In navigating relationships, it’s crucial to heed certain red flags, as illustrated in this list, to safeguard yourself from potential harm.
How They Treat Service Staff
Pay attention to how they interact with waitstaff, customer service representatives, or anyone in a service position. Someone who is rude or dismissive to those in service roles may have underlying issues with empathy or entitlement.
Response to Criticism
Constructive feedback is normal in any relationship, but constant criticism, especially about your appearance, abilities, or choices, is a red flag. If your partner or friend is always putting you down, it can lead to low self-esteem and emotional distress.
Lack of Communication
Communication is key in any relationship and each person needs to have the space to be able to say what they are thinking and feeling. If you find your partner drifting off when you are talking and they cannot recall anything that you have said, it could be a sign that they are not truly invested in you. This is the same for text messages and online interactions as blanking you and leaving you on ‘read’ consistently is a sign that they are not connected to you in a meaningful way.
It is normal for a small amount of jealousy to creep into a relationship that may be manageable, and fun. However, if your partner is jealous of everything in your relationship this can be a huge red flag. When your partner’s behavior starts to become controlling and restrictive because they are jealous of what you will be doing with other people it is a sign of emotional abuse. This is especially the case when your partner stops you from seeing your friends and family as even the smallest thighs make them jealous.
When a prospective partner shows affection early on in a relationship it can be flattering but you need to think about how normal their behavior is. If your new partner bombards you with so much love and affection it becomes suffocating it can be a problem. Some people use affection to manipulate and control people so be wary of grand gestures and declarations of love early on in relationships. Many narcissists will use love bombing as a form of emotional abuse so this is a huge red flag.
Lack of Accountability
If the person consistently avoids taking responsibility for their actions, deflects blame onto others, or refuses to apologize when they’re wrong, it’s a sign of immaturity and a lack of emotional intelligence. Healthy relationships involve mutual accountability and the ability to apologize and make amends.
Obsessing Over Social Media
Most of us become too wrapped up in social media from time to time but the people who obsess over it every day are worrying. Some people will become stressed if they do not get any likes on a picture they post or if they do not get new followers every week, which is concerning behavior. Behavior like this is a sign that people are insecure and self-obsessed so they may not have time for you in their life.
Constant Mood Swings
While everyone has ups and downs, extreme and unpredictable mood swings can be a sign of deeper emotional or mental health issues. If your the person in question’s emotional state is consistently erratic, it may be challenging to have a stable and supportive relationship.
Poor Relationships With Family Members
When you are getting to know a prospective friend or partner it is natural to ask about their family and friends. When information about friends and family is not forthcoming, even after several dates, it could be a red flag. People who are not close to friends and family are not always troublesome but it could be a sign that they have upset people in their lives or struggle to make long-term emotional connections. It could just be that the person has had a difficult upbringing and may need more support in cultivating storing relationships.
Trust is fundamental in any relationship. If you notice your people consistently being secretive about their activities, whereabouts, or communication, it can be a red flag. A healthy relationship requires openness, honesty, and transparency.
If you notice that the person you are becoming close to drinks a lot of seems like they may be under the influence of drugs regularly it may be that they have an addiction. When a person is unable to handle the substances they are taking they can become emotional and unstable, which could be a red flag for you. Of course, you may be in a position to offer them help but you should know that at times people require professional help.
Lots of people accuse people of gaslighting without truly understanding what it means and others with experience being gaslighted without knowing about it until it is too late. When someone is placing the blame on you for something they did or they are criticizing you for the way you react to certain situations it is gaslighting and it is a red flag in a relationship. People gaslight others to make them insecure and dependent on others, something which does not lead to a mutually respectful relationship.
We all get emotional from time to time and it is good that we can show our emotions to people we are in a relationship with. However, when people are overly emotional and will fly off the handle over the simplest of things it can be a red flag. Bursts of anger for no apparent reason or uncontrollable sobbing are indications that a person is not emotionally stable enough to enter a relationship.
Some red flags are subtle, as we have discussed, but some are outright concerning. If a friend or someone you are dating becomes emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive it is a sign that you need to get out as soon as possible. You may think that you can support someone when they are being abusive but you are putting yourself in a vulnerable position and need to seek support.
When a partner or a friend does not want you to do anything without them this is a sign that they are manipulating you for their gain. If you find yourself unable to remember the last time you went for dinner with your best friend or spoke to your mom on the phone, it is a red flag that your relationship is taking over your life.
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