On a Boring Date? It Could Be a 'Beige Flag'
After hours on end of swiping, you finally come across a dating profile that looks—gasp—decent. No topless gym photos. No clichéd inspirational quotes. No bragging. In other words, there are no red flags in sight. Finally, a normal, nice potential date.
When the big day finally comes, you show up for drinks filled with anticipation. Half an hour into your date, your heart drops. This guy is mind-numbingly boring.
We've all been there. Boring dates are disappointing and awkward. And while being boring in a relationship is a lot less problematic than being toxic, let's face it: None of us really want to get into a relationship that is unstimulating and uninteresting. These traits are "beige flags."
What are beige flags, anyway?
You've probably heard of relationship red flags and green flags. You may have even heard of pink flags. While red flags and pink flags are signs a potential romantic partner may turn out to be unhealthy for you, and green flags are signs a partner may be good for you, beige flags are, quite simply, signs that your date will be agonizingly boring.
"Beige flags are neither a warning nor an affirmation; they are everything that beige represents: dull, boring, blah," said Amber Lee, a matchmaker and CEO and co-founder at Select Date Society, based in Richmond, Virginia. "A beige flag is a signal that the person you're talking to is not that interesting or may not be expressing enough interest in you or dating in general."
Is it worth looking out for beige flags?
Looking out for red flags and green flags makes sense, because it's important to avoid getting into unhealthy relationships. However, the benefits of looking out for beige flags are less obvious. After all, being a bit dull isn't the worst thing in the world…right? A boring date doesn't mean the end of the world. And, indeed, actively looking for beige flags isn't a good idea, according to Lee.
"If you look for harmless reasons to dismiss someone before giving them a fair chance, you may be missing out on meeting a great potential partner," she explained. "Sometimes you may mistake someone's sense of privacy and need to move slowly as a beige flag, when in reality, they are just approaching dating with caution."
In fact, dates that are a little boring are sometimes better in the long run, Lee said.
"The dates that feel exciting and leave you feeling giddy are often the dates you should be concerned about," she said. "When someone is too charming or seems to sweep you off your feet, that is more of a warning sign than someone who seems a little boring."
If we focus too much on beige flags, we run the risk of missing more important warning signs—both good and bad, said Rachel DeAlto, a communication and relatability expert in Spring Lake, New Jersey.
"It's far better to look out for green flags," she said. "Not everyone represents themselves to the best of their abilities in their dating profiles, and eliminating potential matches because of something they did or did not include could result in missing out on someone pretty spectacular."
Of course, in some cases, a potential partner isn't just "a little boring." In some cases, someone might have a different sense of humor, different interests and a different conversational style. Altogether, these differences may make your time together feel very, very boring, and no matter how many green flags they show, you simply won't want a relationship with them.
DeAlto recommended keeping your mind open at the beginning and then turning your focus to beige flags once you've both had a chance to open up.
"I would highly suggest not preemptively avoiding people or judging them based on a few words or a picture alone," she cautioned. "Even the first date is often a difficult predictor of a boring or exciting relationship. People are nervous and may not be showing up as their best self."
How can you start looking for beige flags?
As the old saying goes, there's someone for everybody. So your beige flags might be different from your friend's.
"Beige flags are definitely personalized," DeAlto said. "Boring to one person could be exciting to another. My love of blankets and books could be dull to some but appealing to others."
Nevertheless, if you're tired of ending up on beige dates, Lee noted a few common beige flags you might want to consider:
- Profile photos that seem like the "typical" photo everyone else has. Think men in front of the mirror at the gym, leaning on their car, or holding a dead deer or fish, or women holding a designer bag.
- Dating profiles that include one-word answers and generic sentences like, "I enjoy walking on the beach, good wine and Starbucks," or repeat common jokes or phrases you've seen on other dating profiles.
- Failure to keep the conversation going. You ask them a question and they give you an answer without asking you any questions in return. A great conversation should feel like a game of tennis, with the ball volleying back and forth. A beige flag is when you hit the ball to their side of the court, and they fail to hit it back.
Of course, these beige flags may be green flags to you. For instance, if you love fishing, a guy holding up his biggest catch may be a sign that you have something in common.
At the end of the day, beige flags are extremely personal, so it's usually best to reflect on what excites you and, on the flip side, what bores you. Just remember, if you do make a list of your own beige flags, try to avoid looking out for them until you've been on a few dates and given your new partner a chance to show their true colors. Otherwise, you might miss out on a nice, normal (and surprisingly interesting) date.