It's never been easy navigating the dating scene. It can be a jungle out there, to put it mildly. From the plethora of dating apps to monogamy versus polyamory, the push away from "labels" to the evolving state of modern nightlife, dating can be a headache. So, upon meeting someone new, it can be a huge relief to have found a person with whom you may feel compatible.
Before you rush into things, however, it is imperative to look out for any red flags and green flags, if you are indeed looking for something serious. Sure, not everyone is going to be free of red flags, but if their green flags far outweigh their red flags, then that usually means that you've found someone worth pursuing further.
Below, we've compiled a list of 13 dating red flags and 12 green flags to notice when meeting someone new. We couldn't possibly list every red and green flag to keep an eye out for when meeting a new person, but we've narrowed it down to the ones we think are the most important.
25 Bad Hygiene
Believe it or not, not everyone brushes their teeth every day. Not everyone showers or bathes every day. This may seem judgmental, upon first reading the title of this section, but having bad hygiene isn't only associated with bad breath, offensive body odors, and disheveled appearances.
Poor hygiene can also lead to serious health issues, and, in extreme cases, death. For instance, excessive plaque buildup in a person's mouth can lead to heart disease, according to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School. Furthermore, not regularly showering or bathing can increase one's risk of a range of viral infections, from the common cold to much more serious health problems.
24 Poor Listening Skills
There's nothing like going out to dinner with somebody you're interested in romantically who appears to be interested in everything but you. The person might be on their phone, interrupt all your stories, or have difficulty maintaining eye contact with you.
Then there's the classic scenario in which a person asks you how work was, or some such inquiry, and you answer but notice that your date's eyes are glazing over as they mentally take a quick vacation. That can be deflating, to say the least.
23 Doesn't Ask Questions
Signs of a selfish person can be obvious and outwardly apparent. If you ask your romantic interest questions, and they don't reciprocate, the conversations will always be one-sided, and, eventually, you will grow tired of only learning about them and not being able to share things in common.
Past experiences, memories, interests, family history... These things are important to share with somebody when getting to know them. Furthermore, the conversations will become overly monotonous, boring, and redundant if they're not a two-way street.
22 No Long-Term Goals
When somebody only has short-term goals, that typically means that they either don't like to plan or haven't thought far enough into the future to conceive of any long-term goals. This may reveal itself in other aspects of their lives. It may also apply to relationships. This person likely isn't looking for anything serious.
If that is also what you're looking for, then this person is well-suited to you. However, if you're looking for something serious that will last, this is one red flag to keep an eye out for.
21 Nothing In Common
Who hasn't gone on a first date and had nothing in common with the other person? It's an awkward situation, particularly when either party is likely nervous coming into the date. You and your date will try several conversation starters, ask questions about each other's lives and personal interests, but not before long, you'll realize that you're polar opposites.
Perhaps this might be a favorable situation for two people looking for a no-strings-attached situation, but for someone looking for something more substantial, this isn't an ideal scenario.
20 Overly Judgmental
From the gossipers to the trash talkers, to the jealous significant other types, and the controlling types, early signs of a judgmental person are a major red flag to watch out for.
It may begin as something benign, such as venting about work, an annoying friend, or criticizing that IG-famous acquaintance, but if you begin to notice a repetitive pattern of negativity towards others, it could mean that your love interest is overly judgmental and cynical.
19 Poor Manners
There are few things more off-putting than sitting across the table from somebody with poor table manners. Have you ever tried enjoying a meal with a person who eats with their mouth open? Not only is it off-putting, but it's distracting.
On the other hand, let's hope you haven't encountered the angry, entitled type who talks down to the waiting staff due to some minor mistake in their order. Other signs that you may be with an ill-mannered person include constant interruptions during conversation, dirtiness around the house and road rage, among countless other signs. Keep your eyes peeled!
