Hello there my awesome friends, as always, I just absolutely love your curiosity, your humility, and willingness to learn a little more about yourselves and others around you.
This week's question is just awesome.
One of you asked "what are some relationship red flags?" and to that I'll also add, "what are some relationship green flags?"
But before I give you 3 of each, can I just give you a soft but important warning? Don't weaponize this information.
What I mean by that is, don't take some of these red flags and beat people over the head with them. It would be like me telling you that I struggle with insecurity, or that I feel like I'm not too good with people, or terrible at math, or not very athletic, or whatever, and then you using that information as a weapon against me with statements like "geez, if you weren't so insecure we could have so much fun," or "I wish I knew someone that was good at math right about now," or "why are you so anti-social with people?"
You get the idea, don't use the things that people tell you in confidence, and then sarcastically or in an unthoughtful way, jab them in the ribs, or poke them in the eyes with it. Listen, the way you interact with other people in this life... that skill... your ability to express, discuss, negotiate, collaborate, argue, work through a problem, and be honest with others is a critical; critical skill.
One that if you commit to staying humble and keep learning and practicing, it will be one of the most important, if not the most important skill you will need to learn in this life. So I'm glad that you're here.
The purpose of this short podcast is help you be awesome in relationships. It may also help you to know when you're in a relationship that is not good for you, and that perhaps it may give you the courage and wisdom to separate from that person, and give them some time to grow and mature. Ok... are you ready?
Relationship Red Flag #1:
Hitting, pushing, pinching, forcing, swearing, name calling, ridiculing, demeaning, and constantly being critical of someone are serious red flags.
Basically, what I'm describing to you are signs of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse.
These are blatant signs of disrespect.
If you are engaging in these kinds of behaviors, please don't be defensive, just realize that you are literally killing the relationship you're in. These are serious things that can harm people, and that will ultimately create tremendous unhappiness in yours, and other people's lives. If you need help stopping these behaviors, start doing the work right now, or find someone that you trust, and say "hey, I need a little help. I'm hurting the people I care about, and I have to stop."
There are parents, counselors, therapists, religious leaders, and family members that would be more than happy to help you. If you're in a relationship where this is happening, my humble suggestion for you, is to separate from this person.
You may need help doing this, and your parents, siblings, or other trusted adults are just the people who can help you to think through how to make this happen in a safe but decisive manner. People who are caught up in abusive behaviors like this, need time to grow and to mature. They need experience and time to heal from their own fears, insecurity, and maybe even their own trauma.
You can still care for them, be a friend to them, and cheer them on, but you're going to do it from the shore, instead of jumping into the deep water with them, and trying to rescue them while they're drowning you. I'm not trying to tell you to be insensitive, or unkind, or unloving.
I believe in all people and am hopeful about everyone regardless of their past or circumstance, and I'm willing to help, but I also have some boundaries, and I suggest that you do as well.
Relationship Red Flag #2:
If you dread being with this person.
So I told my awesome wife today that I was going to be doing a short podcast today about relationship red flags, and asked her what was one for her, and she said "if you dread being with that person," honestly at first I thought she was talking about me (and maybe she was), but I think that maybe she was referring to some relationships that she had early on in her life, where she dreaded being with those people, but felt stuck, manipulated, and didn't want to hurt their feelings.
So if you're constantly dreading being with that person, or feeling guilty, or worried about what it's going to be like with that person, you're probably living this red flag.
This doesn't mean that you don't have good times, or good memories, or that sometimes they're awesome (and btw, that's what keeps you there), but if you're feeling afraid, or not motivated to be with that person, or you feel unsafe or unhappy with them... buddy, this is a sign that this relationship is not what you're looking for.
I need you to know that it is your job to pick the people who come and stay in your life... your job is to choose, and choose you absolutely must do, and if you dread being with this person, are fearful of being with this person, if you're unhappy with this person, if you feel stuck with this person, there is only one possible solution for you, no matter how painful and challenging, this relationship needs to finish, it needs to end.
