What is a red flag and how do you identify them in a relationship?

A red flag can be a character trait, a certain habit, behavior, or any kind of belief or core value of someone else that makes your intuition sound off.

This can be an issue in the present moment or something that you may see as a potential problem down the line.

If you struggle with low self-esteem, abandonment issues, and a desire to please, any sign of smoke will make you feel like you have to work much harder to prove you are ‘enough’.

When you first make it official with your new partner, it can be easy to ignore any red flags in your relationship and focus on the positives, pushing every doubt about your compatibility to the back of your mind because there’s that hope behind your mind, that they might change. And while it might be fun to stay ignorant for a while, there are some red flags that you should never ignore.

Here Are 14 Red Flags You Should Watch Out For in Your Relationships

1. If They Say Nasty Comments About Random Strangers

The way people talk about others is always a clue to who they (truly) are. No-one is above dropping the odd critical remark but it is especially telling when someone takes aim at an innocent stranger. I recall a friend telling me that once he took his new partner to the movies and she made nasty comments in passing about the appearance of other women. “It stuck with me because I just thought it was really mean,” he said.

Here’s the thing if they can talk nasty about a stranger, who says they can’t talk like that about you or your family?

If you experience this red flag in your relationship, don’t ignore it.

2. How They Treat and Talk About Family, Friends & Exes

Pay very close attention to how they talk about their family, friends, and exes. Listen to how they speak about their family, if they talk about their sisters in a way that doesn’t sit well with you, take notice.

If they are quick to judge insult their exes or say degrading words towards the opposite gender or notice if they act like a different person, seeks their validation, or gets off to being a fixer/rescuer for them.

Keep your antennas up because the most deal-breaking red flags hide in these dynamics.

3. They Label Themselves

People cannot help but communicate who they are through their actions and patterns and sometimes, through their verbal actions.

If they straight up tell you that they are immature, indecisive, keeping their options open, too good for you, can’t give you want, avoid commitments, etc, it’s one red flag to avoid.

That’s not your cue to try to be the exception to a rule that is so deeply branded in their being, they have no problem communicating it and don’t want to work on it.

It’s your cue to fold.

4. They Act All Defensively

If you casually and respectfully ask them a question and their defensiveness seems very strange, unnecessary, and theatrical to the question and energy with which you asked, this is a major red flag in your relationship.

Especially if they deflect and make you feel immature, accusatory, or mean for simply asking a harmless question.

Sometimes you try to confront them over a simple issue, but before you finish your statement they have already gone to war with you. Their defense is up, they have their weapon ready to dismiss whatever you say.

Avoid this red flag.

5. They are Selfish

Does your partner show little interest in your life yet expect you to be their cheerleader, motivational coach, and biggest supporter?

Red flag.

When the only time they show any interest in whatever you have going on is before getting a need met, or if there’s something in it for them then you know you’re with a selfish person.

6. They Make You Jealous and Keep You on Your Toes

Because you never feel like you have “all” of them, you are in a constant state of trying to get all of them. If you feel like you have to compete with other women or men, their ex, their family, job, then this is a red flag.

Your relationship isn’t something that you have to compete for to experience.

7. They Repeatedly Say, ‘I’m Just Kidding’ to Hurtful Jokes

“Joking” in this manner is such a joke. As long as they’re “joking” and you have an adverse reaction to it, you just “can’t take a joke.”

As long as they’re kidding, they can be cruel and get away with it because “it’s just a joke.”

Or they use your insecurities as a joke?

They are the joke here and you need to be done.

8. They Don’t Want to See Your Success

If your success requires you to give them more attention during your moment, that’s a huge red flag.

If you’re made to feel bad and apologize for your success, this is because your success shines a light on their lack of it. And anyone who can only amplify their light by dimming yours is not worth your time.

9. They become Angry When Discussing Their Mistakes

It’s not alright when they become angry about discussing anything they don’t like, don’t agree with, or don’t want to talk about.

Your partner shouldn’t lose their handle and try to suppress your communication at times when they know they are wrong. Their inability to talk about things that annoy them or strike a nerve is going to cause communication obstacles in your relationship further down the road. If you see this red flag in your relationship currently, try and talk it out.

10. All of Their Friends Are of the Opposite Sex

Friendships can add good and positive influences on our lives and to our relationships. But be informed; friendship with the opposite sex will destroy your relationship if it goes too far, too close, and unchecked. However, it can be a challenge to balance the intimacy of our relationships with the other important friendships in our lives.

If you’re the jealous type, and you are in a relationship like this, then know that it is a red flag.

11. They Get Extremely Moody

One minute they are pissed off at you for making a minor mistake, and the next minute they want to take cute photos and post them to Facebook. Relatable huh? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s a red flag in your relationship. Either address it or leave the relationship for them. Trust me, it’s for your sanity.

12. Their Definition of Love, Honesty, and Respect are Not the Same as Yours

There are stages in Love. Compatibility is the most important. If you have no problem raising your kids differently and they want them to be raised in another way and they are not willing to compromise— even though they know it’s archaic, then you have a potential red flag alert.

If you have different goals, ambitions, likes, and dislikes, you both are not compatible at all.

And if you decide to keep on moving, thinking they might change, well…Sorry for you in advance.

You deserve someone who defines these things in the same (or an even better way) than you do. Think of how you would advise someone you care about and do the same for yourself.

Walk away from this red flag.

13. Their Family Doesn’t Like You

If their family doesn’t respect you even acknowledge you or doesn’t think you’re the one, you’re just wasting your time.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, this really matters. Even if they promise to stick by you through thin and thick, are you willing to risk your happiness and peace?

Once their family loathes you, my brother/sister, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

14. You Don’t Even Recognize Them After the Honeymoon Phase is Over

Everyone is a little overly soft in the first month or a few weeks of dating. Once you get through that, you start to see the real person. People change. How much they change will set the course for what they’ll be like in the future. Make sure you know the real person you are getting committed to.

If you see 4-5 of the following red flags in your relationship, you might want to reconsider the relationship. However, if you see 7 or more of these red flags in your relationship, I have one word for you.

RUN!

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