Updated: Jul 15, 2020
We are all becoming more aware of the term "red flags" in dating. Red flags include: not respecting your boundaries, only wanting to see you late at night, not spending time with you in public, keeping your relationship secret, you catching them in lies early on, etc.
However I want to urge a word of caution in looking at red flags versus mistakes. We can get worked up when thinking about red flags and in our anxiety read everything as a red flag, even when it isn't.
Everybody makes mistakes and it's to be expected. To me, a red flag is when somebody doesn't have a lot of insight around what they did was wrong, or there's a lack of remorse or a lack of genuine effort to try to not keep doing the same harm over and over. It's not somebody not being able to receive your feedback. It's somebody not putting in the same amount of effort that doesn't hear your feedback, that is not able to let your opinion or your needs be important and take up space in the relationship. So it's red flag, versus just a mistake, which we all made... is that mistakes, there's some recognition and taking responsibility for the mistake, and a genuine concerted effort to try to make it right.
And it doesn't mean that they're never going to make that mistake again, but that they really are trying and they really do show they're sorry, and they really are able to recognize what they did was wrong, and recognize how they made you feel... versus a red flag would be like somebody that didn't feel bad or wasn't trying to make it right, or just feels defensive about it and kind of dismisses your feelings, whatever kind of the red flag might be.
And if you are having a hard time deciding if something is a red flag, talk to people you trust. Often our good friends have our best interest in mind and can see things more objectively. But ultimately, you've got to learn how to trust your gut, connect with your intuition, and listen to the signs your body is giving you about the person.
Your body is so wise and always knows the right thing to do!
Cassandra Solano, LCSW
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