We’re often trained to believe that guys are classified as “jerks” when they ignore your texts or stand you up for a date. However, there is a specific breed of jerk I like to refer to as “The Tool” who is actually very attentive, and great at making dates. His romantic follow-through isn’t the issue — rather, it’s the small, douchey things that does, which slowly pile up until one day you look around and say “Oh god, how have I been dating an asshole this entire time??”
In order to prevent you from having this unpleasant epiphany, I’ve compiled some handy signs that are excellent signifiers for whether or not the current object of your (tentative) affection will still look like a knight in shining armor down the road.
Because, in a world where Tinder exists, it can often feel like we have no choice but to settle for the guys who aren’t especially nice, but at least make an effort to call when they say they will.
NO MORE. Don’t settle for tools. Notice the warning signs and red flags early on so you don’t find yourself committing years of your life to someone who actually annoys the f*ck out of you!
1. He refers to most of his ex-girlfriends as “crazy.”
This is the adult equivalent of those teenage girls who always say, “Ugh, I hate drama,” yet drama seems to magically follow them around like a pet cat. Being a little bitter about past relationships is one thing, but if he’s shitting on all of his exes rather than attempting to speak of them in a diplomatic manner, there’s a high probability that his girlfriends were never the problem — he was.
2. He always finds a way to turn the conversation back to himself.
When you’re telling a story, does he immediately share a similar anecdote from his own life afterward, without acknowledging anything about what you just said? Chances are decent that he wasn’t even listening, he was just waiting for you to shut up so he could share more charming details of his sparkling personality. And if he doesn’t listen when you talk, then why the f*ck are you dating him?
3. He’s rude or patronizing to the bartender or waitstaff.
You can discern quite a bit about someone’s personality by how they treat people outside of their social circle. If they’re snarky and a little petulant towards waiters, bartenders, janitors and the like, then that’s a glimpse of their true personality: the person they become when they have nobody to impress.
4. He cannot stand being corrected, even if he’s actually wrong.
While nobody necessarily enjoys admitting that they’re wrong, it’s important to acknowledge when you’re incorrect or misguided — even when it comes to small disagreements. If he insists that Casablanca was made in 1940, but you tell him it was actually made in 1939 (God, what a stupid conversation), and he immediately starts backtracking rather than admitting his mistake, that’s ridiculous and petty. A mature adult knows that saying “Ah, my bad. Guess I was wrong,” is a natural part of life.
5. He casually litters.
It sounds small, but holy sh*t, this is a major red flag. I mean, sure — we’ve all thrown an empty soda can at a trash can a little too cavalierly, causing it to fall just short of the lid. But, there’s a different between missing the trash can and throwing something directly on the ground. If he can’t keep his garbage off of the sidewalk, there’s a decent change he can’t keep his emotional garbage to himself, either.
6. He teases you a little too much.
It’s one thing to tease you in good humor, but it’s another thing altogether if his jokes start verging on “humorous” insults. You may want to make an excuse for him and say it’s “just his sense of humor,” but his sense of humor shouldn’t come at the expense of your dignity. Just sayin’.
7. He claims that he’s been “Friendzoned” on multiple occasions.
UGH. This behavior makes my blood boil. It’s like he’s essentially saying that any woman he pays attention to for an extended period of time owes him sex. If he can’t handle women who are only interested in a platonic relationship with him, then he’s a childish boor who isn’t worth your time.
8. He doesn’t like going down on you, even though you happily do it for him.
I get it. Cunnilingus isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But you know what? Neither is fellatio. As Samantha once said on Sex and the City, “Honey, they don’t call it a ‘job’ for nothin.'” If you give head, you deserve to get head in return. I’m pretty sure it’s written in the Bible.
9. It’s not uncommon for him to start sentences with “No offense, but … “
The only time anyone says this is when there’s a WHOPPING DOSE of offense coming your way. If he’s the type of person who tables an insulting or distasteful remark with “No offense, but,” then he clearly has no brain filter. Is that something your really want to deal with? Or, are you willing to sit there while he rattles on about how victim-blaming gets a bad rap?
10. When you hand him your phone to show him a single picture, he starts scrolling through all of them.
UGH. THIS IS THE HIGHEST OFFENSE. CAN YOU JUST … NOT? It’s one thing to do this on accident, but if he sees nothing wrong with taking a peak at the other photos on your phone without your permission … well, he might not think he needs permission to look through any of your other possessions, either.
Related-ish: 6 Subtle Signs You’re Actually Becoming An Adult