After spending the last month endless swiping, you landed a date with someone who matches up with everything on your mental checklist. The first date turns out to be nothing short of amazing and you are buzzing. You get excited at the thought of them being a normal person, who can keep up a conversation, and is even attractive. So, you go full tunnel vision mode and completely ignore any and all behavior that could be hinting at those subtle dating red flags ahead.
Perhaps you begin to notice small turnoffs but don’t really pay them much mind and question if your doubts are valid. I get it. I have been in quite a few situations where I’ve accepted dating behavior that my gut instinct told me to “leave, get out, NOW,” but I chose to keep going. I kept mistaking the warning signs for them wanting to take things slow and justifying their behaviors. Now, looking back, I can spot someone’s true colors from a mile away.
The thing is, we need to take the messages our dates are sending at face value. What they’re telling and showing you through their words and actions is exactly what you should believe. It’s easy to be completely googly–eyed with this new prospect, but it’s important to pay attention to both the positive and negative signs they’re sending that could reveal if this person is an ideal match for you. Here are some scenarios I’ve seen play out time and time again – and why you should never go against your better judgment when it comes to dating.
1. They’re inconsistent in their pursuit of dating you
This is the type of person who cancels the date but doesn’t make a plan to reschedule. Sure, things come up. Work goes a little late into the night, a migraine won’t ease up, a family member or friend needs them in a moment of crisis… and the date needs to be canceled. However, there’s no text or call to follow that suggests another time and place for your date. This kind of behavior easily leads to a continued pattern of breaking dates or being too occupied to make plans. Take it as a sign of disinterest. A person who’s interested in you will always find a way and will make sure their messaging is clear that you’re a priority.
2. They talk more than they listen
You’re sitting there, waiting for a chance to speak… but that chance never comes. If you’re out on a date and the person’s attention is more focused on themselves and the conversation feels very one-way only, walk away and don’t turn back. Yes, you may be tempted to chalk this up to the ol’ “everyone loves to talk about themselves.” But if your date cannot flip the conversation around to learn about you, they’re not worthy of any future dates. They should be someone who is willing to listen to what you have to say, too, and showing interest in each other.
3. They’re always just so busy
Ok, enough of the “I’m just super busy” line. I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy! However, if you’re seeking to date, you should probably create time in your schedule to do just that. If a date is always soooo busy that they can’t commit to a set time and place, they’re basically saying, “Well, I might be able to pencil you in if I don’t have anything going on next Thursday from 7pm-9pm.” You deserve someone who doesn’t only make time for you when it’s solely convenient for them. Remember, a person makes time for what they really want.
4. They heavily criticize their ex(es)
If they’re going to reveal personal details, gossip, and talk poorly about an ex/exes that they’re a victim of, don’t think that the tables may never turn on you. If someone feels comfortable heavily criticizing others, they will likely do the same to you if you ever end up on their “bad side.” Accountability needs to be on both ends, not just on the ex that they’ve labeled as toxic or crazy.
5. They’re too spontaneous
The thrill of spontaneity in dating can be exciting and keep the flame lit. But too many of those out-of-the-blue texts that suggest spending time together is a clear indication of a red flag. The spontaneous dater is quite similar to the person that cancels at the last-minute and the one who is too busy: they’re not serious about dating you. If they can’t plan a date a couple days in advance, chances are you’re probably they’re second or third choice in plans. It’s important to be adventurous, but it’s equally important to be consistent. And a ‘You up?’ text is far from adventurous or romantic.
6. They don’t offer to pick you up from the airport
This red flag is one I didn’t even realize was a red flag until one of my previous bosses mentioned it. He absolutely refused to pick up the person he was dating (not a fling, but actually dating) from the airport. “There are ride-sharing services. She can Uber.” And that’s when I realized acts of service are truly underrated. No one loves sitting in the arrivals section at the airport waiting for someone to give them a ride. So, if the person you’re dating isn’t willing to grab you from the airport after a weekend away, they likely wouldn’t even be willing to help you assemble that new furniture piece.
It took time for me to realize there were specific, key things to look for in the initial phases of getting to know someone and of a relationship — things that could signal problems in the long-haul. So if you ever run into these subtle red flags that you are tempted to brush off, think twice and re-evaluate if your new beau or belle is the right fit for you.