Red flags? No thanks, I want the green flags please.

Relationships play a massive part of our lives, I can’t think of anyone who wants to waste their time being unhappy and unfulfilled with the wrong partner. Most of us have had our fair share of drama and disasters in the past; so it’s understandable if someone enters a new relationship with a slightly pessimistic outlook. From online articles to social media posts and lifestyle magazines, we often hear about “red flags” in a relationship, but what about the lesser-discussed “green flags”? What are signs of a healthy and loving relationship that has true potential?

Sometimes we focus too much on the negatives and lose sight of the positive things (not just with relationships either) so today I’m discussing traits that’ll indicate whether a person is a keeper ☺️ I’ve prepared a rather hefty list on what I consider “green flags” based on my experience and learnings overtime…

1. YOU ARE NOT CONFUSED ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS FOR YOU (EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY)
Spending too much energy trying to decipher their mixed feelings? Ain’t nobody got time for that!I’ll save you the stress now and tell you that mixed signals more often than not means they’re not that into you. Harsh but true. A sure sign of someone who’s emotionally available will be in tune with their feelings and can communicate them with you. Not only are they able to do this, but they’re actually willing to. Showing you vulnerability, ie. knowing if they’re afraid, if they really like you, if something bothers them — means you’re not left wondering, guessing, or worrying because they’ve consistently shown that you can trust their words and actions.

2. KNOWING HOW TO HOLD DIFFICULT, HONEST AND CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATIONS
Closely linked with point 1… it’s a cliché but I can’t emphasise enough: communication is key! For many it’s difficult to talk about your feelings and put yourself out there, but once you pluck up the courage to do so, you’ll realise that it really is the glue that holds relationships together. If you and your partner are able to talk on a level (even after a fight), if you’re able to express yourselves calmly, effectively and respectfully, particularly through conflict, then you’re in a very good place. Believe me it’s frustrating being with someone who’s equivalent to a brick wall (I’ve been on both sides).

3. A GREAT AND SIMILAR SENSE OF HUMOUR

Imagine cracking a joke that you thought was a funny, only to be met with deafening silence 😭😩 That would fill me with dread! So it’s nice to know your partner will get your weird and wonderful sense of humour. Making fun of each other, sarcasm, banter, having the ability to spar with each other verbally — that’s a green flag for sure.

4. YOU CAN BE YOURSELF

I don’t believe you should be putting on a facade when it comes to dating at any point but when you’re with someone you gel with, you should feel comfortable enough to act exactly as you do when you’re alone. You’re the real you, not a “representation” of you. You’ll feel like you can be honest and speak your mind without feeling like your partner will judge or put you down. Hiding your true self from the get-go means building your relationship on lies… and that never ends well!

5. THEY GIVE YOU ‘ME TIME’

Everyone needs a little alone time now and then. In a healthy relationship, both parties understand and respect the need for independence and “me time”.  It’s important to have your own interests, hobbies, routines and friends. What you don’t want to do is become all-consumed with your partner — not having and maintaining your identity outside of your relationship could quickly lead to neediness and resentment.

6. YOU FEEL RESPECTED

When we care about and value others, we respect their feelings, treat them well and make time for them. We act accordingly when we know someone’s worth and not want to lose them. A positive sign is when you don’t feel rushed into anything you’re not ready for, physically or emotionally. Your partner will listen and understand your point of view (even if they don’t agree). And they’ll treat you like a priority rather than a convenience. Valuing your presence in their life is a green flag.

7. SEXUAL CHEMISTRY
When I talk about sexual chemistry, I don’t just mean having that feeling of wanting to rip each others clothes off and experiencing mind blowing sex (although, that’s pretty hot!) But if our partner can feed our mind and soul, it enhances our feelings of physical/sexual attraction to them. When you’re comfortable enough to discuss bedroom antics, how to spice things up, turn-ons and being able to laugh about the sex, this helps to build a fantastic sex life together! 😏

8. GENEROSITY
I’m not just talking monetary value here, it can be in others forms such as time, effort, attention, positive feedback. Random acts of kindness towards your partner, giving little gifts, plenty of affection, being considerate, putting your needs first (in bed LOL 😜) — it’s this kind of generosity that can help nurture a relationship and keep the flame going.

