5 Characteristics of a Bad Boy

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You’ve seen him in a million movies as the male lead. You know? The rebel. He’s rough around the edges, just waiting to be tamed by a good girl. He will add thrill to her life, and in turn she will make him want to give up his wild ways and be with her. Sigh. Sure sounds adventurous and romantic, doesn’t it?

However, like much of the romance Hollywood sells, this scenario is just a fantasy. In real life, “the bad boys” that fit the mold above are just that—bad. Thankfully, the Bible provides characteristics of a “bad boy.” The following guide is designed to help you recognize these boys for what they are.

1. He’s got anger issues.

Proverbs 22:24 declares, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.”

There’s no room for misunderstanding here. We are not to be friends with a characteristically angry person, let alone in a romantic relationship with one.

Proverbs 14:29 states, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.”

Folly is another word for foolishness; therefore, someone who cannot control their impulses, such as anger, is foolish and unwise, not good boyfriend material.

2. He’s a smooth talker.

The stereotypical bad boy always seems to know what to say to girls to receive forgiveness.

In Psalm 55, David discusses a man who betrays his friends. We’ll extend that to “girlfriend” or “female friend” as well. In verse 21, he says, “His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.”

In other words, this man says what the other person wants to hear but has plans to cause harm. It’s the same with a bad boy; he says one thing, but it does not reflect the true intentions of his heart. In other words, he is lying.

3. He speaks unwholesome talk.

Along with lying, bad boys also say inappropriate things that do not reflect a heart chasing God.

Ephesians 4:29 gives all believers this assignment: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

A bad boy will say many offensive, sexual, perverse, and derogatory statements. If that seems like no big deal, check out Matthew 12:34:

“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

What people say reflects the true condition of their hearts. If they always spout off foul things, their hearts are not right with God because God fills us with everything good.

4. He disrespects authority.

Usually a bad boy disrespects authority and puts it under the guise of “standing up for himself.” It can seem appealing initially, but undermining authority figures is not of God. God tells us in the Ten Commandments to “honor your father and mother” (Ex.20:12). However, authority figures stretch beyond that to teachers, police officers, school resource officers, cafeteria monitors, principals, etc.

Romans 13:2 cuts to the chase of this bad boy behavior:

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

How a guy treats authority figures will tell you much about his true personality.

5. He’s cocky.

Cocky means conceited or arrogant; bad boys are notoriously cocky. If they play a sport, they think they’re better than everyone on their team. If they’re smart, they seek to prove they know more than everyone else.

Yet Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

In other words, don’t think of yourself too highly. Being cocky is not of God.

What do you think?

Have you ever fallen for the Hollywood delusion of a bad boy?
What other bad boy characteristics should be added to the list?
Let us know in the comments below.

About Author

Sarah Garrett

Sarah Garrett is a passionate educator and founder of the Transformed4More Ministries that she runs with her identical twin sister. It is her desire to reach struggling teenagers and tell them about the transformative power and love of God. Her book, "So, You Think You Are Ready to Date?" released in October 2017.

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  • Rose

    I would say that another bad boy characteristic is his ability to hide who he really is around certain people and then be his true self when those certain people are not around. Thank you so much for this post and I’m so grateful you are writing here now! God’s mightiest blessings on you!

    • Transformed4More

      Good point! Thank you Rose! You can check out my blog (Transformed4More.com) if you want to see more. Have a great day!

  • Tiana

    This is a great post! Thanks for the list! My parents said that I’m not allowed to date at this age, but this will be a great “bad boy test” for when I am allowed!

    • Transformed4More

      Thank you! I actually have a short quiz on my website that determines if your crush falls into the “good guy” or “bad guy” category. You can check it out here (http://www.transformed4more.com/free-resources/).

  • Natalie

    I’ve never been attracted to that kind of “bad boy”. I feel capable of steering clear of any obviously problematic guys. For me, any man who pulls me away from Christ is a “bad boy” regardless of whether or not he matches the standard definition of one. I fell for a guy who was incredibly smart, nerdy, respectful, cheeky, and who loved to cook and cycle in his free time. He was humble and very diligent in his studies. He even went to church sometimes when he visited his parents back home and said that he liked the “idea of God”. He was very proper, sweet, and handsome. Aside from his lack of love for Jesus, he was my ideal man on nearly every level. The defining characteristic which made him “bad” for me was that he had neither a personal relationship with Christ, nor any strong conviction that he was a sinner. This type of man unnerves me way more than a typical “bad boy” because they’re harder to spot and harder to resist. I don’t believe he was even conscious of pulling me away from Jesus. Had I explained it to him, he’d likely have felt awful about that and apologized…

    Conclusion: As harsh and intolerant as it sounds, if a “good” boy doesn’t love God, he is also a “bad boy” and a terrible choice.

