The Green Flags in Relationships

People are always referencing “red flags” and what to watch out for in order to avoid bad situations. We often overlook the “green flags”. What is a green flag? A green flag is an action or behaviour that is healthy and good compared to red flags which are actions or behaviours that are unhealthy and bad.

Common red flags are if someone is disrespectful to those around them, if they tend to over exaggerate, etc. They’re the kind of things that make your gut question whether or not this person is good for you.

It’s time to learn about the green flags though, the things that make our hearts happy and make us feel good in our relationships (now when I say relationships, I don’t mean just romantic, I’m talking friendships, lovers, family, etc.).


A big green flag is if the person you’re talking to is an active listener. This means that they pay attention to the words you say, your body language, your tone, etc. They do not speak over you or make you feel as though what you’re saying means nothing to them. 


Another one they actually want to resolve an issue when it arises and when they communicate maturely with you. Pretty much no gaslighting or blaming. They sit down and listen to how you are feeling, and they validate those feelings. They can apologize if they were in the wrong and they won’t play victim if they were the perpetrator. If they invalidate how you feel, or make you feel as though it’s not an issue when it’s clearly causing you distress then it’s time to rethink those relationships. 


Another green flag to look out for is if they make time for you and treat you like a priority. People are never too busy to make time for who they want, whether it be a day planned or something as small as a “hey I’ll message you later”. It’s about making you feel wanted and putting the effort into letting you know you mean something to them. 


Respecting boundaries is another huge green flag. Whoever you are with must respect your choices, how far you want things to escalate, what you’re okay and not okay with, etc. It’s one thing to push you to be your best and try new things safely, but if they push you even though you’ve said no or I’m not ready, well that’s a big NO! People who respect you will not pressure you into something you’re not comfortable doing, so be aware and be firm if you are not alright with something. 


It’s important to have a relationship where you can be yourself. Open, honest and perfectly you. They accept you for all that you are, do not try and change you, and enjoy being around you. They are not embarrassed by you or your passions, they want to explore more of the things you enjoy or at least find out why you enjoy them, and they make you feel as if all that you are is good enough (which you are, but sometimes people suck and try and make you feel as if you’re not). 


An important green flag is if they are happy about your accomplishments no matter how big or small. They are looking to build you up and support you, rather than compete with you or make you feel as though what you accomplished isn’t a big deal. They let you shine and make it known that they’re proud. 


Allowing you to make your own choices in life whether it be about jobs, friends, lovers, finance, etc. is another crucial green flag. They do not try and take control or make you feel guilty for making the best decisions for you. Beware: there is a big difference between general concern versus being controlling. For example: if your partner asks that you do not do drugs because they know drugs are harmful, then it’s a general concern, whereas asking you to block all people of the opposite sex on Instagram because they’re insecure is not. 


They let you have other relationships in your life. They do not only allow you to be with them or speak with them. You are free to catch lunch with friends or play dodgeball on a Friday night with your intramural team without making you feel bad about having a life that does not only revolve around them. If they ask you to break your relationships with others for reasons other than genuine concern, then walk away.


There are definitely more green flags but my best advice is to listen to your gut as it’s rarely, if ever, wrong. If something feels off, then that is not one of the green flags that you should be striving to find. Make sure to surround yourself with people who respect you and make you feel safe, happy, respected, etc. There are so many people on this planet so don’t surround yourself with the ones that bring you down. 

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