9. YOU WANT SIMILAR THINGS IN LIFE

Shared goals, values, ideals, life directions, common interests — all of these are going to make the relationship easier for the long term without much discussion or conflict. Thus, it’s crucial to pay attention to see if you’re both aligned and share a similar vision of success. This is a conversation that should be addressed early on, and although that may sound pretty intense, it’s necessary because… well why would you want to water a dead plant?

10. YOU FEEL CHALLENGED (IN A GOOD WAY)

Compatibility in a relationship isn’t just about having great time with someone. Being with a mirror version of yourself won’t expose you to new things, or teach you much about life. Two people who have identical views, personalities, or backgrounds might seem reassuring but realistically it’ll lead you down a path to stagnation. Personally, I think it’s important to be with someone whose strengths offset your weaknesses, and vice versa. It’s better to be with someone who is accomplished in areas you struggle in. Appreciating each others differences as well as the traits that overlap with your own will make you realise that no one is perfect, and that we’re only humans who are constantly evolving 😊

11. CROSSING THE “COMPROMISE BRIDGE” TOGETHER

When you’re invested in a relationship and confident about your future together, the element of sacrifice/compromise will come into play. At some point, you and your partner will have a different approach or opinion which means together, you’ll need to agree on a solution that is mutually beneficial. Combining your perspectives and moulding a life together is a great sign for a thriving relationship between two individuals. That’s not to say you should give up your own identity and values for the sake of the relationship, but rather find the right balance and reach a place of understanding.

12. THEY KNOW HOW TO APOLOGISE

Being with someone who cannot admit when they’re wrong is a pain in the arsehole! When someone can genuinely apologise to you and show genuine changes in their behaviour, then that’s valuable. Of course it goes both ways too. Recognising your own shortcomings, knowing when you’re at fault shows that you understand boundaries and care enough to make amends. All I’m going to say is… choose people who choose you over their pride and ego!

That’s all folks!

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… dating and relationships is not easy! With substantial amounts of advice and guidance from various sources out there, it can get incredibly overwhelming. On one hand, people say that you should never settle. But on another, people say it’s important to not get caught up in ideals and learn to accept people with flaws. The green flags mentioned above doesn’t solve all the problems, but I believe they do provide a pretty solid framework for the kind of people you should aim to add to your life. The fact of the matter is, the purpose of having people in your life is to improve the quality and make you happy. That’s it. So if they are not serving that purpose, then they’re simply not good for you. I’ll leave you with that thought.

Do you have any additional flags to add to the list? I’d love to know. Drop a comment below! 🙃

Red flags: some people aren’t looking for love, they’re looking for help.

If I were to sit down and have a conversation with myself say… 6 months into each of my relationships, I would not only advise on what characteristics I needed to work on as a person but firmly tell myself to open my goddamn eyes and take a good look at what’s waving right in front of me. Yes. We’re talking red flags.

Taking a chance on someone is necessary if you ever want to find a meaningful connection, no doubt any new relationship is full of challenges. As you get to know someone, there’s no telling whether things will go left or right. However, it’s difficult for the new romance to thrive if you cling on to resistance or fear. In a healthy relationship it’s important for both partners to trust and be trusted, to open up and be vulnerable with each other.

Generally dating and new relationships should be fun. As you transition from strangers to lovers, the most exciting part is learning all there is to know about someone on every level – emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. But sometimes when we’re filled with exhilaration we become blinded by those rose tinted glasses, thus end up overlooking the warning signs. From controlling behaviour to gaslighting to dishonesty; I’ve certainly experienced moments of tunnel vision in past and have been played the fool. While I’m no relationship expert, time and experience has helped me navigate my way through a lot of bullshit, enabling me spot that boundary-pushing behaviour early on. I’ve taken my learnings and would like to highlight some tactics that were used on me to cover up some serious flaws…

Catching someone in a web of lies
Oh jeez… this reminds me of my last relationship! You can read about that drama here. I think it’s fair to say that in life we all tell little white lies here and there, ie. “I’ll call you!”,“We must catch up soon!”, “Your haircut isn’t that bad!”, “I won’t be able to make it tonight, I’m feeling poorly.” These are not unheard of and have very low stake. However, if you’re catching someone fibbing time and time again, especially at the start of a relationship. My advice is to run. If they’re able to deceive you once, it makes it easier for them to lie more often. The more you catch them being dishonest, the more your trust will be tarnished. And what’s a relationship without trust? Sometimes you’ve really got to stop and wonder how honest this person actually is. What else could they be lying about? In fact, don’t even bother doing detective work, save your energy and just leave. Believe me, if you stick around… the pile of lies will post bigger problems down the road.

