I talk a lot about keeping an eye out for red flags when dating and in a relationship. For example, when a guy has no photos on his dating profile, trashes his ex on your first date, or explicitly tells you he isn’t looking for a relationship – RED FLAGS! But what are green flags, and why are they equally important to look out for?
What the heck is a green flag anyway?
A red flag = problematic, unhealthy, or toxic behavior when dating, which is likely to lead to an unhealthy relationship.
A green flag = positive behavior or personal qualities that indicate this person is likely to approach relationships in a mature and healthy way.
Just like traffic lights, red means hit the brakes and take a step back, while green means it’s safe to keep moving forward.
Knowing what the common red and green flags are helps us avoid potentially unhealthy relationships and recognize what healthy relationships look like. This awareness helps you quickly weed out the low-value, unavailable men so that you don’t waste time pursuing a connection that doesn’t match your love vision (Little Love Step #2) or the future you want to build. You can then move toward high-value men who display healthy behaviors, and you’re far more likely to find yourself in relationship alignment.
The thing about humans is our brains are trained to look for the negative. This means we might spend all our time scanning for red flags and completely ignore green flags. And that can lead to you overlooking a potentially amazing man.
What are green flags in a relationship? 22 things to look out for
1. You both remain independent
When both partners have a healthy attachment style, they won’t feel the need to spend all their time with each other and ditch their friends and family. When couples over-rely on each other, there’s a high risk of becoming codependent, which weakens your relationship. Plus, how boring will it get if you only hang out with each other? We all saw what happened during the pandemic – most couples ran out of things to say to each other because they were stuck with each other 24/7.
A green flag is when a man values his independence and encourages you to maintain yours. He should spend quality time with his friends and pursue his hobbies and goals, and you should do the same. This stops you from relying so much on each other and helps you take responsibility for your happiness and growth.
2. You feel like equals
What do I mean by this?
You make decisions together, have an equal say in everything, have access to the resources you need, and hold each other to the same standards. This is equality.
The flip side of this is when a man handles everything to do with money, invites a load of people to your house without discussing it with you, or insists on ordering for you when you’re out to dinner. These are red flags.
3. He’s self-aware
Another green flag to look out for when dating and in a relationship is when a guy is aware of his behavior, emotions, flaws, patterns, fears, and dreams and how his actions might affect other people. He takes time to reflect on his past experiences to understand them better, learn from his mistakes, and improve in the future. Self-aware men are far more likely to be intentional about how they show up in a relationship, notice issues when they arise and recognize when they are at the center of those issues.
4. He knows what he wants and is honest about it
It doesn’t matter if a guy is looking for something casual or serious. What matters is he is clear on what he wants and vocalizes it early in the dating process so that you’re both on the same page. He’s not afraid to have an open and honest conversation with you about where his head is and where the relationship might lead.
On the flip side, a red flag is when a guy avoids answering questions about his intentions for the relationship and plays games with you. Mature, caring, honest men will not do this.
5. He respects you & your boundaries
A green flag early on is when a man values your opinions, feelings, and needs – even if they’re different from his own – and gives you the freedom to be your authentic self.
The first step here is to set clear boundaries so that you feel comfortable and safe when dating and in a relationship. Once you’ve done this, if a man crosses your boundaries or even prods at them, it’s a red flag.
For example, if you tell a man that you would feel safer meeting him in a busier, more public place, he should immediately understand and not try and change your mind. If there’s a certain sexual activity you don’t want to try, he should respect that and not push you until you give in.
6. He listens well
Does he actively listen to you on a date? Does he ask you thoughtful follow-up questions so he can get to know you better? And does he remember things you told him later down the line? These are all shiny green flags when dating and in a relationship because he is demonstrating a clear effort to hear and understand who you are.
Active listening is crucial in the long run because it creates deeper levels of emotional intimacy in the relationship. Plus, it means he will be able to hear you when you’re in conflict with each other and try to empathize with where you’re coming from so you can work through it.
7. He is a healthy communicator (or is actively working on being better)
Communication truly is an essential foundation of any healthy, long-term relationship. If one or both of you don’t know how to express your feelings, discuss and work through them, you will quickly run into problems.
