5 Green Flags to Look for in Relationships

In today’s society, we can be quick to judge when looking for a partner.  It has almost become a trend to pick out someone’s “red flags” or unfavorable characteristics about someone that will ultimately become a deal killer. Instead, why don’t we focus on the positive pillars in a relationship that can help overlook the fact that they’ve a goldendoodle or yellow lab. If your partner has some of these “green flags” or valuable traits, at the end of the day you will love the dog either way

1. They Validate Your Feelings

Pay attention to how someone responds when you share a piece of emotional vulnerability. Do they express empathy, confirm your feelings, or make you feel heard? Making you feel heard can be shown through more than words, it can be expressed through actions. Do they change their behavior in response to your concerns or let you talk it out? These are both signs that your expression means something to them beyond just a listening ear. This can be very difficult for people if they didn’t grow up talking about emotions or mental health. However, meeting your partner where they are in that moment can fulfill that need for emotional connection.

2. They are Curious about You

How many times have you started talking to someone, and all they can think to talk about is themselves? Then you’re stuck sitting there rethinking the entire interaction and how you got yourself in this situation.  If you’re interested in someone, you’re naturally interested in what they’re up to and what their days consist of. Its not detective work to see if their cheating but a natural interest in what their world looks like. You can tell a lot about someone based on how they choose to spend their free time. Not only will you be able to learn more about them, but what similarities you share. Sometimes people like to play the 20 questions game, but asking “How, What, and Where” questions can lead to a more elevated conversation to get to know someone. Also, pay attention to what they ask or talk about daily, if consistent interest comes back to you, that’s a good sign. You don’t need all the attention all the time, but a genuine interest in your day means they’re thinking about you while shifting the attention off of themselves.

3. You Laugh Together

Okay you don’t need to find a comedian, but having the same sense of humor can be beneficial in any relationship. There’s nothing better than someone who can make you laugh to lighten the mood or cheer you up on a tough day. Your partner will be with you during some of the happiest and most challenging days of your life, so finding that common ground where you can laugh will lead to a happier relationship. Laughter can also help deflect minor inconveniences. Life isn’t meant to be taken so seriously, and learning to laugh off the small stuff can help create a more playful dynamic.  The thought question, “Who would you want to be stuck waiting in a doctor’s room with?” makes me think of this idea. In reality, no one wants to do that or be in that situation, but who can make that time into something slightly more bearable. Who can make you smile? That’s the answer you’re looking for. 

4. You Both Appreciate the Small Things

It’s the little things matter the most, the day-to-day, little habits about someone that you can’t change but are just part of who they are. This is the difference between a good relationship and a great relationship. Everyone has the little things they like, admire, or look for. This could be opening the door for you, smiling at strangers, appreciating a good sunset, heck even stopping to pet the dog.  These little things define a person and set them apart, you don’t want to tell someone to do these things, but more appreciate them when they come up. They’re not deal-breakers, but they can add up over time. 

I was in a relationship once where I always pointed out the stars on a clear night, to the point where they asked me “Why do you care so much about the sky? Its always there”. And although that’s something that fascinates me, they couldn’t fathom the idea of sitting and watching the stars at night. It’s not that I didn’t want to explain why it was so cool to me for the 4th time, but that they couldn’t support my interest. You don’t need to be on the same page for everything, and that’s not why the relationship ended, but it was the concept. I was willing to find and appreciate the beauty in the day, where that wasn’t something important them.  I couldn’t change that or was willing to change that about someone’s mindset, it’s something small like that where it’s special to find a shared deeper connection.

5. They Make an Effort with People who are Important to You

Bringing a significant other around your parents can be intimidating for numerous reasons and for all parties involved. In retrospect, it doesn’t really matter if your SO brings their best jokes to the table or if your dad shows them embarrassing middle school pictures. What’s important is how your partner treats your loved ones. They don’t have to be best friends or hit it off right away, but that’s not an exception for respect. Respect for elders can look different in each culture, so how they treat parents can be telling of their character. Are they kind to them, help out, or engage in meaningful conversation? Everyone looks for something different, and every family situation varies, but be sure that it’s something you’re proud of. You want to be proud of the way your partner interacts with them and not have to worry about them sabotaging your relationship. 

By Kennedy Baker