Red Flags and Signs

Posted on July 5, 2010


I used to be a big “sign” person. Whenever I’d face an important decision, I would ask for “a sign.” Do I take job x or job y? Do I go on another date with this guy or not? Should I stay in this relationship or let it go?

Such big decisions. I didn’t trust myself to make the best one so I’d ask for a sign, hoping a higher power would lead me in the right direction. Then one day, I realized something. I didn’t need the universe to give me signs. If I paid close enough attention while making a decision, all of the signs I needed were right in front of me.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve discussed the six dysfunctional dating patterns that most women fall into at some point in their romantic lives. However, I know from my own experience in life that you don’t have to date someone for several weeks to figure out if they’re heartbreak potential. People usually clue you into their issues right away, if you learn how to watch for the red flags and signs.

Let’s say you’re at a party and you start talking to a cute guy. To get more information about him and keep up the conversation, you ask something like, “So how do you know the host?”  He chuckles uncomfortably and says, “Well how do you know the host?”

You may not think much of this, but his evasive response is actually a big, red flag. You asked an innocent question and one that’s quite common at an event where people don’t know each other. The answer he gave showed you that he had something to hide.

Let’s say you’re talking to another guy and he says something like, “Wow. These martinis are expensive! $10 each!” This is not a red flag, but a sign that this guy has money on his mind. Most likely, he’s worried about money for some reason. Maybe he grew up poor. Maybe he just lost his job and is worried about finances. Maybe he owns a bar and can’t believe this place is getting $10 for something he sells for $5. To figure out why he wanted to talk about the price of the martinis rather than something else, you’d have to start asking some more questions.

In my experience as a coach, I can usually tell within 10 minutes of talking with someone what worries them, what inspires them and what kind of person they are. This is not magic or psychic ability. This is because I’ve taught myself to listen closely to people.

I listen not only to what they are saying but what they are avoiding saying. I listen to the words they are using, the topics they choice to bring up, their body language, and the change of tone in their voice when they talk about different things.

This skill does take some practice, but anyone can learn how to do it. And the better you get at it, the easier it will be for you to quickly and accurately make a good judgment of someone’s character.

When you meet someone for the first time, you want to make sure that you are consciously and actively listening. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to pick up on red flags and signs. If you’re too busy trying to impress someone with all of your accomplishments, you’re going to miss out on some valuable information.

Red flags mean danger, that you should move on quickly. Signs mean you need to probe a bit more to figure out who the person is. In my next post, I will discuss the seven, big red flags that you can spot immediately. If you heed their warnings, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time and potential heart break.

Posted in: Dating, Dating Safe