Don’t Be That Guy: The Taxonomy of Lousy Male Friends

by A Manly Guest Contributor on August 3, 2010 · 74 comments

in Friendship, Relationships & Family

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Steve Kamb.

We all know “That Guy,” and we all have at least one in our group of friends.

He’s the one scalawag who is generally pleasant to hang out with except for one glaringly painful characteristic.  Although there are different species of That Guy, some far more deplorable than others, they all have one thing in common: they often piss their friends off without knowing it.

Today, you’ll learn about the various forms of That Guy, how to react should you find one in your midst, and how to evolve in case you are That Guy.

The Poor Sport (Crybabial Sporticus)

Characteristics: The Poor Sport is dreadful to play against in any sporting event or competition.  He complains incessantly about bad foul calls in pick-up basketball, a weekend golf match among friends causes a temporary loss of arithmetic skills, and he will never accept blame for a loss, no matter the occasion. The cards are unlucky in a bad poker loss, the controller is faulty in a video game defeat, and the racquet is the reason for a poor tennis performance. In his own mind, he can do no wrong.

How to deal with That Guy: To start, don’t let him get away with cheating.  If you know he counted incorrectly in golf, kindly remind him about the six shots it took him to get out of the bunker.  If you defeat him in any competition, brace yourself for a torrent of expletives and excuses, but don’t fan the flames.  Although you might want to defend your stellar performance or yell at him for being a crybaby, everybody around you already knows the truth: your friend is a sore loser.

How to evolve if you are That Guy: Go ask a few people about their worst “bad beat” in poker.  Exhausted of the complaining yet? This is what you sound like to your friends ALL THE TIME.  First of all, stop cheating in golf – your life won’t change if you post a 79 or a 119, and your friends ARE keeping track of your score whether they admit it or not.  Show a little sportsmanship and integrity.  If you lose to your friends at Halo, pick-up basketball, tennis, scrabble, bocce, cards, whatever – take it like a man, and accept defeat.  Everybody loses at some point and nobody wants to hear excuses.  Get over it.

The Mooch (Dudicus Moochalum)

Characteristics: The Mooch never has any money, brings any food, or provides any shelter; he instead leeches off of those around him.  Think Cosmo Kramer in real life.  The cause is most likely an allergic reaction to ambition.  The last beer in the case, the final ice cream bar in the freezer, and any leftovers in the fridge tend to disappear whenever he’s around.  A Mooch’s wallet gets “accidentally” left at home quite frequently, and he is always a pain to track down for repayment of money borrowed.

How to deal with That Guy: The Mooch usually understands his unfortunate situation, but he’s often too lazy to do anything about it.  If you’re feeling magnanimous, help him find a job; just be careful who you recommend him to because it’s your reputation that’s at stake.  Now, until he finds employment, do what you can to keep him him in line: keep track of how much money you’ve loaned him and consider charging 10% interest each week until the debt is repaid.  Don’t be afraid to call him out when he eats the last Oreo either, because that’s just not cool.

How to evolve if you are That Guy: Stop being lazy and get a job (and if you have a good job, quit mooching: the only thing worse than a poor mooch is a well-off cheapskate).  Secondly, NEVER take the last one of something that isn’t yours unless you plan on replacing it.  Try chipping in every once and awhile too – show up unexpectedly with a case of beer or volunteer to buy the first round of drinks.  I don’t care if you have to rob somebody first, always repay your financial debts to friends within 24 hours, no exceptions.  Now, if you already have a job and you’re still poor, find another way to contribute: are you a good cook? Do you have connections at a restaurant or movie theater?  Do what you can to make up for your lack of funding – your friends will appreciate it.

Mr. Unreliable (Amigus Bail’Outicum)

I told the flake to pick me up at 7. Damnit!

Characteristics: It’s never known if Mr. Unreliable is actually going to show up, no matter how many promises have been made.  He often signs up for an engagement before backing out at the last minute.  “On time” to him usually means at least an hour late.  Getting Mr. Unreliable to commit to something that requires an upfront financial deposit is like pulling teeth.  Rather than saying no to an obligation, he’ll give a noncommittal answer that allows him to bail out at the last minute with a lame excuse via text message, thus avoiding confrontation.

How to deal with That Guy: Always expect Mr. Unreliable to not show up, and then be pleasantly surprised if he does!  If you’re planning a trip with him, make sure to get some sort of financial commitment before putting up your own money – when he tries to back out this time, allow him to only do so if he can find a replacement.  At that point, it’s no longer your responsibility.  Not surprisingly, you should rely upon Mr. Unreliable as little as possible.

How to evolve if you are That Guy: Your friends don’t think you’ll show up to anything anymore, and eventually they’ll just stop calling.  Change that perception by actually showing up to stuff consistently!  What a novel idea, I know.  Now, if you get invited to an event you don’t want to attend, be up front with your friends and tell them not to expect you.  Lastly, start showing up on time.  Arriving late consistently tells your friends that your time is more valuable than theirs.  Show up at the right place at the right time.

The One-Upper (Betterum Than’Youicus)

Characteristics: Reeking of superiority and elitism, the One-Upper is a constant name-dropper of famous people and locations.  During story time, the One-Upper must always ensure that he appears the strongest, best, had the toughest life growing up, drank the most beers, and/or met the coolest people.  This is mostly due to a strong sense of insecurity, causing a need for constant affection and attention.

