I don’t even like this guy, so why am I hanging out with him again? It was a Sunday or Monday night and classes had finally started up again. I was in the passenger seat of a black Toyota next to a tall lanky athletic-type, a small watermelon slushy from Sonic between my knees.
After grabbing some groceries and drinks, we were headed back from Wal-Mart when the car next to us slightly swerved into our lane and sent my companion into a rage, a long string of angry remarks spewing from his mouth like vomit. A few seconds later, the rearview mirror lit up with the dreaded blue and red of siren lights as the cop who had been behind us watched the scene unfold and pulled over the other driver.
“Hahahaha, serves you right you bastard! Did you see that? That was effing hilarious.” He completed his long rant with a bout of obnoxious laughter that lasted a couple long and painful minutes. I messed with the straw in my slushy and half-heartedly chuckled, trying my best to conceal my distaste.
That’s when the thought passed through my mind—What a way to impress a woman. This guy is a jerk. The truth was, he liked me. At least, he told me he did. For a twenty year old who had never had a boyfriend or a romantic relationship, that was a nice thought. But it had been a week or two of “seeing” each other, and the closest thing to a date that we had been on was a late night trip to Wal-Mart for peanut butter and sitting in a drive through.
I wish I could say I told the guy off then and there. After one more week and several other sketchy incidences, it solidified in my mind how uninterested I was in pursuing anything further. I kicked myself for a while, the fact that I had even given him a chance, because I knew I deserved better.
So let’s face the facts, there are a lot of bozos out there. There are guys who look the part and say the right things, but end up leading you on, breaking your heart, and leaving you bitter, angry, and skeptical of every nice guy who crosses your path afterwards. So how exactly do you differentiate between a great guy from a bad apple? There are some definite signs he is wonderful and worth your time, but beware of these five bozos who you should just avoid altogether.
I get it, it’s not easy as a guy to ask a girl out. I will never downplay the guts it takes to approach us and say the words out loud—and I would be scared out of my mind if I had to, too. But guess what? You as a young woman are totally worth the risk.
It’s hard to have fun and move forward in any sort of relationship if you don’t know what his intentions are. When he says “let’s hang out”, is that a date? When he texts you non-stop, are you more than friends? The Wish-wash is either playing games with you to maneuver out of a commitment or he is a horrible communicator. Don’t give him the easy was out. Trust me, there are guys out there who will be clear that they like you and will undergo the torture of figuring out when and how to ask you out on an actual date. Pick him over the bozo who might have a crush on you but is sending mixed signals and only knows how to play games.
The Silver Tongue
As a sophomore in high school, I sat in a hot tub in a backyard with a group of my closest female friends. We went around the circle playing “Never Have I Ever”, saying things we had never done and watching as other people in the group counted down from ten when they had more life experience than us. When it came to my turn, I held my innocent fingers up and said, “Never have I ever been told I’m beautiful by a boy before.”
At the time, that was something I wanted more than most things in the world—a guy who really liked me to tell me that I had value, that I was pretty.
Two things come with this, though. There is a wide difference between flattery and compliment, and it all comes down to intention. A silver tongue will shower you in words about how great you look, but a great guy will shower you in words of how great you are. A bozo will use empty flattery to drag you along or get what he wants, but a great guy will compliment you when he really means what he says. Know the difference.
The Control Freak
In a world of 7.125 billion people, we are bound to have a few guys crash into our lives and send us reeling. It’s exciting when you meet someone and think that perhaps they might change your world. But many of us have been in a situation where we meet a guy, we text a lot or make plans or whatever—and at some point we forget to text him back or something comes up and we have to cancel. The Control Freak gets angry, frustrated, and mean.
Just because he came into your world doesn’t mean he is the center of it. You still have friends and family, commitments and things you are passionate about. You are still the ultimate opinion on how to cut your hair, what to wear, and the activities you should pursue. Yes, it is important to set aside time for him and value his opinions, but he also should respect who you are, your loved ones, and the things that make you happy.
“I got bored.”
“I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.”
“Things just aren’t as exciting as they used to be.”
It would take me several hands to count the amount of times I’ve heard these lines, from guy and girl friends alike. Relationships are complicated, messy, fun, and sometimes hard. But they are not entertainment or a one-way street and they require an investment of time, of effort, of emotions and resources.
Be wary of the guy who is more interested in what he can get than what he can give. Like a patron at his favorite restaurant or clothing store, he stops in to be served and get what he wants quickly. You are not a quick fix or a one-stop shop—you are a treasure, hand-crafted and precious to God. Don’t let any guy, or any one, undermine that truth. Relationships require mutual investment, two people working together and pouring into each other.
The Not-so-social Networker
Meeting people and talking to them has never been easier. There’s texting, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and all that jazz. Unfortunately, in a world of computer screens and the typed word, so much gets lost in translation. This red flag is a big one, and perhaps the easiest to spot.
If he only wants to text—not a good sign. If he only wants to have the hard or deep conversations over a screen—not a good sign. If he can’t talk to you face-to-face or only says the harsh or meaningful in a detached medium, he is a coward. I know that sounds harsh, but the Not-so-social Networker doesn’t know how to talk to you and talking is one of the most important foundations of any relationship.
It’s easy to cuss someone out over a Facebook message. It’s easy to text into the night. It’s easy to tell you how great you are without actually having to get to know you. Don’t pick that guy, because the great one will want nothing more than to sit across from you and talk or be around you whenever he can.
Don’t be afraid of high standards. I’ve been labeled picky, stingy, and unrealistic over and over again. I’m twenty-one years old and just now getting my first taste of the dating scene, but after bumping into my share of bozos through high school and college, I’ve figured out just how high my expectations really should be.
There may not be Mr. Right for any of us. We are all humans, messing up and learning as we go. Any guy you spend your time with will have his faults, just as we all have our own. But please, please, please don’t settle. Don’t settle because he says some fancy words, because he acts like he likes you, because he might be a good enough guy.
There are many wonderful men in the world, but sometimes you have to wait for your paths to cross. Don’t be too busy entertaining a bozo that you miss the real man knocking on your front door.