Toxic guys can be hard to spot. Although they tend to display a few common red flags, it’s not always easy to notice when they’re furiously waving in front of you when you like the person waving them. Knowing what to look out for is the best way to identify when a toxic guy has come into your life. Read on for a few classic warning signs that you should stay away from him.
- He leaves you on read. Leaving someone on read is often a power play. They know that you’ve seen their message and are choosing not to respond to it. So if a guy does this to you constantly, he is either intentionally trying to establish power by leaving you waiting for him, or is so clueless that they don’t understand what it feels like to be left on read. Honestly, it’s more likely to be the former, which is one of the biggest signs that he’s a toxic guy.
- He only talks to you late at night. If a guy only talks to you in the wee hours, it can mean that he’s only after one thing. Unless there’s some pressing reason why, such as you both having abnormal work schedules, this often means he only wants you for the kind of conversation and activities that happen late at night. If you do sleep early, then refusing to text you at any other time also demonstrates a lack of respect for your schedule.
- He cancels your dates without any excuse. This is a huge red flag. Not that people are obligated to detail all of their reasoning to you. But if he throws you out by canceling at the last minute, the least he can do is apologize and explain himself. If he doesn’t even bother to give you an excuse, it shows that he doesn’t really value your feelings enough to justify himself.
- He shows up late to see you. This might not seem like a big deal but it’s actually one of the most obvious signs of a toxic guy. Maybe even worse than bailing is rocking up late to your dates. Sometimes, people are late and they can’t help it. It’s okay as long as they apologize. But if he regularly rocks up late and doesn’t explain why, and doesn’t say sorry, it shows that he doesn’t care that he’s wasting your time. A guy like that is toxic.
- He tries to undermine your confidence. Sometimes, guys who are insecure will try to undermine your confidence and bring you down to their level. He might insult you under the guise of a joke. Or he might manipulate you into focusing on and talking about a sore spot that hurts your feelings. No matter how he does it, you should avoid this type of guy at all costs.
- He pushes your boundaries. Boundaries are there for a reason. If a guy tests your boundaries—even the ones that don’t seem major to you—it shows a huge lack of respect. And it could also show that he might be willing to test other boundaries you have, that are even more important to you. For example, if you have dinner with him and tell him you’re not drinking, and then he orders you a vodka lime anyway, he clearly doesn’t care about the boundary you’ve set. It shows that he’s more interested in meeting his needs than yours.
- He lies. A liar is someone to stay away from. While most people might hide things from the person they’re dating in the beginning, you should eventually get a good idea of whether he’s an honest person or not. Does he lie about things for no reason? Does he keep things from you to manipulate you, because he knows you’d leave him if you found out? Non-white lies are a red flag and a sign of toxic behavior – if this guy is showing you the signs, believe him.
- He guilts you for standing up for yourself. It can be scary to stand up for yourself, especially around someone you’re dating. Pay attention to how he responds when you do stand up for yourself. Does he make you feel guilty, like you’re being out of line for having your own back? Or does he gaslight you and make you think you overreacted? If so, he’s not good for you.
- He lacks basic manners and courtesy. Manners are basic but important. Despite the appeal of a rude boy, it’s very hard to have a serious relationship with someone who lacks courtesy. Why? In most cases, someone who lacks courtesy also lacks respect. Does he apologize for being late? Say thank you when you pay for dinner? Treat the wait staff with respect? These can all speak volumes about his integrity.
- He brags about his toxic behavior. Perhaps the single most toxic thing a person can do is brag about their toxic behavior. Notice how he speaks about his exes, or the other women he’s dated. Does he laugh as he tells you that he ghosts people when he’s sick of them? That he made an ex cry? Or that he used someone for sex? If he proudly talks about any of the toxic things he’s done, set him free. And tell him not to let the door hit him on his way out.
The signs of a toxic guy may not always be easy to spot, but the more you pay attention, the easier it’ll be to notice them.