Red Flags to look out for early a relationship

Rabab Buhari

September 6, 2022

Recently, my boss had an interview with BuzzFeed on non-obvious red flags to look for early in a relationship. She asked for suggestions, and obviously, everyone in the office had an opinion. Strong ones. 

I also had a few friends and family members chips in, and so we decided to collate these opinions and put down a list of the top 17 red flags to look for early on in a relationship/situationship because 17 is a fun number. 

  • “We don’t need a title to define us.” 

Yes, we do. Next. 


  • Stingy/cheap/Selfish

This is kind of a no-brainer and applies to all genders. Wanting the other person to always pay for stuff can be a problem. It also applies not only to financials. Are your conversations always about them? Are your activities a? lways centred around them

  • Pettiness

Are they the kind of person who is like oh, you texted me at 6:14 pm, which is 9 minutes and 6 seconds after I texted you, so I’m going to wait 18 minutes and 12 seconds to text you back? Then red flag. I mean, we all have our petty moments, but this extra stuff is not cute. 

  • Lack of Ambition

A lawyer in our firm put it perfectly when she said she doesn’t care that they are not where they need to be right now; the question is if they have a plan to get there. 

  • Controlling

Telling you what to wear, what to eat, who to be friends with etc. That’s a problem. 

  • “You’re not my usual type, but…” 

Go and meet your usual type then. I mean, why are we here? 

  • Not having a social media presence

It’s 2022. What are you hiding? 

  • Having too many followers on social media

You’re not Drake. Why do you have so many followers? 

  • How they treat people, they are not in a relationship with

I blame rom-com. A person being nice to only the person they are dating is a red flag. Are they meant for waiters? Workers at the mall? Etc. 

  • Lack of communication/ Lack of understanding of boundaries 

I think it is very weird to be in a relationship/situationship with someone and be able to go days without speaking to them. On the flip side, you can’t expect a call or text every hour. Boundaries are important, but so is communication. Find a balance, and don’t ask people for their passwords after date number 3. 

  • Dismissiveness 

How do they talk to you? How are they when you tell them something you’re excited about? When you tell them Bridgerton is the best show you have ever seen in your life, do they tell you that’s stupid? Do they undermine your feelings? 

  • How they talk about their exes

Is their ex all they can talk about? Does it seem like everything that happened in the old relationship was the other person’s fault and never theirs? Or do they compare you to their ex? All red flags. 

  • Secretive

Do they leave the room every time they make a phone call? Unless they work for the CIA, red flag.

  • Imposing their love language on you 

It’s like this. Everyone has different love languages. This is obviously fine. The problem arises when a person insists on showing love to the other person in a way that is not their love language after they have been corrected. To clarify, I’ll give an example. If a person’s love language is quality time and they have told their partner this, but the partner just insists on buying gifts and not spending time with them, this can be a red flag.

  • “You’re too good for me” 

I’ve found that people take this as a challenge rather than how it is intended: a warning. 

  • Nonchalant 

You should be with someone who is very chalant about you.

  • Putting their problems on social media 

It’s the 21st century. It is not surprising that so many things are social media-focused. It can be a red flag if, after every disagreement, they take to social media to talk about how upset they are or how you may have done them wrong. 

I hope this has been illuminating, and I’ll leave you with the words of the great Roy Kent, “You deserve someone who makes you feel like you’ve been struck by lightning—don’t you dare settle for fine!” 

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