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What are your "red flags"?

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  • What are your "red flags"?

    After posting in response to another topic, and sharing my (recently changed) point of view on the concepts of red flags, I thought this may be a fun topic deserving of its very own post!

    First, how do you define a "red flag" when it comes to dating?

    And, of course, what are your red flags?

    Over the past few years, my use of the terms red, or yellow, flag changed as they pertain to dating. I would have that mental "yellow flag" whenever something would be said or done that raised my attention to some potential problem. example: a man took me to a casino for a first date, and seemed to be very into the games, and dropped a LOT of money on slots and other games. Yellow flag - was it nervousness? Trying to impress me? Was it an indicator of a gambling issue - maybe, maybe not...
    After a few weeks, and becoming Facebook friends, it became a red flag and ultimately the reason I stopped seeing him. He obviously has, what I perceive to be, a gambling problem.

    I also used to label things like, being "inactive", having poor table manners, or "doesn't love animals" as red flags. I really think using these harsh labels to undercut someone lends itself to the overall negative attitudes in dating. Being inactive, poor table manners, and not liking animals are not going to work for me, but they may be just fine for another woman that doesn't share my preferences. So, rather than think of this man negatively, and stamp his fore head "rejected" and red flag him, I started trying to use those terms a bit more judiciously in my vocabulary. Instead, "he's a great guy, just not right for me".
    Those are very different issues than the man with a probable gambling issue, or the man that I suspected was abusing his daughter...

    When we're caught up in the world of dating, especially online, where it's a free-for-all at times, it's difficult to stay positive and look for the qualities you want, and simply walk away from what you don't want, without being critical and becoming bitter. I know, because I did it myself. I was bitter and angry much of the time I was online dating. And I see it in friends that have become so hypersensitive to everything said and done, that they can't seem to see what the priorities are any more. Having a difference in how we like our steaks cooked, shouldn't be a deal-breaker, should it? How about someone wearing socks with sandals? Red Flag? Is my circle of friends really different in their usage of these terms to indicate any hint of a difference of preference?

    Then, of course, there are the no-brainers: Dishonesty or abuse are obviously red flags: reasons to call it a day and pull the shade on the relationship.

    Have you thought about how you use the terms red/yellow flag?
    What are your deal breakers, and flags in potential romantic relationships?

  • As we talked about in our post about dating someone with a disability and "red flags" -- I agree with mostly everything you are saying!

    We are often way too critical, and I always approach most of the women that I've met and interacted with simply by saying "I have nothing bad to say about her, she's a great person, just not a good match for me." and leave it at that.

    That could mean there were "flags" whether pink, yellow or red, but that doesn't mean they are deal breakers for everyone.

    As I mentioned in our other discussion, poor communication is a RED flag, code Red for me...always and forever.

    I've learned this the hard way -- someone who isn't open, honest, effective telling you who they are, able to vocalize feelings, intent, and truth are not someone I want to get involved with.

    To me, it's all bounded by effective communication -- it's ok if we disagree on something, or you would rather do it a different way, but be honest about it. Talk about it. Don't disappear because you were too scared, rattled, or not confident enough to vocalize it. Or worse, don't even know what you want.

    We all know the "no brainers" but we often forgo the "non-brainers" -- meaning the flags that we brush off as personality quirks, preferences, or nuances that really ARE flags -- whether universal or singular, they are flags and you should always trust your instincts and listen to them.

    I have yet to be disappointed for trusting my instincts, but I've been disappointed a lot by ignoring them and giving people a "chance" when my gut and body were telling me no.

    I don't care how tall someone is, what race they are, what team they root for, or any of that frivolous stuff people say is important -- what I do care about, is communication. I think from that, everything spills forth -- whether for good or bad.


    • When I was younger, I probably had fewer red flags, beyond the obvious stuff — abuse, being a jerk, lying, cheating, etc.

      While I’ve been out of the dating game for a very long time, if I HAD to date now, I would consider the above to be no-brainers, along with:

      How they treat people in general, especially customer service folks, restaurant staff, and the like (to me, the way someone behaves and interacts with those working in the service industry is VERY telling). Someone who is rude and disrespectful, red flag. Instantly.

      The inability to accept someone else’s spiritual beliefs, or who holds on to the “truth” that their beliefs are the only “right” ones. I dated someone like that once, an eon ago, and it was a life lesson learned.

      Grammar and eloquence, or a lack thereof. I know, that’s probably really lame and might border on “too picky” but I cannot. I just can’t. I’m a verbal person, for better or for worse, and I need intelligent conversation. Not that I can’t be ridiculous and talk about stupid things, but I also need to have deep conversations with people — especially someone I would date.


      • Ah, vocabulary/grammar/language...good point Alison H. I think that's a pretty interesting choice. For me, it's not necessarily a "deal breaker" or red flag kind of thing, but definitely a level of attraction thing for me. I find the ability to speak intelligently very sexy, and I find poor grammar or "loudness" to be very unattractive.

        The man I'm dating now, I've learned has 2 languages. He speaks his usual day to day thing. But occasionally, if we get into a deeper discussion, he starts talking in a more highly intellectual language that I'm assuming he uses at work, and I find it amazing. Once I was rambling on about environmental ethics, and then asked him what he thought. Well, he told me, and it was one of the most intelligent, well-said, sexy things I've ever heard a man say-even tho' I didn't necessarily agree with all his opinions. My whole mind-set changed - I jumped on him, and we went to bed. LOL I'm not sure I even heard the last part of what he said...I love it when he talks nerdy to me.



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