A man and woman sit in a cafe on a date laughing depicting green flags in dating.

Green Flags in a Relationship

If you are on the dating scene, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about the “red flags” that indicate potential trouble ahead. While recognizing red flags in relationships is crucial, I know as an experienced therapist, couples counselor, and dating coach that it’s equally important to acknowledge the positive signs that point to a promising new connection. These “green flags” in a relationship can be your North Star in dating, helping you cut through the noise and focus on finding the right person. When you’re connecting with someone new and you see these green flags start to stack up, that’s a sign they may be a keeper. 

Why Green Flags Matter When You’re Dating

When we think about dating and relationships, our focus often veers towards identifying red flags. It is certainly important to avoid dating jerks or building potentially toxic connections, but focusing on red flags can also create a hyper-vigilant approach to dating, making you feel wary of every potential partner. This makes it hard to connect emotionally and open yourself up to what you really want — true, enduring love. Looking out for green flags, on the other hand, can help you to relax and enjoy the process of dating, while still being highly discerning about who gets to hold that special place in your life.

So, what are these relationship green flags? Here are a few that you should be aware of on your quest to find true love

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Spotting Green Flags in a Relationship

All of the green flags on my list share the common theme of demonstrating the potential for a healthy, positive connection. These are much more reliable sources of information than the sparkly feelings you have around your new crush, although we can all get a little hung up on chemistry when we’re dating. But keep an eye on these deeper qualities that show you who your partner truly is: 

  • Effective Communication: Your date actively listens to you, shows interest in your thoughts and feelings, and openly shares their own. They encourage direct conversations, making it easy to communicate with them. This is a sign that your date is emotionally available and will be able to communicate as the relationship progresses. 
  • Respectful and Kind Behavior: This one is kind of obvious, but you would be surprised how many people need help from a dating coach to get clear about how they should be treated by a potential partner. If they consistently treat you, as well as others, with respect, consideration, empathy, and kindness, that is a relationship green flag. 
  • Shared Values: Shared interests and a dash of attraction are enough to light the spark, but they won’t sustain the flame of enduring love for more than a few months. To find a compatible partner, you need to look for someone who shares your values, which indicates that you have the potential to build a fulfilling future together.
  • Emotional Availability: Your partner is comfortable discussing their feelings and emotions. They aren’t preoccupied with their Ex and they aren’t penciling you into their schedule for two-hour intervals every other week. They don’t shy away from vulnerability or emotional depth. Emotional availability is a green flag in a relationship because it means they’re able to form an emotionally intimate connection.
  • Supportive and Encouraging: The right person for you will offer both emotional support and encouragement for your personal and professional goals. If on the other hand it feels like they need to cut you down, invalidate your feelings, or minimize your accomplishments, that is a sign that this person is highly insecure and it’s time to move on down the road. 
  • Healthy Boundaries: Healthy partners don’t divulge their deepest and darkest secrets on a first date or ask you to move into their apartment before appetizers have arrived. They move at a calm and steady pace, getting to know you and evaluating whether YOU are a safe person for them. Your date should also respect your boundaries and your needs while setting their own. Healthy boundaries create balanced relationships. Interestingly, they also make true closeness possible. 
  • Accountability: Your date has a track record of taking responsibility for their actions and apologizing when they make mistakes. When they discuss problems they’re having with others, they’re quick to acknowledge their own role, rather than portraying themselves as a victim of someone else’s misdeeds. This kind of accountability is a sign of emotional maturity, which is a major green flag in a relationship. 
  • Investment: If you feel like you are investing way more into this relationship than the other person, that is a major red flag. You should feel like your time and energy are reciprocated and like your partner has some skin in the game as well. When your partner invests in you, that shows that the connection is not one-sided, and that you’re building a partnership together based on mutual care and commitment.

Acting On Green Flags in Relationships

It’s all well and good to read an article about the positive signs a relationship has potential, but how are you supposed to put this information into action? I have a few tips that I share with my dating coaching clients and students in my online dating class to help them find the relationship they’re looking for: 

  1. Trust Your Intuition: If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it probably is. On the other hand, if being with someone feels right and makes you feel secure and at-ease, that is a green flag. Keep your eyes wide open, but trust yourself to feel out new connections. 
  1. Take Your Time: Rushing into a relationship blurs your judgment and makes you vulnerable to poor decision making. There’s truly no rush — give yourself the time and space to get to know your partner on a deeper level. And if you feel pressured to move things along at a pace that’s not comfortable for you, ask yourself why that is. 
  1. Reflect and Reassess: Periodically assess the relationship and check in with your partner about how they’re feeling. Relationships evolve, and setting the precedent early on that you want to have open communication about your relationship lays a strong foundation as things progress. 
  1. Get Support: People who seem to have all the luck in love are actually people who’ve had help along the way. The best dating coaches are genuine relationship experts who know exactly how to find and sustain a healthy, enduring relationship. Working with a dating coach can save you a lot of time and heartache, and can help you connect with the love of your life. 

Support for Intentional Dating

I hope this article on green flags in relationships helps you navigate the tricky terrain of modern dating. By focusing on these healthy qualities, you can build a lasting relationship based on respect, shared values, and true intimacy. You deserve nothing less. 

And if you would like guidance from one of the expert dating coaches at Growing Self, I invite you to schedule a free consultation

With love, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. — For more advice on finding love, check out my “Dating Advice” collection of articles and podcasts. 

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