How to deal with That Guy: As tempting as it is to get into a pissing match with the One-Upper, the best course of action is to give him his small moment of glory, because he clearly needs it.  As explained in Ben Franklin’s Virtuous Life Series, “People may talk about that guy’s exciting story the next day, but they’ll remember how much of a gentleman you are years later.”  Be thankful you don’t base your self-worth on how much attention you can get.  Go about your business, do great work, and the results will speak for themselves.

How to evolve if you’re That Guy: Nobody really cares how many famous people you know, how much you can bench, or how much better you are at something than everybody else.  Start by letting other people have the spotlight every once and a while; continually one-upping your friends is a surefire way to piss everybody off.  Instead, pick your battles and share stories when appropriate – not to brag, not to show off, but just to share a great story.

The Fibber (Fullofum Crapolakis)

Characteristics: The Fibber can stretch the truth like a penny-pincher can stretch a dollar.  Known to tell dull stories that suddenly become way more exciting (and ultimately completely unbelievable), The Fibber is also known for creating inane excuses when trying to weasel out of any scenario.  The Fibber is closely related to Mr. Unreliable and the Poor Sport for similar “lack of truth” qualities.

How to deal with That Guy: Take everything The Fibber says with a grain of salt and don’t bother wasting your time trying to trap him in a lie: he’ll simply get defensive and start weaving another web of lies.  Just be thankful that you’re not a liar and take solace in the fact that people can rely on your word.  Now, if the lies start to become disruptive to the group, pull the person aside and have a serious conversation about the lies in private rather than calling him out in public.

How to evolve if you’re That Guy: You know you’re lying, your friends know you’re lying, and that hole you’re digging for yourself is only getting deeper.  Instead of creating new tall tales and more complex lies to cover for the old ones, just freaking tell the truth and wait until you actually have a good story to tell!  Your conscience will thank you and so will your buddies.

Other Lesser Known Species of That Guy

Other than the five prominent species of That Guy listed above, there are actually quite a few others who might be lesser known but are no less abysmal:

The Flip Flopper (Fencium Sitterus) – Having no opinion of his own, the Flip Flopper will alter his beliefs depending on who he’s talking to and who he’s trying to impress.  He is generally classified as an invertebrate for lacking a backbone.

The Loud Mouth (Pieholus Gigantum) – This chump cannot keep his mouth shut, whether it’s keeping a secret, talking during a movie, or putting down another friend when he’s not around.  The Loud Mouth generally should not be trusted with any important information unless it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

The “Takes It Too Far” Guy (Over The’Lineicus) This poor soul lives life to the extreme a little too often.  He’s generally the one that always gets WAY too drunk at parties, takes jokes too far after they’ve become unfunny, and gets offended over things that nobody else would ever take personally.  Tact is pretty much non-existent.

“The Garbage Man” (In’lovum with Jesses’girlikus) – The Garbage Man has no problem attempting to date his friend’s ex-girlfriend, because he lacks the skills to move outside of the social circle and meet new people.  The most despicable variation of this species will attempt to date his friend’s current girlfriend, which generally results in an ass-kicking.

How do you deal with That Guy?

How did you deal with That Guy in your group?  Are you a reformed That Guy and want to tell your success story?  Share your experiences in the comments below!


When he’s not trying to be a better man, Steve Kamb devotes his time to helping average Joes level up their lives at You can sign up for the free Nerd Fitness Rebel Army Newsletter or receive updates via RSS.

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Scotticus August 3, 2010 at 11:14 pm

It’s unfortunate that I find myself slightly guilty of almost all of those at one time or another. It really is time to man up!

2 Dan Smith August 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Mr. Unreliable is often a “companion” of mine, although I use the term rather loosely of course. The reality is that this guy would always have a reason why he wasn’t where he should have been, but the really infuriating thing was that he’d always twist the story so that it was my fault, or the fault of someone else in our group. After several failed attempts to bring him around, I simply had to stop including him in my plans. It was unfortunate, but I think he was happier that way because it meant less responsibility for him (hard to imagine, huh?). He’s since transfered, however, and is no longer stationed with me. What a relief!

3 JamesBrett August 4, 2010 at 1:02 am

what about trivialus denigratus, better known as ‘the belittler?’

cousin to betterum than’youicus, the belittler is not necessarily interesting in one-upping others; rather, he only desires to make light of others’ stories, downgrade their achievements, and minimize anything of worth they’ve done. this is the guy who, upon hearing about your recent accomplishment of running a marathon (something you worked long and hard at), chooses not to congratulate you. instead he makes a comment like this: “26 miles, huh. i have no idea why you’d ever want to do that. i’m just happy knowing i could if i wanted to.”

the belittler may enjoy eating the hamburgers you invited him over for, but he’s for sure going to mention several times how “five guys” has the best burger he’s eaten in months. trivalius denigratus is the guy who asks, after you finish telling a story, what the point was. he’s the one who tells everyone you were guarded by a 5′-6″ fat guy while you’re still celebrating your triple double in which you scored 31.

how to deal with this guy:
just beat the crap out of him. and when he tells you he was beaten worse by a 5th grade girl the day before, beat him again.

