What to Look for Instead of Red Flags

A multi-coloured bunting hanging in the forrest with a red, green, orange, and yellow flag. The green flag is in focus.
Photo by Manuel Hoster.

We all know to be on the lookout for red flags in relationships, but what about the green flags? The things that make you go, yep, this person is a good idea? We don't really talk about those, do we?

That's why I got so dang excited when I saw Sharon Peykar's Instagram post about relationships that starts with the green flags: it gives a framework beyond "this feels right." Of course, something "feeling right" is absolutely worth paying attention to, it's just nice to have something to measure it against, since our desire for connection and care from others mayyyyy sometimes cloud how we read those feelings. (Or is that just me?)

(Also, if you're still worried about red flags, she lays some of those out too on the next slide - just click the little white arrow on the post!)

As with all relationships advice, this info can be used to reflect for more than just the person you're interested in dating:

What about your relationships with friends, family, and coworkers?

Romantic relationships are far from the only relationships that matter and as much as romance can feel high-stakes (many of us, after all, are trying to pick ONE PERSON with whom we are going to procreate and spend THE REST OF OUR LIVES. No pressure!), these other relationships impact our lives in a big way. We want to pick the right people to bring into our inner circles and invest in them. After all, I want my besties to be around my entire life, too, not just the person I might marry.

What about your relationship with your own dang self?

Have a look at those green and red flags for yourself. Do you support personal growth in yourself and others? Do you practice self-care, reflect, invest in longterm friendships, honour boundaries, and/or have some hobbies? Or, on the red side, do you criticize, avoid empathy, or manipulate yourself or others?

How can you create more space to cultivate some green? How can you begin to address any red that's in there?

I would start by focusing on adding green before you try to eradicate the red, though. It'll be more pleasant AND it'll crowd out the red stuff. If you can be strategic and pick a green thing that's the antithesis of any red in your life, that sounds like a brilliant place to start.

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