The Top 10 Relationships Red Flags You Should Never Ignore

Looking out for these red flags in relationships can help you pursue healthier connections and get the respect you deserve


So, you've been on a few dates with someone new.

You love spending time with them. The chemistry is great. It's all you can think about.

But there's something nagging in the back of your mind. You can't quite let go of that one off-putting thing they said, or the way they mistreated their friend.

There was a red flag.

Paying attention to red flags is a crucial part of dating and forming healthy relationships. We explain the 10 relationships red flags you should never ignore, and how to deal with them when they arise.

Why Relationships Red Flags Matter

So what exactly is a red flag?

Relationships red flags are those qualities or behaviors in a potential partner that kinda set off alarms in your head.

Just like red flags are used in the weather to warn others of impending danger, "red flags" in relationships indicate there may be trouble ahead with this person.

Early relationships are a lot of fun. Getting to know someone for the first time is exciting. When you're smitten, it's easy to get swept up in all the emotions and make excuses for someone's behavior - you want to assume the best in the person and believe it'll work out.

This can cause you to take harmful actions and behaviors too lightly.

Knowing what relationships red flags to look out for can help you make wiser, more objective decisions when assessing your compatibility with someone new.

Learn more about forming healthy relationships. ->

10 Relationships Red Flags You Should Never Ignore

New to the whole red flags thing and not really sure what you're looking for? Don't worry. Here are 12 relationships red flags you should take seriously.

1. Poor Communication

Communication lays the foundation for any relationship. If a potential partner is passive aggressive or leaves you confused about where you stand with them instead of communicating directly, this isn't a good sign for the future of the relationship.

Learn more about the importance of communication in relationships.

2. Lying

Lying early in a relationship - even about small things like what they did last weekend - is only a preview of what's to come.

If they lie about something small, they're likely to lie about something big. This may make it difficult to build trust, making it a significant red flag.

3. Hung Up on an Ex

We've all had a hard time getting over someone before. But if your potential partner is still talking about their ex, chances are they aren't going to be present with you in a new relationship.

4. Mistreating Others

Pay attention to how your potential partner treats others in their life, whether it's friends, family, or even waitstaff at a restaurant. It's an indicator of how they may treat you.

Talking down to others - particularly in front of you - is a definite relationships red flag.

5. Controlling Behavior

Controlling behavior can take many forms. Wanting to decide how you dress, who you spend time with, or where you go is an immediate red flag in relationships.

You want a partner who encourages you to be independent and make your own choices.

6. Putting You on a Pedestal

This one may seem counterintuitive, but rushing into a relationship with you and putting you on a pedestal can also be a relationships red flag.

Love bombing is a popular tactic used by narcissists to forge a stronger sense of attachment before it's appropriate in order to make partners dependent on them.

7. Lack of Respect for Boundaries

You should always feel comfortable saying no to a partner - whether it's about what restaurant you go to, or setting a physical boundary.

Refusing to respect your boundaries is a definite red flag. It indicates selfishness and lack of empathy.

8. Refusal to Take Responsibility

If someone has trouble apologizing or taking accountability even about something as simple as cancelling plans, it's a red flag.

Chances are, they'll have trouble apologizing about the big stuff later, too.

9. Double Standards

Partners who have strong opinions about how you live your life, but don't hold themselves to the same standard are likely to be controlling.

For instance, getting upset at you for coming when they frequently do the same is a red flag.

10. Keeping Secrets

Everyone has trouble opening up from time to time, but evading questions when you're getting to know someone is a red flag.

This person may be emotionally unavailable or be withholding information about their past from you.

How to Deal With Relationships Red Flags

Red flags are bound to come up when you're dating. But how do you deal with them when they do?

1. Communicate

If you notice behavior that's a red flag in a potential partner, the best thing to do is communicate. For instance, if someone you're dating made a rude comment, express that it made you uncomfortable.

Their reaction to you expressing your concerns will help you assess your compatibility.

2. Know what you want

Red flags are subjective, at the end of the day. Knowing yourself and your standards will help you form relationships that are positive for you.

Journaling with a journaling app like Jour can help you reflect on your experiences and track your mood over the course of a new relationship. Our personalized journal prompts empower you to know yourself better than ever before and make better relationship decisions!

You Are Your Best Advocate

Paying close attention to relationships red flags is key to pursuing healthier connections.

Because new relationships are so exciting, it can be easy to make excuses and look past behavior that's concerning.

Familiarizing yourself with critical red flags in relationships can help you set better boundaries and standards while dating. Some common red flags are controlling behavior, lying, or poor communication.

We know dating can be hard, but don't forget - the Jour app is always here for you when you're in need of a little self-love!