No life outside the relationship
There’s nothing wrong with valuing your time together, but if the person you’re seeing never mentions their friends, recent social gatherings, group activities, or anything to do with other people… it’s definitely an eyebrow raiser. I completely understand that some people suffer from social anxiety or are super introverted, that’s fair enough. Nevertheless, it’s usually a tell tale sign that the person is codependent and/or very possessive. I’ve been with a couple of guys who wanted my full attention, day in, day out. Apart from feeling like they’re draining the life and soul out of you, this behaviour displays unhealthy clinginess, a lack of self-sufficiency and insecurity. In a relationship, you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to do your own thing nor should you feel the need to comply with their “rules” to appease them.

They don’t introduce you to their friends, family or anyone in their life
It takes time to meet the important people in your partner’s life. But if you’ve been dating for a while and you’ve been kept at a distance from everyone in their life, then that’s an issue. Unless you’re someone’s mistress or side piece, introducing each other to friends and family is a positive step. If you’re wondering why you haven’t reached that stage yet, it could be a sign that the person doesn’t take you or the relationship seriously… or there’s something shady going on. I suggest you call them out or call it quits!

You’re beginning to justify their behaviour
Toxic people are great at creating a false positive impression to worm their way into your heart. When they’ve done something that you deem unacceptable, somehow they’ll twist your mind to make you rationalise their wrongdoings. If you find yourself thinking or saying stuff like: “Oh he’s only like that because…” then perhaps it’s time to take a step back and really listen to what your gut is telling you.

You start to question your sanity
This is what happens when you’re being gaslighted. Briefly explained, it’s when your partner challenges your perception of situations, of yourself, of your thoughts, of your feelings, of their behaviour. The worst part is when you don’t even realise you’re being manipulated! It’s a gradual build up, these people normally appear very charming at first but soon enough you’ll recognise they’re all talk and no action. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse so it’s best to shut it down as soon as possible. If you feel like you’re starting to second guess yourself more than usual, I would recommend you go in for reality check by talking to your friends or family. Get them to be brutally honest.

Be observant of their behaviour from day one

These are just some of the key red flags I wanted to draw attention to. It’s always difficult to think logically when you find yourself in the situation and in your feelings, at times we even refuse to acknowledge these actions and behaviours. If you’re beginning to wonder how you even wound up in the mess you’re in now, think about the early warning signs. I want to end this post with a quote which rings true when thinking about this topic:

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

– Maya Angelou

I’m not picky. I just have standards.

Yeah okay I do have a fair share of dating disaster/failed relationship stories (partly why I started this blog in the first place)… so when I spill the latest to my various groups of friends, they seem to think the “pattern” is due to my pickiness and high maintenance attitude. Well, I humbly disagree. I’m far from picky and not even close to high maintenance – really, that’s the truth. Besides, I’m from South East London… say no more init!

In terms of qualities and characteristics, I don’t ask for much. Just someone who is capable of being honest, can hold a good conversation, has a sense of humour, respectful and has direction/ambition in life. For some reason though in today’s society, even those 5 things can be a challenge to find in a person!

For those who are unfamiliar or new to the online dating scene, I want to give a bit of detail on how I filter out the absolute lunatics from the ones that appear “normal” (not to put you off but a good percentage of these “normal” people still end up having major issues, they’re just pros at putting on a facade!)

Anyway!!! Before I get into it, let me quickly explain why I decided to flock over to dating apps. Firstly, I (and I’m sure the majority of people) would prefer to meet someone in real life. It enables you to cut through the bullshit, see if you have chemistry right away and figure out if you’re attracted to the person (not depending on or being disappointed by misleading photos!) However, currently, for me anyway, there isn’t much opportunity to meet someone in the traditional way (i.e. social events, during a night out) and there’s a few reasons for this:


1. My circle of friends are mostly married with kids so getting dolled up and going out to clubs/bars/lounges are a thing of the past. Besides, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I stopped going out years ago, and even if something did crop up, I’d happily pass and spend the evening in bed!

