How to spot Red Flags when dating
Red is one of those curious things in life that has an intrinsic duality embedded in its symbolism.
Traditionally we’re taught that red means stop. Fundamentally speaking red is interpreted negatively and is often used as a signal for danger, fail, fault, or do not pass go.
Perhaps counterintuitively as our personal psychology becomes inverted, danger becomes fascinating, sexy, untouchable and desirable. It’s both this nuanced complexity and the marketability of red as powerful, romantic and erotic that hints to me that we shouldn’t be too judgemental of our own inability to spot some red flags.
Keep this in mind as you identify your red flags and why you have them. Is it because they’re a legacy red flag ie. you were raised to say please and thank you, or is it a learned red flag ie. a phone face down means they’re being cagey because a cheating ex did that. With this in mind, remember the above: that sometimes we like doing what we know is bad for us and therefore will subconsciously ignore the tail of red flags flapping behind someone we’re actually kind of falling for.
Despite the fact that we typically see Red Flags as bad, they’re also little gems of insight that when understood correctly, we can be grateful for. Think of them as your elixir of truth helping you to be discerning when dating.
All red flags are not made equal. Some red flags are quickly evident (read: visible in the time it takes to scull 2 chardies) and others take months to appear. It’s important to remember that red flags, like most foibles of dating are subjective.
Please remember that I’m writing with complete gender flexibility here. I use he, she and they interchangeably but I’m not discriminating by gender. Both males and females can exhibit any of the behaviours below:
He/she uses the term ‘we’ too often. WE all know that in order to disarm someone and make them comfortable you simply insert WE instead of I. It also gives an added layer of complexity around intentions and a false sense of security that WE have a future, thereby meaning YOU can let go of inhibitions and do whatever YOU (they) like. Right now.
Someone who refers to the future too much on early dates is also tugging on the heart strings. “You will be a good influence on me” implies future tense and romantic entanglement and thereby sets you up for (broken) false promises.
Someone who doesn’t even pretend to suggest where you should meet, nor compromise for you based on location is an indicator of apathy. A person who is genuinely interested will make an effort to make plans that work for you both.
Anyone who tries to move you away from the initial date venue too soon. Humans are really just like kids trying to get away with anything they possibly can. Sex ASAP is just another boundary to push. As adults we perpetually push boundaries to see how far we can get too, we’re opportunistic.
Run a mile from anyone who suggests that you come overseas with them during the first date. What kind of relationships do you have if you need to ask a first date to be a travel partner? Correct, none.
Anyone who dodges or dismisses any direct (but reasonable) question ie. “Do you have a girlfriend?”
Dates should be about mutual and equal conversation (hopefully with some added laughs). Anyone who views a date as a chance to practice their autobiographical soliloquy or elevator pitch is a dick.
Asking questions is the easiest way to get to know someone, however anyone who intently digs into your past via a Spanish inquisition line of questioning; “But what type of sex did you have? Do you still like each other?” Or who demands to know your intentions for life/love/dating immediately is being pushy.
They show you pictures of girls/guys on Instagram that they’re trying to tune, or have slept with. This is disgustingly rude and blatantly disarming.
They don’t treat bar staff/wait staff nicely. This isn’t just a lack of manners but it shows disrespect and basically that they think they’re above others.
They speak about their ex (not just one but all) with an air of bitterness, resentment. Or extensively. Too much ex chat can mean they’re either not over them, are jealous or are trying to make you jealous.
Their behaviour is more hot and cold than a broken tap. This is difficult because behaviour is subject to so many internal and external influences but, if over time, behaviour drastically dips and swings then you should really be asking why. On/off again affection is particularly damaging because it has the added side affect of making the recipient wonder if the feelings and emotions they have experienced are actually real. Someone sending you crazy, is a red flag the size of Antarctica.
They can’t keep a conversation, disagreement or fight between the two of you
They aren’t pleasant company until after consuming their second alcoholic beverage, or need to be intoxicated to have a good time.
Moving too fast. Dating isn’t a time trial. Being in the moment (and in your feelings) is absolutely the pleasure state but rushing through the initial stages of dating means you’re not actually taking the time to get to know one another. This compromises the question of a potential relationship forming, and its subsequent foundations, plus it puts pressure on everyone involved.
Money talks (never). Whether you’re discussing how much or how little money you have, it’s crass.
They reply with emojis. Liking my fucking comment is not a response.
Overt vanity. Your lip gloss looks fine in the reflection of that spoon, babe.
They lack common courtesy. Acceptable etiquette differs for everyone but p’s & q’s, table manners, at least a hint of chivalry and turning up to a date in those weird padded bike short things isn’t okay (even if Kimmy K doth protest)
Expressing distrust towards your friendships with the opposite sex. It’s weird and uncomfortable and forces you to evaluate the pre existing friendships in your life that you value.
Being too sexually forward. That’s considered sleazy, not sexy. Less really is more. Ever seen that meme saying, “Ask for my needs, not my nudes?” Yeah. That.