How To Spot Red Flags While Dating

illustration of potential issues in a relationship

therapy relationship center logoBy The Relationship Therapy Center

Therapists in Fair Oaks and Roseville

January 17, 2022

How to Spot Red Flags While Dating

Everyone is likely familiar with the term “red flag” as it relates to dating. A red flag is typically something that someone does which indicates a lack of respect, integrity, or interest towards you and your relationship.

When you meet someone new and agree to go on a date, it’s helpful to know the common behaviors and indicators that might lead to red flags. If you know how to spot them, you can work on creating boundaries and getting more clear on the kind of partner you’re really looking for.

Red flag behavior can make you feel uncomfortable, or set off “alarm bells” in your head. This is your gut instinct or intuition kicking into gear, and it’s important to honor those flickers of insight as you’re getting to know someone new.

-The biggest red flag in dating relationships is someone who is rude and aggressive-

If you notice that your date is rude to the waiter, refuses to tip, doesn’t say please or thank you, or seems to have a problem with everything (the food, the venue, the weather), it can be a sign of someone who doesn’t know how to express their anger or frustration in healthy ways. Aggressive behavior (such as road rage) can also be a telling sign. Look to the future — how might this person react to something that upsets them at a family event, work function, or even at home? Is this someone I can see myself spending time with repeatedly? And, do I feel safe?

-Another big red flag when it comes to dating is if the person doesn’t ask you many (or any) questions about yourself-

You might ask them what they do for work, and before you know it, an hour has passed, and you’ve barely been able to get a word in. This might also become apparent any time you share a story or something about yourself — the other person repeatedly brings the conversation back to themselves. Self-absorption and complete disinterest in you shows a lack of respect for you and your time, and it’s likely that this person isn’t looking to create a genuine emotional connection.

Other big red flags to look for relating to neediness and clinginess

Statements like:

  • “I’ve never felt this close to someone so soon before”
  • “I really feel like I can just be myself around you”
  • “I’ve never met anyone like you before”

These may seem flattering at first — but they might also be a sign that the person has a lack of self-esteem, or is looking for another person to ‘complete’ them. Watch to see how these people respond to your boundaries — they may appear hurt, confused, upset, or even angry if you put a boundary in place around things you don’t wish to discuss, places you don’t wish to go, or physical closeness.

If you do experience a red flag (or red flags) feeling on a date, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t ever see the person again — but you should spend some time in reflection and ask yourself how the red flag behavior might play out in the future if the relationship were to continue.

About the Author

therapy relationship center logoRelationship Therapy Center is a Sacramento area counseling clinic located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA and are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. We offer couples counseling, co-parent counseling, divorce counseling, sex therapy, family therapy, couples therapy retreats, and premarital counseling. In addition, we also provide a number of individual counseling services including anxiety treatment, therapy for children, trauma therapy, addiction counseling, co-dependency counseling, depression treatment, and individual relationship counseling. We will discuss the importance of self-care and emotional support to help you cope and to discover ways to find healthy ways of dealing with stress.

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