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11 Green Flags To Look For In A Romantic Partner
Love & Relationships

11 Green Flags To Look For In A Romantic Partner

Practically every woman has a smoldering group chat that’s brimming with jaw-dropping red flags–from bad dates, promising love that never quite lived up to its potential, and fractured relationships that can serve as a cautionary tale on Iyanla, Fix My Life.


Most of my dating life–up to my late 20s–consisted of surviving a deluge of red flags and mistaking them for par for the course of securing sweet love. And, I often contributed to my own toxic red flags, like snooping through my then-boyfriend’s phone without his permission. (Yes, young, immature, and capricious).

Oh, how I wish my parents had equipped me with a helpful list of green flags long before I scribbled my name on my and my older boyfriend’s apartment lease and before I packed up the shabby U-Haul along with the shattered pieces of a broken heart, several months later.

However, since we’re now living and thriving in a revolutionary conscious era of healing, self-love, and breaking generational curses, let’s focus on the good: green flags. They are the hallmarks of a soft, joyous life and, of course, healthy love.

What Green Flags To Look For In A Partner

In case you’re new to the term, green flags highlight positive actions or traits, which are usually signs of healthy behaviors.

Licensed clinical social worker, Khalida Bradford, LCSW, at A Journey of Wellness Therapy, says, “In my therapy practice, I look at the green flags in the relationship, and I always have my client identify and list what their green flags are so this can help them see what they view as important. These green flags are going to be individual and some general, but it really is going to depend on what that person values and sees fit for their life.”

Whether you’re single and dating, looking forward to returning to the dating pool, or in a committed relationship, here are 11 green flags to look for in a potential mate or existing relationship.

1.R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect is the solid foundation of any healthy relationship. Without respect, a flourishing love is difficult to exist. A green flag is planted when they demonstrate they can respect you. The whole you. Your hopes, cares, reveries. Your noes and yeses. They even respect when you activate your boundaries.

Bradford says boundaries are important because it ties into respect. “Having respect for someone’s individual boundaries is definitely a positive sign. When you think about healthy boundaries, you think about the need for someone’s personal space, time, privacy. You don’t want to date someone who for example, keeps calling your phone and not respecting your time at work; they’re not respecting your personal items–maybe they’re going through your stuff at home, driving by your house [unannounced]. Or, if you say, ‘My boundary is that I don’t allow people to come over to my house on the first few dates’ and yet they keep trying to come over.

"There are so many different aspects to what healthy boundaries are. And it’s a green flag if someone has already established healthy boundaries.”

2.Communication Is Top Tier

Clear and effective communication is typically a must-have skill or trait that companies require in the professional world, and for good reason. Likewise, for couples or people getting to know one another, the ability to communicate effectively is an essential building block to construing and maintaining a healthy relationship.

Forms of healthy communication include that they check in with you regularly. They are consistent in communicating. They put in the time to get to know you. Or, if you’ve been partnered for a while, they take the time to stay updated with all that’s currently going on with you. And my personal favorite: they are a good listener.

Establishing each other’s preferred method of communication is also critical. Do they prefer to text, email, or call? Do they like “good morning, babe” texts or, are after-work calls more their style? What works best for you?

As a writer/producer who sits poorly slouched over a computer typing for over nine hours a day, I prefer to give my carpal tunnel wrists, hands, and fingers a break by sending vivacious voice notes or scheduling phone calls with bae. Plus, I like the fact that I can convey my true emotion and tone through voice notes and phone calls. And vice versa, I can hear his too.

Relationships often falter simply because one or both people are unable to communicate the things they need or want. As the old adage goes, “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”

Thus, having top-tier communication is key because, as Bradford says, “It allows you to express your needs, wants, and concerns."

3.Safe and Secure

In a world that is often turbulent, unsafe, and overwhelming with uncertainty, it’s heartening to both meet and share your world with someone who makes you feel safe and secure.

You’re confident that whether you have a profound conversation with them, send intimate selfies, or share a litany of unfiltered details of yourself, those moments or items are safe between the two of you.

Another green flag is that your nervous system feels at ease and peace when you’re around them or when you simply hear the cadence in their voice. They create a perpetual, safe space enabling you to feel unencumbered to give your body, mind, emotions, and the many layers of yourself.

4.Emotional Intelligence

quote-graphic-reads-you-know-whats-sexy-intelligence-thats-not-just-book-smart-but-also-emotionally-aware

Emotional intelligence is a cacophony of hidden gems.

Photo by Case Kenny, That's Bold of You

Emotional intelligence is a cacophony of hidden gems. It is the golden key that unlocks the treasure to build and sustain a wealth of healthy love and relationships.

Does your potential partner or current partner display empathy? Are they caring? Mature in their decision-making and responses? Are they able to control and regulate their emotions?

Conflict is inevitable, but if they’re able to regulate their emotions–such as self-soothe, diffuse a fight, admit when they’re wrong, or empathize with you–hooray! These are all signs of green flags.

5.Trustworthy

Trust is like a whimsical botanical garden: In all its glory, it's built over time. You must plant the seeds of trust and continually water and nourish your efforts, long after the petals have bloomed.

A sure green flag is when you can wholly trust them–with every fiber of your being, and with your time and resources. You can even trust sharing your secrets, future plans, and dreams. You can confide in them with your past, which, let’s be honest, everyone isn’t equipped to handle. And you can trust both their words and actions.

