Relationships are tough. Navigating the waters of love with a new person is tricky terrain, and, no matter how many dates you’ve been on or how many relationships you’ve been in, it can always be a little nerve-wracking.
Sometimes, we’re so eager to start dating someone new – because we’ve bee through a long dry spell because we’re really into them, because we’re anxious to get back on the horse after a breakup – that we ignore things we might not otherwise if we had a clearer head.
Relationship red flags are something to watch out for, and while it might be easy to see what sends your alarm bells ringing by what he does, it’s also important to pay attention to what he says. It’s not usually outright snide comments or insults that’ll have your antennae perk up; it’s far more likely to be statements meant as compliments or pledges to the quality of his character.
We’re here to let you know that if your man says any of these 20 things, you should tuck tail and run because this is not a guy you want to be involved with! Is there anything we missed, or any red flags you’ve experienced?
20 “I’m Not Looking For Anything Serious”
Maybe he just got out of a long-term relationship or maybe he’s just in a dating-around mood, but do you really want to bother getting dressed up and going out to meet a guy who tells you point-blank that you won’t have a future together?
Letting you know that he doesn’t want anything serious is his way of shirking responsibility in the event that you get attached. He’s already told you he wants to keep things casual, so any feelings you may develop are entirely your fault and not the result of his sending mixed signals, right? This is definitely a red flag to watch out for.
19 “I’m A Nice Guy”
A good rule of thumb when it comes to dating, relationships, and men in general: Any guy who feels the need to describe himself as a “nice guy” is definitely not a nice guy. You know why? Because nice guys simply are, they don’t have to preface themselves by saying it.
Self-proclaimed “nice guys” have become the stuff of subreddits where men can claim that they’re such nice dudes, but they’re always friend-zoned by women they’re attracted to. News flash: Women don’t owe you anything, and just because you exhibit some of the tenets of basic human decency doesn’t qualify you to get a date.
18 “You’re Crazy”
A guy who tells you that you’re crazy – not acting crazy, but just plain old crazy – you’d better watch out! This is a dude who will make you feel like you’re overreacting to what is likely a scenario that, quite rightfully, makes you upset! Calling you crazy is his way of making you legitimately feel crazy while simultaneously having you think that you have zero right to be annoyed, angry, or irritated. Men who call women crazy simply don’t want to deal with emotions, and so will instead tell you that any emotion is too dramatic or unwarranted. Watch out for this dude!
17 “I Hate Women Who [BLANK]”
This is a blanket statement that is a major red flag whenever a dude decides to say it. He hates women who play sports; he hates women who like video games; he hates women who wear too much makeup. What he’s really saying here is that he hates women, period. He wants someone who fits into his rigid list of requirements or do’s and don’t’s and, well, pass!
Any man who defines an entire gender by one characteristic that he doesn’t like – and applies it to their entire personality – is not someone who is worth your time or energy, because, eventually he’ll tell you what exactly he hates about you!
16 “I Didn’t Know You Were Smart”
This is just plain old chauvinism and something that should have you running in the other direction if you hear it. Why any person would feel that this is an appropriate thing to say to someone else is beyond us, but you might be surprised at how often it happens!
Hearing that you scored a high-profile job in a technical field or got into a prestigious school might cause him to say this, mistakenly thinking that he’s paying you a compliment. In actuality, it’s incredibly insulting and shows you exactly where his priorities were when he thought you weren't actually that smart.
15 “Should You Be Having/Doing/Buying That?”
Whoa, okay, hold up! Any man who attempts to control what you’re buying/eating/drinking/doing is a guy who does not deserve your time. Concern is one thing, but when it’s phrased this way – passive-aggressive and in a rhetorical question – it’s a way to cause you to question your own autonomy.
It’s great when our man has our best interests at heart, but a question like this isn’t doing that – it’s about HIS best interests. Keeping you under his thumb can start as innocuously as this, which is why this is an important red flag to beware of before it gets worse.
14 “It’s So Rare To Meet A Beautiful [Insert Job Title]”
Are you supposed to be flattered by this? Are you supposed to apologize for all the “not-so-attractive” women in your field of work? This is a common thing that is said in male-dominated industries and really ends up reducing you to an object of attraction rather than a colleague of equal importance.
We know that some men have a bad case of putting their feet in their mouths and speaking before they’ve thought things through, but any guy who is amazed that you’re both gorgeous and intelligent in a career that’s “for men”, it’s indicative of how his attitudes towards professional women are in general.
13 “You Look So Much Better Without Makeup”
What woman hasn’t heard this old chestnut? We know that men mean it to be flattering – you think we’re naturally pretty, why would we need to swipe on some lipstick or brush on some mascara? The thing is, women are far more likely to put on makeup for our own pleasure than in any attempt to impress a man.
Telling a woman she looks better going bare-faced (although the likelihood of seeing her totally sans makeup is rare unless you’re in a committed relationship) can leave us questioning what you think of us when we do get all dolled up, which sows seeds of insecurity, which is never cool.
12 “You’re The Prettiest Of All Your Friends”
We love to hear that a guy thinks we’re beautiful. In fact, we welcome it! Even getting a little hyperbolic and telling us we’re the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen is nice! What isn’t nice? Pitting us against our friends as if we were in some kind of beauty pageant where he’s the judge.
Unless we’ve asked specifically how we rank among our friends (for whatever reason), informing a woman how she stacks up among her girlfriends isn’t a cool thing to do. Generally, pitting women against one another is a bad idea, so avoid the kind of man who does this of his own accord.
