Men are often portrayed as being honest, logical and straightforward creatures. They say what they mean, don’t say things that aren’t true, and like to stick to the point. Even though this can be true, there are still certain lines that men say that should be interpreted as red flags.
Sometimes things that seem romantic can really be super sketchy, and the odd things he says can actually be warning signs to stop wasting our time with the relationship.
For the most part, common lines used in the dating world are red flags because they indicate that someone isn’t interested in the same kind of relationship that we are. While seeming innocent, they also might reveal that a guy has problematic views of women in general, or that he’s hiding behind excuses.
Just as there are things guys tend to say that should be red flags, there are also those that seem like bad news, but they’re really not. Overthinking can cause so much unnecessary stress and tension, and there are some lines used by guys that actually aren’t as bad as we might think.
Check out these 15 sketchy things he says that are red flags, and five that we shouldn’t overthink.
20Red Flag: ‘You Don’t Know What You Want’
If a guy tells you that you don’t know what you want, but he does, it’s a major red flag. Sometimes this can come across as charming if you don’t think about it too much, but it plays into the narrative of a woman needing a man to take charge of her life. Um, no.
Anybody assuming that they know what you really want when you’ve told them otherwise isn’t endearing in any way—it’s problematic and should make your alarm bells ring like crazy. The type of person who says this is usually controlling and domineering in their interactions with others.
19Red Flag: ‘I’m Tired Of Being Stuck In The Friend-Zone’
We’re really not fans of the “friend-zone” concept. Complaining that somebody thinks of you as a friend rather than a love interest has entitlement written all over it. It isn’t a great feeling when you like someone and they don’t like you back in the same way, but that’s life. It happens to all of us.
It’s also not a nice feeling to have someone resent you and whine that you’ve put them in the friend-zone when you can’t help the fact that you’re not interested in them. If he complains about being friend-zoned, he might still belong in the schoolyard.
18Red Flag: ‘I Attract Crazy Girls’
Most of us have a story about an ex who caused us some grief. But if we have a string of exes who were all bad news, it might say more about us than them. Either we make seriously bad choices when it comes to dating, or our exes weren’t actually that bad, and the problem is us.
When someone claims that all their exes were crazy, it could be a sign that they tend to demonize anyone they break up with and that they can’t take responsibility for their actions. If it’s a guy calling all the women he’s been with “crazy,” there’s a chance he’s got really bad luck, but there’s a higher chance that he has a habit of doing things that turn them “crazy.”
17Red Flag: ‘I’m Unlucky In Love (And Life)’
It’s easy to feel sorry for someone who says that they’re always unlucky, whether they’re talking about love or life in general. Anything along the lines of “It never goes right for me” or “The world’s out to get me” or “Of course this happens to me” might make you feel sorry for someone, but you might want to steer clear of potential love interests who talk like this.
Firstly, you never want a relationship to be completely based on sympathy—you shouldn’t be with someone just because you feel sorry for them. But more to the point, someone who holds this attitude is less likely to be proactive about making positive changes in their life.
16Red Flag: ‘You Don’t Want Someone Like Me’
Lines like “You don’t want to be with someone like me” and “It’s not you, it’s me” are quite common in the dating world. In all honesty, they’re rarely true. Telling someone you don’t want to be with them because of your issues, not them, is usually a way to let them down without hurting their feelings.
While we can admire not wanting to hurt people’s feelings when you’re rejecting them, saying this actually confuses things. If you tell someone you’re the problem, when you actually think that they are, you risk them not agreeing with you and pursuing the relationship anyway. When you hear this, it could be a sign to cut your losses and move on.
15Red Flag: He Thinks She’s Flawless
We know: this really doesn’t sound like a red flag! It’s not a bad thing to receive compliments, and obviously, it’s a promising sign when the person you’re seeing thinks very highly of you. But there’s a difference between thinking highly of you and believing that you are flawless.
Some people put their partners on a pedestal and are so blinded by their feelings that they don’t think that person can do anything wrong. But we all do the wrong thing sometimes, and we all make mistakes. None of us are flawless, so this delusion will come crashing down sooner or later. If someone seriously believes you are, and wants you to be, flawless, you better set them straight.
14Red Flag: ‘I’m Never Wrong’
It’s pretty easy to tell when you’re dating someone who thinks they’re incapable of making a wrong decision. They’ll say things like “I told you so” to highlight that they were right yet again and will weasel out of accepting responsibility and blame when things go wrong. They’ll always have an excuse ready.
And anything he says that shows he can’t ever be wrong, whether it’s a string of excuses or saying I told you so, should be a red flag. Even though he may have positive attributes as well, this kind of attitude makes someone really, really difficult to be in a relationship with.
13Red Flag: ‘I’m Coming Out Of A Serious Relationship’
When he makes a point of telling you that he just got out of a serious relationship, take it as a sign that he’s not looking for another one. That doesn’t make him a bad guy, and we appreciate that he’s upfront and honest about it rather than leading you on if he has no intention of staying with you long term.
But understand that this means he won’t be sticking around. It should be a red flag if, for whatever reason, you still think you’re going to end up being the love of his life. This line is definitely a sign to move on.
12Red Flag: ‘Privacy Is Incredibly Important To Me’
If somebody chooses to not be faithful to their partner in today’s world, it’s a lot easier to get caught. Thanks to social media, it’s a lot more difficult to keep anything in your life private, including your soiled laundry. It could be a red flag if he tells you that privacy is incredibly important to him and he wants to keep all evidence of your relationship off social media.