4 Robbo August 4, 2010 at 1:23 am

After a challenging day at the office, I think it’s safe to say this can be equally applied to workmates. The one I’m talking about isn’t exactly any of those above. He’s the one who is constantly putting others down to make himself look or feel better. Not only that, but when it’s turned back on him he starts to sulk and lash out further. So I suppose he has a bit of the ‘poor sport’ in him. I find the best way to deal with him is to ignore just about everything he says and carry on with a conversation with someone else.

5 Dan August 4, 2010 at 3:02 am

Ahhh! I’m the garbage man!

6 Jonathan D August 4, 2010 at 3:15 am

Would a flip flopper have no personal opinion when it comes to matters such as video games and movies? I have a friend that had no personal opinion when it came to these things, his opinions were based of the review. If the magazine said the movie or video game sucked, he would say: “The magazine (Insert-Title-Here) said this movie/game sucked, so you shouldn’t waste your time on it”

7 StephenC_Ireland August 4, 2010 at 3:15 am

We have a mooch problem in our group , one guy who just will not pay for drinks or food or chip in on fuel if were getting dropped home , so i emailed this article to the others and Im starting a tab with interest for our mooch and making it well aware of wgats happening

8 JG August 4, 2010 at 3:44 am

Publicus Swinum (The public pig)

Characteristics: The public pig is more often heard and smelled rather than seen. He is the guy who will graciously belch at a restaurant or fart in an elevator. This swine also will be seen wearing dirty clothes over a course of consecutive days that leads to an inevitable scent whenever people are in proximity to him (generally the bigger the Swinum, the farther people can detect him). His hair is unkempt; he oinks language suited for his nature; and shaking his hand brings about hesitancy concerning the cleanliness of YOUR hand after the handshake.

How to deal with that guy: For mild cases, an introduction of a female will often straighten the publicus swinum. However, more often than not, you must overtly show him his pigsty-like life brings HIM misfortune and distancing. Here is the difficult part: trying to catch a pig by yourself is impossible. Having a gang of committed friends will make life easier when you try to round up this swine. The cohort must work together like a synchronized swimming team. Communication and consistency will, overtime, tire the pig out until he finally changes his life style and image. If teamwork doesn’t suffice, just hog tie the swine when he is asleep and throw him into the bath.

How to evolve if you are that guy: Listen, no one appreciates you cutting the stinky cheese in public. Most certainly no one appreciates it when you make a show of it. No one appreciates when you belch. No one appreciates your dirty smell and messy life style. Have you often wonder why you are left alone in your sty while all the other farm animals are out in the pasture? It’s because you are dirty and no one likes when their pasture is dirtied by your filthy self. Clean up your sty, take pride in yourself. Be a gentleman. The surprising result is that evolution from the Publicus Swinum is faster and the positive results are plenty and more apparent!

9 Indrek August 4, 2010 at 5:20 am

Great article!

I can see myself in some of those guys, but I guess if it’s down there in writing, it’ll be easier to make the necessary changes aswell.

In groups it’s a real pain in the ass to try to have an intelligent argument with The Flip Flopper. I mean if you’re talking politics or about religion (it’s not really taboo here, my country has ~90% non-believers) then it’s impossible to argue with a guy, whose standpoint is based on a stupid newspaper

10 Indrek August 4, 2010 at 6:18 am

I can’t see how I left that one out, but “…on a stupid newspaper article.”

Anyways, how do you deal with a really great guy, who happens to be a mooch? Especially if he doesn’t take loans, but just “eats the last Oreos” and stuff like that. Feels kind of awkward to have a word with him about it.

11 James August 4, 2010 at 6:23 am

I’ve never really understood the taboo against dating someone a friend of yours has dated in the past, in fact I’m not even sure what the objection is. It’s not as if once you’ve touched a woman you’ve marked her for life, and no other man may partake of her.

12 Joe Espidoculos August 4, 2010 at 6:43 am

I recommend to this kind of people to put a web site, and maybe call it “The Art of Manliness”.

13 Big Jim August 4, 2010 at 7:32 am

We have a friend who’s been unemployed for years, but still manages to always buy his round at the bar. How? He lives with his parents, rent free, and gets cash on demand from mother-dearest. His situation has gone beyond a joke now, to the point he’s actually proud of the fact he doesn’t have to work (although we always take the opportunity to remind him he’s 30 and still living in his childhood room). Does this count as Captain Moochy?

14 Henrique VIlhena August 4, 2010 at 7:41 am

I agree with James. The “don’t date her because I used to” does not make much sense.

15 Patrick August 4, 2010 at 8:17 am

Regarding “the garbage man”: shouldn’t it be enough if the current girlfriend just refuses his advances? If she’s willing to cheat perhaps it’s better if the garbage man makes me realize it sooner? I see no reason for ass kicking here. What do you guys think?

16 Gianpaolo Pietri | Simply Optimal August 4, 2010 at 8:39 am

@ James: though I agree with you, and I don’t discourage my friends to date my exes, there should be some kind of a grace period. Heck, at least wait til your bud gets over it, if he isn’t already. That being said, my twin brother recently dated on of my exes from college, and i could care less.

the Grill Hog (Grillus Maximus) : This guy thinks he’s the only one to have ever worked a grill in the entire history of civilization. He could be at your house, with your friends, indulging in your feast, and will somehow try to weasel his way behind the grill, and show everybody up. Like the belittler, he often utters unsubstantiated claims such as “give me that, you don’t know what you’re doing.” Constantly feels the need to tell you what you are doing wrong, and proceed to take over your operation. Always has advice on how to make this meat or that chicken better, because, well, he just knows more than you. Please…

17 JR August 4, 2010 at 8:46 am

Hi, I’m JR and I’m a reformed One-Upper. In my defense, sometimes I wasn’t attempting to be a one-upper, but it came off that way, and eventually I realized it. I think I’ve made amends by dealing with someone who is both a habitual Flip Flopper and Garbage man.

