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Spotting Red Flags When Dating: How To Know When To GTFO

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Dating is incredibly difficult, especially in the modern day of social media and dating apps. We now have easy access to dating through Tinder, Bumble and whatever other dating apps you’re feeling this week. One of the MANY hard parts about dating is heartbreak or on a softer note, disappointed. Mostly all of us have experienced this and for a lot of people out there it can make them give up on dating altogether. But instead of doing that, just try to look for the red flags in the early stages. These will help you know if you need to GTFO of the relationship before these red flags become more prevalent. Obviously, we can be blinded by our admiration for someone that we overlook these red flags, so I have helped by spelling out a few! Take this from the girl who has dated A LOT of red flag people her in her dating life (my best friend can vouch for me on this one).

1. ‘Too’ close to their ex/talks about them excessively

There’s never a bigger turn off than when someone you just started seeing rants about their ex, either in a positive or negative way. We all have exes and I understand that many of those relationships didn’t end so well, but if they are saying crude stuff about their ex, that’s probably not a good sign of the type of person they are. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when every other thing they say starts with “my ex;” if they are constantly talking about their ex or frequently hanging out one on one with them, there’s a good chance that they’re still not over them. Nothing is worse than getting involved with someone and later finding out they still have feelings or unresolved issues with them. ALSO, it’s convincingly a red flag if they still have and refuse to cover up a matching tattoo they have with an ex (may or may not be talking from experience here).

woman eating at a restaurant table
Pablo Merchán Montes | Unsplash

2. Arguing/different political opinions

Obviously, you are going to have your differences with a partner and different opinions. When those opinions are political opinions though things can get tricky. While there are many successful couples out there who have different political and religious viewpoints, sometimes it can get out of hand. I’m not saying it can’t work, I’m just saying that when you and your partner are constantly in disagreements about politics, it’s probably not the best match. With politics, most people have a hard time listening to other people’s viewpoints without jumping in or getting upset. If you and your partner can do this without arguing or pushing each other’s buttons then power to you. If you’re like me though, then having similar political views is an important similarity to have in a partnership.


3. Talk of hookups/sex too early

Nothing is grosser than when someone (mainly guys) ask about sexual stuff or even for pics when they haven’t even kissed you yet! Probably not dating material if they are bringing up the idea of you two having sex before you’ve even gotten to know each other. If sex is all you’re looking for that’s one thing; if you’re trying to have a relationship with this person and they keep hinting at sex/nudes, that’s a red flag. This is different than having sex with someone you’re into early in the relationship (reference for my previous article here)! It’s when they are bringing these things up at random times and asking you how you would feel about sending a pic or coming over to give them a “massage” at 3 am.

4. Admits to having a hard time committing

If they admit to you right off the bat that they have cheated in the past, well good for them for coming clean. But just because they were honest about it and told you, doesn’t mean they are necessarily trustworthy.  When they admit they have “commitment issues” there’s about a 1/10 chance that you’ll be the person they’ll finally commit to. It sounds harsh, but if we keep thinking we can make every emotionally available person out there suddenly available for us we’ll keep getting hurt (i.e. me). It’s best in that situation to assume that’s a red flag and move on to someone who is available emotionally.

Love Jones / New Line Cinema

5. Doesn’t get along with your friends and family

This is personally a big deal breaker for me. If the person you’re seeing doesn’t like your friends/family or vice versa, there’s probably a reason. In my past experiences, my mom and best friend always knew when someone was bad for me even before I did. They are the people that know you best. There’s no better feeling than when your loved ones approve of and love the person you’re seeing. So if your friends and family are telling you they don’t like someone you’re dating, next time you should probably listen to them.


6. Won’t let you look at their phone/messages

This is just a yikes moment for me. It’s one thing to want privacy but it’s another to be crazily obsessive if the person you’re seeing touches or glances at your phone. If you’re in the early stages of talking to them, it’s more understandable. When you’re in a committed relationship though and they refuse to let you look at or hold it: red flag! This doesn’t necessarily mean they are cheating but it also just makes them look guilty.

7. They bail or “reschedule” a lot

One of my ultimate pet peeves is the “reschedule” of a planned date. There are definitely those instances when something comes up or they’re swamped with homework; we all have those times. When the person you’re seeing does this it’s best to just forget about it. They obviously aren’t making you a priority enough to see you if every other time you hang out something comes up. I allow three reschedules before I stop talking to a person. It gives them the benefit of the doubt if they really are just busy. After three times though, they obviously don’t care enough, so neither should you.


8. Signs of manipulation/gaslighting

It’s hard to spot a manipulative partner, but you can sometimes tell by the feeling it brings you. Too many toxic relationships spring from manipulation of one partner to the other. If your partner is making you feel guilty for something or constantly putting you down and calling you names, GTFO. Mental abuse in relationships is something that doesn’t get enough acknowledgment in dating. Signs of mental abuse should be your number one red flag saying you need to leave the relationship. If you’re not sure if your partner or someone you just started seeing is mentally abusive, refer to this link.

These are just a small hand full of the many red flags out there when dating. They can be helpful to use when getting rid of crappy/unqualified partners. Hopefully, it assists to see the person you’re talking to, who’s hurting your feelings or doing stupid sh*t isn’t worth the heartache. Time to know when to GTFO and find someone new, who’s obviously better!  

I am an English major studying at the University of Utah. In my free time I enjoy writing poetry, reading, yoga and coffee!