January 28, 2023 | Maria Cruz

People Share Their "Red Flags" In The Early Stages Of Dating

It’s always exciting to start a new relationship with someone. Between the constant talking, fun dates, and learning about your potential soul mate, what’s not to love? However, sometimes the Kill Bill sirens can wail in our head as we recognize a huge red flag. These people knew what to call it quits before things got too deep.


#1 Know Thyself

The best advice my mom gave me was when someone tells you something about themselves, believe them. They know themselves. Obviously, people can lie. What I mean is more when they make comments about their own personality traits. I don’t think people want to say negative things about themselves unless there’s a reason. It’s just something to consider before making excuses for them.


#2 I’m Right, You’re Wrong

One of the worst flags is someone who thinks they’re always “right.” It’s not just when it comes to arguments, either. It can sometimes be how they view the world. How they eat is the “healthiest”, the music they listen to is “the best”, and if you have other opinions, they treat it as if you’re a child who doesn’t know better. 


#3 Lock Her In

I dated a guy for about two months who flat out told my dad (we started dating just before my birthday, so they met for a birthday dinner) that he wanted to get me pregnant. The reason why was so that he could lock me in. I then found out he had a separate life when his other girlfriend found my phone number on my business page.


#4 Dating Game

For me, I really don’t like people who insist on playing head games. We're not in high school anymore, and you aren't on The Bachelorette. If you’re someone who’s honest, sincere, and forthcoming then we'll get along just fine. I'm in my mid-thirties now, therefore I’m too old and rickety to jump through hoops.


#5 Dad’s The Word

A huge red flag is if someone gets jealous about every single call you received, even when it was only coming from your family members. Accusing you of "cheating with that woman you're on the phone with" (even though that "woman" was your dad). The kicker is that they ended up being the major cheater in the end.


#6 Take a Message

Blowing up my phone at two in the morning is a big one for me. I don't mind so much if it's one or two messages late at night, so long as they obviously know most people are asleep around then. But, if I wake up to a dozen or so texts where they're growing increasingly mad that I'm not responding, it's a red flag.


#7 Foreshadowing

I was in love with a girl who I knew had cheated her way out of every relationship she had been in previously. In the end, I had to call it quits it because I just wouldn't sign myself up for that devastation down the road. It was the hardest dating decision I ever made, but I still think I made the right call.


#8 Unattainable Goals

This one time, I talked to a good friend and a somewhat potential girlfriend of mine. She told me how she cheated on her boyfriend. She also told me what she expected from a guy. She literally had unachievable conditions. I noped out of the idea to be with her. Frankly, being committed and honest is my top priority.

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#9 Don’t Placate Me

I found out that my ex-girlfriend would just placate me to stop the argument by telling me what I wanted to hear. And by argument, I mean me calmly disagreeing with her irrational outbursts (or just walking away after seeing nothing would change). Honestly, it felt like a huge betrayal. I'm not mean, I don't yell or call my partners names. So, I found that kind of manipulation really unpalatable.


#10 Time and Again

If they aren't willing to compromise on things, or they think their time is more precious than yours, it’s a flag. My ex-boyfriend lived about 30 minutes away from me. I always met at his place or his town for stuff, but never the other way around because he was, "too tired." It got under my skin because he was literally a five-minute drive from his job and I already averaged about 90 miles a day for work alone. So, I'd drive for work, go home and then drive to his place.

One day, he tried rushing me out of our morning yoga class that ran over time, like got really uptight about it, so he wouldn't be late for work. He was literally five minutes away. Meanwhile, I was going to have at least a 25-minute commute to get to my job and wasn't that worried about it. I broke things off for other reasons, but that one really buttered my rolls because I dealt with it every day.


#11 Chatterbox

Someone once noticed something in me and I’m glad she did. I went out on a couple of dates with a very straightforward girl a few years ago. There were a number of reasons she didn’t want to continue forward after two dates. But, she actually told me that she felt I cut her off and talked over her quite a bit.

She told me because she could tell I meant well and wasn’t doing it to be rude. She also thought I probably wasn’t even aware I was doing it at all. She sensed my anxiety and that my brain was rushing to think of the next thing to respond with. Who knows how many dates I might’ve gone on and blown it by inadvertently doing this? I’ve been cognizant of it ever since.


#12 A Little Test

I felt like I was the only one putting in any effort. Before breaking up with her, I tested my ex. I didn't start any text conversations. If she had texted me, I would have responded like normal, but I just didn't send my usual text after work. Three days later, she hadn't texted me at all. That’s when I broke up with her. It felt like the relationship only existed due to my effort.