And as for the convo above about dating a friends ex, I can understand that if its been, say, a few months. But not 6 days later.

18 JR August 4, 2010 at 8:50 am

@Gianpaolo – I know the Grillus Maximus all to well…and I have to say, that one belongs up top. As far as I’m concerned, thats worse than the fibber.

19 Mike August 4, 2010 at 8:51 am

It can be awkward to date your best friend’s ex not so much because of any ownership thing but maybe he wants to forget her and move on and that is more difficult when one’s best friend moves in and keeps her around. It’s inconsiderate.

20 Gary August 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

@James and @Henrique – I think the situation under which she became your ex comes into play here. You dump her? No harm that I see. She breaks your heart? That would be awkward.

@Patrick – I doubt the “garbage man” described here has your best interest at heart. “Hey man, I was just trying to find out how faithful she was…. for you!”

21 Rick August 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

While I think we’re all guilty of all of these at one point or another, I found it a bit funny (or is it sad) – that during the reading of each one of these…I had a picture in my mind of a different friend for each description.

I think I should find some new friends haha.

22 djchriscruz August 4, 2010 at 10:03 am

The mooch isn’t always unemployed. I know of a few mooches who have jobs but are simply just stingy. They never want to pitch in for drinks or the tab but next week show up with a new Iphone or gadget.

How about the Tough Guy? The guy who thinks the whole world is against him, has a short fuse, and has to make it known he can beat your ass. He also has characteristics of a one upper and a poor sport. When someone beats him he gets infuriated sours the mood.

23 Benjamin August 4, 2010 at 10:07 am

I seem to have come across a species that is a hybrid of The One Upper and The Loud Mouth: He is called The Bragger (Iam besticus). This guy is at the center of his own universe to the point that the rest of the universe knows it. He has a rampant superiority complex and makes sure that everyone knows that he is the boss. Don’t ever disagree with The Bragger or you may be the recipient of acts of vengeance.

24 Keith Brawner August 4, 2010 at 10:27 am

For the love of Pete! Can’t you just wait the couple of weeks until it is declared ‘over’.

Just catch them, and call them out on it. Typically they just think that no one notices (and no one has said anything). Phrases like: “Come on man, share some pizza for the rest of us”, “I’ll split the last one with you”, “Really?” actually go a long way.

25 DK August 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

We have a pretty serious one-upper in our group of 20 somethings. To deal with him we usually just give him a saracastic “sweet, dude. You’re the man,” after one of his stories. It has actually started to work and he has lately been calling himself out after his stories. I suggest others try the same.

26 Jared August 4, 2010 at 11:44 am

I would add another: the belligerent asshole (assaholicus belligerantae) who can never admit he’s wrong, and thinks that getting more belligerent and being more of an asshole equals him being right about (insert topic here). This is my younger brother to a tee. If he was previously wrong, his ego is so far out of whack that he remembers the other individual as being wrong, and he won’t cop to it. But fighting him on it only makes him more certain he’s right. If you think to even disagree with him, it will never end well because no matter how logical, intelligent or well thought out your point is, it’s always wrong, and his response is to just get louder and more vehement about his rightness.

How to deal with him: Still learning this. I wouldn’t be writing this if I wasn’t forced to be related to him, but I’ve been friends with people who are like this for periods of time. If you can get away with it, just kick their ass. If not, there are a few tactics for dealing with them, depending on the situation. For starters, you could just walk away from the “discussion.” You could avoid telling them you disagree with them. If forced into a fight, don’t give an inch. They’ll take it and run 10 miles with it. Your best course of action is to let them know that you think their position is completely wrong and there is nothing they can do to convince you they’re correct.

How to evolve if you are That Guy: You can’t be correct 100% of the time, and your views can’t be the sum of all wisdom and knowledge. Your friends think you are an asshole, but don’t say anything because they aren’t interested in another argument with you over whether or not you are one. No one believes much of what you have to say precisely because you are always ramming your correctness down their throats. You need to be willing to admit that you are wrong when you’re wrong, and, if someone says they think you are wrong, you need to squelch that initial reaction to defend your correctness and listen to why they think you’re wrong.

27 b August 4, 2010 at 11:46 am

I once knew an inveterate Mooch who had a better job than anyone in the group. Yet, he was the type who would mooch a cigarette off someone with almost a full pack sticking out of his pocket in full view. But he’d veil his mooching with statements like, “I’d like to try that brand.” Or, “I once smoked that brand and want to try it again. Maybe I’ll go back.” He’d do the same with beer, etc.

Meh, some female acquaintances I know are totally unabashed moochers. Forever at the bar, bumming drinks from male friends or else hoodwinking guys they don’t know into buying them drinks. I want to yell at some of these duped dudes, “Forget it man, she ain’t gonna sleep with ya, no-how, never!” Sheesh, one woman I know would hang out “alone” at the bar rail until some unsuspecting dweeb bought her a drink. She’d then ‘disappear’ on him, taking the drink to her boyfriend hanging-out in back.