    • Jenny

      Natalie,
      That’s a wise warning! If only I had heard of this kind of wisdom when I was a dating teen. I married a man very similar to your description and 10 or so years into our marriage he said he no longer believed in God (still says the same thing 16 years later). I didn’t pay any attention to the many warning signs while we dated because I was smitten with his good looks, charm, intelligence and consistant kindnesses toward others. I hope the young ladies who read here also read the comments, especially yours.
      It isn’t harsh nor intolerant, it’s biblically sound truth, as it falls under the ‘be not unequally yoked’ thing. The greatest measure of the character of man or woman is how passionate they are about Christ, behind the scenes and in front of others. If a young lady has a short list of qualities a man must have, this (a man who is dedicated to serving Christ) should be the #1 period. If they were not already there when you met them, ie) known for their passionate faith, it’s best to stear entirely clear of that person lest you be tempted.

      The list provided by Sarah is excellent for red flag warnings about whom you think would be a possible candidate, after acknowledging first what you mentioned.

      May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. – Jude 1:2

      • Angie

        Thank you for sharing that. Im in my 30’s, was already involved & had children when i received Christ. He professed faith in Christ, showed fruit, & our church strongly encouraged marriage. I wanted to honor God, married him & he is worse than before. After taking all the scripture mentioned above to church leaders I was counseled to stay, suffer, pray, so i did. Things have continued to spiral downward, police, abuse, drama, our children behaving the way he does. I cant believe the toll this has taken on me, spiritually, emotionally & physically. This is real. Im still clinging to hope & struggle with the decisions i now have to make. Sadly, he is still a bad boy. These characteristics have not changed. I wish i had this kind of resource as a young woman.

        • Jenny

          Angie,
          A time of separation is advisable. I firmly believe that there are times when physically staying is literally supporting sin habit in spouses. 2 Thessalonians 3: 14-15

          *In my fellowship a man shoved his wife, she called the police. Immediately afterward the elders counceled a time of separation. They counceled him, not rejected, though he was not breaking bread (not permitted) with us until full reconciliation occurred. Maybe some churches support violence in men? The way my fellowship dealt with it was exemplary-zero tolerance. The healing afterward was thoroughly encouraging for us all. I remember well the day he came back, sitting next to her: I had to lower my head because I had tears of joy (I wasn’t the only lady there with tear brimmed eyes and a smile).*

          Your story is heart breaking. I will keep you in prayer. I’m not sure how a whole congregation of people could support this.

          I too wish I’d had ROH, TW and LYWB as resources back when I was young!!

          Something others can glean from your testimony:
          As a new believer it’s best not to date until you’ve got a firm grasp on your faith and in doctrinal truths. Since marriage is a lifetime thing: Every believer should invest a major amount of time in studying what God says about marriage. Read as many doctrinally sound books on dating and marriage you can get your hands on. It’s an investment in a lifetime. If you plan to marry it’s a more important line of study than university (or equally as important). Remember: No one will be as invested in this as you will be.

          There are no absolute safeguards from poor spouse material but that list above, what Natlalie said and your additional testimony could add up to a basic dating advice outline.

          May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. – Jude 1:2

          PS Sorry for the long post! Sorry in advance if I missed a ton of weird mistakes, I tried to edit. 😉

  • ChristianGirl

    I know a guy at school who is a smooth talker and can get a girl to fall for him. He’s nice but can be manipulative to get what he wants.

  • manishidha S

    I’m confused. I thought we were supposed to be friends and love everyone. So if someone has anger issues does this mean we are not to be friends with them?
    Thanks for the article! I love this website💗!

    • Transformed4More

      There’s a difference between showing love to everyone and being friends with them. The Bible warns against being friends with an angry person (as well as “wicked” and others) because the more time you spend around someone, the more you become like them and pick up their habits.

      You can always be nice to angry people, just be careful about the amount of time you allow yourself to spend around aomeone who can’t control their anger.

  • Mutale Towani

    My current boyfriend has these traits and I realised (after reading the article about lies we tell ourselves) that I walked straight into this. I don’t think I want to be with him any more but I don’t know how to end things. This article has helped me put things in perspective and I REALLY thank you for that. But, sadly, I have no idea how to end things with him.😔😔😔(This is like my first relationship and I’m stuck😭)

  • Liz

    My friend just walked eyes-open into a relationship with a guy who clearly exhibits every one of these characteristics, and then some. If anyone sees this, could you pray for her. It’s not going to be good.

    • Oh, Liz, how our hearts break to hear of your friend’s choice in this relationship. Please know that we have paused and prayed for her today – for her protection, for the opening of her eyes and for grace to get her through this time. We’ve also prayed for you, thanking the Lord that she has a friend like you who cares, who sees what is going on and can be there for her through this.

  • Dana Ruth Robles

    He possessed all the five characteristics. 🙁

  • Casey Halbert

    I think another characteristic of a “bad boy” is his inability to support you in your faith. Even if he doesn’t share the same faith. Either he doesn’t support it, or he belittles it to your face and says it consumes your life. I had that happen to me…that was the end and a great learning lesson

    • Transformed4More

      Very true. I’m glad you are out of the relationship.

  • Lauren

    Thank you so much for this! I just came very close to becoming emotionally involved with a guy who fits two of these characteristics. He said some things to me that weren’t inappropriate, but still blipped my radar. I didn’t read too much into it at the time, but now I realize that it was just manipulation. At first, he acted like he wanted to be good friends and possibly go out sometime. Then he began ignoring me. Thankfully, I caught on to what he was up to before it went much further. A warning to all fellow girls: if something that a guy says sounds too good to be true, it probably is!