It's time to try something a bit different, know what I'm saying?
Relationship Red Flag #3:
If the person you're with is constantly blaming you, guilting you, critiquing you, forcing you to do things you don't want to, isolating you from your friends or family, or trying to manipulate you physically or emotionally, I'm sorry, but you are living this relationship red flag.
Healthy relationships liberate us.
They inspire us.
Supportive boyfriends and girlfriends encourage each other to connect with family, with friends, they like you for who you are, and aren't constantly trying to change you.
They don't guilt you everytime you're away from them, or spending time with family or friends.
They're not constantly critiquing you.
They don't try to guilt you into spending time with them, or continuing to be with them, or they'll harm themselves, or be more depressed. These are all forms of attempting to control another person, in an effort to feel better themselves.
My dear friends, if you can see some of these behaviors in yourself... and it's ok if you do, just realize that you are operating from within this red flag, and in the end, you'll end up hurting yourself, hurting the other person, and most likely pushing away the very thing you are trying to keep.
Look, the list of red flags can be large. I don't want to include everything here, I really just wanted to give you some of the basics, or the ones that I feel are the most critical.
I didn't mention being disloyal or cheating, but I certainly could have, and those would certainly fit within the category of being disrespectful to the person you're with.
So, can we briefly talk about some Green Flags?
Green Flag #1:
This person treats you with respect, friendship, kindness, and consideration, in their words, and in their actions.
Look, there's a lot you have to learn about having really awesome relationships. I'm 47, I've been married for 24 years, and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm still learning.
So I want you to realize that becoming a relationship master, instead of a relationship disaster, is a process that takes some time and attention... so chilax and settle in.
These are relationship basics.
Any relationship that is looking to be fun, inspiring, liberating, safe, and pretty much awesome, must abide and build upon this foundation... there's no substitute here.
No six pack, or level of coolness, or any other characteristic can replace basic care, concern, kindness and respect in a relationship.
Make a commitment today... right now, to be this kind of individual, and by the way, not just with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but with everyone, because, if you're in a relationship with someone who is constantly disrespectful, critical, mean, and demeaning of others, guess where those behaviors will ultimately end up?... yup, on your lap.
Green Flag #2:
You really love being with this person.
So by now you're probably noticing a little pattern here, which of course is that the green flags are the opposite of the red flags, and honestly, that sounds just about right to me, doesn't it for you? So, if you find yourself really excited to be with this person.
Happy to be with them.
Looking forward to being with them, not only is that a sign that you are really liking this person, but that this is probably a pretty cool relationship for you.
Now sometimes relationships start this way, but they end up turning up a little sour when they are faced with challenges. I remember that this was one of my wife's favorite thing about me... she used to tell me "I just never get sick of you... awww, isn't that sweet of her?" I honestly don't know why, I seriously annoy myself, but thankfully for me, she really just loved hanging out and being with me.
If you find a relationship like that, stick with it, give it a little time, and reap the benefits of a cool relationship.
Green Flag #3:
A good boyfriend or girlfriend gives you wings... kind of like redbull... you know, redbull gives you wings.
Well, it's super dorky and maybe a little cliche, but it's true. When you're in a healthy relationship, you feel more confident, more motivated to do well, more inspired, and many times even more creative.
Positive Relationships have the ability to inspire more happiness, and diminish our suffering and sadness. I'm telling you, relationships can truly be magical, and that is why i'm spending this time with you, to help you recognize some relationship behaviors and patterns that are not helpful and at times very unhealthy, but also to inspire you and to give you some tips on how to become a little better yourself in relationships.
Anyways, I hope these have been interesting to you. I loved the question and hope that you all will keep asking these awesome questions. What did you think? What are some red and green flags that you've either observed in other relationships, or even your own? Either way, be watchful, be open, be teachable, and be ready to learn from the happiness and sometimes misery of others.
Have an awesome week!