How To Recognize Relationship Pink Flags

When it comes to dating, there are things to run from and things to run toward. The former has been dubbed red flags, meaning the person in question is a nightmare and is likely to make you ultimately suffer with their toxic behavior. The latter are what are known as green flags, meaning go, go, go! Chase down that green-flag-waving person and never let them go. Then we have something called pink flags. By color standards, they're not quite red and definitely not even remotely close to green, so by that rationale, they're a variation of the concept of red flags? Well, kind of.

"Pink flags are subtle indicators that you might not be a fit in a relationship," OkCupid dating coach Damona Hoffman tells HuffPost. "Pink flags are the kind of warning signs that you can talk yourself out of and overlook until they become red. Alternatively, you can also make pink flags into relationship dealbreakers when they were simply subtle differences that could have been worked through."

So, what we have here are flags that could go red on their own, flags you could end up making red by categorizing them as dealbreakers, or, in some cases, flags you accept for the time being (via Refinery29). Or, you accept them at least until you're ready to either move forward in the relationship and decide you're going to change those pink flags before they turn red or bail altogether, because who wants to hang around to fix someone who's never going to change? Basically, pink flags should be given just as much attention as red flags and green flags, but for different reasons. Because of this, knowing how to spot them is a definite must out there in the dating world.

What pink flags look like

Unlike red flags, pink flags look different to different people because they're not officially red. Whereas someone might see a pink flag if the person they're dating has never had a serious relationship, others might see this as a glaring red flag. Although there are many reasons why someone may not have been in a serious relationship — school, career, or they just never found the right person — it could also be indicative, to some people, that this person has a fear of commitment and the components that come with being in a relationship (via Bumble).

"The interesting thing that I notice with my clients when we discuss pink flags is that often women who are dating tend to use pink flags as an excuse to discount a man who actually might be a good fit for them," dating and relationship coach Kate Mansfield tells Glamour. "Interestingly, they also tend to completely overlook red flags which obviously are indicators of a much bigger problem."

In other words, there's no hard line when it comes to pink flags. Some might see someone's lack of social media presence as a pink flag, while others might think it's a good thing (via Cosmopolitan). Some people firmly believe that not everything they do needs to be shared with the world and so they don't feel the need to post photos on Instagram incessantly — that includes not posting photos of their partner too. Keeping a few things for ourselves in this TMI culture can actually be a nice change and not necessarily a pink flag.

What to do with pink flags

Once you're able to see that pink flags are somewhat vague — it's a color that can't commit to red or white, after all — you can then figure out what to do with them.

"Every relationship has some struggles, and most of those are mismatches which is primarily what 'pink' flags are," relationship coach Rach Wilson tells Stylist. "But the key is that some of these are manageable, and you can find a way to navigate it without any major sacrifice to yourself. However, if you find yourself unable to get around it, it could be a reason to move on from the relationship."

In a world in which dating has become so complicated, apocalyptic even, due very much in part to apps, maybe worrying about pink flags is the least of your problems. These can include mismatched libidos, not arguing enough, and different love languages, but are these really things you want to use as excuses or roadblocks for a possibly fantastic relationship (via Metro U.K.)? Naturally, that's up to you. But if you're calling out every minute thing as a pink flag, then it might be time to look inward. It could be that you're the pink flag and you're just not really into dating right now — which is totally fine! Everyone needs a break from the dating cycle from time to time.