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Experts share the ‘green flags’ you should look out for when dating


You know to look out for red flags, but what about the green ones? (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

When it comes to red flags, – those warning signs that someone we’re dating isn’t worth our time – we’re pretty well-versed.

But what about green flags?

Just as there are big stop signs to watch out for when you’re chatting with someone new, there are signals that say ‘go, go, go’.

These are those little glimmers that someone’s a keeper – also known as a kci (the opposite of the ick).

The trick is knowing what they are… and keeping an eye out for them when they pop up.

We chatted with dating experts to find out the signs they advise we watch out for.

They’re a good, clear communicator

Your date says what they mean, is honest, and doesn’t make you constantly decode their messages. This is a good sign.

The green flags are waving if your partner is a good communicator, listener and works to resolve conflict or to understand you,’ says therapist Stina Sanders.

‘Communication is key for any relationship to work. Issues are bound to arise at some point, which is why it’s so important that your partner is open with you and willing to adapt, resolve and accept any differences.’

They’re keen to impress from the get-go

‘The first date will have been planned to make you feel comfortable and special,’ says Michelle, founder of Ignite Dating. ‘They will have taken special effort with their appearance. They will smell good, look good, and try to make sure that you have a great time.’



How to stay open to seeing green flags

‘Some people are immune to recognising the green flags of a positive dating experience,’ senior therapist Sally Baker tells Metro.co.uk. ‘They tell themselves they are open to meeting the right person when in reality nothing is further from the truth.

‘What they are doing is running an old script based on the pattern of behaviour formed by previous dating trauma.

‘They may be saying the right things and smiling in all the right places but they are waiting and expecting disappointment at best and betrayal at worst. These are the people who are holding onto so much old emotional pain from previous heartache that even if Prince or Princess Charming feel in love with them they wouldn’t see it, believe it or recognise it.

‘To be able to authentically see and feel someone’s good will towards you, you have to be open to the possibilities of getting your emotional needs met with a good person in your corner.

‘To do that you have have done the emotional work and be clear of previous relationship pain. You need to have resolved the emotional fall out from previous romantic experiences and let go of the disappointment and pain that you went through.

‘Most importantly you need to have forgiven yourself too for any part you played in your relationships hitting the skids. To see the green flags of possibility in others you have to recognise and own the green flags of positivity in yourself first. When you know you are ready for the best, the best will be there for you to find.

‘Just like we know when new relationships cause us to feel red flags, if we have the right mindset we can recognise the green flags coming our way too. It’s never really about who we meet. It’s about how we think and feel about ourselves and what we believe we deserve that sets the agenda in the dating game.’

The conversation flows

There are minimal awkward pauses, the time flies, and you’re having the best time just chatting.

When silences do happen, they feel comfortable. You don’t get that pressure to fill the gaps.

They’re genuinely listening

Michelle says: ‘If the date is going well, your date will be leaning into you and listening to everything that you say.

‘A great date and potential future partner will not be talking incessantly about themselves so much, but be actively listening and taking an interest in what you have to say.

‘Even better, they will remember certain things, and bring them up in future conversations or even plan dates around your interests and what you enjoy doing.’

They talk about the future

If they clam up at the mere suggestion of doing something a few months away, run.

When it’s the right person, ‘you are talking about the future and excited about sharing new experiences together,’ says Neil Wilkie, author of the Relationship Paradigm series.

A major green flag: the conversation flows and things feel easy (Picture: Getty Images)

They mention their ex with no anger or bitterness

‘Baggage and background drama can so often be the downfall of many relationships even before they get off the ground,’ says Michelle. ‘Bitterness and anger brought over from previous relationships are a sure sign that there is unfinished business with your date’s previous partner.

‘If however, they are respectful of their exes, accepting of their previous relationships and what they learned from those experiences, this could be a sign that they are mature, have moved on and are ready to enter into a new, positive relationship with you.’

