In dating, everyone you meet comes with a lifetime of experiences, mannerisms, and quirks. So, when you start dating someone new, you need to figure out if their personality is compatible with yours.
The issue is that people usually don’t volunteer their potentially undesirable traits at the beginning of a relationship. In order to discover what they are truly about, you often have to rely on indirect, more subtle clues.
Some signs are good, like a partner who is great with kids, or caring and attentive. Other signs… not so much.
Should there be any serious issues with the person you are dating, you’d want to find out early on. You wouldn’t want to spend months dating someone new only to find out – after much pain and suffering – that the red flags were there all along.
Quickly and correctly identifying these red flags is crucial to your dating success. The only issue is that toxic people are often great at putting up a façade. They make great first impressions because they have to.
To protect yourself, here are 6 of the most common red flags they will show early on. Identify these at the beginning of a relationship to avoid being taken advantage of.
This is a great warning sign to be aware of, as you can often catch it within a few dates.
Wait staff, bartenders, or shop attendants are being paid to be there and serve. Because of that, a lot of people feel there is no need to impress them.
But that is not a reason to treat them badly or be any less courteous than you would be with anyone else.
Be wary if your date shows undue impatience, talks to them as if they were inferior, or get angry when the staff makes a mistake. They are showing you their baseline, how they behave when there is no need to impress someone.
Right now, they might be putting their best foot forward to seduce you. But soon, you will be treated the same way that waiter was on your very – bad – first date.
Look at what people do, not what they say.
Manipulators are great at love bombing and make you feel great by telling you everything you want to hear.
But whenever there is a conflict between their words and actions, a small red flag should pop up in your head. While the values they proclaim might be aligned with yours, their true nature might not be.
They could say they value honesty above everything else, but you repeatedly catch them in a lie. Or they tell you that they love you just as you are but make a hurtful joke about your weight. Or promise to always be there for you but flake out on your plans without an explanation.
It is hard to accept. We really want to believe what they tell us because it feels great.
That’s why this red flag will probably be raised by your friends and family. They are more impartial and fairer in their judgement. If you hear them raising concerns, don’t brush them off.
Your friends and family often see red flags before you do. To better control you, a toxic individual might try to isolate you from them.
They might make small demands at the beginning, and then ramp up their need for control. Saying things such as “You can’t go out at night without me,” or “I want to spend Saturday nights with you,” which might seem reasonable, will turn to “You can’t text any other woman (or man)” and “I need to have your Facebook password.”
The more dependent you are on them for social interactions, the more uncomfortable you will be about breaking up with them.
You can protect yourself against this type of behavior by keeping strong contact with friends you can trust, and only making concessions you are 100% comfortable with. If your new partner doesn’t trust you without supervision, it’s like a big red flag telling you that it’s time to end this new relationship before it’s too late.
There are two issues with this type of behavior.
If they are repeating someone’s secret, they are breaking their confidence. That person trusted them with something they didn’t want repeated. And they turned around and did it anyway.
The second issue if you ignore this red flag is that, down the line, you expose yourself to the same behavior on their part. Only this time, they will share your secret. Or talk badly about you.
That is not a good character trait in a partner.
It is always interesting to learn about someone’s past relationships, as it is a good predictor of how they will behave when they date you.
If someone has no close friends, or does not talk to their family anymore, and has never really had long term relationships, tread lightly.
Sure, some people decided to start a new life in another city or needed to cut ties with toxic family members. But more often than not, if all their relationships seem to fall apart within a few months, wherever they go, and it’s been going on for a while, the common thread is them.
Do you really want to be the next person on their list?
This is an easy trap to fall into. If they list you all the things their ex did wrong, you might think: “I can definitely do better”.
But it is a serious red flag nonetheless.
In any situation, even the worse ones, there are things we can learn. Maybe we started fights that should have been avoided or stayed in the relationship longer than we should have.
If a relationship has deteriorated over time, both parties are usually partly – but not equally – responsible.
So, when you hear your new date take no responsibility whatsoever for that situation, it shows a lack of self-awareness and self-reflection. They have not used this as an opportunity to grow, learn, and develop a better relationship with you.
Maybe this is not a dealbreaker for you. Maybe none of these red flags are, by themselves, enough to discard a new relationship. But if you notice them, it might be a good idea to make a mental note of them.
See if what you identified as a red flag was a one-time thing, or if there is a pattern.
Identifying potential signs that you are headed for a troubled relationship is a good way to protect yourself. Sure, not everyone you date is out to manipulate and use you. Just try to stay aware that if a date looks too good to be true, it might just be.
Avoiding these bad relationships will improve your chances of meeting someone whose values are more aligned with your own. Someone who looks out for your best interest and is an ally when you need them. Who supports your projects and is a positive addition to your life.
That person is out there. Good look for them!
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