If you’re looking for the red flags in men, the first thing you need to know is that the more you need from the men you date – attention, approval, money, status, or comfort – the more clouded your judgement can be.
Additionally, when you’re intensely attracted to a man, or even just lonely, it can be easy to overlook the red flags.
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Why Do Women Sometimes Ignore Common Red Flags in Guys?
Part of this is just the way attraction works.
We tend to treat people better when they are conventionally good-looking, to give them more opportunities, to interpret their mistakes more favourably, and to over-estimate their competence and trustworthiness, even if they’re children.
This phenomenon is known as the beauty bias, and it affects both men and women.
If you add in low self-esteem and some desperation to find a partner, you can be left quite vulnerable as a woman.
It’s easy to find yourself in a situation where you are more likely to over-value potential mates and become willing to compromise on things that are really important to you.
Even as the world population soars, researchers are finding that technology such as online dating is creating these exact scenarios for more and more people.
Self-esteem amongst Tinder users is declining, and hopelessness is on the rise.
Of course, online dating is not an intrinsically bad thing. It’s just a tool – one that confers opportunities that many people in the past never had.
For example, if you get relationship anxiety and are socially anxious or introverted, online dating can help level the playing field for you in terms of meeting partners.
But there are far too many stories out there of women in bad relationships who noticed early signs that a guy was going to be trouble, and didn’t know how to respond or what to do until it was too late.
And these social dynamics are definitely part of the problem. By the way, this applies to men too.
There are far too many men in bad relationships also who didn’t react to a red flag in time, although I am going to talk specifically about red flags in men in this article.
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What Are Red Flags In A Relationship With A Man?
We’ve all heard the obvious red flags. Cheating, abuse, a body in the basement…
I’m going to assume you don’t need any help knowing what to do with those signs.
But what about when things are more ambiguous, or when there’s something really weird that you know is off, but you don’t quite know how to describe it?
That’s where you need to be attuned to the warning signs. Let’s look at 9 unusual red flags in men that you should never ignore.
Red Flag #1: He’s Very Active On Social Media
When a man uses social media a lot, this could be a red flag. It depends, of course, on what he is using it for.
It’s actually one of the red flags that’s tempting to overlook, since so many people are glued to their socials these days.
Studies have shown that typical male social media use includes passively scrolling, making plans with friends, using Twitter to discuss politics or sports, or networking with potential business associates through Facebook or Instagram.
This kind of social media use is generally not a problem.
But there is also the tendency to use social media to seek out new relationships or potential partners to talk to, or simply to look at – and men may engage in this more than women do.
This kind of social media use can be a red flag, because it indicates that a man is getting meaning and significance through talking to and interacting with women, rather than from pursuing his own ambitions and interests.
And while there is nothing objectively wrong about a man doing this, if you are like most of the female population, you probably don’t want to date this guy.
For one thing – he’s most likely pretty selfish.
Instead of trying to find ways to contribute to the world and do something meaningful with his life, his happiness revolves around his own satisfaction and his own experience of variety.
Unless he is already highly successful and is taking a well-deserved break to enjoy life, there is a lack of directedness to this behaviour that is inherently unattractive.
It’s a warning sign of a lack of masculine direction.
I guess someone has to date the guys that are all about feeling good and getting that instant gratification.
But this is not the guy who is going to challenge you, push you to be all that you can be, or stay by your side when it’s hard. All the crucial things that actually build long term, healthy relationships.
He is probably also not going to be the guy who will put time and effort into your relationship, or make beautiful memories with you.
Plus, either this guy is a complete loser and no-one wants him anyway, or you are just going to be competing with a lot of women for his attention.
No matter how hot or perfect you are, or how many sexy outfits you buy, you probably won’t be able to hold his attention for long, because he’s all about that sexual variety.
There are so many women on social media and this guy can’t get enough of all of them.
By the way, there’s actually a very effective way of weeding out these toxic, low value types of guys online.
What I recommend women do in order to quickly expose men like this when online dating, is to use the dark feminine art of high value banter.
Because it creates moments of spontaneity that toxic men who are looking for their next hit of variety couldn’t respond to, nor be present with.
Toxic or abusive men cannot and will not actually attune to you or build a connection with you, and starting your conversation online with a great banter line will expose their toxic “game” and lack of integrity.
Better still, is the fact that high value banter will allow you to stand out to and connect with the high value men who are securely attached and genuinely able to connect with you (and want to).