Some people genuinely don’t like to share on social media, so you’ll have to analyze the specific situation to know whether this is a red flag or not. If he seems like an overall private person, this might not be a big deal. But most of the time, it’s not a good sign.
11Red Flag: He Will See How It Goes (With Regards To Seeing Her Again)
When we are really interested in someone, it’s difficult to make ourselves seem indifferent. And despite there being a few sketchy things that men can say, most of the time they’re pretty straightforward creatures. If you don’t get the feeling that he’s really into you, he’s probably not.
When it comes to the end of the date and he says something vague like he’ll see how he goes about setting up another date, then chances are he isn’t really interested in seeing you again. If he was, he would lock it in, just like you would with anything you were really interested in.
10Red Flag: ‘I Never Have My Phone On Me’
In this day and age, a person who never has their phone on them is certainly the exception. In most cases, if a guy tells you that he never has his phone on him, or is really bad at remembering to reply to messages, or can never get reception, there’s a high chance that he just can’t be bothered responding to you.
Maybe not during the working day, but when he has free time, if you were important to him, he would be responding to you. Explanations about not having access to his phone are likely to be excuses because he knows that it’s pretty rude to ignore someone.
9Red Flag: He’s Trouble/Bad News
In movies and songs, bad boys are enticing. But in real life? They are much more trouble than they’re worth. You might try your chances with one or two bad boys in high school, but as an adult, do you really have time for the drama that these types tend to bring?
We’re not saying to run for the hills if he has a little wild side to him. We’re just saying that if he makes a point of telling you that he’s bad news, or he’s trouble, he’s probably a little too much trouble. Being with him will probably be hard work.
8Red Flag: ‘Why Aren’t You Smiling?’
There’s a difference between a guy wanting you to be happy and a guy who wants you to smile for him. The former might be a catch, and the latter is someone to avoid. Constantly asking you why you aren’t smiling and telling you to smile more is often a way of trivializing any negative experiences you’re going through.
It’s condescending because it implies that you couldn’t possibly have a reason not to smile, and in some cases, reveals a guy who believes that you looking pleasant for him is more important than you expressing how you really feel.
7Red Flag: ‘I’m Super Focused On Work Right Now’
Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with someone who’s focused on their work. That said, if you’re approaching the situation from the perspective of a potential lover who is interested in a relationship with this person, it isn’t good news for you.
Whether he’s really focused on his professional goals or not, saying this can be a way of letting someone know that you don’t plan on getting serious with them and you don’t plan on giving them a lot of your time. This might be a red flag if you’re looking for a relationship and might mean you need to find someone whose goals are more aligned with yours.
6Red Flag: ‘You’re Different From Other Women’
When a guy tells you that you’re not like other women, it sounds like a compliment. But is it really? Assuming he means it in a positive way, then he’s saying that most women have some defect or negative trait that you seem to be missing. It’s a compliment for you but might shed light on the fact that he doesn’t really think highly of women in general.
Dating a guy who doesn’t respect women, or stereotypes them all into the same category, is harder than it looks. You deserve someone who has a higher level of understanding than thinking you’re the one exception in a sea of unsuitable women.
5Don’t Overthink It: ‘She’s Just A Friend’
It’s easy to freak out when you notice a girl hanging around your partner. Even after he tells you that she’s just a friend, you still might find your mind wondering whether that’s the truth or not.
But according to Chuck Henderson, guru into the minds of men at Wall Street Insanity, when guys say that she’s just a friend, they really mean it. Henderson writes that the translation for “She’s just a friend” is “I’m flattered by your jealousy and I swear I’ve never [been physical] with her. If I had, we probably wouldn’t still be friends.” Good to know!
4Don’t Overthink It: ‘You Know How To Eat’
In a society that holds us all to certain standards of beauty, hearing that you know how to eat or that you clearly like your food can seem like a huge insult. But according to Henderson, this is actually not intended as an insult when coming from the guy you’re seeing.
“This is not a slam on your [size] at all, so please don’t take it that way,” he writes. “You don’t make me go to vegan restaurants, and you order things I like, which means I can finish what you don’t eat. Life is good.” In most cases, this is all that’s behind this line.
3Don’t Overthink It: ‘Call Me’ (Rather Than ‘I’ll Be The One To Call’)
Some of us overthink it when a guy asks us to call him after a date. We let our insecurities take over and think that because he’s not taking the initiative and being the one to call us, he mustn’t actually be that into us at all. But that’s not true!
If someone tells you to call them, it usually means that they actually want to hear from you. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t tell you to get in touch. On the other hand, if he says he’ll be the one to call, it could be because he’s taking initiative, but it could also be because he has no intention of speaking to you again and doesn’t want you to bother him.
2Don’t Overthink It: ‘I’m Not Angry’
Henderson explains that when a guy tells you that he’s not angry, he’s actually not. He might be a tad annoyed, or he might have been angry earlier, but if he is saying that he’s not mad, he’s really not. At least, he’s not angry enough to want to talk about it.
If there is something bothering him, he knows it’s something he can get over by himself in his own time. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that he’s actually really angry even if he says he’s not, but that just causes unnecessary stress. He says he’s not angry, so believe him!
1Don’t Overthink It: ‘You’re Beautiful’
We know what you might be thinking: on what planet is being called beautiful sketchy? Sadly, for some, lines like this seem too good to be true. When you’re used to either being disrespected or not even acknowledged, the only compliments you receive pertain to your body and the only tokens of affection you get are questionable pictures over dating apps, it’s easy to think that a guy is full of it when he calls you beautiful.
It is rare to hear this, and that’s because guys don’t normally say it unless they mean it. So if a guy says it to you, and his behavior is consistent with it, then he probably means it.