Identifying negatives or problematic behavior in others is a helpful defense mechanism to use in order to avoid being hurt. When we experience betrayal or have been manipulated or been in a relationship in which our needs have consistently and intentionally gone unmet then we use those past indicators as future identifiers in how to avoid being put into another unfavorable situation. And this is perfectly normal and fine to do. Protecting yourself should be a priority and real-life experiences are our best teachers. But sometimes we can take it a bit too far and focus more on negatives than positives and start calling everything and everybody toxic.
Last year “red flags” went viral as people shared tweets, videos, and tik toks of negative signs to look for in relationships. There are tons of materials in circulation sharing advice on how to identify and avoid red flags. However, being hyper-focused on sussing out the bad can lead to not being able to unrecognize the good.
If red flags help avoid relationship issues, then green flags can help build stronger and deeper intimacy with our partners. Thus making relationships happier and healthier.
Here’s how you can identify a green flag.
You trust them:
Trust is a strong pillar in a solid relationship. Without it, things are definitely on shaky ground and it makes navigating the relationship super hard. When we trust someone we find security. And I don’t mean just being secure in the fact that your partner isn’t cheating. It also means we feel secure that he or she has our back and is dependable. The more your partner demonstrates trustworthiness throughout the relationship the stronger the relationship becomes.
They respect you:
Respect is important. In a healthy relationship, your partner should value your opinions and thoughts as well as your feelings. You’ll know if your partner respects you by their words and their actions. He or she won’t disparage you, ridicule you, or put their hands on you in a violent manner. They will be intentional and considerate about your needs and wants.
They are responsible:
It’s more important that your partner is responsible and a good steward of their time and resources than how much of the resources they have. Meaning it doesn’t matter if he or she makes six figures if they mismanage their money and don’t make good financial decisions. Observe how they take care of their home, money, and other responsibilities. If they do this well it means they can care for your relationship with just as much attention to detail.
You can be your flawed and vulnerable self:
Being our true authentic selves is such a privilege. We are taught at an early age to hide the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. But when we do that we stifle intimacy. No one wants to share the scary or ugly things about them if they feel that the other person won’t relate or will be judgemental. A loving and supporting partner embraces those parts and supports them with grace. If you can open up and share it all and your partner’s heart remains open and loving with their words and actions then they are the real deal.
Strong, healthy and fulfilling relationships are the goal. We are all flawed. And truth be told we each carry our own red flag or two into our relationships. The important thing is that you have more green ones than red. Give your partner the same grace and empathy you’d want someone to give you and look for more positives than negatives.
What are some of the green flags you look for in your partner?