18 Selfish Behavior
If you ever feel like your selflessness and generosity isn’t reciprocated, that is one red flag you won’t want to gloss over. Whether it includes small behaviors, such as never sharing information, or more impactful behavior like forgetting a birthday, selfish people are not fun to date.
What’s the point of attempting to get to know somebody who’s only interested in themselves? Sure, not everybody can be entirely selfless, but a healthy balance is key.
17 No Filter
Close your eyes and picture this: You’re in a nice restaurant on a first date. The atmosphere is warm and the surrounding sounds never reach a decimal level higher than a faint murmur. Not only does your date speak at a decimal level twice the volume of that, but they talk about anything and everything. From the hardships they're facing at work, to their romantic lives (in way too much detail), to their day-to-day grievances, it all comes out!
This is one of the many examples of a person with no filter. It can be quite embarrassing to be around. The signs are usually obvious and instant turnoffs. #nofilter
16 Doesn't Follow Through With Plans
If you’re just getting to know somebody and they’re already proving to be flaky when it comes to making or following through with plans, then how can you know that they'll be reliable as a significant other? Answer: You don't know!
Alas, flaky people are a red flag, no matter how much of a catch they may seem to be. Nobody likes getting stood up, or having plans canceled at the last minute. Having somebody who you can depend on is more ideal.
15 Talks Poorly About You When You're Not Around
It’s happened. You think you’ve met Mr. or Ms. Perfect. Everything about them is what you’ve been looking for in a significant other your entire life. Then you catch wind of one not-so-little flaw. They like to talk. A lot. Usually about other people. They might even like to talk about you, and not always see you through a favorable lens.
Does your romantic interest act like everything is fine and dandy while you’re hanging out, but once you’re apart word reaches you that you’ve been thrown under the bus? Red flag.
14 Passive Aggressive Behavior
An overtly extended sigh. “What’s wrong?” you ask. “Nothing,” they reply. Dirty looks. Extended periods of silence. Condescending tones of voice. Sarcasm. Patronization. These are but a few signs of a passive aggressive love interest. They will refuse to tell you what’s irking them so as to avoid confrontation, further magnifying the issue and pushing people away.
Instead of confronting the situation directly, they will either take out their frustration on other, unimportant aspects of their lives, or internalize their anger. Sounds like a fun date, right?
Picture yourself on a date. You’re in the middle of a story, fully engaged with your subject matter, when you glance at your date who’s on their phone, not absorbing a single word of your story that you so tirelessly crafted. Watch out for the person who constantly checks their watch or phone, looks around as if they’re looking for an escape from the date, can’t make eye contact, and whose mind appears to wander (glazed-over eyes, plays with food, etc.).
Whether they constantly forget your personal details, interests, or mix up dates, there are always going to be people too consumed with their own lives to engage in yours.
12 Good Hygiene
Somebody with good hygiene will likely smell better than the average person, be well-groomed, well-dressed, and have good hair. Furthermore, they will, more often than not, be healthier than the average person. Their risk of heart disease, viral infections, and other dangerous medical conditions is greatly reduced by taking care of their hygiene.
So, if you’re looking for longevity in your next partner, make sure to put the feelers out for somebody with good hygiene.
11 Excellent Listening Skills
Somebody with excellent listening skills will make consistent, direct eye contact with you while you’re speaking with them, nod their head, make verbal sounds indicating that they understand what you’re saying, and ask questions about the subject matter that you’re discussing.
Why is this important? Well, when looking for somebody to build a relationship with, communication is an important way to create a connection. If your romantic interest has poor listening skills, you will have a tough time communicating.
10 Engaging Conversationalist
Speaking of communication, if your romantic interest is an engaging conversationalist, that is a monumental green flag. Not only will this make dates fun, but it also means that conversations likely won’t grow dull any time soon; you don’t have to worry about running out of things to talk about.
When someone asks you interesting questions, this will make for a more enjoyable time together. The person knows how to communicate and be social. This will undoubtedly make introducing them to family and friends easier, if you ever get to that point with this person.
