26 Green Flags in Relationships to Look Out For

What are good signs in a new relationship?
on September 05, 2023
Read time: 15 mins

Many of us are predisposed to spotting red flags, but it’s just as important to spot the positives, with green flags in relationships telling you a lot about your future with your partner. 

From open communication to simple manners, there are a lot of positive indicators of a healthy relationship. Whether you’re in the early stages of dating or in a long-term partnership, do you know what your partner’s green flags are? 

Take the time to focus on the positive qualities in your partner, and get ready to wave your green flags in the air (like you just don’t care) with our relationship green flag round-up! 

What does a green flag mean in a relationship? 

Green flags are positive signs that indicate a healthy relationship, with every flag denoting a behavior that is desirable in a partner. 

Even though they are the opposite of red flags, they should be paid attention to in the same way. From the first date, every green flag should be noted, as these indicators provide reassurance and security that you’re spending time with the right person. 

If every date raises another green flag, it’s a sure sign that both partners are investing in the relationship, allowing you to open up to your partner in order to move the relationship forward. 

Overall, green flags signal that the romantic relationship is on a solid and healthy path, where both partners feel secure, loved, and respected. 

What are relationship green flags vs. red flags?

While green flags represent healthy behaviors and positive signs that you’ve found the right partner, red flags are the complete opposite. 

Red flags are warning signs that all is not quite as it seems, with significant issues or potential problems brewing underneath the surface, waiting to greet you later on in the relationship. If you choose to ignore these red flags, you could pay the price with a toxic relationship that damages your emotional well-being. 

Even though it’s not always as easy as it seems to spot red flags, it's important to never budge on your dealbreakers in a relationship, as it could save you a lot of heartache in the future.

What is a green light in a relationship? 

Similar to the traffic system this metaphor is derived from, a green light in a relationship means that it is okay to proceed or move forward. 

If an abundance of green flags is present in a new relationship, it means you have the green light to proceed to the next step. The idea behind this green light system hinges on mutual respect, consent, and readiness to move the relationship forward, with both partners comfortable and happy to do so. 

Depending on what stage of the relationship you are in, this can vary from moving in together to starting a family! Or if you’re at the beginning of a relationship, this green light can simply mean that it’s safe to continue exploring your connection together. 

Even though all the color coding can get a bit overwhelming, we have a cheat sheet for you — green is always a good sign! 

What are some relationship green flags? 

With the help of the green flag system, it’s easier to identify the positive behaviors that indicate you’ve found a good partner. 

Although everyone has personal preferences, which can lead to some pretty funny green flags, we’ve rounded up some of the most telling signs that your partner is a major green flag! 

From communication style to be in touch with your emotions, these are some of the green flags to look out for when searching for a potential partner, or if you want to make sure you’ve really found ‘the one’. 

1. Listening 

Active listening is a key part of any healthy relationship. 

If your partner is actively engaging with your thoughts and opinions, this is a big green flag. This goes far beyond just conversing with your partner, but if your partner remembers and acts on your words — this is a great sign.

For example, this can feed directly into your love language, where you may have mentioned that you don’t like a certain household chore or were out of toothpaste, and they act on your words without a second thought. 

On the other hand, feeling unheard in a relationship is a very isolating experience, and if you feel your partner doesn’t respect or validate your feelings, this is far from the green flag you’re looking for. 

2. Self-awareness

Being self-aware in a relationship is a great sign of maturity, with this awareness contributing to how you behave towards your partner. 

If your partner demonstrates self-awareness, they’re in tune with their own emotions and critically aware of how their actions affect others, especially their significant other. 

This lends intentionality to the relationship, with the ability to recognize their own failings and work towards a more positive outcome. This pattern of behavior is a great green flag in a new partner, as it illustrates how they will behave as the relationship progresses. 

“It can be difficult to determine whether someone is truly self-aware or simply using ‘therapy speak’ early on in a relationship,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.

“A key indicator is whether they set aside time for reflection in their daily routine. Self-awareness takes time to develop and intentional reflection can help build it. It's also important to inquire about who they turn to for emotional support and how often they seek it. Simply knowing that someone is in therapy or meditating is not enough; it's crucial to understand how they incorporate feedback without becoming defensive.” 

3. Empathetic 

While most people can show sympathy toward a situation, empathy is the ability to fully understand and relate to another person’s emotions, and even share them. 

The ability to empathize is a positive sign in a relationship, with emotional empathy identified as being when your partner is able to understand how you’re feeling and show compassion in difficult moments. 

Without empathy, narcissistic or toxic tendencies could be in play, where your partner prioritizes their emotions over your own and cannot validate your feelings in the way you need.  

4. No love-bombing 

At the beginning of a relationship, if your loved one showers you with affection and words of affirmation, it can feel like the start of a fairytale. 

However, love bombing is a dangerous tactic used by toxic individuals in their bid to exert power over the relationship. Even though it may look like a green flag at first glance, that your partner is so into you, it’s best to proceed with caution so you don’t get hurt. 