Hmmmm, that might be fodder for another article Bret. Taxonomy of lousy FEMALE behavior

28 JR August 4, 2010 at 12:31 pm

@B ; It’s a good idea, but it would be a long article…ha!

29 Morris Townson August 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm

You for got one….”the Hero Worshiper” He worships the ground that one of his buddies walks on because that buddy has a skill or personality that he lacks. That Hero/buddy is usually a creap and ends up using and abusing the “Hero Worshiper”. The Hero Worshipers friends will try to point out how badly he is being treated by the “hero/creap” but he will ignor them to his final doom.

30 Craig August 4, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I believe there is a sub-species of the “One-Upper” … namely the Educatoris Betterist … This is One-Upper who constantly attempts to better educate those he knows on every single topic because he’s done it all before and better than you, and wants to share his knowledge. Only he doesn’t realize that he is usually the youngest, least educated, newest to the scene, etc. and that he doesn’t actually have the best insight on the topic. He can be badly misinformed on current events, offerring an end-all-be-all opinion that is completely off the wall. Usually more amusing than annoying.

31 Rich August 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm


What if instead of arguing with the other person, just ask some thoughtful questions that erode at his/her point of view? Seeds, well planted, often grow over time.

Just my $.02.

A reformed “my view is always the right view” man.

32 Patrick August 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm

@Keith Brawner

What do you mean by “Can’t you just wait the couple of weeks until it is declared ‘over’.”

I never said I was doing what the garbage collector does. I was just asking a general question.

33 Mick August 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Mr. Unreliable, in my opinion, is the worst of the bunch. One of my oldest pals has devolved into this type, and it is indeed frustrating. When you have no qualms about breaking your word — to your FRIENDS, of all people — then all hope is lost.

34 nicname August 4, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I would definitely be the mooch, Though never for anything other than cigarettes.

35 Steve August 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Hey guys!

Great suggestions and love the comments/discussion.

As far as the garbage man goes, I’m sure there are circumstances and situations where it’s okay to date somebody your friend has dated…but…

Me personally? I don’t want to be anywhere my friend has been; the world is a BIG place, and there are 3 billion women out there. Unless she’s THE ONE (which has a 50% chance of ending in divorce anyways), you have to decide if it’s worth possibly ruining or making awkward a friendship with somebody who will stick with you through pretty much anything.

I’d rather just not put either my friend, his ex, or myself in that situation; it’s just not worth the hassle to me.

@Gianpaolo – The Grill Hog…that is awesome, didn’t even think of that, but that’s so true.

Great debate fellas!


36 JR August 4, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I was wondering, what do we call the friend who played a sport or two in high school, and anytime these sports are brought up or on t.v, we have to hear about his “glory days” and how he “could have easily made it pro if not for the (insert excuse here)?

37 Joel | Blog Of Impossible Things August 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Epic post Steve! So good =)

38 Benjamin August 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Great article.

A good way to avoid one-upping someone in conversation, but still tell your story is all in how you do it.

1) React favorably and recognize the value in the story just told. Comment and show how you are impressed.
2) Before telling your own story, say something to the effect “it’s not as crazy, but this happened to me” or “it’s not the same, but that reminds of the time when”.
3) Tell the story well, but avoid hyperbole. Remember your audience is most likely your friends enjoying an evening of conversation. Making someone feel as if their experience is lesser will spoil the mood.
4) If you do have a damn good story that beats all, tell it first! Or save it for another time.

Just my 2 cents.

39 Tom August 5, 2010 at 12:49 am

Perfect timing. I was clearing out some stuff at my parent’s house this afternoon and found a whole box of old pictures of my friends and I in high school and college. Pictures of camping trips, off-roading, pool parties, bonfires, etc. Now (at 30 years old) we don’t do anything together. True some of this is due to the fact that our interests have diverged over the years, but just getting people to show up for dinner has gotten hard. I was troubled by this at dinner, then I logged on to AoM and was saddened to see that most of my old friends have slipped into some form of “that guy”. Some have even gone so far as to “one-up” each other by combining multiple bad traits (like the unreliable poor-sport). My best friend and his wife are the worst, canceling on everything, even the stuff THEY PLAN!!!
If you have that one friend who’s “that guy” I would agree with confronting him, or at least drop a few key phrases like Keith Brawner suggested. I’m giving it one last try with my friends, but I have more than just “that one guy”. If it doesn’t work it might be time to man up and end the friendship(s). I firmly believe that if you’re a real friend, you owe them an explanation of what you feel is wrong and why, and leave it open to them that they can fix it if they want to.

40 Glenn Dallaire August 5, 2010 at 2:55 am

I realise that this is a humourous article, but on a more serious note I have come to the conclusion that the best friends a man can have apart from his family are the saints in heaven. While earthly friends will at times fail you and let you down, heavenly friends will never forsake you because of their intimate union with God.
-Glenn Dallaire

41 JIm August 5, 2010 at 9:17 am

Being guilty of being the “One-Upper” more often that I should, how does one engage in conversation when, truthfully, you’ve had some fairly interesting experiences? When the conversation drifts toward scuba diving, how do you not mention that you dove the Great Barrier Reef?

