like you’re beginning to be manipulated, chances are, you probably are. Keeping a hold on your self-worth and autonomy makes it much harder for a guy like this to take advantage of you. When you command his respect, he’s much less likely to waste his time trying to coerce you. Stay strong in your own boundaries so you can enjoy the genuine respect of a real SNAG instead.
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