In the dating world, there are many ups and downs: plenty of fun dates…and plenty of awful ones.
But no matter how your dating life is going, as you get to know other people, you get to know yourself.
We’d like to tell you there’s a standard set of so-called “red flags” to look out for, but (other than the obvious), each person’s red flags are different. As you get to know people when dating, you may start to notice particular red flags that relate to you—and that list may change over time. That’s completely ok.
Dating is About Getting to Know Your Date…and Yourself
Ask yourself what you’re looking for in a partner before each date. Approach every date as a learning opportunity and over time you’ll discover more about what you’re looking for. This will allow you to more efficiently determine if someone is right for you or not…before you’re 12 bad dates down the road with someone you don’t like. The more you date, the more your personal set of red flags will become obvious—and the easier it will be to make decisions about which direction to go.
First dates don’t need to be filled with awkward small talk. Invite your date into your life and let them get to know you! Listening skills and open communication are important in all relationships, so be sure you’re listening up yourself. Be willing to be open with your answers to questions—and see if your date reciprocates.
Look inside yourself to discover what you like and what you don’t like in another person. Ask yourself: Am I overly critical of the other person because I’m uncomfortable on first dates? Am I being myself and allowing myself to genuinely express my feelings?
In new relationships, we may question each other’s motives and contexts. Plus, differences often come up—and sometimes these differences feel scary. All of these things add up and can prevent you from really getting to know someone.
A deep, fulfilling relationship is one where we understand our emotions and each other’s emotions, and we connect on the same level.
It’s OK to Be Selfish. Just Be Honest!
It’s ok to seek out exactly what you want. You don’t have to give everyone another chance. If you’re not feeling in tune with the other person, don’t be afraid to move on. Choose to be your authentic self and trust that interested people will find you and follow you.
We cannot change each other, no matter how badly we want to or believe we can. You can certainly promote leadership in the dating world by holding your own standards and boundaries—and this may rub off on others who are stuck in the grind of keeping those walls up.
Know who and what you’re looking for and go after it! It’s okay to be selfish when dating—this is your life and you are free to fill it with the people you feel build you up and meet your expectations.
Your Red Flags Are Your Own
Dating allows you to put yourself out there and potentially find a new friend or romantic partner that suits your needs, interests, and goals. Remember to define what you seek in a partner first—and note what your potential red flags could be. This way, instead of slugging it out and waiting until the fifth or sixth date to unleash a slew of annoyances and criticisms, you may be able to more efficiently realize this person simply isn’t right for you.
Remember that by being your authentic self, from your first date to your 100th, is key. You have the right to have what you want and to set boundaries that are meaningful for you in your relationships.
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About the Author
Monica is the Admissions Coordinator and Marketing Specialist at the Wright Graduate University. As the admissions coordinator and head of marketing for WGU, Monica oversees recruiting, student admissions, customer services and marketing efforts.
The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.