It's easy to spot and avoid a guy who is definitely an asshole, but there are plenty of secret, undercover asshole dudes out there, just waiting for the right time to show their true colors. Here, I decode the telltale signs of a guy who seems nice but is actually an emotional land mine just waiting for you to step on him!
1. When you tell him a cool story about how this man sent a nice email complimenting something you did at work, he says, "He's probably hitting on you."
Sure, being hit on sometimes can be flattering and whatever, and he probably thinks the subtext of this remark is "ur so hot!" but what he's actually saying is "no male human would ever say something nice to you unless it was because he wanted to put his penis near your body."
2. You've heard him say the phrase, "I know it's bad, but at least I'm aware of it."
Oh, cool, you might think, I'm boning an evolved man, a guy who's self-aware, a man who knows his faults. But really, you're boning a guy who looks inward to his personality, sees a pile of rotting garbage, and shrugs it off, because somehow, in his depraved mind, being bad and knowing it is way better than just being bad.
3. He talks about how great and life-changing of a book The Unbearable Lightness Of Being is, even though you know he's never so much as cracked open the copy he has on his bookshelf.
Here's a man who wants to be Cool, he so badly wants to be Cool, but he'd rather not do the work so he just lies about things he thinks are Cool and hopes that's enough to get him by.
4. Literally all his favorite musicians/authors/directors/actors/whatever are men.
Seems like a totally inconsequential, NBD thing, right? Like, who cares, it's just silly cultural stuff, it doesn't matter. But LOL, I am willing to put actual money on this dude being a bit of a misogynist.
5. When you misquote something from, like, Top Gun or whatever, he laughs a little and then says, "Actually, the line is, 'I feel the need, the need for speed.'"
It should be common knowledge by now that any guy who's into "actually"-ing you in public just to prove that he's an expert on more things than you is a total pile of trash, but lest ye forget, don't hang out with these guys. They seem smart, but actually, they're bad.
6. At a party with friends, he introduces you as his girlfriend who's cool AF, but says nothing about your job or accomplishments or any of the cool shit you do.
He doesn't need to showboat you around and make everyone feel incredibly uncomfortable, but how are you supposed to engage in party banter/small talk if he doesn't give any of his friends any bait to latch onto?
7. He sends you dirty texts and *gasp* some dick pics in the middle of the day when you're at work, in public, or otherwise occupied, without asking you if it's cool first.
Sexting is great! Please sext whenever and wherever you want (just pls don't get arrested and then blame me for it, thanks) but sending unsolicited "ugh, baby, I'm so horny for you" texts when you're in a meeting with your boss is uncool.
8. He compliments the way you do certain things, like how your makeup looks "so natural and not tacky at all."
This is just his way of being like, "You're cool because you're a low-maintenance chick, and all those other girls are high-maintenance, and that's a bad thing for a woman to be." The idea that "looking natural" is (1) even a real thing and (2) the ideal way for a woman to look is sexist and bad. The end.
9. He has literally zero female friends, because they probably all ran for the hills the second they realized he was a total douchebag.
It's great and all that he has a million bros who always wanna hang out and do whatever boys do when they congregate, but it should be a serious warning sign that other women aren't willingly spending any time with him.
10. When you suggest a song or book or TV show to him you think he might like, he says, "Cool, yeah, also you should really watch the British version of The Office, it's so good."
It's fine and cool and even sweet when a guy suggests things to you that he thinks you'd enjoy, but this is a two-way street. He can't just keep throwing his taste in your direction without reciprocating and watching that one YouTube video of the dog riding the lawnmower you keep trying to show him.
11. He says something rude about one of your friends even just one single time.
Literally unless one of your friends is threatening to kill you or your family or something, your guy doesn't get to say shit about people who've been in your life a long time and will surely be around much longer than he will. Even if it's masked as concern, like, "She was acting super crazy the other night, is something wrong with her?" it still isn't cool. At all.
12. He says anything that indicates he might be comparing himself to previous guys you've dated, like, "Oh, I bet Francis never offered to rub your shoulders, did he?"
Yeah, buddy, you're not, like, competing in a secret season of The Bachelorette, or doing a gladiator-style battle with every other guy I've dated, so don't act like you are.
13. He's totally disinterested in hearing you talk about any of your exes, like he can't possibly stand to hear about you dating someone else before meeting him.
The thing about dating and meeting people is that it doesn't happen in a vacuum. Even if you'd like to be a fresh and perfectly clean slate with zero history when you meet someone you might actually like, life/love/sex/dating/whatever just doesn't work that way. The best shot you've got at ending up with someone who isn't an asshole is ending up with someone who acknowledges that you didn't just emerge from the womb of dating yesterday and is willing to listen to you work through shit that inevitably will come up and affect the way your relationship with him functions.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.