If you’d like some high value banter lines to try out for yourself for free, then you can try out of banter class. It’s FREE! CLICK here to discover why you as a woman need to use the dark art of “High Value Banter” in order to quickly weed out the wrong types of men and create emotional attraction with the “BEST of MEN”!
(…Even if no man has ever given you any love and all you’ve encountered so far are pen pals, ghosts, booty calls, and incredible duds!)
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Red Flag #2: He Pays A Lot Of Attention To His Appearance
It can be a kind of nice feeling when you meet a guy that actually takes care of himself. At least you know he doesn’t spend all his time playing video games in his mother’s basement, right?
But while it’s completely fine for men to try to look decent or professional, taking it too far can be another of the unusual warning signs of red flags in men.
I once knew a guy who, according to his mom, saved all of his Christmas and birthday money as a teenager to spend hundreds on designer clothes.
Fast forward ten years, and he was buying way more clothes than his wife did and hitting up all the fancy stores, while she shopped at department chains.
When he lost his job, he expected her to keep providing this lifestyle for him, even though they had children to feed.
And to top it off, he didn’t help her take care of the kids while he was home, or do anything to contribute around the house, even when she asked.
So why is paying a lot of attention to his appearance one of the unusual red flags in men?
The same behaviour in women is probably not cause for concern, unless she’s spending unreasonable amounts of money or relying too much on superficiality.
But when a man is fixated on his appearance, it shows that he has weak masculine energy, or may lean a little more towards the feminine.
It also suggests that he lacks confidence in himself, and may be trying to distract from the fact that he doesn’t have much to offer in other ways.
Again, this is fine if that’s the kind of man you are attracted to.
But for the majority of feminine women, this is not what we’re looking for.
Thanks to millions of years of evolution that has shaped our mate preferences in ways that are adaptive for us and our children, we’re primarily interested in someone who can protect us and provide for us.
By this, I mean a man who is:
- Confident in his own direction
- Attuned to the environment around him, not to what other people think of him; and
- A man who is capable of focusing intensely on work to produce results
We want a man who can make us feel the aliveness of polarity, who is the yin to our yang, so to speak.
A man who is focused on his own appearance, in contrast, is likely to be highly self-conscious.
He may have a deep desire to please others, and he may be trying to attain status superficially – without actually doing anything of value.
Of course, a man could be paying attention to his appearance for other purposes, and it’s up to you to decide what his behaviour means. But from my general experience, I’ve found this to be a red flag.
Red Flag #3: He’s Good At Sweet-Talking
How many women do you know that are willing to try to seduce married men by dressing in revealing clothing, talking dirty, or just straight up sending sexy pictures of themselves?
And how many women do you think are out there just using their sexual appeal to get other resources from men – like money, status, or attention, even if they don’t consciously know it?
You might not know these women personally, but this definitely happens.
Generally speaking, this behaviour is a sign that the woman is a low quality mate, with few options for a relationship.
The male equivalent of this is the guy who goes around sweet-talking and charming women.
And just as women might use sex as bait, there are men using the prospect of romantic love and commitment as bait for women, without having established the foundation for a genuine relationship.
How do we distinguish this kind of pattern from the way people naturally fall in love – which can also involve a man giving you a lot of romantic compliments?
Well, there are a few specifics to look out for. If a man is:
- Particularly smooth and good at talking to people
- Gives you very romantic, but generic compliments a lot of the time
- Dangles the prospect of a relationship in front of you while his actions (towards you and other women) tell a different story
- Talks romantically with you without demonstrating any vulnerability or sign of genuine emotional investment (for example, you never see him embarrassed, flustered, worried about disappointing you, giddy with excitement etc)
- Says things to you that sound like he sees you as more of an ideal than a real person that he’s gotten to know
- Goes to complimenting you very early on
…Then he could be playing you.
He may even be love-bombing you. This is one of the red flags in men that sounds obvious on the surface, but catches women out time and time again.
You have to realise how easy it is for men to say these things, and judge him by his actions instead.
Red Flag #4: He Doesn’t Compliment You
But in case you thought this was going to be easy, it can also be a red flag when a man doesn’t compliment you.
While it can definitely be overdone or done in an unattuned way, as I discussed in my last point, a man praising a woman or telling her the things that he notices and likes about her is an important part of the process of falling in love.
For more on this, see: 19 Reliable Signs He Is Slowly Falling For You.
And this is why, if a man is too over-eager to compliment, it can be dangerous for a woman because it really does seem true that us women fall in love through our ears, as the old adage goes, or through the words that are said to us.
