Is It Time We Start Paying Attention to 'Pink Flags'?
Most of us know all about the concept of red flags in the dating world, and we know what to look out for in a prospective partner. Maybe your new partner is excessively clingy or jealous or even misogynistic. Knowing how to spot the signs of potential future problems can help you get out of a toxic relationship before it begins.
But what if our focus on red flags is clouding our vision from other types of telltale signs. What if we should be paying a little less attention to the red flags and more attention to "pink flags"?
The 101 on pink flags
If a red flag is like a bright, fluorescent warning sign that is impossible to ignore, a pink flag is a less glaring signal. Think of it as a yellow light at a crossroads: it doesn't mean you have to stop, but it does mean you should probably slow down or proceed with caution.
"A pink flag is essentially what could be a potential red flag," explained Callisto Adams, a Nevada-based relationship expert and founder of HeTexted. "It represents an 'area' or a particular trait that should be marked but isn't necessarily a cause for concern or a potential threat to your mental and physical well-being."
Some common pink flags
"Mismatched love languages, not fighting or disagreeing, different lifestyles or tastes in particular things, and a friendship with an ex are some of the most common pink flags to be marked in the contemporary world of dating and relationships," she said.
What all of these pink flags have in common is they aren't inherently bad but have the potential to become a problem in the future. For instance, if you have a different love language than your new partner, this could be resolved through open communication and awareness. However, if it's ignored, both of you may end up feeling unheard and unappreciated. Or if your new partner has a relationship with their ex, this could mean they aren't over them or it could mean they ended on good terms and have a genuine friendship. If you ignore this pink flag, you may end up feeling jealous and insecure, but if you address it, you may decide to end things or accept their friendship.
Should we pay more attention to pink flags?
Pink flags are important. If they're ignored, they will almost always result in misunderstandings or built-up tension. However, if they are discussed early, they can be resolved. By learning to notice pink flags, you can train yourself not to dive headfirst into relationships before thinking about them rationally.
"Pink flags often prevent individuals from making rushed decisions and determining a decision through judgment formed on superficial and irrational thoughts," Adams said. "A pink flag marks an area or an issue that once discussed further, can turn into something highly positive or into something to be marked by a red flag."
While red flags are often unresolvable, pink flags can actually turn into something good. Or they can turn into red flags. Until you open up a discussion, you probably won't know which way it will go.
You've noticed a pink flag—what should you do next?
Once you notice a pink flag, it's important to take action, whether this means interrogating how you feel about it or talking about it openly with your significant other.
"It's important to remind yourself that it's something to be explored and perhaps even talked about," Adams explained.
She suggested making a list of clear questions that need to be answered so you can understand whether this pink flag is actually a red flag or a nonissue.
"Ask the questions you need to ask to clarify your thoughts and opinions on that particular matter," she said.
For example, if your partner has a strong friendship with their ex, you may want to ask them how things ended and whether they still have any lingering feelings. While these questions aren't easy, they may save you a lot of time and emotional energy in the future.
After addressing the pink flag, Adams suggested that you should still check in on it from time to time.
"Pay attention to it every now and then," she advised. "Just because it isn't a red flag, it doesn't mean it's risk-free. Keep in mind that it has the potential to be risky."
At the end of the day, pink flags may not be signs of imminent disaster, but they are important to note. By addressing pink flags in your relationship, you may be able to stop red flags from sprouting in the first place.