12 Green Flags You Might Be Mistaking For Red Flags

We often talk quite a bit about red flags in dating—as we should, because it isn’t a bad thing to be selective in who you choose to date. However, with the way modern dating culture has changed how we view love and potential partners, we can find ourselves viewing positive, even healthy, traits in a potential partner as a red flag. Here are 12 green flags that you might be mistaking for something else entirely.

Wanting to spend plenty of time together

Of course, there is always nuance to this, but when you’re dating someone you should want to spend time together! This doesn’t mean you should be joined at the hip, but in a dating culture where we are constantly told not to care, we can easily start looking at things like spending consistent time together as a sign of clinginess—when it’s actually a sign of liking the person you’re with.

Consistently asking to communicate or talk about their feelings

Again, in a culture that asks us not to care (and therefore not talk about our feelings too soon or too much), this can come across as being smothering. However, healthy relationships thrive on communication—especially about our emotions. While you don’t have to have a conversation daily where you unpack all your feelings, if a person is regularly checking in and communicating how they feel, they are clearly invested in the health of the relationship—and that isn’t a bad thing.

Sometimes feeling “bored” in the relationship

Here is the truth—relationships have their highs and lows. Long-term relationships aren’t automatically doomed to stagnancy once they reach a certain point, but that doesn’t mean you won’t occasionally feel bored from time to time. For some, this shows a routine and consistency—things that are actually indicative of a safe, secure relationship. If you’re feeling bored for a long stretch of time, then talk to your partner about how to change things up, but don’t take that dull feeling as an automatic red flag.

Needing space after an argument 

For some, staying in a room and hashing out an argument is their way of handling things. For others, they might need some space to cool off, and that may come across as not dealing with problems or running from issues. However, taking a moment to cool off and gather your thoughts isn’t a red flag—it’s a sign of wanting to communicate properly. Trying to stay and react in the heat of the moment can often cause far more damage than taking a short breather to think things through. People know what they need in a given moment, and if your partner is someone who needs a little space to process, that isn’t a bad thing as long as they do eventually come back to have a conversation surrounding the problem.

Being straightforward about what they are looking for

Sure, it’s not wrong to be a “go with the flow” type of person. Dating can feel like a ton of pressure, so why add anything additional? However, sometimes people know what they want in a relationship from the get-go, and if they do, then why is it a bad thing to be upfront about it? People who know what they want and are honest about it aren’t being pushy or trying to force anything, but are simply trying to save themselves—and you—some heartbreak. Plus it’s a sign they aren’t afraid to communicate, which is just an added bonus. 

Not introducing you to family and friends right away

Again, nuance matters here—if it feels like they are hiding you, then sure, keep your guard up. However, relationships don’t have to be rushed, and if a person takes their time introducing you to the important people in their life, it’s likely because they want to ensure this is going to be a long-term thing. It doesn’t mean they are ashamed of you—it could mean they also don’t want to add extra pressure on your connection that often comes with meeting parents or close friends. If they are taking the time to strengthen your relationship before making introductions, this is a green flag that shouldn’t be underestimated. 

Having a (healthy) argument

Contrary to popular belief, having arguments in a relationship isn’t a red flag—it’s the type of arguments you’re having. Even with a person you’re crazy about, you won’t always agree on everything. In fact, they may do something that really frustrates you or gets under your skin. However, if they engage in a healthy argument that doesn’t involve screaming matches, blame, and extreme defensiveness, then it’s actually a great sign. You don’t want someone who bottles things up and never tells you how they feel, but you also don’t need someone trying to tear you apart. 

Having separate interests/lives

Wanting to spend time together isn’t a red flag, but neither is having a life outside of each other. If the person you’re interested in has interests and hobbies of their own, that’s a good sign. They aren’t going to make your relationship their entire world, and they shouldn’t! A relationship doesn’t complete two people—it’s two well-rounded people complete on their own that come together because they want to. 

Telling you when you’ve hurt them

It’s difficult to tell a person when they’ve hurt you, and hearing it can initially feel like an attack. However, if a person gently communicates to you that you’ve hurt them, even unintentionally, it shows some serious trust that your relationship won’t collapse over one mishap.

Having priorities other than your relationship

While your partner should prioritize your relationship, it doesn’t need to be the only important thing in his life. If they completely ditch their friends, blow off their loved ones, and abandon their hobbies so they can only focus on you, it isn’t the flattery you think it is. Having multiple meaningful relationships and maintaining them is a sign of being healthy emotionally.

Not constantly asking/hounding for sex

Of course, you likely want the person you’re with to desire you, but if they aren’t asking for sex constantly, it doesn’t mean they are attracted to you. They could have different ways of expressing love, or sex might not be the primary way they show their affection—and it shouldn’t be considered a penalty against them if they aren’t constantly trying to sleep with you. Simply communicate what your expectations are about physical intimacy before you write them off.

Not chasing after you when you run away

Sometimes the red flags aren’t necessarily about what a person does but how they react to what we do. Even if we don’t mean to, sometimes we try to test a person’s love of us by withholding ourselves or being distant, expecting them to chase after us and beg for forgiveness. If your partner gives you space when you pull away, it’s more of a green flag than you realize—they aren’t trying to play games and are willing to give you the space you request instead of potentially overstepping a boundary.