This time of year brings out a sense of preparation, with summer quickly approaching and finals week finally behind us. There are new locations and careers for graduating seniors, and a new semester for those of us still trying to get through college. But a multitude of new beginnings will be happening for the incoming freshman class of 2026. There are many different experiences that come with college life. Between living on your own for the first time, figuring out what classes you need for your major, questioning if you made the right choice with said major, joining an organization to boost your resume and balancing studying, eating, sleeping and social time, the list runs on. All new, and all slightly terrifying
Now, I could write about the best places to study on campus or the best food spots, but I won’t overwhelm you with yet another campus life hack you probably already know. Instead, in the spirit of generosity, I’ve decided to share a list of the five toxic men you’ll likely meet when you come to college, so that you can avoid being caught up in their games like I was.
- the skater boy
The first on our list is your typical heartbreaker. From a distance, the skater boy seems like the perfect dating material. He’s cool and mysterious, and somehow even when he wipes out on the newest trick he’s trying to learn, he manages to look completely hot. You guys might hook up a few times, and he may even let you skate with him or go on dates. You feel seen with him and he makes you believe that you can put your guard down because he just gets it. But then eventually, after maybe a month or two, his energy changes and he starts to pull back. He tells you that he’s just going through some things and that’s why he can’t commit to you, that you deserve so much that he can’t give, but the truth is he’s just emotionally unavailable. He probably cares about his skateboard more than you, so do yourself a favor, babe, and leave this guy alone.
- The gym bro
This is the guy that hits you up on Tinder with a “gym date?”, then leaves you hanging for another week. Of course, he seems hot because he has his gym schedule planned down to the very seconds that he gives himself to breathe, yet he can’t take the time to decide when he wants to take you for a date. These guys are just looking for someone to boost their egos. He’ll compliment your body and show you off to his friends, but only because it makes him feel better about himself. At the end of the day, he is probably obsessed with his own reflection and posting his #gymgainz more than he ever will be with you, and you’re worth so much more than that.
- the wanna-be frat bro
This guy isn’t even initiated into a fraternity, yet he somehow talks more about Pi Kappa Alpha or Sigma Alpha Epsilon than the guys who are part of the cult. He doesn’t care about you, your life or your feelings at all, but sometimes he’s mildly attractive enough that you are blinded by these flaws and choose to be with him anyway. He’s constantly partying, to the point where you question if he actually attends university at all, and will post multiple girls on his social media feed, then tell you you’re overreacting because you’re not even together. This guy is the picture that pops up next to “douchebag” in the dictionary, so you will save yourself many tears by leaving this guy alone when he approaches you at the club.
- the “nice guy”
The nice guy is the unsuspecting red flag on the list. Sure, at first, he is so sweet. He faithfully hypes you up in the comment section when you post a cute picture on Instagram and is ready to take you out on date nights every weekend. He’s constantly showering you with affection and letting the world know that you are his girl. Be careful though, because as soon as the honeymoon phase fades away, and you don’t act exactly the way he wants, he starts to gaslight and manipulate. He tells you that he deserves to be with you because he’s always been there and gets jealous whenever you want any space or to have a girl’s night out every once in a while, rather than spending time with him. He may be “nice,” but toxicity has a habit of hiding under that guise, so leave this guy in your comments section where he belongs.
- The high school crush
At the end of this list is the guy that many college girls have experienced in some way. He was the guy you spent all your high school years pining after. Now you’re both in college, and thus more attractive. He might have grown a couple of inches over the summer and some facial hair too, and maybe he’s hit the gym and now has a six-pack and sizable biceps. Either way, he hits you up randomly during the fall, and slowly, you guys chat more and reminisce the good old times. He’s more obvious about flirting with you now and convinces you that you were the one who got away. This is all a lie though, because the truth is, there was a reason why it didn’t work out before, and it’ll be no different now. Old problems eventually start to come up, and you realize he’ll never change. Spare yourself going through those awful feelings a second time and choose to be with someone who cherishes you the first time they have you.
At the end of the day, you’re going to meet so many new people in college and have a lot of your own of good and bad experiences. I am only here to give advice from the things I’ve learned, but I also encourage you to enjoy being young and to live. Embrace every moment that comes your way, but maybe steer clear of red flags that follow.
Also—for legal reasons—these are just my opinions, and not at all based on any real-life experiences.