A green flag is when a guy makes you feel seen and heard and uses “I statements” instead of pointing the finger at you. This is how to work through conflict together as a team without hurting and blaming each other. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions instead of making the other person feel wrong.
For example, let’s say a guy goes out with his friends and doesn’t send you a text to let you know he got home safe and leaves you to worry. Once you express your concern, a green flag statement would be something like, “I’m sorry I didn’t check in or consider how that might have led you to worry.” A red flag statement would be, “you’re too sensitive,” or “why do you always go crazy about this stuff?”
8. He’s able to open up and be emotional with you
The ability to open up and be vulnerable is linked to being a healthy communicator. A healthy relationship relies on both people recognizing their emotions, where they originate from, what they need, and sharing these openly and honestly. This is how we form emotional connections and develop real intimacy.
It’s not easy to do this, but it’s an essential skill to build a healthy, stable relationship that lasts. Yes, there’s a possibility of rejection, but on the other hand, there’s a possibility of love, and you cannot fall in love without taking this risk and being able to let someone in.
A red flag is when a man is emotionally unavailable or afraid of intimacy. It doesn’t make him a bad person; it just means he’s trying to protect himself from this risk.
9. He validates your feelings
You are entitled to feel all your feelings. It’s a green flag when dating or in a relationship, and your partner can empathize with your perspective and honor what you’re feeling, even if he disagrees or has a completely different point of view.
The flip side of this is if a man disregards or invalidates how you feel when you’re fighting – this is a form of mistreatment, and you deserve more than this.
10. He gives you audio + visual
In my Love Accelerator program, I encourage all women to look for audio and visual cues from the men they’re dating.
What does that mean?
That a guy tells you he’s going to do something or makes plans with you (audio) and then follows through with his actions (visual). If he’s all audio, i.e., he tells you he’ll show up to a family gathering but flakes out at the last minute, it shows that he doesn’t honor his commitments, which is a major red flag.
But if he’s always there when he says he will be and comes through on his promises, it demonstrates that he respects you and himself and is invested in the relationship. This is a green flag – you have to be able to count on someone if you’re going to be with them for the long haul.
11. He’s kind & caring
We all have those moments where we behave less-than-stellarly and throw an uncalled-for temper tantrum. But generally speaking, if a man treats you well, is kind and caring (even when you’re arguing), shows up when he says he will, and treats other people well, it’s a green flag.
Sometimes, men will put on an act when dating because they’re trying to get something from a woman, so it can be difficult to know how genuine he is. That’s why it’s helpful to look at how he treats others, especially people he can’t gain anything from (e.g., a waiter or a taxi driver). You want to be with someone who does his best to do the right thing and treat people with kindness. Not because he thinks he’ll gain anything from it but because it’s the loving thing to do and aligns with his moral compass.
12. He’s empathetic
Have you ever been in a relationship where you’ve felt sad, and your partner ends up mirroring your mood? Or he tries to understand where you’re coming from and does his best to support you and lift your spirits. This is a sign of empathy and a sure-fire green flag in any relationship. A good partner will be able to understand and relate to other people’s emotions (including yours).
You know who doesn’t have empathy? Serial killers and psychopaths. Everyone else has empathy.
13. You feel comfortable around him
Another green flag to look for is feeling like you can be who you are and not have to walk on eggshells or try hard to impress them. You should feel comfortable and at ease with a man because this indicates that you feel safe, which is key to building trust.
If you’re constantly worried about how you look, what you’re saying, and what he’s thinking about you, it might be because you’re insecure and need to work on your self-worth. If so, head back to Little Love Step #1. The second possibility is that he behaves in a way that puts you on edge, or there’s something about him that brings dis-ease to your body, which is a red flag.
14. He’s actively engaged in the relationship
High-value women only invest in a connection if they see a man invest in them. So when a man is texting, calling, making plans, going out of his way to impress you and show you that he wants to pursue things, it’s a green flag. Not just when you’re in the dating phase but for couples who have been in a relationship for years because a serious relationship requires both people to show up every day.