We talk about that cute thing he said with our friends, and we sometimes remember those moments for the rest of our lives. I know there are some things my boyfriend has said that I’ll never forget hearing.
But I used to be in a relationship with a man who literally never complimented me.
I didn’t even notice it was a red flag – we weren’t particularly in love and he wasn’t the most talkative guy.
Then one day after we’d been together for a long time, my friend asked me if he had ever shown any interest in my music (I sing and play piano and have been recognized by a lot of people for these things).
And I realised he had never asked about it, never said he liked my playing, never said anything nice even when I showed him things- for years!
And what’s more, in that moment, it became clear that he had never complimented anything about me at all. Not my looks, not the meals I made him, not the cakes I baked, not my personality…just…nothing.
He had said he loved me, of course, but there was nothing that actually showed that I was special to him, or that he valued me as an individual.
And I knew why, as well. It was because he literally didn’t notice me.
He was living his own life, and I was just part of the background noise.
I was young then and didn’t know what to look for in a healthy relationship, but I do know that he was not there for me when I needed him.
Ignoring red flags like this can take a toll on you in the long-term, as you somehow get used to being just someone in the background (and think it’s normal.)
If a man never compliments you, and never pays attention to what makes you unique, this can mean that he doesn’t have any value to offer you.
He’s just there to take from you. I call that a red flag.
And if you’d like to find out for sure how “commitment-friendly” your guy is, I recommend you take our quick and easy quiz to find out for sure:
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Red Flag #5: He Doesn’t Invest In Others In His Life
Take a look at the guy’s current relationships and past relationships. Is he (or was he) invested in them?
If you want to get good at spotting red flags in men, you need to practice observing men and looking for evidence of their intent.
This applies to all of human interaction, because we tend to fall for words and ignore or rationalize actions that don’t match our idea of who a person is.
When it comes to a man that you’re in a relationship with, or considering a relationship with, it’s really important to think about how he treats the other people in his life and look for signs that he is invested in them.
Look at his relationship with his mom, sisters, and other family members.
Listen to how he treats his friends and co-workers. Does he put them down at every opportunity? Does he resent them when they ask for his help, but take them for granted when they help him?
Chances are, if he doesn’t have much to give to those around him, he probably won’t have much to offer you either. And he may resent you for having even basic human needs.
Red Flag #6: He Agrees With Everything You Say
It can be nice when you and your man agree on a lot of things.
You might think you finally found someone that you’re truly compatible with – someone who really understands you.
And this isn’t always an illusion; it is possible for two people to meet for the first time and find that they share many core values and beliefs.
In order to form any kind of relationship with someone, there has to be some commonalities, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to connect and cooperate.
But when the man you’re dating agrees with everything you say, and doesn’t seem to have any opinions or ideas of his own, this can be a huge red flag. I’m reminded of the lyrics to Billie Eilish’s song Lost Cause:
“I used to think you were shy
But maybe you just had nothing on your mind
Maybe you were thinkin’ ’bout yourself all the time.”
A man who has little to contribute to a discussion, even when it’s around something that he knows about or something he’s interested in, is not likely to be stimulating company.
Of course, it’s possible that he might just be a man of few words and enjoy his own company, which would be less concerning, especially if he still shows some strong principles and preferences.
You can find a way to test that – like suggesting an activity that you know he won’t like, to see what he does.
But if he’s passive and he goes along with everything you say, this throws up a whole lot of red flags for a whole lot of problematic traits.
He could be narcissistic, and trying to play the part of the perfect boyfriend in order to lure you in.
He could be a people-pleaser and allow women to walk all over him.
He could be really lazy, to the point that he isn’t even bothered to listen to what you’re saying and engage with you.
Or, he might just not be invested in you at all, and have no intentions of sticking around, so he’s just going along with what you want right now because it’s easy, and he knows he won’t have to put up with it for long.
Red Flag #7: He Loves Gossip And Put-Downs
When men are even more into gossip and put-downs than the women in their lives, this can be a major concern.
Because high-value men (and women) don’t have the time or energy to focus on other people’s habits and failures.
They’re too busy working on their own goals and interests, and engaging in the more overt forms of competition that usually take place between men.
Studies with both humans and our close primate relatives have shown, for instance, that men tend to compete with each other directly, using tests of competence and physical aggression to establish hierarchy.
Women, in contrast, use indirect methods to compete with each other for mates and resources.
These methods tend to be subtle, social, and less straightforward, leading to more complex social hierarchies.
