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Sex + Relationships

Everyone is Talking About Their Red Flags; Here Are Mine

A recent trend I have been seeing online is people disclosing their “red flags”. Red flags are intuitive indicators that something needs to be questioned in a relationship. The majority of people can look back after a break up and see the red flags crystal clear. During that situation however, they are often overlooked. When I think about this what comes to mind is that meme of D.W. from Arthur who is looking at a sign saying “This sign won’t stop me because I can’t read!” I am as guilty as anyone else of ignoring red flags in the past and I am sure I am not immune now. After all, there are so many out there to be wary of. That being said, I can confidently say that these 10 red flags will never fly under my radar.

1.) Doesn’t Tip the Waitress

Off the bat, this is a deal breaker. If we are having dinner together, it has definitely come up that I am a waitress. I know the ins and the outs of the job and I understand that even the waitresses that don’t do very well deserve to be compensated. Maybe they are in the weeds, maybe it’s an off night, maybe they are new, maybe they just suck; it doesn’t matter. This is how they pay their bills. They showed up to work and that is good enough for me. I am always down to pay for the first date but if somehow I am convinced otherwise I will be nosy and peek at the bill to see the tip. Anything less than 20% and it’s curtains for them.

2.) Everyone They Have Ever Met Has Done Them Wrong in Some Way

People suck. Everyone has people who have done them dirty. However, I can look back at my life and see situations where I truly was in the wrong or situations that just didn’t go how I might have liked them to. I feel like I am pretty good about analyzing situations and growing from them in any way I can. This also means forgiving people. I would never hold someone accountable for being mean to me in high school. I mean, who is the same now as they were then? Some people aren’t like this. They are just as mad today as they were when something bad happened years ago. They have been 100% right in all situations. Everyone who has left their life is a traitor and they have no problem dragging their name through the mud. And hey, maybe this is true. More likely they have a victim complex.

3.) Only Feel Connected After Physical Contact

When you are in contact with someone your brain releases dopamine. It makes you feel good to be close to another person. This can happen in a lot of ways, not just sex. But it’s probably sex. These chemicals can make you feel like you are really into someone, even if you have nothing in common with them and are fundamentally different people. So do yourself a favor, spend some time together, not in bed, and see if you still feel that spark with your clothes on. If not, that’s a red flag.

4.) Talking Bad About Taylor Swift

I am not trying to be funny. I seriously see this as a red flag. The people I date don’t have to be Taylor fans (though it’s encouraged) but if they are talking mad smack about Miss Swift, that’s a problem for me. This is due to the fact that much of the hate around her career is rooted in misogyny. If you see her as dramatic, frivolous, untalented, etc. you may think you are just “too cool” to like her but I’ll let you in on a secret; the records she breaks and the relevance she maintains even while changing genres discredit you. You just don’t like popular female artists and “girly” music is seen as inherently bad because you haven’t dealt with your internalized misogyny. Like I said though, you can not care for her music or even her as a person, but if one of your personality traits is to belittle her and her achievements, see ya!

5.) Love Bombing

Love bombing is something I had never heard of until a few months back but that I think is important to be aware of. Essentially it is when a person you are dating is paying an extreme amount of attention to you, constantly complimenting you, maybe even buying you things, and trying to be the ”perfect” partner. They probably see this as romantic but it actually is manipulative. When someone is love bombing you they are trying to form a quick and intense attachment with you. They become what they think you want them to be in order to “get” you. It is common for their behavior to change once they feel they have you. After all, the amount of effort love bombing takes is difficult to maintain. This sort of behavior is common with narcissists, who are the last people you want to be getting into a relationship with.

6.) They Demand Your Time

If someone feels obligated to my time, that’s an issue. This can include wanting to hang out every day, always expecting quick replies to messages, or wanting to be included in any plans I have with other people. I don’t think this is ever healthy but as a woman in my 20s, my independence is extremely important to me. I will always make time for romantic partners but time for family, friends, school or even just alone time, is equally important in my life. If someone I date doesn’t understand that, that’s a big red flag.

7.) I Start Withholding Details of The Relationship From Friends/Family

Obviously there are details that are too personal to share with other people, that’s not what I mean by this. What I am referring to is something I did for a long time when I was younger and dumber. Lying to friends and family about the reality of a relationship is never a good sign. At one point I thought “if my mom knew what was really happening she would force me to break up with this person”. Teenager me just thought people wouldn’t “understand”…..adult me knows that was a big fat red flag. If you feel the people who love you would be upset about aspects of your relationship, you are with the wrong person.

8.) It Gets Very Intense Very Fast

This is different from love bombing though it has the same quick burst of emotions. You meet someone and things progress quicker than you even thought possible. It’s exciting and you are having a lot of really good… quality time together. There’s nothing wrong with this if you are honest with yourself. Some things aren’t supposed to last. Sometimes it’s fun to have a short fling, which is usually how these relationships go down. When it starts it is amazing and everything is great. Then out of nowhere it just, isn’t. Because you didn’t really get to know them, and they didn’t get to know you. You both saw each other for what you wanted in that moment and in reality, there’s no foundation for an actual relationship. This is the part of the love story romantic movies don’t include and it’s a red flag.

9.) All Their Exes Are “Crazy”

We all have an ex or two that did us dirty and who we don’t have anything nice to say about. But when a person tells me all their past partners are crazy, I start to wonder how they might talk about me if it were to not work out.

10.) They Are an Introvert

Many of these red flags can be applied to all relationships but this one is personal to me. I am extremely extroverted and I feel like I would not be happy with an introvert. I like to go out and do things. I like to be active and adventurous. There is nothing wrong with being a homebody, it just is not compatible with my personality. So if someone wants to chill at their house all the time, I will probably say thank you, next.

So there you have it, my top 10 red flags. There are some I didn’t include because they seem like no-brainers. If they start killing your pets, taking the hair from your brush and making dolls with it, breaking into your house and watching you sleep at night (unless their a vampire then it’s really romantic), or trying to chew up food then spit it into your mouth like a bird; you may want to reactivate your Tinder. When it comes to dating you have to go with your gut, always hold yourself to a high standard, and face those red flags head on.

Sophie is a Senior education major at the University of Akron. She is passionate about animal, women's, and lgbtq+ rights. She has lived in Akron her whole life and one day wants to teach middle school somewhere warm. In her free time she likes to listen to rock music, workout and drink coffee
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