This is one of those green flags you can see early on. If he’s not engaged and invested in you or the relationship, it’s a red flag, and it’s time to put your energy elsewhere – NEXT!
15. He has healthy relationships with others
This is a green flag for two reasons. Firstly, healthy relationships with friends, family, and coworkers show that he can communicate effectively with others. Secondly, it shows he has other things going on besides you but is willing to make space for you. This is another commonality with high-value men and women. Like I always say, no amazing man will want a relationship with you unless you’ve got an amazing life without him! And this goes both ways.
Pay attention to how he talks about others. If he mentions friends and family with respect and kindness, it’s a green flag and tells you he has the capacity to form and maintain healthy relationships.
16. It feels stable
If you’re constantly wondering how your partner will behave or react to something, and your connection feels volatile, it’s a red flag. In contrast, if you can trust how a man will treat you and respond in a situation (for the most part), and you feel safe and stable with him, that’s a green flag. This is why long-term relationships are, to a certain extent, boring. They must be because balance, calm, and a certain degree of predictability are key to a healthy relationship.
17. He wants to give you what you need
It will take a while for a new partner to get to know you intimately and learn how he can be a great partner to you. People naturally give and want to receive love in different ways. So if he is eager to learn and understand your needs, love language, erotic blueprint, and the little things that mean a lot to you in a relationship, that’s a green flag.
Pay attention to the effort he puts into accommodating you in his life and delivering what you need without making you feel unreasonable.
18. Things are moving at the right pace
One of the primary reasons men ghost or pull away comes down to moving too fast and investing too much in one guy too soon. Little Love Step #5 of my Little Love Steps is all about pacing the progression of your connections.
It’s a green flag if both people move at a steady pace, have time to get clear on their feelings, and organically develop a connection. If he is willing to give you the space you need and slow things down when you need to, even if he’s ready to commit, that’s a sign of respect and understanding.
If a man puts pressure on you or tries to escalate the relationship too soon, it’s a red flag. Ask yourself, why is he in such a rush? Good things – like you – take time, and if he’s not willing to be patient, then it’s time to say NEXT!
19. You make a great team
Yes, you should maintain your independence and be your own person in a relationship, but it should still feel like you’re on the same team. That means you work together, have each other’s back, make joint decisions, and navigate life’s challenges as a unit.
If you’ve just started dating a guy, this might be as simple as cooking a meal together or navigating an escape room together! In a relationship, that might mean helping someone job hunt when they get laid off or planning a vacation together instead of letting one person do all the work.
20. He is willing to grow
Every relationship is different because every person is different. A relationship is about compromise and fitting your lives together. None of us are perfect, and we all have strengths and flaws. Naturally, you’ll morph into each other slightly without losing your core sense of self.
If a man can take feedback without getting defensive, work on his weaknesses, and learn and evolve as an individual and in the relationship, it’s a green flag. He should strive to be his best self and encourage you to do the same.
21. Your relationship feels good
Research by John Gottman, Ph.D., and Robert Levenson, Ph.D., suggests that happy couples enjoy more positive interactions than negative ones (5:1). And that makes sense, right? The happy moments should outweigh the bad times. In my book, you should be happy together 90% of the time. While conflict and bad days are inevitable, you should enjoy most of your time together. Pay attention to how you feel with a man – if time with him feels warm and positive, that’s a green flag for your future relationship.
22. He’s happy to talk about the future
The final green flag to look out for when dating or in a relationship is when a man is happy to discuss the future with you. If you’re looking for something long-term, this is an important sign of commitment. So if a man is happy to be open about what he’s looking for and doesn’t run away when you tell him what you’re looking for, it’s a great start. As time goes on, if he’s making plans with you weeks or months into the future, e.g., a vacation or attending a friend’s wedding, this is a good indication that he sees you in his future and is not afraid to commit.
Yes, it’s important to be aware of red flags so that you notice when they happen. But don’t let yourself get too focused on the negatives that you miss the positives!
Are there any other green flags that are missing on this list that you make a point of looking out for when dating someone new? Share them with me in the comments below.