I don’t know about you, but I am so over hearing about red flags. It’s like, yes, I am well aware I should not be interested in a man who calls his ex “crazy” or thinks holding a fish in his Tinder profile is a turn-on. But you know what we need to talk about more? Green flags.
As you can probably guess, green flags are the types of things that you should look for in a potential partner. They say “Hey, yes, this person is worth getting to know.”
And while I recognize it may be easier to come up with a list of things you don’t want, it’s just as important to come up with a list of things you do.
The good news: Even though everyone has their individual preferences and tastes, there are still some universal things that scream “green flag” no matter who you’re dating. So to make it easier for you, we’ve tapped a bunch of dating experts on all the things that mean you should definitely, probably pursue this person.
Allow me to introduce you to some solid green flags:
1. They remember the little, little things.
If they know how you take your coffee, what your Chipotle order is, and your birth chart, this could be a keeper, says behavioral and relationship expert Wendy Patrick, PhD.
2. You align similarly on religious and political issues.
“Knowing someone’s belief system is an important aspect when deciding if this is someone you should be dating,” says sexuality educator and researcher Ashley Townes, PhD. And, pro tip: If religion and/or political issues are important to you, don’t wait to have these conversations until you’ve already established feelings for the other person.
3. They very clearly have close family and friends.
“It's not the quantity of friends but rather the quality. If you hear them repeatedly mentioning a close friend or family member, it shows that they treasure relationships and have genuine connections with the people in their lives,” says Yue Xu and Julie Krafchick, cohosts of the Dateable podcast.
4. They follow-up with you when they know you had a Big Thing happening.
If after you tell them about a Big Thing—like say, a work presentation, your niece's communion, etc.—they follow up with you to see how it went, that could mean they're v interested. “If they remember to ask you about it later on, that shows they have been thinking about you and are genuinely concerned about how you’re doing,” says compassionate leadership expert Magalie René.
5. You notice they are genuinely nice to other people.
Do they give up their seat for the elderly? Do they hold the door open? Do they speak nicely to waiters and wait staff? Do they help someone struggling to carry a package? All green flags, says relationship expert Jaida Pervis.
6. They are also genuinely nice to you, without expecting anything in return.
Obviously you don’t want to be coddled, but Pervis adds that if “they look out for you in simple ways, like making sure you've had something to eat that day or making you sure you get home safely,” you’ve got a good one.
7. They make time for themselves and prioritize self-care.
In whatever way, they are actively taking care of their mental health—whether through working out, cooking, journaling, meditating, practicing yoga, etc. Consider it a good move if, while also making time for you, they “engage in their favorite hobbies and talk to other important people in their lives. They let you know when they have that upcoming monthly get-together with their besties. They balance time with you, time to themselves, and time with others,” says clinical psychologist Annie Hsueh, PhD.
8. They have healthy boundaries.
This means they know what they want, know what they don’t, and are able to let you know specifically what they need. “They tell you what they need while reassuring you of their care for you,” says Hsueh. If they’re having a particularly bad day, this could look like them expressing that they need time to themselves, but they will reach back out the following day to schedule time to see you.
9. They ask you thoughtful questions—and most importantly, actually care about your answers.
Your conversations should be easy, vulnerable, and open. But they should also listen to what you have to say rather than making it about themselves for every question. “They should go deep with you,” says Hsueh.
10. They take their time getting to know you, and they don’t rush to DTR.
Relationships take time to develop. They should take the time to fully know you before wanting to put a label on the relationship too early. However, be mindful this is not to be confused with someone who is playing games or being secretive about their intentions. “Taking the proper amount of time signifies they value you and your time together,” says Jacqueline Ravelo, LCSW.
11. They have role models in their life across all ages, genders, and background.
This shows they value other people’s opinions who may not look or think like them. It also could mean “they’re able to see a range of what is powerful and worthy of attention. It helps if they're specific or animated in their praise of others. Showing detailed admiration reflects well on their ability to connect,” says Lakshmi Rengarajan, host of Paired By the People podcast.
12. They text or call you when they say they are going to.
Consistency is key here. “If the person you're dating is good about texting/calling when they say they're going to, makes sure to come through on the plans you make together, and the frequency of your communications is consistent, these are all great signs that he/she is dependable/reliable,” says relationship expert Vanessa Russell, writer at Women’s Health Interactive.
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