When it comes to romantic relationships — whether they are firmly established, or still in their early stages — we are (rightfully) conditioned to pay attention to and make note of any warning signs about a person, commonly referred to as “red flags.”
We won’t go into why that’s important, and what can happen if you ignore red flags, but there are reasons why the topic comes up so often in the context of romantic relationships. And while you absolutely should continue to be mindful of red flags, it’s also important to pay attention to a current or potential partner’s positive traits, too.
This doesn’t mean ignoring or justifying bad behaviour because of a few seemingly good qualities, but it does mean appreciating the best of what they bring to the table, and determining whether they meet your basic relationship needs (i.e. things like feeling seen, attractive, and safe).
In an article for Well+Good, Natalie Arroyo Camacho spoke with a relationship expert and therapist to find out more about relationship green flags — including a few examples. Here are some to keep in mind.
They are familiar — and comfortable — with themselves
This usually means that a person knows what they need in a romantic relationship, and are more willing to be open and honest in conversations with you and other people as well.
According to relationship expert Laurel House, one indicator of this is whether someone is capable of taking care of themselves, like working out or eating healthily — behaviours says show that the person is able to be present.
When you say ‘no,’ they respect and honour it
“That’s a big one,” licensed marriage and family therapist Jacqueline Mendez, told Well+Good. “Your ‘no’ is no — no explanation needed, no further negotiation.”
The focus isn’t on your physical relationship
Of course, the physical side of a romantic relationship is important, but if it’s someone’s main (or only) concern and focus, that would fall into red-flag territory. However, Mendez says that if they demonstrate that they’re authentically “curious about you, not just what they can get out of it,” that’s definitely a green flag.