50+ Green Flags in a Relationship (According to Experts)

Think you’ve found the one? If you’re looking for signs that your relationship is headed in the right direction, they say you need to look at the green flags.

Knowing what they are can help you determine if your relationship is on the right track and has the potential to last.

So what are the things you should keep an eye on? According to experts, here are green flags to watch out for in a relationship.

Emily Donald, PhD, LCMHC-S (NC), LPC-MHSP (TN), NCC, RPT-S, ACS

Emily Donald

Counselor, Aligned Counseling and Supervision, PLLC

For a long time, all anyone talked about were red flags in relationships, things you should run away from immediately if you saw them.

People would feel bad about missing them when they looked back in hindsight, and one can only assume that sometimes things that could have been adjusted were “red-flagged,” and relationships ended.

Green flags are a much more positive outlook on relationships. They are the things that you can notice that make a relationship secure, safe, authentic, and connected.

In truth, green flags can be applied to any relationship, even though most people refer to them in a dating context. Green flags generally feel good and safe in relationships.

If they don’t seem one to you, it may be worth exploring in counseling.

Sometimes closer relationships can feel threatening to people who have not experienced safe, close relationships.

You feel safe being your authentic self

It’s natural for folks to put their best foot forward when dating. It’s certainly never been dating advice to lead with all of your anxieties or odd habits.

However, as a relationship grows over time, the person with whom you’re in a relationship should be seeing the real you.

It’s a definite green flag when you feel ok being your true and authentic self with someone, as any relationship should be a safe space where you do not have to pretend.

Related: How to Be True to Yourself

While this does not mean that someone never challenges you to grow and change, it does mean that being accepted unconditionally is a significant green flag.

You experience the other person as responsive

Having someone hear and respond to your needs and requests is another green flag.

This does not mean that they are at your beck and call for every wish and command, but it does mean that when you make a reasonable request or express a feeling/concern/idea, you are met with compassion, interest, and caring.

You feel heard and believe this person wants to understand your needs and help you get them met. They maintain a stance of curiosity and non-reactivity.

When you are hurt, you are offered a genuine apology

Apologies are huge. They are the core of repair after any misattunement between folx in the relationship.

Communication is imperfect, as are humans.

One person will hear a tone when the other does not; one person will have past experiences that serve as current triggers that are hard for their loved ones to understand. The hurt is real, even if the intent to hurt wasn’t there.

A green flag is the willingness to offer genuine apologies in which responsibility is taken.

For example, “I am sorry that my tone upset you. I did not mean to do that. I will try to be more aware of it when we are discussing things” and not “I’m sorry you were hurt.”

You experience support

Support in relationships is extremely valuable. A person who is willing to support you in the goals you set for yourself is waving a green flag at you.

It doesn’t mean they don’t challenge you to see things differently or point out areas you might need to attend to more closely, but they do get behind you in your corner and coach/cheer/respond to your needs.

If you want to accomplish something, they’re behind you in whatever ways they can be.

When you experience things differently, you notice the other person is trying to understand your experience.

When someone can realize that their experience is not the only valid one

It’s well known that two people can experience the exact same event very differently. Part of building a connection is understanding someone’s experience.

A partner, friend, or another significant person who says, “Ok. I don’t really understand, but I want to. Can you help?” is demonstrating a very important green flag.

Someone with a willingness to do this will be exhibiting a variety of other green flags, like:

  • The ability to apologize even if they would have experienced a slight difference.
  • The ability to respond to relationship needs they wouldn’t personally have.
  • The desire to be closer and more connected in the relationship.

Rachel Davidson, MA, LPC-A

Rachel Davidson

Therapist, Malaty Therapy

You have similar personal values

We all know about the red flags to look for in a relationship. Usually, these are based on past experiences or horror stories we hear from friends or family.

Often neglected are the green flags. These are signs that we can feel comfortable moving forward in a relationship. Green flags let us know that we are with a partner we can trust and be vulnerable with them in order to facilitate closeness.

It can be hard to recognize green flags because we are so conditioned to look for red flags as a means of protecting ourselves.

When we feel safe enough to be present in a relationship, we can pay attention to the things our partner is doing right instead of just looking for the things they may be doing wrong.