There’s no greater euphoric feeling than the ability to trust whatever your potential mate or partner says because fidelity has been established. Like when he/she says the reason they didn’t answer their phone at 11:37 p.m. last Saturday was because they were sprawled out on the couch in a deep sleep–instead of letting your mind wander into a myriad of catastrophic scenarios, you can relax knowing they’re telling the truth. Or when they say, “She’s just a friend.” She really is… just a platonic friend.

6.Character Is A-1

As you grow and mature, what matters most in the grand scheme of life crystalizes. External factors like what they do for a living, how much money they make, how many degrees they’ve accumulated, or how chiseled their physique is, fade into the background of importance, while one’s character shines brightly in the spotlight.

Their character will demonstrate if they are reliable. Whether they are a person of their word. If they will show up when they say they will. If they’re truthful and embody integrity. And whether they uphold their character when they’re not around you.

A supportive person is also a green flag. Someone who encourages your endeavors, goals, and your loftiest dreams. Someone who celebrates your progress, wins, and success–and has compassion for your failures.

Sure, a person’s enticing, dapper appearance and status may attract you to them, but ultimately, it’s their character that will sustain the test of a relationship’s time.

7.Thoughtful/Considerate

quote-graphic-that-reads-someone-who-genuinely-cares-about-how-their-actions-impact-you-is-green-flag-energy

Thoughtfulness and consideration are powerhouse underdogs when it comes to green flags in relationships.

Photo by Case Kenny, That's Bold of You

Whenever you scrawl your list of top “must haves” in a highly desirable partner, in your journal–or as the honeymoon has long phased out and you begin to analyze the good, bad, and what needs improvement–thoughtfulness and consideration may not immediately make your Top Five, but these two green flags are powerhouse underdogs. After all, it’s the tiny things that make a monumental difference in dating and relationships.

Bradford believes, “Thoughtfulness and consideration go hand-in-hand. Like, the way someone thinks about you; they think about how something is going to make you feel. If there’s a certain behavior, action, or situation that they may be engaged in, they consider your feelings in it. They consider how it will make you feel.”

She continues, “For thoughtfulness, it’s someone who thinks about you in a way that shows a high level of interest and effort. In essence, they’re listening to you, they’re observing, they hear what you say. For example, ‘I heard you say you had a bad day, so I’m going to schedule a massage for you.’ Or ‘I know you like sparkling water, so I bought you a case of sparkling water.' They’re showing they are both thoughtful and considerate.”

8.Generosity Is Good for the Soul

There’s nothing sexier than a magnanimous beau. There are a multitude of ways one can be generous. And generosity isn’t to be conflated with the amount of money one has, ‘cause Lord knows I’ve dated enough men who were affluent and stingy, just as I’ve known men who've had modest means but were extremely benevolent and would happily give you their last $20, plus the warm coat off their back in the middle of a snowstorm.

Do they help the less fortunate, family, or friends with their resources? Do they tip well when they receive good services? Are they willing to lend their time, talent, or natural gifts to volunteer or mentor? If so, these are just a few ways they’ve demonstrated a green flag.

9.Financial Wellness

Money, money, money. If you’re currently in a serious relationship or have ever been, then you, too, can attest that finances play a significant role. While every couple has their own unique set of rules as to who should pay or split the bills, rent/mortgage, and life’s other never-ending expensive expenses, a partner’s financial wellness is a tremendous green flag.

“How secure they are financially? Someone who is in-tuned and mindful about how they spend, save, invest. Someone who isn’t overspending; they spend responsibly. Those are all major green flags for a partner to have,” Bradford emphasizes.

10.Values Family and Friendships

How a person treats their family and friendships is not all-encompassing of who they are as a person (because humans are capable of compartmentalizing), but their treatment of their loved ones is largely indicative of how their actions towards you, can and will be.

Bradford notes, “Someone who is family-oriented is a green flag because you can see what their values are. Family being important to them means they will also support you and encourage you to establish and maintain good relationships with your family.”

Does your person show up for their loved ones in times of need? Do they speak positively about those closest to them? Is your person a beacon of light or a source of joy, hope, and replenishment for their family and friends? If so, wave that green flag.

11.Acceptance (For the Real You)

If bae can accept the totality of who you are, that’s a green flag. They don’t try to change you or make snide remarks about how you would be more desirable or look better if you were something else. They appreciate and adore you for who you authentically are.

And they accept that when you do inevitably change–be it physically, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise–they are appreciative of the new version of you.

I knew I had finally entered my healthy relationship era when I could freely divulge the scariest parts of me–my flaws and the emotional baggage from toxic ex-boyfriends and fun-boys–for the first time in my life. My then-partner fully embraced my most vulnerable parts and cheered me on in my journey of healing.

Becoming the Green Flags You Desire

Chile, I’ve endured an obscene amount of trial and error throughout my glorious dating and relationship years–but I’m grateful that through habitual meditation, therapy, prayer, and asking God to show me what healthy love truly looks like that I’ve finally gained clarity and wisdom on green flags that I should discern in a partner and epitomize myself.

Because after all, finding the healthy and positive traits we admire in our ideal person begins with embodying the qualities we seek in others.

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Featured image by Kadarius Seegars on Unsplash

 

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