6 Things You Need to Know About Bro Code

It’s mystifying, confusing and sometimes downright nonsensical: the Bro Code.

Even if you don’t want to know every little detail about it, you do need to know how Bro Code affects you and how you can use your knowledge of it to navigate the college dating scene—especially when your social circle means that your ex, your best guy friend and the guy you’re interested are all in on the Code. Check out the rules you need to know!

1. The Code is different for every friend group

Don’t listen to what you’ve heard through the grapevine or in the movies; Bro Code isn’t a leather-bound hardcover book that every guy reads when he gets to college. It’s different for every friend group.

“There are no set rules to Bro Code,” says Shawn, a senior at Rutgers University. “Bro Code is not a guideline per se, but a warning on how not to act. Above all, it’s pretty simple: Don't be an a**hole, and don't be selfish and ignore your fellow bros.”

Though some rules of Bro Code apply to most bro groups, your guy friends may have other specific rules. Maybe the guys all have dinner together every Friday night or have bros-only video-game sessions. Remember that each groups of bros is different, even if they all have some pretty basic, similar rules.

2. Bros come first

The idea that friendship takes precedence over potential hook-ups or relationships invades almost every group of guy friends.

Shawn says that Bro Code states, “Don't place the romantic relationship before the bro relationship.”

College guy Daniel says, “This rule, that even I personally have broken, can shatter friendships. It’s a dangerous world, going against the Bro Code.”

Bros adhering to Bro Code will not immediately place a relationship (or the prospect of a relationship) over their friends, so get ready for a guy to be unavailable on certain nights. He won’t drop everything to see you, just like you won’t ditch him for your friends on girls’ night.

3. Don’t date your friend’s ex (except for certain exceptions)

If you go to a small school, feel like your social circles are small or have a lot of friends in one particular fraternity, you may end up in a situation where you’re interested in your ex’s friend or acquaintance.

“A bro shall not sleep with a bro’s ex-girlfriend. This is a classic rule of Bro Code,” Daniel says.

While sometimes Bro Code can vary from group to group, Shawn said that the rule about ex-girlfriends applies pretty widely. “A common ground I find among bros is Bro Code involving ex-girlfriends,” Shawn says. “If a bro, for whatever reason, wants to date the ex of another bro, generally a mutual consensus is met between them.”

What does this mean for you? First of all, don’t leave things messy with your ex, if you can help it. Secondly, you may need to have a conversation with your ex giving him a heads up that you’re into his friend.

4. Being a wingman is a crucial part of being a bro

When you’re trying to figure out a guy’s behavior at a party or in class, you should think about his bros. Do you think that his friend could like you? If a guy at a party is interested in you, his friends will probably not approach you to give their friend a chance.

“A true gift for one bro to give to another is to select him as his wingman,” Daniel says. True bros will be good wingmen and will help a bro talk to a girl he might not otherwise talk to.

“Bro Code involving girls is a little more hit or miss as interpretation is entirely under the discretion of the bro,” Shawn says. For example, at a party, if a guy wants to talk to a girl on his own, his bros will back off.

5. Bros must always treat girls with respect

Whether you’re the girlfriend, sister or friend of a bro, the guy’s friends have to treat you with respect.

“Always treat a bro’s girlfriend with the same, if not more, respect as the bro himself,” Shawn says.

Daniel says, “One large sentiment from the Bro Code towards girls is how a Bro will treat another Bro’s female family members. It is not appropriate for a Bro to sleep with another’s sister. It is unBro. However, it is perfectly acceptable to compliment one’s sister on her looks or personality.”

Remember that no part of the Bro Code allows guys to treat you disrespectfully. If you feel like your guy is violating this rule, ditch that dude.

6. Bros don’t judge other bros for their hook-ups — but they do prevent bad situations

Don’t worry that you’ll be judged by the friends of the bro with whom you’re involved.

“Additionally, bros shall never make a bro feel entirely ashamed for hooking up with a girl,” Daniel says. He said that you shouldn’t feel like guys will say anything mean or unfair about you.

However, a bro will stop a fellow bro from making a bad decision in the future. “A rule that could potentially affect dating habits is one that has to be invoked numerous times in college: Never. Let. A Bro. Drunk dial,” Daniel says. “It’s a terrible scenario for the lady included and could have horrible outcomes.”

Bros traditionally do not interfere with another bro’s decisions about girls unless they involve a potentially bad decision. You should know that, to some degree, your guy’s bros will look out for him and know when he should and shouldn’t call you.

Bro Code, believe it or not, definitely applies to you. Whether you’re dating, trying to date, hooking up with or just friends with any guy, he probably has a circle of bros who expect him to follow these cardinal rules. Don’t be left in the dark about the Code and how it affects you!