If you have recently been through heartbreak or trauma, it may be extremely difficult to allow yourself to be in the present moment and see the green flags someone can bring to a relationship. If this is the case for you, it could be a sign you aren’t ready for a relationship.

Related: How to Get Over a Broken Heart

Even if now is not the right time for you to pursue a relationship, it is a great practice to pay attention to green and red flags in your interactions with others.

When the time is right, you will be much more prepared to enter a healthy relationship.

How do you know what a green flag looks like?

When determining what green flags look like for us, it can be helpful to look back at past relationships with romantic partners, friends, and family members. Pay special attention to the parts of the relationship you feel worked well and those that didn’t.

Green flags are often the opposites of those things that didn’t work in our relationships, as well as the behaviors we look back on fondly.

For each person, green flags will look a bit different. Specific green flags may be based on values. It can be helpful to assess our personal values in order to determine whether a partner has similar values and behaves in a way that demonstrates this.

Related: What Are Core Values and How Do They Control My Life?

For example, if family is one of your most important values, a partner who has a strong relationship with their mother could be a green flag.

If you value helping others, a green flag in a partner could be that they volunteer at the food bank each week.

Related: The Importance and Benefits of Volunteering

Some green flags can be based on red flags from past relationships. Maybe you had a one-time partner or a parent who had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

In this case, a partner who drinks heavily might be a red flag, and, by default, sobriety might be a green flag.

You may have been in a relationship with a partner who struggled to express their emotions through any means other than anger or violence. If this were the case, a green flag in a partner might be one who has strong communication skills and high emotional intelligence.

Green flags can also be based on the positives from our past relationships

Many of us have been in relationships that were not perfect; however, there were some parts of them that worked well for us.

Maybe a past partner was helpful with cooking and cleaning, making our responsibilities at home less of a burden. Maybe we had a partner who was great at managing finances and could help us make smart decisions with money.

As we get to know someone, they show us their flags through their actions. We get to decide how many green flags are required and how many red flags we are willing to allow.

When we pay attention, we can use these flags to determine whether this person is a good match for us.

John F. Tholen, PhD

John F. Tholen

Cognitive Psychologist | Author, “Focused Positivity: The Path to Success and Peace of Mind

They have respect both for themselves and for you

We frequently hear about how someone overlooked a “red flag” that should have warned them off a relationship that failed painfully.  Less often discussed—although also of great importance are the “green flags”—indications that someone merits further consideration as a relationship partner.

We are social animals—biologically and psychologically programmed to bond with others. Our attachments to people create our most powerful emotions. 

Most of us rate our personal relationships as primary importance—ahead of careers, accomplishments, fame, or wealth. Loving relationships can make us feel more “grounded” and “centered” than any other experience. 

Not surprisingly, most single people put considerable energy into finding a match. 

The ability to distinguish those who would be likely to make a good relationship partner can be crucial to our emotional well-being.

The top relationship green flags

When we find someone sexually and socially attractive, our decisions about pursuing a relationship are best guided by considerations of the following factors (or “green flags”):

Do they display more respect for our wishes and feelings than for anyone else’s and almost as much as for their own? Respect—both for themselves and for us—is critical for a healthy relationship. 

Feeling disrespected causes emotional injury and anger, but excessive deference to our preferences can be almost as damaging as it erodes our respect for our partner.

The healthiest relationships involve a mutual “I’m okay, you’re okay” attitude in which each partner values the feelings of the other.

  • Do they communicate their honest feelings and wishes through responsible self-assertion—without aggression, threat, or insult?
  • Are they tolerant of our innocent idiosyncrasies, normal human faults and weaknesses, and sincerely regretted mistakes?
  • Do they respect our personal boundaries (e.g., space, business, relationships, responsibilities, etc.)?
  • Are they willing and able to negotiate in good faith to find compromises to resolve conflicts that invariably arise between relationship partners?
  • Are they willing and able to prioritize the interests of the relationship—the “team of two”—over their own personal interests?
  • Are they willing and able to pursue—and support our pursuit of—a wellness lifestyle dedicated to thriving with respect to physical health, emotional health, intellectual mental well-being, social support network, spiritual philosophical balance (a sense of purpose and meaning), occupational and financial security, creativity and self-expression?
  • Can they laugh at themselves? A sense of humility about one’s flaws, mistakes, and weaknesses can make a person much easier to live with.
  • Do they have similar attitudes about the subjects of greatest importance to us (e.g., having children, religion, politics, entertainment, etc.)?
  • Are they able and willing to complement our needs and preferences with respect to (1) socializing with others, (2) giving or receiving affection, and/or (3) being—or giving up—control?

