Relationship Flags | How to Spot the Red, the Green and the Yellow

man on date with woman with traffic light graphic

Getting around in the dating world is kinda like driving through midtown Manhattan during rush hour. You have to be on high alert for red, green, and yellow lights. While red and green are the easiest, the yellow lights can be murkier—do you hit the gas or slam on the brakes? What if you make the wrong decision and get rear-ended or run a red light because you hesitated? 

Don’t worry, we’re talking about traffic signals for a good reason! They are pretty much like the signs that people give us when we’re dating—the early ones that can either spell disaster or promise for a new relationship. So, put on your seatbelt while we navigate the cross streets of dating and try to dodge the taxis and delivery trucks that pull out in front of everyone—we’re going to tell you all about how to spot the relationship flags, the red, the green that mean go, and even the yellow ones!

Red: The Stop Sign of Relationship Flags

First up are the red flags. These are the stop signs, and you should slam on the brakes, possibly do a U-turn, or even make an illegal left to get away!

red flag icon
  • Bad Communication: If the person you are dating is more elusive to pin down than a criminal on the run or takes ages to reply to you, consider that a big ol’ red flag. Communication is important, and if they’re already spotty about getting back to you, it’s a bad sign. And it’s probably not going to get better.
  • Jealousy: Sure, a little bit of jealousy can be cute and even flattering, but if they’re losing their mind every time you mention another person’s name, that’s not just a red flag; it’s sackful of them. Put a zip tie on that bag and dip!
  • Plans? What Plans?: They’re all talk and no action. If making plans with them feels like you are trying to nail Jell-O to a wall, it’s a red flag—they’re either not as into this as you are or are extremely flaky. Neither option is good.
  • The Ex-Files: If they talk about their ex more than they talk about anything else or pay attention to you, guess what? You could be a rebound. And let’s be real: who wants to be someone’s placeholder? Not you! You deserve to be someone’s Plan A.
  • Mood Swing Madness: One minute they’re as sweet as pie, and the next, they’re as tart as a Sour Patch Kid. If their mood swings make you feel like you’re in the back of a cab hurtling through traffic at 60 mph and you’re getting carsick, it’s time to get out of the car and call an Uber. Or walk.

Green: The Go For It Good Relationship Flag

Now, onto the fun part where we can celebrate— those lovely green lights! These are the go-aheads that mean you can keep driving— you could be on a pothole-less road to something amazing.

green light
  • Good Communication: They reply in a timely manner, and you have great conversations. It’s like a long tennis volley; the ball keeps getting hit back with the same energy.
  • Respectful Space: They respect your time and space, knowing that you have a life outside of them. The balance between being interested and suffocating you should never be underestimated or taken for granted!
  • Plans, Plans, Plans: They make the time and effort to see you and keep those plans. It shows they’re genuinely interested in spending time with you and are not just leading you on.
  • Future Tense: They talk about the future and include you in it. Calm down—we don’t mean they’re picking out color schemes for your wedding after the first date. It’s more of the little things like, “Hey, we should go see that movie next week and grab dinner at that new place you wanted to try.”
  • Emotional Stability: They’re emotionally mature and handle disagreements or arguments in a calm and understanding manner. No one wants to date someone whose mood abruptly changes and they go from zero to 60 in a heartbeat.

yellow light

The Pesky Yellow Relationship Flag: Caution?

On to those annoying yellow lights, which are a bit trickier to spot and aren’t necessarily deal-breakers. But hold on, they are not green lights either. They’re the “proceed with caution” relationship flags.

  • Different Hobbies: It’s great to have common interests, but it’s perfectly okay if you don’t love every single thing they do. As long as there’s respect for each other’s interests, you’re good to go.
  • Friends and Family: You might not get along with their friends or family right away, and that’s fine! Give it some time and see how things shake out.
  • Work in Progress: We’re all works in progress. If there are things they’re actively working on, like being better at communication, that’s not necessarily a red flag. It’s a sign of growth. But if there is no tangible change, it might be time to cut the cord and see what else is out there.


In the grand scheme of things, dating should be an enjoyable ride, not a stressful drive through a major city in rush hour. Keep an eye out for the red flags that tell you to slam on the brakes and the green lights that let you know it’s cool to keep your foot on the gas. And remember, sometimes yellow lights just mean you need to take it slow and proceed with a little bit of caution.

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