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Dating 101: Watch Out For Red Flags


Trying to find “the one” in the 21st century has deemed itself to be more difficult as the years pass by. With dating trends changing daily, it’s hard to figure out whether you should go back to the streets or settle down. One thing that’s for sure is if you’re looking for a certain fish in this sea, you got to know how to identify red flags.

Now, what is a red flag? This term is something that has risen to fame because of social media. A red flag is something that a person does that can cause problems in the future. For example, if they constantly talk about their ex-partner, this could mean they still have feelings for them and would leave you if the opportunity should come.

There are many red flags but two main categories are bad communication and toxic behavior. 

Bad Communication

Communication is important in our everyday life and even more important when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship. Paying attention to how someone expresses themselves when they’re angry, frustrated, sad, or even happy, could save you a lot of trouble in the future.

Although everyone has different ways of communicating, if you see that your partner often shouts, gets physical, or ignores you when there’s an issue, those are red flags that could progress to something worse. If you bring up an issue that causes them to become overly defensive and argumentative, that is not healthy.

Another form of bad communication is when you want to talk about something and they shut it down or interrupt you constantly. Dishonesty can cause friction in a relationship, and it’s better to just say bye to liars. Don’t ignore the signs of bad communication, it’s always best to address it immediately.

Toxic Behaviors

Toxic behavior from a partner often creeps up before you have time to realize it, that is why it’s vital to recognize what type of behaviors are considered toxic. The main behaviors of a toxic person are gaslighting, manipulation, and narcissism. These are all forms of psychological abuse tactics that make you doubt yourself, and feel belittled.

Newport Institute defines gaslighting as when an “abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion.” An example would be if the person constantly does something that bothers you but when you address it, they make you feel like it’s just you and you’re overreacting. However, manipulation is a way of controlling someone based on the way they act. Narcissistic people tend to be self-absorbed and lack empathy for those around them. 

Oneika Bigby, a biology major at the University of North Georgia, has been a victim of red flags in her past relationships. When it comes to red flags she has gone through, she says, “…not being a gentleman would have to be a red flag.” She continues to say that men should open doors, and let women walk on the the safer side of a path, away from oncoming traffic and other people. Bad communication has affected her past relationships as well. “If I’m trying to communicate and you immediately get angry, that’s a red flag.”

Breaking off a relationship can be hard for a lot of people, especially since some look past these red flags due to the attraction they feel towards a person. Bigby says, “Sometimes it’s hard to… not be with that person anymore just because of the red flags. Maybe they are aspects of the relationship that outweigh the person themselves, so you decide ‘hey maybe they aren’t that bad, they’re [a] green [flag]’.”

“It’s hard to get out of a toxic relationship if that’s what you’re used to…but you deserve better. Period.” – Oneika Bigby

Coming from a guy’s perspective, Eric Vargas, a cyber security major at UNG, a red flag that he’s come across is when his partner “is too friendly.” He says, “I think something that’s bothered me is when that person talks to other people, especially men, the same way that they talk to me.” He believes that a relationship is a “special bond” between him and that person. If his partner is communicating the same thing to others that they communicate to him, it makes him question the validity of the bond they share. 

After Vargas realizes certain red flags, he tries to have a respectful conversation with his partner. “The bad thing about confronting someone in a respectful way is that they don’t take you seriously. Yeah, you can be very nice to them [but] unfortunately, that doesn’t work most of the time.” He says that, even though he hates it, sometimes “your ugly side” must be shown for them to understand. He made sure to clarify that letting your “ugly side” come out doesn’t mean “beating them up.”

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About the Contributor
Trinity Cromwell, Staff Editor
Trinity is a Senior Staff Editor for the Vanguard. She is a Senior Communications major with a concentration in Multimedia Journalism. Celebrity drama is her favorite genre to read about. When it comes to her writing, she loves to investigate topics that pique her interest. If you have a story you want to see published, send her an email! She wants to make sure our students and staff's ideas are heard.
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Dating 101: Watch Out For Red Flags