Five green flags to look for in a partner

“They’re really interesting but they didn’t ask me a single question about myself.”

Red flag. 

“They were nice to me, but they were rude to our waiter.” 

Red flag. 

Dating discourse in the last few years has produced a long list of identifiable character traits and personal habits we know to avoid at all costs. But what are the positives we should be looking out for when meeting someone new? What are the attributes we should actively seek? 

Red flags we know. Green flags though? Here’s our list of five positive telltale signs when navigating the (sometimes horrific) world of dating.

  1. They have hobbies. 

Hobbies are a great way to be introduced to new things, to learn about the person you’re dating and to have stimulating first date conversations. But hobbies have a secret secondary power - they actually make for cultivating healthier relationships down the track. If you and your partner can comfortably spend time apart, you have yourself a green flag. Having independent interests will make it easier for them to stay grounded in their sense of self and to maintain their individuality while in a relationship. Dating someone who has their own hobbies will also encourage you to keep pursuing your own, or even explore new ones. 

  1. They are respectful of your time. 

If they’re respecting your time, they’re respecting you. When someone wants to plan dates in advance, they’re showing you they’re willing to compromise, and that they want to fit you into their life in a way that is sustainable. It also suggests that they really want to see you, and they aren’t willing to leave it to chance. Being respectful of each other’s time takes a lot of the anxiety out of dating. When you already know they want to see you again, you don’t have to waste anxious energy worrying about where you stand. It opens the door to exploring the connection in a more meaningful and honest way that is less clouded by anxiety.

  1. They are willing to be vulnerable. 

Vulnerability is the only way to build the closeness and connection necessary to take a relationship to the next level. If you notice someone is willing to open up, to put their feelings on the line, or to ask you for help, take that as a green flag. It’s okay if you sense that getting vulnerable is hard for them, it’s a new relationship! We’re all scared. But as long as they are willing to try, it’s still a green flag. In fact, if they’re scared and do it anyway, it’s even more impressive. It shows you they’re brave, they’re strong, and they think you’re worth it. 

  1. They are consistently kind. 

Real (and not performative) kindness is one of the most important yet underrated green flags. Dating someone kind means dating someone who cares about your feelings, who puts in effort to treat you right, is considerate, thoughtful, and polite. You’ll feel more comfortable introducing someone kind to your friends and family, and you’ll feel more confident that if (when) conflict arises, it can be dealt with in a less confrontational, less hurtful way. Notice if the person you start dating is kind, not just to you but to everyone: waitstaff, strangers, your friends, your colleagues. Take special note of how they talk about and talk to their own friends; this can hint at how they might start treating you post-honeymoon period. 

  1. They make you feel giddy. 

Even if a person ticks all of the aforementioned boxes, it doesn’t always mean there’s going to be chemistry. When dating, it’s important to always consider how you feel when you’re around a person. Do you feel sparkly? Do you feel excited? Check yourself in the moment and after you say goodbye. How you feel in the aftermath of a date, when you’re back in reality and by yourself can be a great way to measure your feelings for a person. The body knows.

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