Red flags

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
There's an interesting few discussions on Fetlife about red flags.

On one side, people are arguing that red flags are almost objective signs that someone is dangerous. A man who wants to meet a woman in his cellar, won't give any personal information at all and says limits are for cowards.

The other group say that you could call a deal breaker like smoking is a red flag. Smoking is not a great example because I guess you could say that smoking is harmful to self and others. Say something like an avid foodie who says someone who isn't interested in eating out at expensive restaurants is a "red flag". Or someone who doesn't like sports. Anything that makes them incompatible with you basically and these are totally subjective and personal.

What are your thoughts?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
I guess I'm more on the side of red flags being subjective. I tend to not use the word "red flag." What is a red flag for one person is not a red flag for another. And for different reasons. My preference is to look at the specifics of a particular person's situation, and see how those add up. Sometimes something will seem red-flaggy to me, but only for that person.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I guess I'm more on the side of red flags being subjective. I tend to not use the word "red flag." What is a red flag for one person is not a red flag for another. And for different reasons. My preference is to look at the specifics of a particular person's situation, and see how those add up. Sometimes something will seem red-flaggy to me, but only for that person.
Do you feel like a red flag means danger?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Only if it's something extreme, like a man who wants to meet a woman in his cellar. I will say that women have to worry about danger more than men. When going on a first or second date with a man, a woman should let her partner (or other close person) know what her plans are, where she is going and when she expects to get back. She should also share any info she has about the man, such as where he lives, and what he does for a living. It's unfortunate that women have to take those precautions, but I believe they do.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I would need to pause to "calibrate" the language use because to me it is (both/and) and not (either/or.)

A red flag" just means "warning."

But a warning against WHAT standard? That part might need clarification.

Like... what are the FetLife people trying to make?

Are we trying to make a list of universal creeper signs? That is one thing. Most of us here might agree the cellar situation smells off.
I imagine most would also think an adult sniffing around little kids is creepy because most people are not keen on child abuse/pedophile stuff.

Are we listing examples of personal "red flags?" Like the kinds of things that would be deal breakers on one's personal standard for dating? For some smoking is fine, for others nope. For some veganism is fine, others nope.

Galagirl
 

icesong

Member
There's an interesting few discussions on Fetlife about red flags.

On one side, people are arguing that red flags are almost objective signs that someone is dangerous. A man who wants to meet a woman in his cellar, won't give any personal information at all and says limits are for cowards.

The other group say that you could call a deal breaker like smoking is a red flag. Smoking is not a great example because I guess you could say that smoking is harmful to self and others. Say something like an avid foodie who says someone who isn't interested in eating out at expensive restaurants is a "red flag". Or someone who doesn't like sports. Anything that makes them incompatible with you basically and these are totally subjective and personal.

What are your thoughts?

There's a difference between "bad for _anyone_ to date" and "bad for _me_ to date". And either of those can be red flags, as far looking at how a particular relationship might play out, just some of them are universal and some are just me. Vegans and non-foodies are right out, as far as partners for me, but might be great for each other! People who want to spend 4-5 nights a week with me are a bad idea as I'm never going to make them happy, but would be great for someone else who wanted someone around all the time. But people who turn into stalkers are a bad idea for anyone, LOL.
 

MeeraReed

Active member
I don't think "red flag" should just be reserved for serial killer behavior. There are a lot of potential red flags for dishonesty/lying and for controlling behavior, which can generally by objective.

But there's a lot that can be subjective too. An ex of mine left me for a woman who was twice divorced, had just had another serious live-in relationship end, and was super eager to get married a third time. She expected him to move across the country (USA) to live with her after they had known each other for a couple months and met in person about twice. She told him he needed to commit fully right away, because her last breakup had been "hard on her kids" and she "wouldn't put them through that again."

All of these things seemed to me like MAJOR RED FLAGS. To me she sounded manipulative, controlling, possessive, and desperate to center her life around a man. (She was the opposite of me, LOL). My ex's behavior changed markedly after meeting her, and his friends were also very worried about the speed at which the relationship progressed. He moved across the country and they were married within a year. (Oh, and my ex had been unable to have sex with anyone until he met her, which I certainly suspected was clouding his judgment).

I was pretty sure the whole thing would implode in a pile of collapsed red flags. Ten years later, they are still married. My ex seems happy and successful. If his wife is controlling and possessive, it works for him.

What would have been red flags for me, were not for him. Does that mean they weren't objective red flags? Just signs of compatibility vs incompatibility? For me, I want to run screaming from people who want to get serious too quickly.

So can there be personal red flags that warn of your specific incompatibility with someone? Or should "red flag" be reserved for a warning of dangerous behavior and abuse only?
 

Evie

Well-known member
To me a red flag is a warning sign that a person could be abusive.

So smoking, for example, isn't a red flag, it's just that as someone who has smoked before and is easily influenced, I don't want to date a smoker because I don't want to be tempted to smoke again. It's an incompatibly. Not a red flag.

Excessive drinking, however, is a red flag because it can go hand in hand with behaviours that are abusive towards me, including picking fights.

Red flags can also be emotional, like clinginess. Or creepy, like the above basement. Either way, I feel at risk of being harmed. This is a red flag.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I agree with Evie and in answer to Meera's question, I would say it should be reserved for potentially abusive or dangerous behavior. If I say that me and Evie met up and she presented some red flags, I'd expect everyone to assume she did stuff that would put me off seeing her again. Not that she doesn't like restaurants or something benign like that.
 

tdh

New member
"red-flag" has multiple connotations but the denotation as a noun is "warning signal or sign" or as a verb "to identify or draw attention to (a problem or issue to be dealt with)". So by pure definition, anything that is a problem like Evie's smoking situation could fall in the broad definition. Its a problem to be dealt with.

But connotation will very different based on the person's perception and context. To a monogamous person, if you ever had a ethically non-monogamous relationships that could be a red-flag. For a non-monogamous person, if someone constantly blames other partners for issues with meeting up that could be a red-flag. If you aren't into kink, consensual kink or having experimenting with types of kink could be exciting or a red-flag etc etc...

Think it is fair for red-flags to be more individualized for someone needs. A person's life experience can really color what is a red flag for their interpersonal relationship.

But also red-flags should be in a minimum 3 categories:
  • Societail red-flags - highly generalized but largely agreed as "an issue" that should be worrisome. Laws and norms are usually created from these
  • Cultural red-flags - defined by a group you or others might be apart of. This will include sub-cultures, pop-cultures, out and in cultures etc... Poly will probably fall into this category.
  • Interpersonal red-flags - defined by you for your relationships. Largely subjective and based of experiences.
 

PinkPig

Member
I agree with you and Evie. To me, red flags are warning signs of abusive, selfish, or toxic behaviors that have the potential to harm me or others in some capacity. They are objective; however, some red flags are scarier/ more harmful than others.

Incompatibilities are subjective. I still might get hurt because of an incompatibility but that's because the relationship doesn't fit, not because the person's behavior is harmful.
 
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