They establish a good relationship with their opposite-sex parent

The bonus relationship “green flag” is a good relationship with their opposite-sex parent. A potential relationship partner’s treatment of their opposite-sex parent is sometimes a preview of how they will treat their partner.

Dr. Jessica Stern, PhD

Jessica Stern

Psychologist and Researcher, University of Virginia

We often focus on “red flags” when entering a new relationship, but it’s just as important to look for “green flags” — the signs that a potential friend, new collaborator, or romantic interest is trustworthy and likely to be a good partner in the long run.

That’s no surprise — the human brain is wired to look for (and learn from) negative experiences more than positive ones. This means that experiences of someone violating our trust are more likely to shape lasting impressions, while it may take many positive experiences to build (or rebuild) trust.

Here are a few green flags I’ve noticed in my research on relationships:

They follow through

When the person says they’ll be somewhere, they show up.

If a last-minute conflict arises, they let you know as soon as possible and make an effort to find another time to see you. This shows evidence of integrity and respect for your time and builds an expectation that they’ll follow through on the important stuff.

They take accountability for their mistakes

We’re all imperfect. Human foibles, mistakes, and conflict are normal parts of any relationship. The question is: Can this person take ownership of their mistakes, work to repair them, and be held accountable for their actions?

Related: Why Is Accountability Important?

If a person can show humility, take feedback, and give a genuine apology, that’s a green flag for handling future conflicts well.

They are kind to people — especially those with less power

A person’s display of genuine kindness toward others is always a good indicator of their values and general prosocial tendencies.

But kindness can be context-dependent: Seek out people who are kind to their waiter in a restaurant, to a junior employee at their workplace, or to a stranger asking for help.

Research shows that all genders value kindness in a prospective partner (often more than looks or status).

Related: 30+ Reasons Why Kindness Is Important

They ask questions and know how to listen

It’s easy to talk about ourselves, but it takes curiosity and effort to inquire about others, listen, and show emotional attunement.

People who ask good questions and listen genuinely demonstrate a core feature of emotional intelligence — a set of skills that forecasts relationship success.

Susanne M. Alexander

Susanne M. Alexander

Relationship and Marriage Coach & Character Specialist, CharacterYAQ | Author, “Couple Vitality

Keen observation skills are vital in the process of developing a healthy couple relationship, and they are especially important if the relationship will move toward marriage.

Some green, good-to-go-forward flags or signs in a relationship can include these:

They have consistent character strengths that happen with you and others

This observation begins with individuals knowing what qualities are most important to them and then watching for concrete indications that their partner is actually:

  • Consistently truthful
  • Dependable
  • Self-disciplined
  • Purposeful
  • Respectful

Couple consultations about important topics are frequent and fair

Healthy couples consult with each other about all important topics.

They demonstrate a high level of respect for each other’s thoughts and feelings as they build understanding. They can detach enough from their own perspectives to create an outcome that is new and that they both agree with in unity.

Couples must be able to consult about:

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Family relationships
  • Personal history
  • Children
  • Career paths

The more a couple has a high level of understanding and agreement about approaches to these topics, the more likely that conflict about them will be minimal over time.

Friendship strengths are present and valued

Social time, laughter, sharing from the heart, loyally having each other’s best interest in the forefront, common interests, and other elements of friendship are foundational for a happy relationship.

Couples who turn toward each other rather than away can stay connected.

There’s a balance between being inwardly and outwardly oriented

Couples need time together to keep their relationship unified. When they have children, they need to spend time with each other and with them. Being of thoughtful service to each other during good times and difficult ones is a sign of health and love.

It can also be connecting for couples to see needs in their friends, neighborhood, and community and strive to carry out improvements in collaboration with others.

Service to each other and others, where there is openness and respectful agreement about the actions, can be a positive sign of someone’s ability to avoid being overly focused on themselves.

When a couple can maintain this balance of looking after the home and family and contributing to others, they are likely to experience greater relationship satisfaction.

