In the world of dating, there is often a lot of focus placed on the significance of red flags. And that’s for good reason! These babies help us navigate new relationships and, hopefully, guide us away from future car crashes.
If your potential partner goes on about “how crazy” their ex is, or they’re rude to wait staff, or they think The Big Bang Theory was funny, it’s worth considering what that means and if you’re actually as compatible as you once thought.
What gets less attention in this space, however, are green flags. You know, the indicators that this budding (or fully-formed) romance of yours is a winner.
This was one of the topics covered in Bumble’s panel on Modern Womanhood back in June 2021. The event’s list of panellists each touched on a few of their key “green flags” and they were so relatable I thought it would be useful to share that insight with you all.
Hosted by Linda Marigliano, the Bumble Modern Woomanhood panel included 2021 Australian of the year and sexual assault survivor Grace Tame, body positivity activist April Hélène-Horton, Barkinji woman, content creator and re- educator Alicia Johnson and Bumble’s APAC Communications Director Lucille McCart.
Here’s what they had to say about modern dating and green flags
1. Look for an equal power balance
Marigliano kicked off the list with this one, sharing that to her, feeling a shared balance of power suggests the start of a healthy relationship. Makes a lot of sense, no?
But interestingly, recent data from Bumble highlights that 52 per cent of Gen Z and Millennial women have felt an imbalance of power in relationships.
2. Freedom to be independent
This one came from Hélène-Horton who said the experience of feeling free to maintain her independence without it coming “back to bite me” is something she really values in a partnership.
She expanded, sharing that many of us (women in particular) have “the belief ingrained [in us] that we should choose the choice that pleases other people, especially men…” So it’s important to her to recognise that freedom to take part in the things she enjoys shouldn’t come at a price.
3. No icky anxious feelings
We’ve all experienced that pang at the base of your stomach when you’re dating someone who’s hot and cold with you.
McCart highlighted that being made to feel unsure about someone’s feelings for you is a big no-no. So the opposite is naturally a green flag for her.
“I’ve had the benefit of being exposed to, you know, all of the Bumble success stories – all of the people that write in and tell us how they fell in love; how they’re having babies or they’re getting married – and the common thread through all those stories is that when they met and when they first started getting to know each other, it was really easy and it was simple and there weren’t [any] games,” she said.
4. Solid communication
Good communication is at the heart of everything of value. Johnson shared that for her, there are simple, but significant, signs that someone is a good communicator early on in the dating game.
“I feel like even a small text when someone’s going to bed, ‘Oh, I’m off to bed’. Or, you know, in the morning, ‘Oh I’m going to the gym’, or something… I think that’s a really nice indicator that they’re invested in getting to know you and they’re thinking about you,” she shared.
5. Vicarious joy and unconditional support
Tame spoke openly about her experience of intimacy and shared that it has taken her some time to get to a place where she feels able to recognise green flags in a relationship. And she must be doing a pretty good job because she just announced her recent engagement to partner Max Heerey.
She explained that along her journey, though, she’s found “vicarious joy” and unconditional support have stood out to her.
“…actually like feeling joy for the other when the other [person] has success, even if you’re maybe not doing so well yourself,” Tame shared.
Tame continued, highlighting that love and support – even when you don’t get along – has been another hugely positive sign for her.
“…another one that’s really struck me is still demonstrating love when the other person has maybe done something wrong, or there’s been a disagreement. Because in the past, if I’ve been told that I’ve done something wrong, I’ve then been punished either sexually or emotionally. And you stuff up all the time, you know, have little disagreements.
“I always found it very odd that Max still wants to hug me and still wants to be around me [when that happens]. I’m like ‘well, haven’t I done something wrong?’ And he’s like, ‘yeah, but I still love you’.”
So, long story, short: having one another’s back is a big old green flag.
According to research conducted by Lonergan Research with Bumble Australia, 41 per cent of young people feel confident they know how to spot a red flag in a relationship. But how comfortable are you with recognising the green ones?
Green flags are equally as vital to the health of our partnerships as warning signs are so it’s well worth taking a moment to reflect on a good thing when you stumble on it.
This article on green lights in dating has been updated since its original publish date.