No doubt you’re already familiar with Twitter’s red flag dating system, including but not limited to:
Doesn’t like Grey’s Anatomy 🚩🚩🚩
Intimidated by your sex toys 🚩🚩🚩
Sees no shame in wearing white jeans 🚩🚩🚩
Uses to and too interchangeably 🚩🚩🚩
Talks shit about their ex 🚩🚩🚩
ICYMI the red flag meme took over the internet last year and never really lost its steam.
What started as a wholesome way to warn others of the potential no-nos when dating someone new swiftly turned into a viral trend dominated by lighthearted dating preferences and avoidable character traits, used in tandem with an ironic amount of red flag emojis.
In internet discourse, the red flag is used colloquially via Twitter to make light of an issue with a person’s behaviour that could signify a larger issue of compatibility later down the line.
Jokes aside, there are some legit red, green and even *pink* dating flags to look out for that can be used to help avoid toxic relationships and signify a larger pattern of behaviour.
From love bombing hard in those early days (aka pulling a Simon Leviev) to sporadic ghosting and gaslighting, some red flags are redder than others but in the honeymoon phrase of dating someone new, they can be notoriously easy to miss, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you were once someone who collected red flags (it’s particularly hard to see a red one when you’re facing it, straight on).
We spoke to Tina Wilson, Relationship Expert and Founder of Wingman app – the app that lets you play matchmaker for your friends – to demystify the mind-boggling world of relationship and dating flags.
From the red flag deal breakers we should never ignore, to the potential pink warning signs to have on your radar and the giant green flags we should embrace with open arms, here’s Tina’s take on the intuitive traffic light system that’s taken over social media.
Green Flags ✅
A green flag is when you feel safe, and you feel comfortable in pursuing a relationship with the person. There are no warning signs that deter you from getting cold feet.
1. They check in with you regularly
Getting the right balance is key. You don’t want them to be too needy or over the top with constant communication and equally, you don’t want intermittent ghosting for days either. Either scenario can cause awkwardness and arguments. Your partner should also have a level of trust with you that they feel they don’t need to check up on you all the time too – after you both need to respect each other’s boundaries. You need to feel completely comfortable with each other. If they check on you once a day, such as, call you in the evening to see how your day went, then I am sure you would be thrilled to hear from them and you can both chat away about your day. Striking the perfect balance!
2. You can be open and honest
You can be open about your feelings and feel mutually respected. Your partner listens to you, and you can be your true self around them, and they understand you. Openness between couples leads to a higher level of satisfaction in the relationship, therefore feeling you can express yourself and be open with one another is important to a long-lasting relationship.
You are also comfortable discussing previous partners without either of you getting angry or jealous. You both have a level of maturity which is a positive sign for your future together.
3. They don’t attention seek outside of the relationship
Your new partner is completely comfortable in their own skin and being together with you. They are not constantly attention seeking outside of the relationship. They don’t constantly need approval from social media and have what they need within the relationship to feel fulfilled.
4. You are able to make each other laugh
Being able to have a laugh together is vital in relationships and a big green flag. You feel comfortable to have a laugh and share jokes. Having this chemistry and friendship shows your relationship can go all the way. After all, the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” is said for a reason. Laughter releases the happy hormones throughout your body and being able to make each other laugh is important for your long-term happiness.
Pink Flags 💞
Potential warning signs the budding romance could be in trouble, or that you don’t feel comfortable in taking the relationship to the next level.
1. Love bombing
The term ‘coming on strong’ has nothing on a love-bomber. Your new love-interest will be focused obsessively on you and will make you feel like a king/queen with their doting attention. ‘Your new partner is showering you with flowers, words of love, endless gifts and lavish trips – it is really romantic but a little too much too fast?
2. Sporadic ghosting
Everything is going well and then for five days you don’t hear from them and, when you do, they don’t say where they have been and carry on as normal. You have been counting the hours and their lack of communication is too much to take. You find this sporadic ghosting strange and the lack of awareness around their behaviour does not sit well with you.
3. Not big on PDA
Don’t get us wrong, you don’t want to feel awkward in public and have people staring, although it would be nice to share a kiss and hold hands from time to time. But a complete lack of PDA can make you feel undesired and any intimacy and connection you have can fade fast. A pink warning sign goes off in your head and you ask yourself: Why don’t they show affection or like being intimate with me around others? You will start to question if they fancy you, if they are embarrassed to be seen in public with you or make you even question if there is someone else.
4. You have no pictures together and there are no pictures / mention on his social media of you both
You either don’t take any photos together or you are the only one taking the pictures of you both – a big pink flag. Your new love interest might just not be into taking photos but check his online socials – do they post regularly and of what? Are they hiding your existence? Most people live their lives online so this could be concerning to you if there is NO trace of you anywhere. You might feel that unsure about the situation and decide not to continue the relationship.
Red Flags 🚩
A red flag is a definite warning sign that something isn’t right, and you should not ignore it.
1. Mix matched views about life and relationship goals
For a partner to be considered long term you must have the same life goals. Having different goals will lead to one of you being unhappy and resentment will just kick in. You must establish if you are on the same page early on to avoid disappointment and heartbreak. If you are wanting to settle down in a long term committed relationship, attention needs to focus on what you both want out of life, such as having children. If one of you doesn’t want children, then the relationship is bound to derail at some point.
2. Stories about “crazy exes”
They for one should be comfortable talking to you about past relationships without malice or bringing any negative issues to new relationships. Crazy stories about their ex or a negative attitude about a past love could indicate unfinished business and bitterness. They could also likely be focusing the blame on the ex, instead of their own behaviours. Patterns can be hard to break and if they are in denial or pushing the blame on someone else then it is likely the cycle will be repeated with you.
3. Controlling behaviour
Any hint of gaslighting or narcissistic behaviour should never be brushed under the carpet. Early on in a relationship, small seemingly helpful suggestions over your clothing choices or your friendship groups could indicate a controlling partner who may manipulate all aspects of your life in the future. Put a stop to it now.
4. Your friends and family don’t like them
Your friends and family know you better than anyone and you should not overlook any comments or concerns they may have about your girlfriend or boyfriend. Sometimes love is blind, and you may be caught up in the emotions without realising you aren’t right for each other. The ‘honeymoon period’ fades so it is important to take on board your friends and family’s thoughts or concerns. They are looking objectively and only have your best intentions at heart.