It is wise, of course, to be aware of relationship red flags. However, observing the green flags adds balance, hope, and confidence about moving forward.

Ileana Arganda-Stevens, LMFT

Ileana Arganda-Stevens

Program ManagerThrive Therapy & Counseling

We hear so much about what to watch out for in a relationship that it can be hard to know what indicates things are going well.

While there’s no formula that guarantees a good relationship, these are some signs of an emotionally mature and available person.

They respect your boundaries

They show up to dates on time, they call or text when they say they will, and they don’t push for more after you tell them “no.”

When you state a preference or say you can’t or won’t do something, they’re accepting and don’t try to guilt or cajole you into changing your mind.

They are good at listening

They’re as good at listening as they are sharing about themselves. When you converse with them, there’s mutual interest and give and take.

They’re honest and caring

They’re upfront with you about what they’re looking for without being rude. They also respect your needs and desires and are willing to let you know if they’re looking for something else.

This can be hard to hear, but it’s ultimately a sign of respect for yourself and the other person to let them know sooner rather than later if it’s not working out.

There’s chemistry

There’s a natural flow to your conversation, and there’s mutual interest and enjoyment as well as respect and courtesy. You look forward to hearing from them and don’t feel like you have to force anything.

Related: 28 Signs of Good Chemistry Between a Man and a Woman

Remember, this list is not definitive but a starting place for thinking about your relationships.

Your greatest source of information is how you feel when you’re with this person or when you think about them. Our emotions help us to discern our needs.

Do you feel anxious not knowing when they’re going to call next? This indicates a need for clear and consistent communication. Do you feel uncomfortable when you’re around them? Perhaps they’re not meeting your needs for respect and consideration.

If you need help getting in touch with your feelings and needs, therapy can be helpful.

Kristin Davin, PsyD

Kristin Davin

Psychologist, Choosing Therapy

When a relationship has a lot of green flags, it makes each person feel optimistic and hopeful. Here are the green flags:

There is a level of honesty and trust from the beginning

There is no second guessing or wondering if what your partner is saying is actually the truth.

Honesty and trust help to create a strong foundation, and when both are able to do that, the relationship can withstand the ups and downs of life.

You both recognize the best type of relationship is one that is interdependent

You feel safe in having this type of relationship. This also reinforced the concept of happiness in the relationship and continued personal growth both individually and collectively as a couple.

There is levity, and you both enjoy spending time with one another. There are moments and experiences that you describe as fun.

You openly communicate your thoughts and feelings and feel validated

When you are sharing something with your partner, they are not invalidating you by saying things such as “You shouldn’t feel that way,” or “I don’t know why you feel that way.”

You both prioritize the relationship in healthy ways, and when something comes up, you are able to communicate a change in plans effectively.

They are reliable

They keep their word. You can depend on them. It is a very comforting feeling when your partner is reliable, and you feel they have your back. Both people do this for one another, creating a solid foundation.

Brianne Billups Hughes

Brianne Billups Hughes

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Founder, Bird and the Bee Counseling

They tell you what they are feeling

A green flag in a relationship is someone who will tell you what they are feeling in a calm and forthright way. At times, conflict may arise but how you work through it matters a whole lot.

They are honest about who they are and what they want

Although you may be told things you don’t necessarily want to hear, developing trust with someone requires them to be honest about who they are and what they want.

Related: How to Figure out What You Want in a Relationship

If they deflect on certain topics or their stories don’t add up, trust your gut.

They respect your limits

Someone who respects your limits as well as sets healthy their own limits with you and others in their life is a green flag.

Although being told no doesn’t always feel good, how both of you react when reasonable limits are set matters.

They take time to get to know you

Although everyone loves tales of whirlwind romances, moving too quickly can cause people to get caught up in fantasy and miss aspects of reality that may take longer to discover.

I believe it is a green flag when people take the time to get to know each other before getting more serious.

Christy Piper

Christy Piper

Coach and Speaker | Author, “Girl, You Deserve More

They don’t rush getting to know you

Your new date doesn’t bombard you with texts or calls right after meeting you. A healthy person knows not to invest hours in texting someone before knowing who is worth it.

They give you time to speak and do what’s important to you

They actually implement your ideas and feedback. They inconvenience themselves to do something that’s truly important to you. This doesn’t just mean picking up your favorite breakfast. It involves them putting in an effort.

