You’ve heard about red flags and how to watch for them. But dating coaches are encouraging people to start thinking about green flags in relationships instead.
Red flags are warning signals that alert us to someone being aggressive, jealous, manipulative, or other potentially serious issues in a personality or attachment style.
We want to be on the lookout for signals that someone may be toxic, out for revenge, broken, aggressive, or a predator.
But keeping watch for green flags—positive indicators or balanced, flexible, loving personality traits—can be a more positive experience. Looking for green flags also teaches us that success in love or dating is not just the absence of something terrible or evil, but traits in common or well-adjusted personality traits.
What Are Green Flags?
A green flag is a good sign in a relationship, one that points to compatibility, respect, and well-adjusted individuals. Relationship coaches say the subtle signs are important to recognize because they speak to the compatibility and likely endurance of a partnership for people looking for a long-term relationship.
When you first start dating, looking for green flags can help you decide if a partner will make you feel happy and secure in the long run and if they have what it takes to contribute to lasting love.
If red flags in dating and other relationships are warning signals, green flags are signs of a healthy individual who can contribute to a healthy relationship.
You might say green flags are positive indicators of compatibility, character, and chemistry.
Focusing on green flags lets us look for people we are compatible with in ways that allow us to cultivate healthy, consensual love connections. Green flags allow us to signal and read signs from others about what they want, need, and have on offer.
There are thousands of possible green flags. Some will be of unique or higher importance to you because of what you are looking for and need. Below are some essential green flags that resonate with most people.
12 Green Flags in Relationships and Dating
1. Attentive Listening
A good listener is always essential in a relationship, but in a love relationship, you want an interested good listener. Not only do they want to support you by listening, they are interested in what you have to say.
2. Good Communication
If it’s easy to talk to each other, and you feel comfortable with both the mundane essentials and the bigger, more stressful stuff, that’s a good sign—or green flag. It means that you have similar communication styles or enough flexibility to make talking to each other a breeze.
If you both feel affection for each other, and affectionate gestures and touches come naturally, that’s a green flag for being at ease in each other’s company and liking each other. Not everyone has the exact same style of expressing affection, but however it is expressed, you should be feel it and never have to beg for affection.
4. Shared Laughter
If you both laugh easily around each other and often make each other crack up, that’s a very good sign—one of the most important green flags! If you find yourself laughing together all the time even though you aren’t the funniest guy on the block, even better.
Again, not everyone is a comedian, but if you are at ease with each other and able to show a lighter side and be comfortable in it, this is a key green flag.
5. Considerate and Thoughtful Gestures
If you observe your partner showing considerate gestures to their parents, co-workers, waiters, and the taxi driver, you are probably seeing those same considerations towards you.
A person who is mature, independent, and stable is able to be caring, warm and considerate to others, including their date.
6. Comfortable Silences
If you’re good inside each other’s company, even if you’re not always talking, this is a wonderful green flag for compatibility!
7. Respect for Boundaries
If your date knows and respects your limits and doesn’t constantly try to overstep what you’ve laid out for the rules, that means they respect you.
8. Confidence and Humility
A healthy person knows that trust and love are earned and grow naturally from respect, honesty, and time. A date you barely know who expects you to prioritize her over your family obligations and job is insecure and not stable.
9. Encouragement to Spend Time with Your Friends and Family
An important green flag is someone who expects you to spend time cultivating other important relationships in your life. Someone who tries to isolate you is waving a red flag. Someone who encourages you to enjoy your regular activities and connections is waving a green flag.
10. Respect for Your Personal Space
A new relationship can be crowded because of the novelty, adjustment to each other, busy schedule, and intense emotions. Healthy signs are when both of you acknowledge each other’s need for space, solitude, and time to process it all—as well as time to attend to other important things.
11. Respect for Exes
This green flag in a relationship is very important. It’s natural to want to let our new dates know how horrible our last date was, perhaps to get sympathy, perhaps to try and be sure the new is improved. But this is childish behavior, and too much of it is downright pathological—a red flag.
You can speak honestly of your painful divorce or bad choices down the road when you’re in a trusted relationship together, but right now, the best green flag is someone who speaks no ill of their exes, and doesn’t say too much at all.
Remember, you may be an ex and you don’t want to be talked about in a disrespectful way.
12. Mutual Good Wishes
It’s one thing to feel the thrill of consuming each other in the heady days of a new relationship. But when you’re grounded enough within all that to truly want what’s best for each other, that’s a great green flag!
What green flags do you look for in a relationship?