Welcome to A Millennial's Dating Diary series, where we explore real-life interactions and the hurdles of dating in Southeast Asia. The series will feature the dating stories and misadventures of Arika – a 26-year-old, straight female marketing manager with a penchant for over drinking — and fellow millennials.
We've all been conditioned to look at the major red flags in relationships and dating, but what about all the underrated green flags people usually don't talk about or give enough credit for?
Here are some of the things my friends and I have noticed from all our collective years of dating:
1. When they're consistent
If there's a common denominator in the things my girlfriends complain about the most when dating, it's the fact that sometimes, the person they're interested in blows hot and cold.
Their stories all sound very similar, too: everything starts out fine before the person they're into does a complete 180, and either starts to ignore them or just doesn't put in much effort anymore.
"Honestly, dating someone consistent is such a blessing. If they're putting in the effort and taking the initiative to meet you, they're keepers," says my friend, *Adriana, 24, who's been casually dating since the start of the year.
It's so sexy when someone can just say, 'I messed up, I'm sorry' or just admit that they made terrible judgments in the past. It's such a good showing of maturity.
2. When they're genuinely nice
While it's great that they're friendly to the service staff at restaurants and the like, what's even more impressive is if they're genuinely nice to people they don't even actually have to be.
When I started exclusively dating *Mark, he told me of his plan to text all the girls he used to see casually. He wanted to let them know he's now attached and won't meet them anymore.
I found this kind of weird. What does it matter if you used to sleep with this person and won't be sleeping with them again? With casual dating, these things are often expected.
Much to my chagrin, though, Mark had a good point for wanting to do so. He didn't want to leave anything to chance ("The girls won't be messaging me anymore once I tell them this"), he didn't want any awkward encounters if he met them outside, and most importantly, he wanted to be polite.
I remember feeling a little strange about this one, but a male friend later explained, "The whole casual part is more about not getting romantically involved; it doesn't mean you can be an a-hole and ignore someone."
3. When they know what consent means
On our first date, I distinctly remember *Mark had asked if he could kiss me.
While it might seem small to some, his respectfulness towards me truly set him apart from other guys I saw casually. Since then, I have measured every single guy on the same scale.
See, the thing is, no one had ever asked for permission to touch or kiss me before.
A lot of times, guys would make their move by touching my thighs or placing their hands suspiciously low at the small of my back. There’s a huge difference between being friendly and being way too forward.
Once, someone had attempted to go in for a kiss, and because I was so shocked (my friends can attest to how I scare easily) by his advances, I almost punched him in the face.
Till today, when I tell someone new about how our first date went, I never fail to say to them about how he had asked me this because I think his respectfulness and knowledge of consent is something worth shouting about.
4. When they're self-aware
"It's so sexy when someone can just say, 'I messed up, I'm sorry' or just admit that they made terrible judgments in the past. It's such a good showing of maturity," says my friend *Celine, who's currently in a relationship with someone she met on Tinder.
"When *Andre first started talking about his ex and how their relationship ended, he didn't go into blaming her entirely. Instead, he owned up to parts of the relationship that he thought he could have done better. Hearing him talk about the relationship like that gave me an insight into how he would have potentially handled our relationship."
5. When they're honest
We stan anyone who will openly admit to what they want to get out of a dating app, even if it's just to sleep around.
It's 2022, and it's about time people came clean about what they want out of dating.