They take accountability for their actions

If they wrong someone, they realize their mistake, correct it, and apologize. They don’t try to blame others when it’s clearly their fault.

Treats you well in front of others and behind closed doors

If they have a disagreement, they talk to you in private about it. You don’t have to worry about taking them anywhere where they’ll talk back to or embarrass you.

You don’t have to question your sanity when everyone else says how nice your partner is. You know you are treated well.

You feel good after seeing them

They make you feel good when you see them. You leave wanting more of them instead of feeling relief.

They speak about you and others in high regard

If they spend time speaking well of others, especially their friends, this is good.

However, if they criticize and nitpick people but are nice to their faces, it’s not good. Guess who they’ll be speaking this way about next?

They move forward at an appropriate rate

They don’t try to rush moving in, getting married, or having kids. There is plenty of time once you both make sure you are right for each other. This takes time.

Related: How Soon Is Too Soon to Move In Together?

Your partner is polite. Respectful, without overt sexual comments or sending lewd photos of yourself. They are not inappropriately sexual with you from the start.

They don’t make empty promises

Watch their actions above their words. If they are a serious and authentic person, they will follow through on any promises. Better yet, they will just take action without promising.

They take their time to vet you out

This shows they are truly vetting you out and deciding if you are a good person and a good fit. When someone is serious about a good person with a lot to offer, they are serious about finding the right person for them.

For those who’ve been in toxic relationships, this is a good list to get started with.

Another useful tip is to learn to trust your own intuition. Even if someone is smiling and saying sweet words, you can feel that they are genuine. Always trust your gut above all else.

If you’re still not sure, spending time praying or meditating about it can help. Never let a partner make you make quick serious decisions.

When in doubt, always take your time.

Claudia Delgado, LCSW

Claudia Delgado

Affair Recovery Therapist, Affair Recovery Counseling

Sexual compatibility is a green light

Do both you and your partner feel like you have enough sex during the week? Do both of you know what your partner’s favorite sexual position is? Do you both enjoy pleasing one another?

If both people in a relationship are sexually compatible, it is a green flag.

Many people don’t put an emphasis on how important relationship sex is. In several relationships, people do not know what their partner likes or dislikes in the bedroom. It is simply assumed that because sex happened, both people are satisfied.

Sex in a relationship can be equally important, as is the emotional part. Sexual intimacy can be seen as in-depth, private communication between two people that meets unspoken needs.

If one person in the relationship feels as if they are not being cared for sexually, that leaves room for frustration and feeling unwanted.

People can attempt to avoid this by both parties discussing sex openly.

When two people are able to have these conversations, in which each describes the ideal sexual experience they want with the other one, it allows room for deep sexual connection between the two.

Discussions could include trying new things or doing things that one already knows they like.

Other very important topics are discussing frequency, locations, and how to let the other one know when they want to engage in a sexual encounter as well as when they are not interested.

If both people can communicate about sex and work to satisfy their partner, both people can feel more sexually satisfied. This can create a healthy sex life.

If both people do not agree, they would likely not be sexually compatible.

Related: Say It!: Sexual Communication that Satisfies

Dr. Tanisha M. Ranger, PsyD, CSAT

Tanisha M. Ranger

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Choosing Therapy

You never feel like they’re trying to change you

We all want to have good, healthy, nourishing relationships, but sometimes we aren’t sure how to recognize if that’s what we’ve actually got. This can stem from all sorts of life circumstances, but I believe it’s most often related to an inability to trust our own judgment.

Maybe we’ve had experiences of trusting someone who turned out to be untrustworthy. Perhaps we fell victim to emotional abuse in the past.

Maybe we grew up in a supremely invalidating environment and were taught to depend on others to tell us our own experiences or what we think/feel.

Having a good idea of signs that indicate we’re on the right track can be extremely helpful. And these apply to romantic, platonic, and familial relationships.

  1. You feel protected by them, even from your own harsh self-criticism.
  2. You’re comfortable being wrong in front of them; they don’t make you feel stupid.
  3. You most often feel encouraged by them rather than criticized by them.
  4. When their name pops up on your phone, you smile.
  5. They don’t try to make you feel guilty when you say “no” to them.
  6. You never feel like they’re trying to change you.
  7. They are the first person you want to share your good news with.

