Relationships are complicated. From intimate partnerships, to familial and platonic relationships, there are delicate intricacies and balances we try to maintain to sustain them all. There are moments in every relationship where we find it difficult to decide whether our relationship is healthy or toxic, worth keeping, or has overstayed its welcome. Most of us are familiar with social media trends identifying red and green flags, but what about everything in between? The ones that warn us or may even be telling us we’ve found a good one. This piece is dedicated to helping you understand the signs in your relationships, determine if they are healthy, and help you free yourself from ones that are toxic.
Before we begin a discussion about the types of flags that exist and what to do with them, it’s important to note that this list is not all exhaustive but rather a broader introduction to the concept of signs in relationships.
These flags aren’t just about the other person, they’re also things to note about yourself that may help you discover the nature of your relationship and figure out how you got there in the first place.
Red flags are usually the easiest to spot and typically what we tend to look for. They’re the behaviors that we find intolerable and that make maintaining a relationship difficult—dealbreakers, if you will.
If you or someone you care for is being abused please get help 24/7 by calling 800-799-7233 or Text START to 88788 or visit thehotline.org
Yellow flags are not necessarily a cause for alarm by themselves. They can be a sign of things we may need to adjust to or they may rise to the level of a red flag. Just like a yellow light at an intersection, yellow flags are a warning to slow down and take another look and proceed with caution. Sometimes you can speed right through a yellow light. Sure an unusual or quirky behavior can be just that, or it can lead to something more alarming that could ultimately become a dealbreaker.
Green flags are usually overlooked. They are the things we love about our relationships with others. The flags that let us know we are safe and can be comfortable with this other person. Green flags can feel confusing, especially if you’ve been in previous toxic relationships or experiences. Relationships with largely green flags can help us feel empowered to be our most authentic and create a positive environment that is mutually beneficial.
Need a Time Out? Weighing the Pros & Cons
If your relationship is truly balanced and healthy you’ll notice you have more green flags than red. The green should certainly outweigh the yellow, and any sign of a red flag should warn you to be cautious. If you find more red flags than anything else, take that as your sign that it may be time to reconsider that relationship in your life. Removing yourself can be easier said than done, but when you find yourself in this predicament – block out some time to tune into your self care and mindfulness. Bonding with your inner self can help you create a sense of inner peace so that you can make the best choice. Do something that will put you in an empowered, self-reliant state like treating yourself to a solo date, exercise class, or a treat.
Still aren’t sure where your relationship(s) stack(s) up? Use this as your starting point to take inventory of how much value each relationship provides you with in your life. Consider all the flags and how much weight you want to give to each item. Sometimes a red flag for someone else is a yellow flag for you. Green flags can help cancel out red or yellow flags if there are enough good things happening, but no matter how much good there is, the comfortability of a relationship won’t withstand the number of alarms buzzing in your head.
Struck Out? Stay tuned for tips on how to remove yourself from unhealthy relationships.