Last week I talked about why we ignore red flags. There are many reasons, often due to loneliness and other factors. Sometimes we think it’s easier to stay with a person because the alternative of going back into the dating pool seems even worse! When we have the ability to step back and look at the situation, and when we know ourselves, we can move through the temptation to ignore red flags and move on with the goal of finding someone who is more suitable.
What are red flags? We all know that nobody is perfect. We all have our shortcomings, so what is the difference between an annoyance and a red flag?
How someone loads the dishwasher, how they put toilet paper on the holder, how they squeeze the toothpaste tube – these are classic examples of annoyances for some people. Some of us tend to sweat the small stuff more than others do! We can choose to notice our reactivity and then look at the big picture. Then we can realize that, in the scheme of things, these are not important differences.
Red flags are another story. These are behaviors or situations that have the potential to be deal breakers and to undermine the health of a relationship. Here are some examples: the person sees him/herself as a victim and blames others for their life situation; he/she reacts with blame, rage or extreme anger when frustrated; he/she consistently acts impulsively and/or irresponsibly; he/she is negative or pessimistic about things that matter to you; he/she is unsupportive of your goals and dreams; he/she acts with a lack of integrity; he/she dominates conversations and talks only about him/herself and isn’t interested in you. The list goes on. Basically, if you’re noticing these behaviors right at the beginning, they do not bode well for the future.
You may have your own personal red flags that aren’t universal. For example, you may consider it a red flag if someone isn’t local, where others may be OK with a long distance relationship. You may consider it a red flag if someone is a smoker, where others won’t care. Same with drinking: depending on your history you may want someone who doesn’t drink at all, or drinks moderately, where someone else may actually want someone to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with. Look back at your relationship history and come up with all behaviors that you now see as red flags.
You owe it to yourself to be mindful of any red flags you see in the early stages of dating. Please pay attention and if there are behaviors that concern you or don’t feel right, move on!
Need help with this? I have a Dating Red Flags Checklist I’d be happy to email to you. Go to my Contact page and make your request! This will be very helpful for you if you’d like to start dating with more awareness. This is what I want for you: to have fun dating, and for you to find your ideal partner!