Gossip is one such method. It is basically a feminine strategy that we use to exclude, judge, or subdue other women.
For women, gossipping about others can also be a natural extension of thinking about your own own needs as well as observing social situations and dynamics a lot.
Sometimes, we’re just trying to figure out why we feel a particular way about a person, or what another person is thinking or doing.
This might not be the most sophisticated form of doing psychology, but it can serve a purpose in this sense – to help us work out our alliances, understand the nuances of behavior, and help orient us in our social environment.
Given all of this, when a man is always up for some gossip or is waiting to put others down, we have to wonder why he is so focused on the subtleties of relationships, like women have evolved to be.
Is he not capable of competing fairly with other men, so he’s resorting to a low-value way of trying to prove himself?
Is he more feminine in his personality – which may mean there won’t be much passion if he enters a relationship with a feminine woman?
Does he have nothing better to do? None of these things point to high mate value, if that’s what you’re looking for in a man.
These things are more of a warning sign of an ensuing toxic relationship.
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Red Flag #8: He’s Flaky And Imprecise
The final thing that we want to look out for is when a man is flaky and imprecise.
Typically, when we think about high-value masculine men – the kind that produce a lot of attraction in feminine women – we think about men who are focused, purposeful, and objective in their approach to life.
They may not be organized exactly, and they may not be on top of every area of their lives, but they do have a strong sense of direction and the ability to follow through on their plans.
If a man cancels on you repeatedly, has a hard time keeping up with work responsibilities, and is always changing his mind about what he’s doing, consider this a bad sign.
Either you aren’t important enough for him to put in the work needed to pursue you, or he isn’t the kind of guy that you can really trust.
If he doesn’t stick to his principles or his plans because he was never that committed to them in the first place, how is he going to follow through on any promises or plans he makes with you?
#9: Controlling Behavior
Controlling behavior is one of the biggest red flags in men. But we have to be careful with this one, because not every attempt to control something by a man is a red flag.
Sometimes he’s controlling things because it’s for the good of your relationship, his family, or just trying to do the right thing.
And then there’s controlling behavior that is designed to restrict your freedom, make you feel like you have less options, and keep you chained to him so that other men can’t access you.
This type of controlling behavior is more toxic and is usually either due to:
- Him having low self esteem; or
- Him not being able to control his own emotions
If a guy cracks it every time you don’t do what he wants and proceeds to try to force you to do the things he wants, that’s one of the biggest red flags in men.
Don’t let it go unnoticed.
Are red flags always a dealbreaker?
It depends on which red flags we are talking about.
Some red flags are always a dealbreaker, such as physical abuse and not being able to control his bad social media habits (like talking to other women).
But other ones are not always a dealbreaker.
For example, the above red flag of him enjoying gossip a little too much.
It can be argued that this type of red flag is easier for certain women to tolerate, specifically, more masculine women who enjoy a more feminine man in their life.
With each red flags you have to assess it’s toll on your emotional and physical health.
If there’s any cost at all – then you have to really wonder what the benefits are…
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How To Address Red Flags You Notice in a Guy
Here are some brief guidelines on how to address red flags.
Step #1: Ensure you don’t ignore the red flags
That’s the most important thing – not ignoring the red flags.
Ask yourself what they really mean for your life.
Give them the attention they deserve, but…
Step #2: Don’t react harshly or impulsively
Instead, assess the situation calmly.
Reacting harshly can backfire on you by triggering an already toxic guy.
We want to keep you as safe as possible.
Final thoughts on red flags in men
So there we have it – 9 unusual red flags in men that you should never ignore.
Let me know if there is anything important I’ve missed in the comments, or anything that you’d like to add.
And remember, whenever you read a list of “rules” like this one, you need to apply your own intuition to the situation and trust yourself to work out what to do.
While these red flags may be pretty universal, there are always exceptions, and it always pays to look at the overall picture of a man’s behaviour.
For example, he might be experiencing a rough patch in his life where he is neglecting anything beyond the essential, and just not have much in the way of resources to offer to those around him right now.
Or, he might be feeling angry or resentful towards you because you’ve hurt him, and resort to doing some of these things out of pain.
Make sure to use your own judgment, and to try to understand where he’s coming from, even if you feel he doesn’t deserve it.
P.S. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Here are some other articles that I think you’d really like too…
Penny is a writer and part time dating coach. She lives in Brisbane, Queensland with the love of her life, their two daughters and their three dogs. Penny is passionate about helping women realize their high value and harness the innate feminine energy that they were born with.