#13 To The Gay Bar

I like girls who are physically affectionate, but my ex-girlfriend was so clingy and insecure. It got to a point where she actually had her gay friends visit the gay bar I worked at to make sure I wasn’t flirting with girls. Just as a reminder to everyone: I’m a straight bartender who works at a 99% male gay bar. 


#14 Lack of Communication

Being flaky with communication or meeting up is a huge red flag for me. To an extent, life can and will get in the way, but there’s a certain level of enthusiasm you want to see from a potential partner. Honestly, if they can’t muster it during the honeymoon stage of dating, it’s probably not going to improve later.


#15 The Screamer

I dated a guy who was a yeller. Actually, he was a downright screamer. The kicker was, he’d be screaming at me and when I’d ask him calmly to stop, he’d scream that he wasn’t screaming. He was also a huge partier and I think that had something to do with it. I dreaded bringing up any issue, no matter how big or small, because it would send him into this blind rage. No matter what, he’d label every discussion of ours a fight. I couldn’t have a conversation with him where he didn’t feel attacked. He came from a bad family, so I’m really glad I dodged that bullet.


#16 No, They’re Crazy

A big flag for me is when someone tells me that all of their exes are “crazy” or “mean.” I've got a few normal exes who, due to life circumstances, didn't work out. I also have a few who I just wasn’t compatible with. Of course, though, like most, I do have a couple that were totally crazy. But if all their exes are mean, it most likely means that they were the problem.


#17 Stick To The Plan

When someone is way too clingy, it sets off alarm bells. My ex told me that he loved me two days after we were dating. He also wanted to meet my family after three days, called my cat "our son," and constantly planned our future. He thought about what our kids would look like and planned our wedding. I’m smart enough to know when to nip this in the bud.


#18 A Little Awareness

I once dated a guy who told two anecdotes of funny situations. Both featured clear moments where the fault was his; his lack of research, his failure to follow through. But both stories were told like everyone else caused the issues. A week later and it was clear: he didn’t see he was the common denominator in his issues. He was quick to blame others. Any suggestion of self-improvement was met by a blank stare. A touch of humility and a lot of self-awareness is so necessary.


#19 Replacement Mom

A few weeks into dating, my ex started telling his daughter to call me mommy. Her mother was very much in her life as they shared joint custody of the child. But, it was obvious that he wanted me to replace his ex entirely. It was the most ridiculous relationship I ever had and that was the starting point of it all.


#20 Something Called Projection

It’s a flag when they start complaining about others in your life and try to get you to see how "bad" these people are for you. I’m not talking about people who legitimately hurt you either. During our second week of dating, my ex started telling me how much my parents didn't love or trust me for having a curfew. I was 17 and still in high school at the time. 

Soon enough, that extended to how my best friend was kind of dismissive of me. He pounced on every little disagreement I had to blow it up times 10. He always tried to drive a wedge to make me "see" how other people really didn't have my best interests at heart. It’s also how I learned all about a little something called "projection."


#21 The Only 10 I See

Someone who compliments you way too much. This might sound weird because, of course, everyone likes being complimented. But, when I’m talking about something serious, I don’t want to hear, “Sorry, I couldn’t concentrate. You’re so beautiful.” I also don’t want to hear, “Wow, I haven’t heard a word you said because all I want to do is kiss you.” This sort of clues me in to the fact that someone has put me on such a high pedestal that they can’t see me as anything less than a goddess. I want to be in a relationship where I’m not worshiped because they have a weird fascination.


#22 Shut It Down

What’s a huge no-no for me is when someone asks where I am, who I'm with, or what I'm doing constantly. Sure it's "just a question" now. But, in five months it’ll turn into not being allowed to go certain places with certain people. Controlling behavior is the biggest red flag there is. Shut that down immediately.


#23 Diehard Fan

I knew this one girl who, on our first and only date, just would not shut up about how heartbroken she was that David Bowie passed. Every time I would try to steer the conversation elsewhere, she would say, "Oh yeah, that reminds me of the time David did XYZ." At first it was endearing, but it got annoying really quickly. So, that was the end of that. I still sometimes wonder if I had caught her at a different time, if things would have gone differently.

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#24 If You Loved Me...

I dated someone for only a few weeks back in the day. One day, they wanted to meet up with me on a day I had school. So, of course, I told them I was unable to meet with them. Their reply? "If you loved me, you would do this for me.” I simply replied with, "Well, it’s a good thing I don't love you. We're broken up."

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#25 Cat Got Your Tongue?

My ex once got jealous of a cat. I got a little kitten while we were dating. I was pretty excited to have a kitty, and if you've ever had a small cat — they demand a lot of attention. So obviously, I played with the kitten while my ex was over. He got jealous of a cat. Thank goodness we're through, and my cat is still by my side.