Leah Carey

Leah Carey

Intimacy Coach

You like who you are when you’re with them

We spend a lot of time thinking about whether we like who the other person is, but we don’t often think about who we are with them. Every person brings out a different part of our personality.

Do you find yourself walking on eggshells with this person, always feeling low-grade stress that you’re going to say or do the wrong thing? Or do you feel safe and secure to let out the quirkier parts of yourself?

If your new partner brings out a side of your personality that you enjoy, that’s a big point in their favor.

An ideal relationship is one where you like who you are as much as you like who the other person is.

You make each other laugh regularly

It’s not a question of whether they have a good sense of humor or a bad sense of humor, but rather do they have a complementary sense of humor?

Laughing together is a great way to generate oxytocin (the bonding chemical) which will help you feel close with your partner, even after the newness of the relationship has worn off.

Laughter is key to enjoying the good times, but it’s also a powerful force for helping you navigate the difficult times in your relationship.

Related: The Healing Power of Laughter

You air your grievances, but you don’t get dirty about it

When people merge their lives in a serious relationship, friction occurs. It’s natural, and it’s important that those grievances get aired.

If you are a couple that prides yourselves on never fighting, one or both of you are withholding your true emotions, and there’s probably a toxic stew bubbling under the veneer of contentment.

It’s especially good to find someone who has a similar fighting style — some people need to raise voices and slam doors to get their aggression out, and others feel unsafe with that behavior.

And remember: No matter what your fighting style is, it should never include name calling or being intentionally hurtful.

Related: How Often Do Couples Argue or Fight in a Healthy Relationship

You have similar touch needs

Every person has a basic amount of touch they need to feel safe and secure in a relationship.

If your touch needs are incompatible (i.e., one partner needs daily cuddles and the other is satisfied with a quick peck on the cheek), it will generate problems in your relationship because one person will feel like their needs are never met and the other will feel that too much is being demanded of them.

So whether you’re both snugglers or you both prefer to sleep not touching, it’s a green flag when you’re both satisfied with approximately the same amount of touch.

You are comfortable with your partner’s love languages

When we think of love languages, we tend to think of whether our partner can satisfy ours. But are you comfortable loving your partner in their love language? It’s not uncommon for us to offer the type of love we want to receive.

For instance, if I want words of affirmation, that’s what I’m likely to offer as well. But if my partner really responds to acts of service, they may feel dissatisfied no matter how many words of love I offer.

If your partner’s love language is different than your own, are you willing to make an effort, so your partner who needs those words feels seen and loved? If so, that’s a big green flag.

Trey Tucker

Trey Tucker

Speaker | Licensed Therapist, Rugged Counseling

They apologize often, and they mean it

Being in a close relationship means we’re going to hurt our partner or let them down regularly. Owning it and actively trying to improve it shows humility and character.

Related: How to Deal With Hurt Feelings in a Relationship

They encourage you to follow your dreams and purpose

They encourage you to follow your dreams and purpose, even if that means spending less time with them. But they ultimately help you make an even greater impact than you could on your own.

There’s no fear in bringing up certain topics

A couple that’s willing to listen and engage even though the topics might be uncomfortable or lead to a disagreement is a strong couple that can make it through almost anything.

They do the same things for you

You put your partner first above yourself, and they do the same for you — almost like a contest on who can serve the other more.

Tiffany Homan

Tiffany Homan

Relationship Expert, Texas Divorce Laws

They feel at ease discussing your feelings

One of the major green flags in a potential romantic relationship is their capacity for deep thought and emotional outbursts.

A good relationship includes:

  • Two individuals who can identify their own feelings.
  • The sources of those feelings.
  • The needs they are now experiencing.
  • They must also be able to communicate those feelings and needs to one another.

A person exhibiting crucial relational abilities can easily access and discuss their emotions.

They speak to you honestly and have good listening skills

Pay attention if your companion makes an effort to hear you out and comprehend what you’re saying. Inquisitive questions, making room for you in the conversation, and an interest in learning about your inner life are all major green signs.

Relationships will inevitably have disagreements; therefore, it’s crucial to communicate honestly about them when they do.

Couples report feeling more emotionally connected to their partner when there is an open conversation.

You two are sincere and rely on one another

It’s essential to be honest with each other, even if that means admitting you made a mistake, in addition to having open lines of communication.

