Before I address red flags to look out for on the dating apps, I invite you to store them in a little closet of your brain, once you’ve been made aware of them.
So often, I see clients focusing too much on red flags in their search for love, versus focusing on the person they are actually looking for.
This is easy to do, as there are a plethora of interesting characters on the apps, but when you’re primarily focused on what isn’t working, you’ll continue to attract creepy weirdos asking for more bikini shots, until you shift into an authentic mindset that sets you up to be open and ready for Mr. Right.
Red flags are important to pay attention to, but don’t let them take over what could actually be a fun process with your potential partner at your literal fingertips.
Finally, don’t take red flags so personally or seriously. If you connect with someone you were really intrigued by, but ultimately, the person didn’t demonstrate much interest in return, in the words of Ariana Grande, “Thank you, NEXT!”
Red flags don’t have to be perceived as some major problem.
They are signs to help keep your eye on the prize of finding someone who’s perfect for you, and not get sucked in by chemistry and outlandish words with no follow-through on actions, which leads me to …
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Red Flag #1:
He’s demonstrating pen-pal vibes over wanting to meet in person.
I think I’m being generous when I say that if he doesn’t ask you out within 72 hours of connecting, BOY BYE. You’re not looking for a pen pal. You’re looking for a partner. Him asking how your day was, without caring to actually meet in person, isn’t enough.
Red Flag #2:
He avoids or deflects when you ask him out.
It’s 2021, ladies. I’m not above making the initial move if it feels organically right to you. But if he’s coming up with excuses, or doesn’t rise to the occasion to meet, while still touching base to say an occasional, innocuous “hey,” you ain’t got time for that.
Red Flag #3:
He has nothing written on his profile.
I have to laugh and be honest here, because the love of my life had zero words on his profile, but I was intrigued by his good looks and kind eyes, so I swiped right anyway, out of curiosity to find out more. The only reason I made a concession for the lack of info on his profile was because he immediately engaged with me, volunteered his first and last name, asked questions about myself, and made it clear on the first evening we connected that he wanted to meet in person. So, swipe right on an empty profile at your discretion, but if you have to continue to guess his interest or what he’s looking for, once you start to engage, unmatch. In general, I think putting effort into what you say about yourself and who you’re looking for in that teeny writing space shows that you’re taking the dating process seriously, but as I always say, there are exceptions to every rule.
Red Flag #4:
He doesn’t ask questions about you.
Seriously, this just isn’t too hard. When someone is interested, he will ask questions about you. They don’t have to be crazy deep questions, but they also don’t have to be lame and surface-level. You have to suck it up a little bit with basic Q’s when you’re first connecting—like, “How long have you lived in LA?”—in order to get a good flow going, but if you’re feeling a fun, flirty, and witty vibe, look for him to be making just as much effort to get to know you, as you are him.
Red Flag #5:
He jumps straight to asking you out without a warm-up exchange.
Matching on a dating app doesn’t always mean you should ultimately go out. Let’s feel each other out a little bit before the abrupt ask. Sure, it’s nice to not beat around the bush, but there’s a finesse that can tend to go out the window on these apps. Ask me a question about myself. Let’s see if there’s a good vibe going before jumping the gun and locking down a time. Am I sounding like Goldilocks a little bit? YES! Don’t ask out too soon, but don’t become pen pals either.
Red Flag #6:
His profile says what you should and shouldn’t be.
He has this small amount of space and he’s telling you things like, “No drama. Be funny. You need to be ambitious.” LAME! Tell me who you are and what kind of relationship you’re looking for. Don’t tell me who I need to be for you. Also, his definition of funny could be different from yours. Overall, I see this as a sloppy, entitled approach, and this heartbreak/finding-love coach has no time for it.
Again, all of the above should be taken into consideration, but don’t let red flags be at the forefront of your mind while swiping on the apps, because it’s always your thoughts that create your results—not the dating apps.
If you’re thinking you need to keep your eye out for red flags, more than keep your eye out for Mr. Right, your results will consistently be more red flags.
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Claire Byrne is a heartbreak/finding-love coach, and the host of her podcast, Stop Wanting Him Back & Find Someone Better. Click here for more information on her group program.
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