11 Signs He's A Secret Scumbag (And You Need To Dump Him)

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Once upon a time, I had a friend who was dating a guy we’ll call Greg. Greg was a student at my university who all the girls liked, but something just struck me as “off” about him. He always smiled. He was on the track team or some other sports team. He, unlike me, was actually invited to university parties. And did I mention everyone liked him? Something about him didn’t sit well with me.

Meanwhile, my friend Luke would complain about this one kid named Greg, too. Greg apparently had herpes and had sex with girls without telling them he had a disease. He also had stolen Luke’s video game console the month before.

Long story short, it became very clear to me one day that both Gregs were one and the same, primarily because Luke had pointed out “evil Greg” to me. Suddenly, everything made sense. My friend, who was worried that Greg was cheating on her, found proof of it and had to get checked for STD transmission, too.

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Looking back, I realized what had happened. My Scumbag Radar had gone off, while everyone else was too blinded by his overly smiley veneer to see him for what he was. Want to avoid a relationship with a secret scumbag? Watch for these warning signs he's a scumbag and is not at all what he seems.

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Here are 11 signs he's a secret scumbag, and you need to dump him:

1. You get a feeling that he really puts in a lot of work to be a “pillar of society,” but not for the right reasons

Though this is not always true, it’s been my personal experience that the worst human beings often choose jobs and roles that make them well-respected community leaders — and they do that so they can have a good cover to continue to be horrible to others.

John Wayne Gacy was a boy scout leader and major volunteering guru. John Edwards, who cheated on his wife while she had cancer, was a politician. So, there are definitely a lot of examples in this genre.

2. He seems fake-happy all the time

The thing that got me about Greg was that he didn’t seem to have any mood aside from happy, and didn’t ever really seem to be genuine about his happiness. While he did smile, it never showed in his eyes. It felt plastic, almost like a cheap marketing campaign to get people to like him.

3. It often feels like he markets himself to be a good guy

The more someone tells you that he’s such a great guy, the warier you should be of him. Unfortunately, when it’s accompanied by a handsome face or a nice career, we tend to ignore our better judgments of this.

If he regularly talks about how much volunteering he does, how wholesome he is, or how kind he is, watch out. Chances are that he’s overcompensating for the kind of person he really is.

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4. He’s thriving in a social culture that is toxic to others

The only people who tend to fare well in toxic environments are toxic people. This is doubly true in social groups that tend to be misogynistic or bro-ish, primarily because these kinds of scenes tend to put guys with toxic mindsets in power. Even if he seems nice, a man who thrives in a toxic social scene isn’t likely to be what he appears to be.

5. The moment that you don’t do what he wants you to do, he stops talking to you

At first, this may seem reasonable, but you know what? It’s really not. People are not wind up toys that you can program to perform for your fun. As long as someone is respectful, you should be willing to talk to them or at least acknowledge their existence. If he can’t even do that, it's one of the signs he's a scumbag.

6. Every interaction that you have with him seems superficial; it’s as if you know you don’t know the real him

When you talk to a person who is honest about who they are, you will likely have hard-hitting conversations and learn about them as a human being. With guys who tend to be secret scumbags, you won’t get that.

You won’t ever get to know much about him, or ever really hear about him being upset or even concerned for anything. It will be a way more superficial chat, and that’s for a reason. The reason why is that he’s a scumbag deep down inside, and he knows he’s a scumbag.

7. He’s really image-obsessed

People who are secret scumbags cannot, under any circumstances, have people realize how scummy they really are. If others pick up on it, all the power they wield over people vanishes, and being able to get away with the scumbag stuff they do gets a lot harder.

As a result, guys who are scumbags will often cultivate an attractive, popular image and protect it with their lives. If you notice that he puts an abnormally high amount of time and effort into his physique, his social status, or his image, chances are high that he’s hiding something underneath that.

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8. If you try to talk to him about his single status, or confront him with a lie, he immediately ends the conversation

I call this the “Politician Exit,” primarily because it’s exactly what politicians do when they’re involved in a scandal. Beware of any guy who shuts down conversations this way, because it tends to mean that they have a really ugly side to their character or that they are cheaters.

9. When you’re around him, you often feel like you’re conflicted

When you’re around someone who’s really not a good person, you’ll often feel conflicted or even a little crazy. You usually won’t want to talk to them, but will feel like you’re “being rude” or “being weird” by not doing so. You might also feel like you have to stay silent when you want to complain about them, out of fear of social repercussions.

10. Certain things don’t make sense with him

Does he always seem like the victim, regardless of how good he has it? Does the entire world seem to be against him, for no apparent reason? Usually, scumbags tend to be the ones who play the victim card the hardest. On a similar note, heavily contradictory stories may mean he's a liar and a cheater. 

11. Something just does not feel right about them

Most of the time, if you get a bad feeling from someone, you need to listen to that feeling. Instinct is almost never wrong, and if you feel he’s a secret scumbag, he probably is one.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.