11 “Come On, Please?”
This is a huge red flag, like matador-red. Any man who pressures you into doing anything you don’t want to do is a guy you don’t need to have in your life. That pressure can take on many forms, like pleading, ultimatums, threats, and more, and all of them should be avoided at all costs.
A man who truly loves you has your best interests at heart, and when you refuse to do something, he should accept that refusal without trying to force you to change your mind. This is a manipulative tactic that is designed to wear you down to get what he wants and is not part of a healthy relationship.
10 “You’re My Whole World”
On the surface, this sounds pretty nice, right? When you dig a little deeper, though, we learn that this is actually a pretty unhealthy behavior and one that puts the responsibility of his happiness squarely on your shoulders. That’s a pretty heavy burden to bear!
Being a man’s whole world means that he doesn’t have anything else going on – and you’d better not either. This is the dude who will demand all of your time and attention because he has nothing else to occupy himself. Stay away from this man, because what seemed romantic at first can quickly turn obsessive.
9 “That’s Pretty Good For A Woman”
What dude thinks that this is an okay thing to say to a woman? We’re not entirely sure, but we definitely don’t want to meet him!
Like being told that you’re surprisingly good looking for your career, this statement tends to happen more in male-dominated fields or sports. It’s a chauvinistic, backhanded compliment that’s meant to tell you that you did well for your gender, but, if you were up against a man, you wouldn’t measure up. This quote (or something similar) might be said in a joking manner by a man you’re dating, but you should still keep your guard up.
8 “You’re So Perfect”
Like a few other things on this list, being told that you’re perfect sounds adorable and lovely at first. It’s flattering how highly he thinks of you, right? Well, up until a point. This is a man who puts you on a pedestal, and being up there is a precarious position, because it’s doubtful that he’ll handle it well when you show that you’re a living, breathing human with flaws – and topple right off.
This red flag statement can be said by a man who has high expectations of his GF, and, when you inevitably show who you really are, he’ll throw in your face all his shattered assumptions like it’s your fault.
7 “I’m A Feminist”
Like telling you that he’s a nice guy, informing you that he’s a feminist is all about words, not actions. A man who says this is trying to earn brownie points by pretending to be an ally of women without actually, y’know, being an ally of women. He thinks that this is how he’ll be able to score with the ladies, which is totally not the point.
Men who are actually feminists will do the basic things that are required to be a decent human being, like respecting women. Shocker, we know. Thinking that you deserve a cookie for not being a terrible person is a red flag if we ever saw one!
6 “Not All Men…”
An offshoot of the guy who claims to be a feminist is the guy who wants to make excuses for dudes everywhere who have done awful things. Look, we ladies know that not all men are terrible people, and that, in fact, there are a lot of awesome guys out there! Unfortunately, probably 99% of us have had awful experiences with men that have given us pause, and, by saying that not all men behave that way, these dudes are invalidating our experiences. Instead, a man who acknowledges the bad without trying to outweigh it with the good is the guy you want to go for.
5 “I Love A Girl Who Eats”
Another misplaced compliment on this list, the man who says this thinks he’s being encouraging of a woman with an appetite. He thinks there’s nothing sexier than a woman who shoves a burger in her face or packs in the BBQ ribs – but only if she still manages to look super hot before, during, and after.
This statement fits into the dreaded “cool girl” stereotype, of a woman who can eat all she wants and still stay trim and tiny, so it’s anything but the progressive attitude he intends it to be. The guy who doesn’t police your food intake is the better choice, trust us.
4 “You Should Smile More”
Any woman will attest to the fact that being told to smile makes us want to do the exact opposite. Maybe our guy simply likes our smile and wants to see it more often. That’s sweet, sure, but it’s not something he gets to tell us to do. Sometimes, we just don’t feel like smiling, and being told to do so despite our mood seems to be something that is exclusively reserved for women.
Go for the guy who gives you a reason to smile instead, not the man who tells you to smile or smile more when you’re not feeling it.
3 “You’re Being Dramatic”
Like telling you that you’re being crazy, being told that you’re being dramatic or acting like a drama queen is a way to invalidate your feelings. You’re not being rational or logical, you’re not thinking clearly, you’re being dramatic!
A man who says this is doing it to make you bottle up your emotions so that he doesn’t have to deal with them. A guy who recognizes and understands that you have human emotions is more likely to hear you out. Sure, you won’t always agree, and maybe something will feel bigger to you than it does to him, but having a conversation about it is way more mature than telling you to shut up.
2 “My Exes Are All Crazy”
You know what the common denominator is when all of a guy’s exes are “crazy”? The guy!
Everyone has their fair share of bad relationships, or ones that ended sourly, but watch out for the man who describes all of his exes as totally nuts or the even calling her worse names. This is a man who makes excuses for his own bad behavior and blames his relationship woes on the other party, even though it takes two to tango. Plus, if a man is willing to describe all his past lovers as “crazy”, guess what he’ll call you when you guys break up?
1 “You’re Not Like Other Girls”
This is meant to be a sweet thing. You’re such a rare and beautiful jewel, you’re not like the other girls! The other girls are so lame, but not you – good for you! You’re so chill and laid-back, not like the other girls.
What did all these “other girls” do to sour this guy on them?
Another example of pitting women against each other, this is a red flag that comes up way too often in relationships, especially in the early stages. Simply telling a woman she’s awesome or not like anyone you’ve met before is a much better alternative.