#26 I’m Going To Make It

I dated someone with no aspirations and it was a total energy drain. They always talked about how “they can’t wait to be an actress,” or how “they can’t wait to start the next big chapter” while simultaneously not doing anything to get there. It’s one thing to have dreams, but it’s another thing to live vicariously through a non-existent future.

It was like GroundHog Day where every day she woke up with the same “I can’t wait to make it!” speech while sitting on the couch at 11:00 a.m. on a Thursday. Like, my girl, stop. I couldn’t take it anymore. All she would talk about was how she was going to be an actress... at 30 years old... without any professional theatre training, without a network, without anything really. I’m no saint, but in hindsight, a 30-year-old woman pursuing a newly minted 21-year-old me was a huge red flag.


#27 Blame Game

I have two flags that come to mind. The first is the whole "I never do anything wrong, all my exes are horrible and I block them immediately. It's all their fault that this happened." The second one is how everything always becomes a "thing" that ends up being a five-paragraph post on Facebook every single day. 

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#28 Oh Snap

I once told a guy on a second date that it wasn’t going to work because he never paid attention. At least four times on our first date, he got on his phone in the middle of a conversation to either take a new Snapchat video of himself and post it, or to show me an old Snapchat video post. If your life is on Snapchat, you’re not living it.


#29 Pet Names

It sounds kind of weird, but I didn’t like it when the pet names would start early. Like, I wasn’t even dating this guy—just talking to him—and he was already calling me “sweetheart” and “honey.” There were other reasons why we didn’t talk for much longer after that, but the pet names were the initial red flag.


#30 Too Soon

For me, it’s when guys say that they love you, want to marry you, or call you "wifey" in the first month of seeing each other. They don’t even wait to have the exclusive talk, but they just start talking about how they want to get married to you. Chances are, there are three other girls he’ll call "wifey" as well.


#31 Ice Breaker

When I feel like I have to initiate every single contact between us and if I don’t we simply won’t talk that day. Now, please don’t get me wrong here. It’s not a requirement to actually talk every single day. But, the overall point is no matter how frequently we talk, I don’t want to feel like I’m always the one that has to start the conversation.


#32 Yes Man

It’s a red flag if someone agrees with everything you say. I once dated a guy who wouldn’t stop agreeing with me. Anything I said I liked, he also liked. He agreed with all of my opinions and if I showed him anything, he wouldn't say a bad word against it. The first few times I met him, I just thought that we had so much in common. Then, I realized it was literally everything I said. It became clear it was all very superficial and weird.


#33 No Filter

I never take it as a good sign when they say something like, "I have no filter, so don't get all hurt if I say something you don't like.” Yeah, no. I'm going to steer clear because you not caring about saying something harsh for no reason other than to be a jerk really speaks a lot about your personality. Unprompted cruelty cuts any emotional attraction. 


#34 Meet the Family

If they’re really reluctant to meet your family and close friends, it’s bad news. That's usually a good indicator that they don't have good intentions with you. I understand if it’s really early in dating. But, if you’ve been dating for months and want to be serious, that person should want to show people you’re close to that they care about you. 


#35 Baby Fever

In my mind, it’s how early she brings up kids and how often. It only worsens if she also says things like, "I don't like protection.” Any one of those things, not terrible. In combination, she's trying to pull a kid out of you. For those who think, "Maybe she's testing you,” no thanks. I'm a human being, not a piece of tank armor. I don't need to be stress tested.


#36 Movie Madness

I once had an ex-girlfriend who got mad at me for seeing a movie with my dad instead of her. At that point, we were only a month into dating. I even told her that I was willing to watch it again with her, but she was still mad. Yeah, sorry, I value my family a bit more than my month-long relationship with you.

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#37 Put On a Pedestal

It’s never good when they put you on a pedestal from the beginning. If they constantly compare you favorably to an ex, while always complaining and saying nasty things about their exes, chances are, they’ll complain about you too. I ignored these flags … in a couple of relationships… and neither of them ended well.


#38 Not-So Small Talk

I once went out with someone who just would not stop talking. A quick hello on the phone turned into an hour-long conversation about her whole day. What made it worse was that she would wind up telling me stuff she already told me earlier in the day or the previous night. I just couldn’t take it after a while.

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#39 Hot and Cold

I tend not to like it when someone’s hot and cold. For instance, someone can be super-loving and warm one day. Then, one thing triggers them (or sometimes nothing outside of their own head) and they’re like an ice wall the next day. That’s usually a sign of a hurtful person. I had to learn it once, but I left the moment I realized what he was.


#40 Bad Sign

A bad sign is random, uncalled-for emotional outbursts (barring extreme circumstances). Every single time, they ended up unstable. Getting highly offended over something small, having a fit in front of you, or coming back after ghosting you is never good. My family wasn't so great, so I can come off as an easy mark for hurtful people. If you see these things happen in the first few weeks and something major hasn't occurred, get the heck out of Dodge.