Reflecting the green light system, in a healthy relationship, both partners should feel comfortable moving at their own pace and shouldn’t feel pressured to feel a certain way or rush into anything too quickly. If your partner respects your boundaries in this way and relies on mutual consent, this is a big green flag for your future. 

5. Vulnerability 

Relationships require both partners to open up to each other in a truly authentic and honest way. With the right partner, allowing yourself to be vulnerable in this way should be an incredibly fulfilling experience. 

In a healthy relationship, this vulnerability helps you to create a solid foundation for your future, adding another green flag to your list. 

6. Boundaries 

Every healthy relationship revolves around the implementation and adherence to a certain number of boundaries. 

This may sound kind of intense, but in reality, boundaries are the backbone of any healthy relationship. By agreeing on certain boundaries, it’s easier to draw your lines in the sand, so your needs can be respected and adhered to. 

If your partner rebels against your boundaries, this could derail your relationship — negating any other green flags they’d gathered. 

7. Mutual respect 

Respect pops up a lot in discussions about both red and green flags, as without it, there is no hope for any relationship, not just a romantic one. 

In a healthy partnership, both partners should respect their loved one’s goals, dreams, and emotions. This level of respect should be consistent in every aspect of the relationship and can be showcased in a number of ways. 

For example, if your partner values your needs and wants, is consistently kind and encouraging, and takes the time to build you up, and vice versa — this is a positive indicator that mutual respect is present in the relationship. 

8. Respect towards others 

Even though it’s essential that your partner respects you, this respect shouldn’t stop outside the boundaries of the relationship. 

They should extend that care and consideration into every aspect of their lives — from wait staff to their exes! Even if they treat you with respect at the outset of your relationship, how they treat other people is a reflection of how they might treat you later down the line. 

No one is perfect, but if your partner consistently tries to treat people with respect and do right by the people around him, this is a very positive indicator for your future. 

9. Feel comfortable

Everyone always says it, but your partner should be one of your best friends. 

This has many facets, but most importantly, you should feel completely comfortable around them. As your relationship progresses, it should feel easy to shed some of your inhibitions and feel authentically you around your partner. 

Instead of posturing yourself, or worrying about what they might think about you, they should be your safe space! 

10. Self-improvement 

No one is perfect, and finding a partner who is willing to accept this is actually a big green flag — even though it may not seem like it at first!

It's a great sign if your partner is willing to accept criticism, especially if they can do so without getting defensive. If they take this feedback onboard and make positive steps towards self-improvement, this showcases their adaptability and strength — rather than weakness. 

11. Compromise 

One of the key steps of conflict resolution is compromise. 

Whether it’s over what you want to eat for dinner or bigger life decisions, finding a partner who can compromise is a huge win. If your partner is willing to compromise, rather than engage in an argument, it will spare you a lot of negative energy. 

12. Independence 

Having a partner who wants to live in your pocket may seem like a perk, but this persistent need to be around you could start to get old. 

In an ideal world, your partner should have their own independent life outside of your relationship, and even though they still choose to prioritize your relationship — it isn’t the only thing going on in their life. 

This negation of codependency is a green flag in your partner, as this independence allows both of you to continue to mature and grow outside the confines of the relationship. 

13. Values & morals 

Even though it’s a plus that you both like pineapples on pizza, sharing common interests should only be one layer of the relationship. 

While it may not seem like an ideal first or second-date conversation, it’s important to have deeper conversations to discover if you share the same values and morals. This level of compatibility is a good indicator of your future together, with aligned values providing the groundwork for a sustainable relationship. 

14. Communication 

Looking for another green flag? How you and your partner communicate is a big indicator of the health status of your relationship. 

Open and honest communication fosters a good relationship, with sustained eye contact and relaxed body language indicating how comfortable you both feel having more difficult conversations. 

If you both can establish healthy communication, without resorting to conflict, this is a big green flag for your relationship. 

15. Equality 

Relationships should be an equal playing field, with both partners feeling comfortable contributing without fear of being disregarded or overruled. 

No matter if your partner has a high-power job, or is super successful, within the boundaries of your relationship — everyone should get equal validation for their emotions and opinions. If your partner always includes you in their decision-making process and takes steps to make you feel like you’re part of a team, this is a green flag worth taking note of. 

16. Shared responsibility

It’s your job to clean the dishes, but it’s your partner’s job to take out the trash. It might be your job to take the kids to school, but you should be able to rely on your partner to pick them up. 

As life gets hectic, it’s important to have flexibility when it comes to different responsibilities, but they should never land on one partner’s shoulders. 

A lack of shared responsibility leads to feelings of resentment and neglect, which can later raise some red flags. 

17. Trust 

Constantly having a partner question your behavior, or undermine your trustworthiness, is a very exhausting aspect of an unhealthy relationship. 

