Now that we are officially living in the age of Deanie Babies, it’s time to acknowledge the fuckboy type that we’ve all let come too far: the guy who comes off as emotional, sensitive, and into you (while directly in front of you), then turns around and treats you like a stranger. (The term I’ve heard most commonly for this is “softboy,” but that just makes me think his dick doesn’t work.)
The problem with this guy is that he’s “emotionally evolved” enough that he’ll try to avoid lying to you outright—instead, he’ll often actually present himself as going out of his way to be honest, while telling you misleading garbage that serves his own needs. If you find yourself in this situation (and if you’re planning on being single sometime this century, you will), please don’t come sniffling to brunch saying that it’s “your fault,” since he was “really open about his commitment issues.” I mean, yeah, if a guy brings up commitment issues and you don’t immediately take a blowtorch to his phone, then you’re fucking up at least a little—but a guy who treats you like you’re dating and then makes you feel crazy for it is ** absolutely ** a liar, and this is largely not your fault. Here’s how you can weed the “softboys” out early:
1. Ask Him Out
For most guys, “Are you free Friday?” is not the conversational equivalent of a loaded gun. But someone who’s trying to come off as a good guy, while blowing you off, can’t hit you with something as basic as a “not sure,” or leave you on read—nope, this guy will take that question and do fucking backflips with it until your grasp on reality is firmly shaken. Basically, this guy will do anything to deflect attention to the question itself, whether it’s by treating it like an invite to your cousin’s wedding in six months, or making a “joke” about how clingy you are. Classic softboy responses here include “You’ll be the first to know when I find out,” “I didn’t know we were official like that,” and “Ooh, you’re keeping tabs on me already.”
2. Slightly Inconvenience Him
In the early stages of dating, there’s a natural instinct to hide your inner princess and text back “awesome!” when he says he’ll be over in 10, even if you’re in sweats and week-old mascara. But if a guy is actually excited about seeing you, he’s not going to be thrown off by a “make it 20” text; he’s comfortable with the idea that seeing you is his plan for the evening, and this doesn’t change that. The modern fuckboy, however, will take this 10-minute delay as an opportunity to feel like you’re “controlling him” or re-evaluate the entire relationship, because he has to spend 10 minutes occupying himself that he didn’t plan on. The second you become more complicated than a stuffed animal, this guy is gone—he wants you to be a distraction from his life, not an actual part of it.
2. Pay Attention To Actions
Generally speaking, when peoples’ actions don’t match their words, that’s a pretty good indication that they’re lying. With the guys you’re probably dating, this is complicated by the fact that they’re obsessed with hypotheticals, probably because it’s the verbal equivalent of a no-strings-attached relationship. If a guy says, “I would love to bring you to my lake house sometime,” and never actually takes you to his lake house, dump him. (Side note: If he does take you to a lake house, dump him anyway. Lakes are the ugly sister to the beach, and you’re too good for that.) He’s enjoying watching you get excited over something that will never happen, and indulging in a fantasy 48-hour lakeside bang fest (this is probably not a common fantasy just FYI, sorry I keep talking about lakes) without any of the commitment of actually doing it. This guy seems into you (why would he even bring it up if he didn’t want to do it?), but really he’s just into himself and likes watching you fall for him. It’s the equivalent of flexing in the mirror, but with emotions.
Basically, when a guy is telling you the truth, you won’t have to ask any of these questions. 85-100% of the signs will point to him being into you. But if a guy only seems promising about 50% of the time, he’s not interested in anything other than your attention and vaguely not seeming like a dick. He’ll torture you for years if you let him, so please just go ahead and don’t.