42 Vince August 5, 2010 at 10:19 am

I’ve known numerous guys who have dated, even married their friend’s ex. Dating your friends ex is not usually ideal, but if you broke up, you can’t control her love life forever. You have to give it time, think about how close you are to the guy and how long they were dating. I guy will usually get over his ex once he starts dating someone new.
I once had a friend who tried to pursue a girl I liked from college who he randomly met on internet dating. Even though she was a complete stranger who lived about 200 miles away in a another state, I had to make it very clear to him and then some that I did not want him to have any involvement with her. He dropped it but not until after conniving (ending in failure) to get me to change my clearly made-up mind. I was deeply offended that an unlikely shoot with a girl he doesn’t know came before me.

43 The Counselor August 5, 2010 at 12:42 pm

@ JR:

That would be the “Uncle-us Rico-us” featured prominently in Napoleon Dynamite. “If coach had put me in during the fourth quarter….”

44 ARP August 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm

My version of the Mooch, doesn’t necessarily take the last of anything as much as he is a persistent “shorter” and spends the least he can to fulfill his obligation.

Meaning if the restaurant bill is $84 for four people (before tip) and we all ate/drank roughly the same, he’ll put in $20. I think he relies on the fact that you don’t want to get worked up and add up what eat person ate/drank/etc. If you do call him, he’ll add up everything he ate and drank and put in that exact amount and gets upset at you for wanting to be so picky.

45 Tiger August 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Don’t forget the emotional wreck…

that guy that can’t get over his ex girlfriend (though yes he was hurt) but just moans on, and on, and on, for months/years on end about her being the one for him, and any place you go reminds him of her and verbalizes how so to the rest of the group, during any activity, even while guarding you in basketball.

I’m all for cheering a friend up and getting him to go out more and forget…but the choice to move on is still up to him.

46 Richard Brown August 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm

How about Pompousicus Blowhardicus. This is the guy who is always trying to show how smart he is by constantly lecturing everyone. He speaks in a very loud voice and usually will look around to see if anyone is listening. You know this guy he is a bombastic jerk.

47 Ben August 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm

There is yet another variation of the one-upper…This is the guy that absolutely cannot stand it when someone gets something newer or better than something he owns. If you buy a new set of clubs, he will be in the pro-shop within the next week going for a better set. If you buy a new car, he will have a more expensive one as soon as possible. No matter what you buy or win, he will be sure to try and top you.

48 Chris McCracken August 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I have been all these guys. We all have. Just don’t let it be a habit.

I especially got stuck on Mr Unreliable for a while. Nowadays, I’m so damn reliable I end up taking on so much stuff that there’s a risk it will come full circle if I don’t say no once in a while. The solution really is as simple as described above.

I have some advice for the fibber, though. I like to tell “educational” stories from my past. Some are – shall we say – embellished. Lets say some can be called parables and others – fables.

If it’s a fable, prefacing the story with “The following story actually happened, but specific details have been embellished for entertainmment value” does two things.

1. It makes sure you’re not being pegged as “the fibber”
2. It makes sure everyone listens – because they know they might get some entertainment.

49 Kelso August 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Here’s one you can add for Lesser Known Species of That Guy. When someone who always exaggerates, or makes a huge story out of a minor news event, and ends by saying “Know what I’m saying.” Then when you’re silent, they repeat, “Ya know? Ya know?”

50 RICH August 7, 2010 at 2:32 pm

@ Rick. You thought of a diffrent friend when you read through each one of these? I have the luck of thinking of the SAME friend while reading through each one of these. And they don’t even cover ALL his bad habits..

51 Rick G August 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I have an old football buddy that is the consummate mooch. For a while every time I seen him he asked to borrow money, or if I hired him to do some work he always wanted an advance. I resorted to the tactic where every time I see him the first thing I do is ask if I can borrow $50.00. He hasn’t bugged me in months.

52 Rick G August 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm

How about the “plagiarist know it all” — the guy who has all of the answers because he just heard them from some talking head on the radio or tv, then throws that guy’s thoughts out there as his own. I have a friend that regurgitates whatever Cramer (from fast money) says as though they are his own thoughts. I don’t even think the guy has a stock portfolio. He does the same thing with political guys too.

53 Steve August 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

How about the “clinger” I’ve got this buddy who just wont leave me alone! He doesn’t have many friends because he is definitely “that guy” who is a poor sport and doesn’t know when to shut up. He talks more trash than anyone I’ve ever met but can’t back anything he says up. I need to get this guy off my back. How should I send the message across that he’s annoying most of the time?

54 Sir Lancelot August 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

One of my oldest friends is a top example of The One-Upper (Betterum Than’Youicus). I try to deal with him as described above, but after two hours of nodding, uh-huh-ing, and saying “oh, really? that’s really impressive” you feel like hanging yourself.

55 Craig August 9, 2010 at 10:10 am

Just realized that there is another classic “That Guy” … The Wormicus Anglerton … The basic premise is Ed Norton’s character of Worm in Rounders. A guy constantly seeking the shortcut, doesn’t want to pay his dues, finds every conceivable angle he can, and inevitably puts his friends in the path of the tornado that follows him.

56 Steve August 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Some great suggestions in here…and Craig, yeah…Worm is the worst.

I bet we all know (or have been) THIS GUY – the “where’thehell didhegoicus” That friend who gets a girlfriend and then you NEVER see him anymore…until he breaks up with her, and then all of a sudden he’s around all the time…until he starts dating the next person, and then he’s not around again.

