Social media is becoming more and more pervasive. It transforms our relationships and manipulation tactics are constantly being updated and changing. It’s important to recognize when your relationship – whether it’s new, old, or over – is plagued by the issues on this list, since all of these can be signs that you’re being manipulated. Dating involves making yourself vulnerable for somebody that you don’t totally know, and this vulnerability can put you in a position where you might be subject to these tactics without even realizing it, believing it to be totally normal. Don’t fall for this!
Just because a guy seems nice doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to push your buttons. Guys with ulterior motives know how to make themselves seem sweet while making you seem crazy, ultimately allowing them to be sketchy and get away with it. The grey areas in dating are easy to exploit, especially when people in this generation have trouble negotiating boundaries and limits. If you don’t really know where you stand with your relationship, it’s easier for guys to exploit loopholes, finding ways to blame you for feeling insecure even when they’re the cause of the insecurity! It’s not fair at all, but these days it’s hard to win. Have you ever been subject to any of these insane tricks? Keep an eye out for these crazy tactics for yourself and your friends.
15 He Doesn't Check Your Snap Or Insta Story
Social media turns everybody into psychopaths, and Snapchat stories are a perfect example. While not everybody would admit to using their snap stories for attention, a lot of people do exactly that. Snap stories let you share posts with everybody at their own discretion. This makes it easy to keep your eye on people who have their eye on you. If you notice a guy hasn’t seen anything you’ve shared in the past day, it’s entirely possible he’s avoiding checking on purpose. This might have you guessing what he could possibly be doing that’s so important he can’t even spare a second to look at his Snapchat, and that’s the exact reaction he wants. Is this healthy? No. Can you avoid it? Only if you throw your phone away.
14 He Leaves Read Receipts On
Leaving your read receipts on is a power move. By leaving somebody on read, you’re eliminating the safe sense of ambiguity of knowing whether or not you’ve read their text. Not knowing is often preferable, because you can imagine all the important things he must be doing that are distracting him from texting you. When you see he’s read your message hours ago and hasn’t replied, it can make you feel anxious and angry. Read receipts have been around for so long that it feels like the polite thing to do is to turn them off to avoid this problem, but crazily enough some people recognize how socially powerful using them can be. If this bothers you, try leaving your own read receipts on. Allow yourself to communicate a powerful message through a small gesture: Your time is valuable, now is a bad time, you’ll reply when you feel like it.
13 He Gaslights You To Make You Second Guess Yourself
The word “gaslighting” went mainstream this past year. Gaslighting means manipulating somebody in order to make them doubt themselves or question their sanity. If your boyfriend is doing this to you, you need to get away ASAP. Gaslighting can take the form of lying, denying the truth, and turning issues around to make them seem like they’re your fault. Many red flags in abusive relationships can be defined as gaslighting, even if the person isn’t aware that they’re being manipulative. If you know a guy is cheating but he constantly denies it and makes you feel crazy for bringing it up, that’s gaslighting. If he makes comments that put you down in a way that causes you to seek his approval, that’s gaslighting. Keep an eye out for these little behavioural tricks, because NOTHING good can come from them.
12 He Makes It Obvious He's Lying About Not Talking To Anyone Else
There are a million and one ways to figure out if your man is talking to other girls, and the only tools you need are your thumb and a phone. Has he followed some new girl on Insta? Has he added her on Facebook? Is he best friends with someone else on Snapchat? Is he texting somebody or doing weird stuff on his phone and hiding the screen? It doesn’t take much to connect the dots, and even hints from these signs can make anyone feel absolutely insane. When he makes no effort to hide what he’s doing, it might be to make you try and vie for his attention. Even if the boundaries of your relationship are still ambiguous, like you’re not really together yet, not making the effort to hide these actions are probably enough of a sign that he’s not worth your time. It’s just courtesy.
11 He Leaves Traces Of Past Relationships On Social Media
There is something so jarring about scrolling through a guy’s feed and seeing a picture of him and his smiling ex. You don’t want to tell him to delete them because you don’t want to seem controlling, but leaving them there makes you feel powerless in the looming face of this old relationship. Are they still talking? What really happened? Do you even want to know? No guy in his right mind would leave these old photos out in the open for everyone to see. If he does do this, there’s probably a reason. Maybe his ex told him to not to delete them, or maybe he’s still hanging on to the chance they might get back together – there is so much grey area in dating that it’s hard to know. You definitely need to talk to him about this.
10 He Likes Other Girls' Photos On Instagram
This is so rude. It’s one thing to like a photo of Gigi Hadid or Kylie Jenner, but when a local aspiring fitness model pops up in your Discovery Feed because your man liked a bunch of her photos, something might be up. Everybody knows that it’s easy to see who likes what, and people use likes as currency all the time. You might like a photo of a friend you haven’t seen in a while and hope they’ll send you a message. You dutifully like your crush’s photos, and there was a time when he would like yours before popping into your DMs. Seeing him like other girls’ photos can’t help but make you wonder if he’s going through the same motions with somebody else. By liking other girls’ photos, he could be unconsciously communicating to you that he needs more attention. He could also be consciously texting her. Rude.