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#41 Speak Your Mind

If they’re super passive, that’s not good. I mean the “yes” men who just agree to anything you say without adding to what you said or talking about what they want. I don’t know, it just ticks me off that they’re going to be like this about important stuff. Or, that they’re going to silently let you do whatever you want until they explode because they’ve never been able to do anything they want.

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#42 Show Some Interest

If they don't show that they're into my body, it really throws me off and alerts a red flag in me. There are a surprising amount of people who will date people they aren't attracted to, just because they're lonely. In the end, that never does anyone any good. I don’t want to feel like someone is with me for nothing.


#43 Road Rage

I don’t like it when someone is overly aggressive with things that don’t involve you at all. I had an emotionally hurtful ex and he had some of the worst road rage I ever saw. He would get violently angry at stuff that was so remedial. That same rage was later turned to me further down the relationship. I should’ve seen the red flag when he took out his anger on the grandma in the car next to us.

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#44 What’s Your Name?

If you're using a dating site, this is a big red flag for me. If they ask for your last name really early then get upset and go on about trust if you don’t share personal information with them. I've had this happen to me multiple times and every single time the person turned out to be the worst type of person.


#45 Saved by the Aunt

I was with a girl who, before we went into a bar, she had to take her medication, which was four different ones. Then, at a different bar, the girl's aunt was coincidentally there. She asked if we were dating and I replied with, “We’re on a date now.” Her aunt then said, “Oh, you're still showing up to the dates?" That one flew over my head, so I asked the girl I was with what she meant by that. The girl then said, "Its because I'm crazy." I soon stopped seeing her.


#46 Baby Daddy

I dated a young woman once who already had a child. This, in itself, was not a red flag at all. Once you get past a certain age, it's just something that comes up when dating. However, from the beginning, I was very clear about the fact that I didn't want to be the father figure as we'd just become a couple and were still getting to know one another in that context. I realized, of course, that when you date someone with a child, it's impossible to exclude them from the relationship. I was perfectly fine with having the baby along on dates if a sitter couldn't be arranged. 

However, when we were less than two months into the relationship, having her constantly berating me for not spending enough time with her daughter was the beginning of a series of issues.  I had to remind her that it was too soon for that kind of thing. I was being treated like the “deadbeat father.” I ended up having to end the relationship.


#47 Massive Salad

I went on a couple of dates with a girl. On our third date, I took her to the Cheesecake Factory. I've always been fairly old-fashioned when it comes to dating, thinking the man should always pay. Our conversation was going decently well, but she ordered a massive $16 salad. The entire time we were there, she took two bites. When the server came to ask if we needed boxes, she said no. I asked her if she was just going to throw it away and she said, "Yeah, what else am I going to do with it?" 

I thought that spoke volumes of her character. So, I kindly told her things weren't going to work out. Also, I took the salad home and enjoyed it as leftovers. For the record, she was an attractive well-established nurse. It just blows my mind when someone is willing to waste that much food for no good reason.


#48 Too Early

I had a girl yell at me because she thought I was an hour early picking her up to go see a soccer game. I wasn't. She knew what time the game started. She was cute, smart, and I really liked her. But, that pretty much did me in. I was pretty bittersweet about the whole incident. Plus, she had other issues too.


#49 Too Chivalrous

Straight up refusing to let me pay my half or carry my own bags. Look guys, it’s really nice when you offer to. I’m not some crazy woman who tells you that I don’t need a man to do things for me. But, you don’t have to do anything for me, I’m fully capable of carrying or paying for myself. I’ve dated two guys who have refused to let me pay for my own food or carry my own bags when shopping. Both times, it got to a point of upsetting me. I’m not helpless.

You can be nice and offer to help, sure. Sometimes I’ll let you if you really want to pay for meals or carry stuff. But if I say no, accept that it's a no. It’s probably a really petty thing to be bothered by but I don’t know. In my mind, you can come off as really controlling when you do that and refuse otherwise.



#50 A Man’s Questionnaire 

I had a guy off a dating site ask if he could call me on the phone before our planned date. I thought that was a bit weird, but agreed. He then proceeded to ask me a bunch of invasive questions about things I'd done in the past. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't shut him down and actually did answer his questions. I was young and my self-esteem was in the gutter. 

However, the more I thought about it afterwards, the more cross I got. I realized a stranger was trying to assess my purity and equated that with my worth to him as a potential partner. So the next morning, I wrote him a strongly-worded message saying that I'd found his behavior inappropriate and wanted to cancel our date. He never replied and we never met.



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