Balance my friend, balance!


57 Allyssa August 10, 2010 at 12:46 am

What an amusing article…I’ll send it to my boyfriend!

58 Doug August 11, 2010 at 1:34 am

Some that bug me (and some I may be guilty of)
1. Story Stealer-tells your stories as his own.
2. The Borrower – You go to this guys house and come back with a pile of your DVDs, books, video games, and usually leave behind a couple more he’s had for 6 months but didn’t “get around to yet.”
3. The friend who expects you to figure out what everyone should do and then pisses on your first three ideas by saying “I’m not feeling it.”
4. Brand loyalty guy- Basically anyone who owns a Mac and won’t shut up about it.
5. The guy who only ever wants to complain about work. We all have rough days, but unless something funny or bizarre happened, leave it to a “today was brutal” grab a beer and move on. (Used to be me)
6. The Elitest. You’re smoking a black and mild? He’s bagging on you because he has a Cohiba. Bud Light? Please, he has Guinness. Everytime you try to get tickets to game hes the one leveraging for $80 tickets behind the dugout when everyone else is good with $20 bleacher seats. This guy might make the same money as you, but it’s important for him to let you know he spends more of his for the same experience. (Guilty from time to time)
7. “I thought we were kidding” The guy who lost a $20 bet on he Super Bowl or the like and refuses to pay on “principle.”
8. The guy who tries to turn everything and anything into an inside joke in order to outline how close friends you are.
9. The drunk. The guy who cant do anything fun without the sauce. He sneaks a flask into a movie theater, You go golfing and have two beers but he has 8, and tries to turn everything into a drinking game.

59 Doug August 11, 2010 at 1:43 am

Remembered another one:
10. The Accountant. You bow out of plans because of money, and he comes at you with “Don’t you get paid Friday?” or “Didn’t John just get that 50 back to you?” Or else he’ll just goad you to try and get you to spend the money or mock you when it’s over because you werent there.

60 Ben August 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Let’s not forget…

53. The Retirement Planner – Got hitched at 25, 2 kids and tiny dog at 27 and wonders why everyone else hasn’t done the same yet. By 30 they’ve got their mortgage and is steadily planning for retirement. Can’t help but compare their seemingly-perfect situation to that of everyone else, and incessantly asks when friends are going to ‘smarten up’ and go the same route they have. Only time you ever hear from them is for a favour, otherwise they’re too busy with their exciting, fast-paced lives to give you the time of day.

61 Katherine August 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Frankly I totally agree about doing up a woman’s version. (it would indeed be looong, but hilarious) As a grown up “tom boy” I prefer male friends. Generally I would like to say it’s a relief that you are much more logical.

Regarding dating a friends ex. I noticed peoples opinions vary depending on if you come from a big city or smaller town. Having experienced both. Definitely consider how your friend feels. I have one ex that I would love to see have a nice girl. Lets face it, I know he’s a great guy, just not the right one for me.
Other’s are definitely more awkward. Especially, if you did not break up on mutual terms (or decent ones which is not necessarily common). Some people really don’t mind, others really do. They’re your friend, you should be able to tell how they would feel, if not, definately ask.
Yes it can be potentially awkward. For this reason consider want you really want out of it. After all the last thing I want to hear is that my ex has been talking about “personal stuff” from our relationship with his new girl, my school mate, who happens to be my sisters co-worker and room-mate, true story. … VERY uncomfortable. Thank god I’m not with that guy anymore. There’s boundaries.

As far as the garbage man taking the girl your currently with. That’s no friend. Ditch the girl, and the guy. You deserve better. People like that are such an offence and they make everyone distrustful (with good reason) and then the rest of us have to deal with emotional, jealousy problems which is a royal pain. If you want to date more than one person at a time, fine, but be real about it, tell them that straight up at the beginning and move on if their not interested.

I feel bad about the “where’thehell didhegoicus” though. Sometimes it really is tough to spend time with friends when both partner’s schedule is super busy. Any advice for what to do when you’re the only couple among friends and you don’t want to make your mans friends feel awkward cuz you’re the only chick? I mean, I want to meet his buddies too (obviously their his friends for a reason) and everyone have a good time, without making them feel uncomfortable?

62 Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin August 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

My dad lived by a very simple rule regarding loans: don’t. If he was approached for a loan, he would choose from two courses of action. Either he would give the guy the money, with an explanation that he regarded it as a gift, and refused to concern himself over whether it would ever be returned. Or, if there was any reason he didn’t wish to do so, he refused. No loans, no middle ground, no hassling somebody over a personal debt. And it really works for me as well — nobody becomes the Mooch on that account.

@Glenn Dallaire (#41): so very, very true.

@Doug (#59): Sometimes Brand Loyalty Guy is me, but it’s not Mac, it’s Linux.

63 Zacharia Karami September 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm


Please, don’t be that guy.
I study computer engineering and please, don’t be that guy, I use Windows because I like Windows, not because I’m a plebian.

64 Amjad January 4, 2013 at 7:18 am

All of my previous friends and one of my brothers are at least 2, most are at least 3 of these in the articles and comments. If only I could have nothing to do with that brother anymore as well.

Don’t forget the fibbers that believe themselves, and the friend you haven’t seen in a while that said he’s not going out but will see you tomorrow. Next day he tells you that he went out yesterday but can’t go out today because his parents are being real dicks even though he is 27 years old.

