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The Guide to the
The Guide to the
The Guide to the


IF you date men in this day and age, you’ve probably run across an effboy or ten.
They’re the mines dotting the war-torn landscape of Tinder, but you can just as easily find them on Hinge, Bumble, OkCupid, and any other dating app, not to mention real life.

If you’ve ever been ensnared by one of these assholes, you know just how badly they can burn you without even singeing the tips of their overly-groomed beard.

The main problem with effboys (aside from their pathological inability to care about anyone but themselves) is that they don’t always make their effboyery obvious at the start. They come in every shape and size. They have all kinds of tastes in music, they may spout any number of political beliefs, and they range vastly in age and style.

You can’t recognize one just from how he looks (and you may even miss out on a great guy by assuming he’s an effboy), but you can certainly learn from how he acts. To help you navigate the dating world, we’ve put this guide together to make you all-powerful and totally effboy-proof.

Effboy defined: What does effboy mean?

While effboys come in all shapes and sizes, there are a few things they all have in common, as far as we're concerned.


At the most basic level, an effboy is a guy who puts himself first and doesn't care about the women he's dating or sleeping with. Selfishness is at the core of every action he takes. Everything he does is in the service of his own ego, libido, and a general desire for earthly pleasures.

He doesn't enjoy the intimacy, connection, or romance that come from dating or relationships. Instead, he sees them as means to achieving the hedonistic pleasure and affirmation that he craves. He'll always put your needs below his, and because of that, you can't trust him to treat you well.

Why you should avoid effboys

  • He will never care about you
  • You won’t be able to rely on him, ever, for anything
  • He’ll lie to you
  • He’ll manipulate you
  • He’ll gaslight you
  • He’ll take as much from you as he can, including but not limited to your emotional energy, money, household labor, car rides, and sex
  • He’ll give nothing back
  • If you make yourself vulnerable to him, you will get burned

The emotional repercussions of investing too much of your time or energy in an effboy are great. In the short term, effboys are an annoyance and an inconvenience.

However, dating an effboy long term can ruin your self-esteem, make you question your own sanity, and lead to all kinds of mental health problems that may take years to unpack.


Green flags: signs that he’s not an effboy

A skilled effboy can learn to hide some of the common red flags, but he’s not going to show you any of the good guy green flags.

  • He responds consistently and within reasonable timeframes (this will vary based on your age group and lifestyle-a guy in his 30s will probably check his phone less often than a guy in his early 20s).
  • He asks you about yourself and shows genuine interest in your answers
  • Conversation gets interesting and two-directional, with both of you speaking an equal amount of time, with enjoyable back and forth


it’s important to recognize the difference between a real conversation and a free therapy session. If an effboy talks your ear off about his childhood trauma, don’t be fooled into thinking that he’s being vulnerable-it’s often a sign of his own self-absorption or a calculated tactic to disarm you.

  • He accepts your boundaries and doesn’t question them.

    For example, if you’re a vegetarian, he might ask you why or how it works, but he won’t try and convince you that meat is great.

    If you decide to meet in real life, he’ll be open to your suggestions for a location and he won’t respond negatively if you don’t like his.

  • He accepts your boundaries and doesn’t question them.
  • He disagrees respectfully

Effboy isn’t a stereotype

An effboy should primarily be judged by what he says and how he acts, not how he looks. An effboy can wear a suit just as easily as he can wear track pants with a tank top.

This also applies to dating app photos: shirtless mirror selfies are certainly a turn-off, but they're not necessarily a sign that the guy is an effboy. If anything, an effboy is more likely to do his due diligence and choose disarming photos with pets or in nature.

While you should absolutely trust your intuition (you're always better off safe than sorry), being easily swayed by stereotypes may cause you to miss out on a great guy while lulling you into a false sense of security with the worst effboy.

Ultimately, a guy who dresses like a douche might actually be a sweetheart with a poor fashion sense, so look out for both red flags and green flags before you make up your mind.


Can an effboy change?

When you ask if an effboy can change, the question you really want to be answered is, “can I change him?”

Sadly, the answer to that is a resounding no.

Change must come from within. It’s impossible to teach another person to be more empathetic or compassionate. Those kinds of drastic personality changes can only come from massive growth.

In fact, if you stay with him, you guarantee that he’ll stay the same. Your presence in his life is a reward of his behavior, while any requests or demands you make will simply be interpreted as “nagging.”

If your effboy has any capacity to mature, your presence in his life only prevents that process from taking place. If he really does love you (which is rare for an effboy), breaking up with him might be the wakeup call he’ll need to change. But realistically? Chances are that once you’ll leave him, he’ll just go on to terrorize the next group of women.

What others have to say
— What others have to say

Is it ever okay to date an effboy?

If you’ve identified for certain that a guy is an effboy, it’s better you cut your losses and leave. But maybe he’s particularly handsome? Maybe he’s one of the rare effboys who’s also good in bed?

If that’s the case, you might find yourself tempted to keep him around on a strictly casual basis. You do that at your own risk, and you have to be incredibly self-aware to leave such a situationship unscathed.

Effboys are maddening, so the more contemptible you find him, the likelier it is that he’ll actually get into your head and into your heart. If you find yourself genuinely apathetic towards him and can say to yourself with 100% certainty that he means nothing… well, those are some famous last words.

We still wouldn’t recommend it.

To an effboy-free future

We don’t call them effboys because they want to fuck… we call them effboys because they’re adept at fucking us over. Fuck ‘em.

There’s nothing to gain from associating with effboys, and there’s certainly no way of reforming them. The only way to deal with an effboy is to learn to recognize him, and then get as far away as possible.

Now that you’ve read our guide, you’re better equipped to navigate the effboy-filled landscape of modern dating, but reading it just once might not be enough. Save it, so you can refer back when necessary, as you continue your journey towards finding love.

Here’s to your effboy-free future!

Maya Adivi
Written by Maya Adivi
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Maya is a writer focused on beauty and lifestyle writing. She travelled all over the world and got to see what dating is like for different cultures.


Apt 12th, 2021

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