They’re as invested as you are

Neil says: ‘It feels that the relationship is important to both of you and you are both investing time and energy in in building it. You find ways of minimising distractions and making the relationship is top priority.’

You might notice this in small ways at first. They’re not ‘too busy’ to hang out and will choose spending time with you over going out with the lads.

They respect you and others

Health psychologist Joanna Konstantopolou notes that a green flag is when someone ‘respects your time, your dreams about the future or personal goals and boundaries, and respects others, for example they speak kindly to the waiter or when they are around your friends and family’.

‘A potential future partner will not only treat you with respect but you will notice that they also treat others with respect too,’ agrees Michelle. ‘Are they understanding and patient? Do they genuinely seem to enjoy talking to people of all ages and backgrounds? This is a powerful green flag that your date could turn out to be your perfect partner.’

You feel genuine joy when you’re together

Not churning in your stomach (sometimes it’s not butterflies) or anxiety over what you’re going to say next, just unadulterated happiness and fun.

When you’re a good match, ‘you are both able to relax and let the inner child out to play,’ says Neil. ‘You can be silly and really laugh together.’

They ask you questions about yourself

Sounds basic, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t ask you a single thing about yourself, instead seeming perfectly happy to monologue about themselves for an entire evening.

Trust your gut (Picture: Getty Images)

You have a good gut feeling

Trust your instincts.

Joanna suggests: ‘Remember the first time you saw your date, what was your first thought you had? It was negative or positive?

‘Your gut feeling is the first thing to trust when you start a new relationship.’

You’re totally in sync

‘You have the sense of being in tune with each other,’ explains Neil. ‘Little looks, touches and words can make you tingle with pleasure. You may also feel a deep, primeval connection, as if you are soul mates.’

They honour your boundaries

A partner who honours your emotional and physical boundaries is a sign of a healthy partner and relationship,’ says Stina. ‘When a partner respects what you are comfortable and not comfortable with, this is clear evidence that your partner not only respects you but is a keeper.’

You don’t worry where they are or who they’re talking to

Do they sometimes disappear without a trace? Do you often find yourself worrying about who they’re with or what they’re up to?

Those are bad signs that shouldn’t be ignored early on.

A green flag is when you feel comfortable being apart, when you feel you can genuinely trust them.

‘You trust each other implicitly and there are no secrets,’ says Neil. ‘If you had a problem, you are confident that they would respond in the right way and you would also really want to help them.’

Don’t shut yourself off to a genuine connection (Picture: Getty Images)

Growth is central

You feel like this is someone who supports you trying new things and chasing down your goals.

Stina says: ‘A loving partner should put your wishes to the forefront the majority of the time.

‘If you have a dream that doesn’t coincide with their wishes, they should still want to accommodate and support your needs.

‘If your partner doesn’t support your personal growth, you will end up resenting each other further down the road.’

Neil backs up this point, adding: ‘The relationship is nourishing both of you and it feels like you are both expanding your lives as individuals as well as a couple.

‘There are, inevitably, ups and downs but you feel that “us” has life and is not static.’

They own up to mistakes

‘For any relationship to work, it’s crucial that both partners take responsibility for their behaviour or role in a problem,’ Stina tells us. ‘If your partner is defensive or loves to shift the blame onto you (or someone else for that matter), this is a red flag.

Accountability is a sign of openness to vulnerability, emotional maturity and is a contributing factor to building trust.

A refusal to ever apologise, even for the small things? Red flag.

Acknowledging that they’ve messed up and being ready to work things through? Green all the way.

Things feel easy

Super intense, up-and-down, drama-filled relationships are often glamourised and held up as evidence of true passion.

But when you’re with the right person, you feel like you can actually relax.

Ease, happiness and security are all signs that your partner is treating you with love, kindness and respect,’ says Stina. ‘Nothing about the relationship should feel forced – everything should come naturally and move at a pace that feels good for both of you.

If you both support each other and are attuned to each other’s needs, your relationship is one big green flag.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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