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Sneak Preview: “The Her Campus Guide to College Life”

This is a sneak preview excerpt from chapter 13 of The Her Campus Guide to College Life: How to Manage Relationships, Stay Safe and Healthy, Handle Stress, and Have the Best Years of Your Life, which hits stores April 4, 2015.  Pre-order your copy now at hercampus.com/book so you can be one of the very first readers!

Rotten Romantic Relationships

Taylor Swift said it best with “I Knew You Were Trouble,” we collegiettes have a sixth sense for sniffing out bad boys. However, the unwashed, tatted up, leather-clad guy on the motorcycle isn’t the only troublemaker you should steer clear of (although anyone who reminds you of Russell Brand in any way should probably be given a wide berth). We’re talking about the guys who aren’t quite so obvious about their womanizing, the sensitive artists, and the quarterback types who, underneath their shiny, nice-guy exteriors, just might be Charlie Sheens in training. So how can you really tell if he’s a rotten egg? Be on the lookout for these seven sure signs he’s a heartbreaker.

He’s a Last-Minute, Late-Night Caller

You know that your guy has free time during the week—last we checked, watching hockey wasn’t an academic requirement—but he waits until 10 p.m. on a Friday night to ask you to hang out. At first you’re flattered and pumped to get to spend time with him. It isn’t until the next weekend when it happens all over again that you think to yourself, “Why didn’t he make plans with me earlier?” It’s a red flag if he needs beer goggles or liquid courage to hang out with you, and, just as bad, it could mean that he has some other ladies on the side. Needless to say, if you’re not number one on his list of ladies—or if he has a list of ladies at all, for that matter—he isn’t worth your time.

He Goes MIA

With cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, there’s hardly any way a college kid could slip off the radar. Yet, somehow, that troublemaker of a guy you’ve been texting has successfully managed to go missing. He doesn’t text, he doesn’t call, and he doesn’t answer any of your messages (of which there hopefully weren’t very many). Then, days or weeks later, he’s back, asking you to hang out. No explanation, no excuses—or just incredibly lame ones. What gives? It probably means he’s playing the field and you’re his backup option, which is definitely not okay (and not conducive to a healthy relationship). Don’t let yourself be the last to know when the signs are already loud and clear!

He Badmouths All of His Exes

There are two simple explanations behind your boy-toy’s trash-talking: first, that he’s perfect. Of course all of his last relationship’s problems were his ex’s fault, not his, because he’s infallible. Case closed. The other (and more likely) explanation is that he’s self-righteous, he’s critical, and he would rather take a punch than a rejection.

No one likes listening to a whiner, and why hang around a guy who only focuses on the negatives? Chances are he’d say similar things about you if you were to date and break up, and you definitely don’t want to be the next ex whose dirty laundry he airs in public.

He Disses Your Friends

The golden rule of girl code: friends over flirts, always. It’s one thing if he’s disrespecting girls whom he’s chosen to be with—the insecurity and blabber-mouthing are never good signs, but he might regret dating those girls for legitimate reasons. It’s entirely another if he’s disrespecting girls that you’ve chosen to be with: your BFFs.

You chose your best friends for a reason. Whether they’re witty, friendly, or wonderful wingwomen, they’ve earned your stamp of approval. If a guy says your friends aren’t worth your time, he’s not just questioning them; he’s also questioning your judgment. Definitely not okay.

He Guards His Phone with His Life

It’s the most obvious sign in the trouble-spotting handbook: If a guy is secretive about or protective of his phone, he probably has something to hide. Chances are, whatever he’s hiding isn’t something that Prince Charming would approve of.

If your guy is ignoring phone calls and texts, paranoid about letting you scroll through his pictures, and just acting sketchy in general, he probably has a skeleton in his closet. Or, more likely, another girl.

He Immediately Gives You Pet Names

Honey. Baby. Sweetie. If it sounds sugary, cute, and fitting for a fluffy new puppy, it’s a pet name. You may be flattered at first, but remind yourself how impersonal those nicknames are. The important thing to remember is that, though it may be an adorable name, it isn’t your name. Who’s to say he isn’t calling other girls by the same one? In the worst cases, it can be a way to avoid calling one girl by another girl’s name by accident. Yikes.

He’s Only Got Guy Friends

While it’s generally much easier to date a guy who isn’t attached at the hip to his best girl friend—none of us envy Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding competing with best friend and all-around awesome lady Julia Roberts—it’s not promising when you’re dating a guy who has no girl friends at all.

A guy without any lady friends probably isn’t getting good dating advice, might not give women the respect they deserve, and almost definitely won’t be willing to sit through The Notebook with you when you’re sick. Cross him off the list.


Whether you’re looking for an FWB or the love of your life, you want to steer clear of the players of the world. When you can tell that he’s trouble, get out of his way! There are plenty of other guys on campus who will mean it when they say that they want to get to know you, and we’d bet big bucks that they’d give anything for you to give them the chance to do it.

If you do find yourself in a relationship with a bad boy or someone who just isn’t good for you (or ready for a relationship in general), you have to be careful not to get in too deep and to make your exit before his treatment of you goes from bad to worse.

Stephanie is co-founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Media, which she co-founded in 2009 as an undergrad at Harvard.
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