Nobody’s perfect, so it goes without saying that each of us can be our less-than-best selves when we’re dating or in a relationship.
Giving advice is always so much easier than taking it—what’s that adage, “those who can’t do, teach”? So, let’s be real, I’m a much better teacher than dater, but with a little help from my (male) friends, I’ve assembled a list of the most annoying things we women do to unconsciously sabotage our budding romances. Think of this as your “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” guide—but we’re changing it up to how to lose a guy before he’s even yours.
And for any men reading this, you’re not exempt: you do things that irritate us as well, but we’ll save that for a different post.
Some things are obvious: don’t get drunk and have a conversation about feelings. In fact, limit your feelings talk in the beginning (tell your therapist or friends instead) and your alcohol intake. Sloppy drunk is never a cute look. Don’t become friends with his ex. That’s just stalkerish and weird. Don’t constantly tell him what he’s doing wrong. Nobody likes to be reminded of their flaws.
I interviewed five men for this article (all wish to remain anonymous), and by far, the topic that came up the most was social media. The image we women portray on our Instagrams and how/when we choose to pull out (or up) our accounts.
“When she shows you something from her social media account while on the date.”
“Nothing worse than her trying to document your date on Instagram.”
Nothing earth-shattering here. Chances are if you’re at dinner with a friend and you’re on the phone the entire time, that’s going to irritate said friend too. When your delicious pasta dish is served, just stay in the moment and eat it—don’t snap a pic and post it. Easy enough.
“Over-posting on social media when you’re not an influencer—it comes off as sort of desperate.”
Anyone who over-posts and clogs my feed is muted immediately (including influencers!), so this seems like a fair point of contention.
“Too much airbrushing/filters in photos—false advertising! Makes someone seem insecure, and lacking confidence is a turn-off.”
“Living a fake lifestyle on social media—guys don’t like it when people misrepresent their lives with photos of something they probably wouldn’t do if it wasn’t for a rare photo opportunity. It’s false advertising and cheesy.”
Here’s where it gets interesting. Men DO check out our Instagram pages prior to the date—and they judge us off of this. It’s like the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in this case the book is Instagram—and he’s judging it—and you. I certainly Google a guy before a date to check out his social media footprint, but for some reason I just assumed that men didn’t do that—lack of time or lack of investigative skills. Well, I was wrong. Even if you’re not online dating, if you have a public Instagram account and you’re single, that IS your dating profile—period. So post photos that actually represent the person you want to portray to call in your permanent plus one. I mean, I have a bunch of bikini pictures on my IG, so who am I to talk? Maybe that’s why I haven’t found “the one” yet. Then again, if he’s negatively judging me based on my bikini shots, then he definitely isn’t the guy for me. I like to be in a bikini; I’ve worked hard for this body—deal with it.
“How to lose a guy before it even starts ... question him about the girls he follows on Instagram.
How to confuse a guy and turn him on and have complete ownership of his mind … make cool jokes about the girls he follows. Make him understand that it doesn’t bother you one bit because he’s lucky to be occupying your time.”
Basically, play the game without letting him know you’re actually stalking him.
As I moved away from social media and delved deeper into the idiosyncrasies of the male psyche, what I noticed is that men are batsh*t crazy.
“Getting drunk at dinner and the slur and droopy eye appears. That's an instant deal breaker. Like, keep your sh*t together, you lightweight. If you don't have the tolerance of a drinker, don’t drink until four months in.”
Hmm, OK. Self-explanatory, although I’m sure there’s a kinder way to articulate this point.
“Dirty white socks or mismatched socks inside your boots even though he can't see them. Are you kidding me?”
Not quite sure why this is a deal breaker, but to one man, it is.
“Foundation. If I wake up and it looks like the joker slept on the pillows beside me, then call yourself an Uber, babe, and don't be under the covers when I get home for round two.”
Makeup in general was an issue of concern for a few of the men. Here’s another, slightly more gracious take:
“A natural look is preferred (if makeup gets you there, then fine), but looking overdone is not a good look.”
Moral: don’t cake it on and definitely wash your face before sleeping in his bed. I’ve also heard men complain about hugging a woman and getting her makeup all over their clothes. Again, not sure why this is a deal breaker, but I guess if he’s an OCD neat freak, it’s annoying. (The fact that he can’t put the towel in the dirty hamper is annoying, too, but we’ll save that for a different post.)
“Talking about an ex: the subtext here is usually pointing toward a compare/contrast, and guys don’t like to feel held to an arbitrary standard. Most of us put enough pressure on ourselves, we don’t need it from someone else.”
This follows the point I made above about referencing his flaws. Guys do NOT like to be told they’re less-than or not good enough. Women don’t like it either, but for some of us, we accept it too easily. Men—well, men will just walk on by (and bye).
“Name dropping or bragging about who you know or where you’re going: it comes off as insecure.”
“Name dropping and then she tells you she’s going to Mykonos, Saint-Tropez, and the closing parties in Ibiza for the summer.”
Spoiler: insecure is not attractive to men. Go figure. Apparently, neither is traveling and documenting your trip on social media (refer to the above section on over-posting).
“Has to go to every party; wants to go to the opening of an envelope.”
Always needing to be seen reeks of desperation—for men and women—so perhaps limit your party-hopping ways, or at the very least, don’t document them.
“When you introduce her to your friend and she thinks she’s one of the boys. We’re talking about golf, she knows golf. We’re talking about basketball, she knows basketball. We’re talking about cars, she knows cars. No matter what is being talked about, she chimes in.”
Does this mean that men want their women to be seen and not heard? I certainly hope not, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Or is it just that they want a more chill, not-trying-so-hard vibe with their lady-friend?
“She can’t be a spectator in the game, she has to be the star athlete.”
Basically, men are insecure and don’t like feeling emasculated. So although this is in reference to bogarting a conversation, it’s really just a metaphor for men and women in general: a woman shouldn’t be the star of the relationship. She shouldn’t be smarter, more opinionated, more successful. This frightens men to their core. Because, at the end of the day, men are so much more basic than we give them credit for. As archaic as it sounds (it’s practically 2020!), men still have the notion that they should be the provider in every sense of the word. They’re terrified of anything that will tip the scales.
I say, if he can’t handle it, he’s not for me. But I’m just serving you the knowledge—it’s your choice what you do with it.