Although trust is not won overnight, it’s a green flag if your partner takes steps to showcase their own trustworthiness, as well as emphasize how much they trust you. While some jealous behavior can be beneficial in a relationship, it shouldn’t haunt every aspect of your relationship or derail the trust you share with your partner. 

18. Transparency 

While honesty is a key part of any relationship, having a partner who vouches for transparency can also be a big green flag. 

Remember that transparency shouldn’t undermine your right to privacy, but choosing to share your innermost feelings with your partner, without being asked, contributes to a healthy relationship foundation.  

19. Understanding of love languages 

Everyone has a different love language, with most people displaying preferences for a number of different ones!

If your partner takes the time to learn about your love language and backs this up with action, this is a huge green flag in a relationship. 

Although love languages may seem trivial to some, taking the time to understand your needs and taking steps to fulfill them — doesn’t seem very small to us. 

20. Sexual compatibility 

Sex is a big part of a lot of romantic relationships, with your compatibility in the bedroom just as important as other aspects of your union. 

If your partner satisfies your sexual needs and is respectful of your boundaries in the bedroom (ie. not pressuring you to do anything you don’t want to), it’s time to raise the green flags in your corner. 

21. Long-term planning 

No one expects you to start planning your trip up the aisle on your first date, but as your relationship progresses, your partner should be open to having these conversations. 

If your partner gets excited about your future together and likes to incorporate the word ‘we’ when talking about the future — this is a big green flag. These tendencies indicate that your partner sees you in their future, and isn’t ashamed to admit that! 

As long as you’re both comfortable about the pace your relationship is progressing, these conversations can only lead to positive outcomes. 

22. Financial transparency 

Transparency is important in all aspects of a healthy relationship, including your finances. 

Even though money may seem like a taboo subject, in a long-term relationship, it’s important to be open to these conversations. If you’re working towards buying a house or even if you’re saving up for your next holiday, it’s a green flag if your partner is forthcoming about their financial ability and doesn’t try and hide anything from you. 

Without this transparency, it’s much easier for financial infidelity to cause issues in your relationship down the line. 

23. Admiration 

It’s natural to admire your partner, and therefore, your partner should showcase their admiration in return. 

For some, this means publically sharing their admiration on social media platforms, while others prefer more private acknowledgments. Whatever way your partner chooses to showcase their admiration, it’s a green flag if they don’t shy away from this kind of affection. 

24. Teamwork 

Bonnie and Clyde. Bert and Ernie. Sonny and Cher. Whatever power couple you might look up to (no judgment!), every power pairing is founded on teamwork. 

This isn’t just about approaching more difficult situations as a team, even though this is important — it’s about being by each other's side through thick and thin. Trust us, life is easier with your partner on your team. 

If your partner makes an effort to constantly include you and takes action to prove their reliability, this is a major green flag that will stand the test of time. 

25. Encouragement 

When life gets tough, sometimes you need someone to pick you back up, dust you off, and remind you how amazing you are. 

It’s a huge green flag if your partner is willing to step into this role without a second thought — acting as your biggest cheerleader no matter what! 

26. Feeling special 

At the end of the day, the relationship should make you feel good. 

Even though your happiness shouldn’t entirely be based on your partner, or your relationship, being with someone that makes you happy isn’t something that you should compromise on. 

Being with someone who makes you happy, and makes you feel good about yourself when you’re around them — that’s a green flag in our book. 

How to stop falling for the wrong person 

When you’re stuck in a negative cycle of relationships, it’s easy to ask yourself the question ‘Why do I always go for the wrong person?’ or ‘Why do I always fall for someone who is bad for me?’

As a common theme in a million rom-coms, you’re not alone.

Learning how to identify the difference between green flags and red flags is a good place to start, as well as learning how to adhere to your dealbreakers — no matter how cute they are. 

However, to break this pattern, it’s best to get in touch with a mental health professional, relationship coach, or even a family member to try and get to the bottom of this kind of behavior.

“Sometimes you need someone to help support you with a little perspective since we can not always recognize our own patterns,” says Seeger DeGeare. 

“Take a moment to analyze some of the logic behind your must-have checklist in a partner. What is it about you and who you are that make some of these items matter to you, this can help you see what green flags truly are needed in your relationship and what red flags are deal breakers.”

Quick-Fire Questions

  • How do you know if someone is a keeper?

    If there was a definitive sign that you’ve found the one, we’d all be wasting a lot less time on dating apps. While there isn’t an easy way to tell if you’ve found your one true love, adding up their green flags can make it easier to gauge if you have found someone who you could spend the rest of your life with.
  • What are funny green flags in a relationship?

    As they say, love is blind, so it’s no surprise that green flags are incredibly subjective. For example, some people consider it a green flag if their partner doesn’t go on their phone on dates, while others raise their green flags when their partner isn’t afraid to order wings on a first date. Other funny green flags include a shared love for pineapple on pizza or an unreserved and unashamed love for Taylor Swift. The options are endless, as are the laughs when you take the time to add yours up!
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