We hear so much about spotting red flags when dating, but today I want to focus our attention on the good things we need to keep an eye out for, as well.
Following are a list of some of my favorite green flags I love to see:
- Good communication skills. Someone who replies within a reasonable period of time is gold. A person can have everything else right, but if they don’t get back to me for days, that’s going to be a hard pass. Also, the quality of the communication matters as well. Do they stick to small talk, or are they willing to go deeper with me, talk about the harder things? Can they talk about their feelings? Can they discuss the future and what they want? When we have conflict, do they ignore it, or do they initiate a conversation? “Hey, I’ve noticed things seem a bit tense. Can we talk?” The person who says this gets to stay.
- Shows genuine interest. This may seem like a no-brainer, but to anyone with an anxious attachment style, it can be part of our pattern to pursue avoidant partners. Unfortunately, this means we end up with someone who doesn’t seem that interested in us, and our pattern is to try to “fix” this. (Spoiler: it’s an attempt to heal a childhood wound, and it won’t end well.) A person who’s genuinely interested will ask you questions about yourself and care about the answers. They’ll make plans with you and be excited to see you.
- Dependable. When someone’s deeds align with their words, I swoon. I love a partner who says he’ll do something, and then promptly does the thing. It doesn’t matter what the thing is. It could be taking out the trash, or it could be showing up for a date. I love and always try to show appreciation for a partner who does just what he says he’ll do.
- Consistent. If a person presents themself as one thing but then months later, a different version of them shows up, cut your losses. Anyone (ok, almost anyone) can be on good behavior for a month or three months or even a year, but with time, a person’s true colors show. Watch for those true colors, and if they aren’t what you signed up for, leave and don’t feel bad. You deserve a good person, not a bait and switch trick.
- Knows how to apologize. We all (yes, including me) make mistakes. Owning those mistakes is vital, and having a partner who can acknowledge a mistake, apologize, and try to make it right is crucial.
- Shows kindness to others. This one is going to seem like a no-brainer as well, but it’s truly one of the best early indicators of whether a person is worth being in relationship with. Do they speak ill of their exes? Do they complain about the waitstaff, or do they tip generously? When they see a stray cat, do they scowl or psspsspss to try to get its attention? Notice these interactions early on and know that someday, you’ll be on the receiving end of the same behavior.
- Similar values. While opposites do, in some ways, attract, it’s not an attraction you want to foster if you value your sanity. Politics have pervaded every aspect of our lives, and while I lament the polarizing of society, it’s so important to establish early on that your core values are aligned.
- Honesty. Their photos match their face (today, not their face ten years ago!). Also, their height matches what they listed on their profile. And if they told you they’re comfortably retired and financially secure, they really are. Because a person who lies about one thing (especially a small thing) will just as easily lie about all the things, and it’s just not worth it to deal with that. Intimacy requires trust, and without trust, everything fails.
What green flags do you look for, and which get you most excited about someone?