65 Greenham January 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

One lesser known species I came across when some buddies and I got a place is the ‘Hospitality Mooch’ (Gettoutami Cavicum). The guy who comes over unannounced and will NOT. GO. HOME.

One was a persistent mooch anyway, who even developed his own catchphrase; “Got a spare beer?” In the end we found a can of the cheapest, nastiest lager available- the kind that comes in a plain can with the word lager written on it- and left it in the fridge, marked ‘Spare Beer.’ Bastard drank the Heinekken.

66 Ghost of 503 March 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm


He used to be cool, the man, whoever but has since become a derelict and unable to get his life back on track. Never puts forth effort and wonders why no one calls him.

67 Joe March 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I have to admit that I’m that I’m a bit of a mooch. I’m 18 so it’s not too late to change yet.

68 PentagramPeterPan August 25, 2013 at 7:43 pm

I’m one of the lesser known “that guy”s: The “Takes It Too Far” Guy (Over The’Lineicus) I tend to be VERY lacking in tact, I’m loud (but not a secret teller) I can get pissed about things other people don’t often get pissed about, and I can get WASTED at parties earlier and more so than other people at them. Did that last time everyone was getting drunk. I’m usually pretty aware that I’m making an ass of myself, but I have learned in life not to care. I’ve been beginning to rethink never caring about it of late, though…

69 Alec S. September 28, 2013 at 4:26 am

I have The Fibber as my friend, but he also mixes with One Upper, flip flopper and loud mouth. He’s a real sack of bad. He told everyone he made out with a 15 year old girl, as well as many other compulsive lies (e.g. Manipulating fire with his mind, getting laid even though he’s obese, telling everyone he wins streetfights). I sent him a letter to tell him off about it, and he withered abuse at me. I blocked him. He called me up weeks later and apologised. Then he fibbed and said she told him to say it to eveyone as a joke. I’m meeting him next week to hear him out, and try and help him fix his problems. I don’t think it’ll work, though. I think it’ll suck and my gentle character will forgive him and subtly feed his lying. Question: how do I man up and tell him off every time he lies?

70 Rupert September 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I’ve been a few of these, especially The Mooch and The Fibber. I’ve had a life-long struggle with massive insecurity, that I only recently feel like I’m really getting past. It took me a long time to learn to take responsibility for my self-image, character, and behavior.
I want to say this to the group – if you feel that you need to call someone on their bad habits, always ask yourself why. Do you just want to point out to the offender that they’ve offended you? They probably already know. Do you value the friendship, and do you sincerely want to see a man improve so that you can go on enjoying his company? Now we’re getting somewhere useful. If you can keep your goal in mind, it will help guide the conversation. Just calling someone out because you can is useless and alienating. Saying to someone, “I care about you, so I feel I have to tell you about this thing that’s straining our friendship” can get their attention in a productive way.
If you really want to be a friend to someone, by all means help them see a major fault. But be gentle, because they’ll be ashamed enough without you shaming them further. Be patient, because bad habits are hard to break. Be forgiving, because people forgive you your faults, too. Be encouraging, praise what they do right and well, because they’ll need the boost.
If that sounds like too much work, then the friendship probably isn’t worth that much to you to begin with. Confronting someone you don’t care about is hurtful, not helpful. You’ll do better to hold your tongue and quietly find someone else to be friends with.

71 Harry October 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm

James, although I am way past this discussion it did happen to me years ago. A very close friend immediately jumped on my ex (that I left) and even began to share secrets that were privy to he and I. Our friendship came to an end, a shame, as a result of his feeling guilty and me feeling betrayed. I think if he were a ‘Man’ he would have discussed it with me before moving in!

72 Katelyn October 28, 2013 at 10:04 am

Isn’t it funny how these articles can apply to women, as well as men? I’ve been having some trouble with a Miss Unreliable, and it reminded me of this article. It helps to revisit lessons learned, even if you think you already learned them.

73 Alex November 24, 2013 at 12:30 am

One of my best female friends is totally Miss Unreliable AND the mooch. I don’t really blame her, because she just graduated college and is really struggling to find any kind of work. But she’s always asking me for rides places, and she lives all the way out in the suburbs on the opposite end of town from where I live. Since I’m also hurting (car insurance went up to $500 a month due to an accident, and I’m significantly underemployed) I just can’t afford the gas, and she’ll only give like $5 bucks.

I’m also somebody who needs to adhere strictly to a schedule to stay sane. I finally got her to stop calling me (at least some of the time) on the same day asking what I’m doing. (And she’s persistent – if I don’t answer the phone she’ll hang up and call back several times, if I tell her I’m busy she wants to know what I’m doing, if I tell her what I’m doing all day she wants to know if I have “an hour or two somewhere in there,” when I say no to that she asks what time I’m done and tells me she can hang out as late as nine or 10 or later (I need a lot of sleep.))

On top of that, she is cheap. We’ll eat out at cheap restaurants sometimes and I won’t know till the end that she doesn’t plan on tipping (at all) because she’s too broke. Like I said, I feel bad for her because she’s unemployed and living with friends, but it gets a bit much. I have my own problems.

74 Ray February 22, 2014 at 11:58 am

we all have that one friend who no one else in the group likes and you stop inviting him to hang out because he makes you look bad and you don’t want to look bad by association.

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