9 He Retaliates With Mixed Signals
Communication is so important, which is why disrupting it can throw everything up in the air. Every couple has conflicts, but not every couple has the communication skills to manage them in a healthy way. If your boyfriend feels like you’ve upset him, there are ways for him to communicate that in a way that shouldn’t make you feel absolutely horrible. If he starts ignoring you and you don’t know why, or he replies with one word answers and won’t tell you what’s wrong, he knows that this will elicit some kind of reaction. This kind of behaviour is difficult to unlearn. Men are socialized to hide their feelings and communication can often be a struggle, resulting in unhealthy behaviour like sending mixed signals in times of conflict.
8 He Talks To Your Friends Behind Your Back
This is so shady. It’s one thing for your boyfriend and your friends to get along – in fact, this is what you do want - but when he’s talking to other girls behind your back and these girls are your friends, you need to get rid of him. There is no logical way he can accomplish this without you finding out sooner or later, which is why this action probably has some sort of ulterior motive. Like so many other things on the list, this is probably a sign of a bigger problem. If he’s petty enough to try and get under your skin by chatting up your friends, he’s probably not worth keeping around in the long term. Neither are those friends. Toxic relationships are so last year, and it’s okay to let go of people who are dragging you down.
7 He Posts Crazy Snapchat Stories With Other Girls
How many times have you checked his snap story to see if there was anyone else in the video? It can make you feel totally crazy. Did you her another girl’s voice? Catch a glimpse of her off to the side? See her reflection in his glass of beer?! If he’s going out of his way to post another girl in his snap story, things aren’t looking so good for you. This is a gutsy public statement on his part, and probably a sign that you guys should end things for good. Every relationship is unique, but there are some things that should not be taken lightly under any circumstance. You deserve better, and it’s probably for the best that you don’t ask too many questions. Figure out an exit strategy and make your move.
6 He Texts You All Day But Ignores You In Person
Have you ever had a thing with a guy where it seems like he’s really into you over text but in person doesn’t seem to notice you? This is another strategy used by guys to try and make you pay more attention to them. By making you question your importance in relation to him, he understands that under the right circumstances, you will try even harder to keep his attention. Red flag!!! Playing hard to get is childish, especially for men. It’s totally embarrassing to get one idea of your relationship through texts and receive a totally different reaction in person. It’s basically mental catfishing. If this is happening to you, you could always try and confront him, but this is probably the reaction he wants. Don’t get too comfortable with this guy.
5 He Constantly Flakes On Your After Making Plans
A tale as old as time. He asks to see you and then changes his mind before. Maybe he stood you up and didn’t text until the next day. Maybe he waited until 30 minutes before to let you know he suddenly couldn’t make it. Maybe he does this a lot. This is a sign of somebody who doesn’t respect the time of others, and when you’re trying to get into a relationship, a huge red flag. Making time to see somebody shouldn’t be a game of cat and mouse. If he wants to see you, he will make time to see you. Most guys would be just as upset if a girl flaked on them every single time too, so if he’s doing this to you, he knows exactly how it makes you feel. Whether he doesn’t care or he’s doing it on purpose, neither is a good sign.
4 He Never Wants To Chill In Public
Have you ever been with a guy who never wants to go anywhere with you? Sure, it’s nice to spend an evening at home or driving around doing nothing, but would it kill him to take you to Starbucks? Nothing feels worse than being somebody’s dirty little secret, and that’s exactly what you might be if he’s avoiding any kind of public display. Related red flags include avoiding any social media interaction and never meeting his friends. No girl should ever feel like her relationship comes with an NDA – after all, you’re probably not dating J Biebs. Chances are, if he’s putting you through this, he’s trying to hide something. If you’re not on the same page about what your relationship actually is, now is probably time to figure it out before you get more hurt in the future.
3 He Waits Hours To Reply To Texts
What is he doing? What is he literally doing!? Is he saving his mother from a fire? Does his job not let him have bathroom breaks? Did he throw the phone out of the window of a moving car in an attempt to liberate himself from the chains of modernity? What’s the truth?! Anyone who has had this happen to them knows how infuriating this is. It makes it impossible to make plans or have proper discussions, and sort of throws your perspective of your relationship in flux. Especially in the early stages of a relationship, this can be a make it or break it deal, but unfortunately girls will always put up with more than they should because they feel like they have to. Be kind to yourself and avoid being stuck with somebody like this. He doesn’t care about how this makes you feel, so it’s best to just not even try.
2 He Ignores You After Seeing You
Imagine spending an amazing evening with a guy who ghosts you for days afterwards, only to crawl out of the woodworks way later when he’s suddenly interested again. If you can’t contact him when you’re not physically in the same room, there’s probably something suspect going on. If he never texts you, you might be the “other girl” to a more important relationship. Maybe it’s like the Bachelor, and you’re one of 25 other girls he keeps on rotation. Ignoring you after any kind of contact is shady AF, and should not be taken lightly if you’re trying to hold on to something serious. Giving a guy space is one thing, but be reasonable with your expectations dudes. Nobody wants to be in relationship purgatory after a night out.
1 He Notices Little Things About You But Says Nothing
Feeling like you have to go out of your way to receive validation from a guy is all-too common, and often enough guys will withhold validation because they know it makes girls feel crazy. When men see relationships as a game of give-and-take that leans in their favour, it creates an imbalance of power that can be exploited in order to make you do what he wants. Men LOVE feeling special and will go to insane lengths to assert themselves, even at the expense of your well-being. Having your guy tell you that you look nice shouldn’t be as difficult as climbing onto the roof of a car with a baseball bat à la Beyoncé. Don’t waste your time on somebody who only cares about how much you show you need him instead of focussing on how you can grow strong together.