Even white lies should be avoided, I constantly advise my clients, as being dishonest in seemingly insignificant or minor circumstances can weaken your partner’s trust.

Trusted partners are more likely to be content with their relationships.

Bethany West McCarter

Bethany West McCarter

Teacher | Founder, The Travel Fam

You work collaboratively and positively together

Many people meet their future spouses in public school, including me. School is one of the best places to test your future partner’s compatibility because you have to collaborate on school projects.

A major green flag in a relationship started in grade school, when two students work collaboratively and positively together on a project. 

If there’s a positive rapport, shared responsibilities, and a healthy and fun level of competition, then it’s a match made in heaven. Well, school. You get the idea.

Pros of working on a project with a potential partner

You are more likely to see someone’s true colors when you have to work with them on a complex task that requires collaboration.  

Green flags include:

  • Being supportive
  • Having a self-deprecating sense of humor
  • Genuine enjoyment of seeing other people succeed

Group projects can be stressful and have repercussions if deadlines or expectations are not met. By working together, you determine whether that person would be a good partner in future life challenges such as:

  • Child-rearing
  • Job loss
  • Illness
  • Financial woes

Testing compatibility through projects isn’t just for students

There are plenty of project-based opportunities to judge a relationship’s compatibility outside of school. 

You could work with someone at your job on a project and see how they fare under pressure and shared obligations. New couples considering commitment could volunteer together, build a puzzle together, or perhaps rehab a house or vehicle. 

All of these projects give you the opportunity to see someone’s personality under pressure and how they work as a team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are green flags important?

Green flags are important because they help create a safe and stable foundation for a lasting and fulfilling relationship. They also promote open communication, mutual understanding, and emotional intimacy, which are important components of a healthy relationship.

What should I do if I don’t see green flags in my relationship?

If you don’t see green flags in your relationship, it may be a red flag indicating potential problems or incompatibilities. In this case, being open and honest with your partner about your concerns and expectations is important. 

If your partner is unwilling or unable to meet your needs, it may be time to rethink the relationship. Remember that healthy relationships are based on mutual respect, trust, and support and that it’s okay to put your well-being and happiness first.

Can green flags change over time?

Green flags can change over time as the relationship evolves and the partners grow individually and together. The important thing is that both partners continue to strive to have a positive and healthy relationship.

Remember that no relationship is perfect, and there will inevitably be challenges and struggles along the way. However, if you and your partner have a strong foundation based on trust, respect, and communication, you’ll be better equipped to face these challenges together.

Can there be red flags even in a healthy relationship?

It’s possible that red flags can still be seen in a healthy relationship. However, healthy relationships are characterized by both partners being willing to work through these red flags in a constructive and positive way.

If you notice red flags in your relationship, it’s important to communicate with your partner and try to work on them together. If your partner is dismissive or uninterested in working on these red flags, it may be a sign that the relationship isn’t as healthy as you thought.

How can I cultivate more green flags in my relationship?

Cultivating green flags in a relationship requires constant effort and commitment from both partners. Here are some tips that can help:

• Practice active listening and empathy to understand your partner’s perspective.
• Express gratitude and appreciation for your partner’s positive qualities and actions.
• Set healthy boundaries and communicate your needs and expectations clearly and respectfully.
• Work together to solve problems and conflicts in a constructive and collaborative manner.
• Celebrate each other’s successes and support each other through challenges.
• Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally to bring your best self to the relationship.

Can red flags turn into green flags?

In some cases, red flags can turn into green flags if both partners are willing to acknowledge and address the underlying issues.

However, this process may require professional help or counseling to overcome major obstacles such as trust issues, communication breakdowns, or unhealthy patterns.

Are green flags the same for everyone?

Green flags may vary from person to person depending on their individual needs, values, and expectations. However, some common green flags, such as trust, respect, and effective communication, are essential components of a healthy relationship for most people. 

Can green flags guarantee a successful relationship?

Green flags can increase the likelihood of a successful relationship, but they cannot guarantee it. Relationships are complex and dynamic, and many factors such as external stressors, personal challenges, and individual differences, can affect their longevity and quality. 

However, cultivating green flags can provide a solid foundation and shared vision for the relationship that can help couples overcome challenges and grow together.

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