9 Has Long-Term Goals
Somebody who has a clear set of long-term goals typically has their act together. For people looking for something long-lasting upon meeting someone new, this is one green flag to notice. Obvious signs to be aware of in a goal-oriented person focused on the future include a steady career, savvy income saving capacity, having a strong passion to pursue (if it isn't already aligned with their work), and having plans to create a family in the future.
Aside from having a partner in crime you can trust to be in it for the long run with you, people with long-term goals tend to be more reliable and trustworthy.
8 Shared Interests
During the period in which you're just beginning to get to know somebody that you're romantically interested in, it may help to have shared interests. For instance, if you both enjoy exercise, this may be a nice bonding activity to do together.
Similarly for people who both enjoy movies, live music, food, reading, writing, or cooking, these are all activities that they can do together. These will help bypass that awkward, getting-to-know-each-other stage and can also serve as great conversation icebreakers.
7 Accepting Of Diversity
As mentioned earlier, the ideal romantic partner isn't going to be judgmental. This includes any prejudice against race, color, religion, national origin or citizenship status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or disability.
If they are willing to accept the reality of diversity in this world, the chances are that the person you're interested in is going to be open-minded in other aspects of their life, more easy-going, understanding, and empathetic. Green flag.
6 Polite & Well-Mannered
Believe it or not, poor table manners are becoming harder and harder to come by these days. In restaurants, everyone appears to be on their phones, rude, embarrassingly loud, or engaged in some other ill-mannered activity. So, when somebody you're interested in has basic table manners, says "please" and "thank you," isn't rude to the waiting staff, and keeps their voice at a reasonable volume, their politeness is definitely a green flag.
Remember, good manners are a sign that your interest will also treat you with respect.
5 Selfless Behavior
Are you deciding upon what to eat with the person you're dating before going out? Let's say you really want Italian food, but they really want Korean food. However, they go with your hankering instead, a noble compromise. Or, are you deciding what to watch on Netflix? Let's say you really want to watch Arrested Development, but they really want to watch The OA. They make a deal with you and settle for Arrested Development.
These signs of selfless behavior imply that your romantic interest cares about what you think, not only about themselves and their own interests.
Many people are attracted to big personalities, which is all well and good. However, there is a line that needs to be drawn. Some people are so self-absorbed, and their egos are so big, that they effectively create a delusion about themselves. Such confidence may attract people at first, but ultimately it likely means that the overconfidence is coming from a place of deep insecurity.
On the contrary, when somebody shows consistent humility and modesty through their words and actions, it not only means that they have a level head on their shoulders, but also means that they probably have a lot more to offer than the overconfident types.
3 Punctual & Consistent With Plans
Punctuality is important. Nobody likes waiting for a date. It’s embarrassing, uncomfortable, and awkward. It isn’t just about being on time, however. When a person makes plans with somebody and promises that they will be at a certain place at a specific time, and completely misses that window of time, it may mean that they’re unreliable. How can you depend on them?
Furthermore, if they lie to you and lead you on about date times, then they may be the type of person who cuts corners or embellishes other aspects of their lives. That is why punctuality is a certified green flag.
2 Forthright About Feelings
Traditionally, and not until quite recently on the historical spectrum, it was taboo for people to talk about their feelings, particularly for men. Slowly, the stigma around men being allowed to be more in touch with their feelings is disappearing.
Dating green flag: When somebody is honest about their feelings, it’s easier to communicate, overcome disagreements, and grow closer to them as a significant other.
1 Undivided Attention
This is the age of social media and an overabundance of content that viewers watch for their own entertainment. The average attention span of human beings is eight seconds, according to Time, which is less than the famously distracted goldfish, whose attention span clocks in at nine seconds.
So, when a person in today’s culture can give you their undivided attention while you’re talking to them, all while making eye contact with you, that most certainly qualifies as a green flag. Especially if you’re telling a story longer than eight seconds!