2. I also want to highlight that the types of people approaching me at clubs/bars/lounges were usually very sleazy and after one thing. It’s the same grotesque kind that have the audacity to ask for your number when they’re parked up in their cars or stopped at traffic lights.

3. Social gatherings – yes these happen once in a (rare) while but it’s highly likely that I’d be familiar with everyone there already!

4. Meeting people at work… hmm, not a big fan of mixing business with pleasure but okay I wouldn’t rule it out. As long as we worked in very different departments! It’s how I met one of my exes to be fair… but clearly that didn’t last (nothing to do with work, tell you about it later) but truthfully… finding a potential partner when I’m at work is the last thing on my mind!

5. Meeting people through friends – I find it very cringeworthy when a friend tries to play matchmaker. Not to mention that I don’t trust their taste and judgement in character! Lol! Sorry guys!! …Look, it’s not like I straight up say no, I do ask for a few details and a photo. Then I’ll get a response like: “Yeah so he works with me, he’s really nice, super smart but… he does dabble in drugs.”


A couple years back, with a lot of convincing from my old work colleagues, I finally gave in and created a few accounts across 4 dating apps. Tinder – which lasted for about an hour. Plenty of Fish… well, that’s another topic for later. OKCupid – great for blog fodder. Bumble – meh, guys look good, not much substance though.

Since it was unfamiliar territory, I asked my colleagues (a bunch of lads) how it all worked. Apparently the best way to find “hot chicks” was to continuously swipe right on everyone, then save the filtering for after… “it’s the most efficient way of getting matches” they claimed. Erm… sure? Except I wasn’t looking for “hot chicks”!


Not many females I know use dating apps (I can see why!) so I had to figure out my own filtering style.
And seeing as photos are the first thing people look at, I’ve listed the kind that instantly make me swipe left:

USING ON PHOTO (EVEN IF IT’S A GOOD ONE)
I can’t trust that.

MYSTERIOUS PHOTOS
Wearing sunglasses in every photo. Blurry photos.

HALF NAKED/GYM POSERS/AB SHOTS
No.

THROWING UP GANG SIGNS
Are you not like… 37?

PHOTOS OF PRIZED POSESSIONS
Cars, properties, gadgets… *yawn*

WTF PHOTOS
i.e close up of a beard, close up of an eye, a photo of a garden shovel.

SOMEONE I RECOGNISE FROM SCHOOL/WORK

OMG.

…okay, that’s the first stage of filtering out of the way.


The second filtering stage focuses more on the substance. Below are things I find rather off-putting or consider deal breakers:

CHEESY QUOTES/STATEMENTS
i.e. “Live laugh love.” or “I’m looking for my partner in crime.”

NO BIO/MINIMAL EFFORT
“Ask and find out.” – This displays laziness to me. Make some effort please? Bullet points will suffice.

THIS KINDA STUFF…
“Hookups”, “I’m only here for the weekend”, “Want to have fun”, “I’m very kinky and need a submissive woman”

WEIRD NAMES
i.e. Rubber Alien (the dude was wearing a gimp suit), Black Magic, FootSlave, Mr. Nice Guy

“HAVE KIDS”
Works for some. Just not for me unfortunately.

“ENTREPRENEUR” OR “SELF EMPLOYED”
I fully respect anyone that has their own business and built it from the ground up… and if I can see that displayed on their profile, it’s all good. From personal experience, I find that the genuine people will include the name of their company. The “dreamers” however… they like to talk a good game. You’re basically unemployed.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE
That’s their business. I’m not judging but it’s a deal breaker for me.


So there you have it! My two stages of filtering. It’s much easier to be cut throat when you know what you want and don’t want. The only thing left after second stage is to figure out whether these “normal” people are actually wearing a mask!

At this point, some conversation would have started and that’s when the third stage of filtering kicks in… it’s a bit tricky from here but don’t play detective too much, you don’t want to kill the vibe with a nice, genuine person!

Oh and please don’t go stalking them on Facebook / Instagram / LinkedIn (unless you really feel the need to). The best thing to do is just enjoy getting to know each other, go out on dates, have fun, don’t set any expectations but also:

1. Don’t neglect that intuition!
2. Be aware of red flags!
3. Don’t lower your standards out of desperation/fear of loneliness!