We’ve been talking about online dating red flags for years. “He’s in a photo with someone who looks like his ex – red flag!” “She takes a day or two to respond to my messages – red flag!” “His bio sounds like everybody else’s – red flag!”
But are these all really red flags – things so egregious that you should have your hackles up about the person, and probably should avoid the person altogether?
Welcome: pink flags and beige flags. Not all questionable online dating behaviors are full-on red flags. So let’s break down the definitions!
What are online dating red flags?
Red flags are the big ones. These are behaviors a person can exhibit that should make you really question whether meeting them is worth your time. Their behaviors are likely to be indicators that a person is not going to be a good partner – or maybe isn’t trying to be a partner at all. My advice? Skip over people who exhibit online dating red flags in their profiles. There are plenty of other fish in the sea!
What are online dating pink flags?
Pink flags can be a bit slipperier. These are qualities or behaviors that maybe aren’t dealbreakers, but should definitely get your attention. They fly a little below the radar but are easy to spot when you know what you’re looking for – and I’ve got you covered with a list of the main ones below. Taken alone they’re things to keep an eye on, but if someone exhibits more than one, my advice is to move on.
What are online dating beige flags?
I learned the term beige flag from TikTok, and it’s my new favorite. Beige flags are those telltale indicators for people who aren’t necessarily bad people… they’re just completely, utterly blah. Their energy is not being channeled into their dating lives, and that’s okay – but if you’re looking for a dynamic and supportive partner, look elsewhere!
Let’s break down the biggest flags in each category:
Dating App Red Flags:
- Only has 1-2 photos
They’re not putting any effort into their profile, or they’re hiding something.
- Doesn’t have a bio
They’re not willing to tell you anything about themselves? Not good.
- Is negative in their bio
If someone can’t even be inviting in a bio they get to spend time crafting, they’re not going to be inviting in real life. Extra big red flag if it says something negative about a specific person (like an ex) or group of people.
- Messages and messages but doesn’t get to the date
If it feels like you’re becoming pen pals but there’s no movement toward a date, this person is likely just looking for some texting validation and has no interest in actually dating.
- Always makes excuses for not being able to call or FaceTime, or actually meet
This is the biggest red flag of all – if someone routinely has excuses for why you can’t hear their voice or see their face, that’s a sign of a scammer. Learn how to spot a scammer in this blog post.
(*If you think you are interacting with a scammer, be sure to report the profile.)
Dating App Pink Flags
- Bad photo quality
Dark or blurry photos aren’t necessarily dealbreakers, but they can indicate that a person isn’t willing to put any time or effort into their dating profile. And if it’s hard to make out what the person really looks like, you might be in for a surprise if you meet up in person.
- Doesn’t show teeth in any photos
If a person is only smiling without teeth (or worse, isn’t smiling), that might just be how they smile… but it might be a coverup for teeth the person is particularly self-conscious about. Something to keep an eye on.
- Always wears a hat
This one’s about men specifically – because men who wear hats in every photo 9 times out of 10 are covering up baldness. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I like bald guys (my partner is bald!) – but if they’re trying to hide it, they might have a chip on their shoulder about it.
Typos in a profile are my big pet peeve. We all make mistakes, but someone who’s leaving typos in their profile is being careless, and it’s not a good sign of how seriously they’re taking dating.
- Doesn’t ask questions
If they’re messaging you but not asking questions, they’re either not interested in keeping the conversation alive or, more likely, they’re not a particularly curious person. There’s always a chance they’ll be different in person, but the odds aren’t great.
- Long response times
If a person routinely takes a couple of days to respond to you, they might just be having a super busy week… or they might not be prioritizing dating right now. See whether the person acknowledges and explains these gaps, or not.
Dating App Beige Flags
- Lots of group photos or photos that look the same
If a person’s photos fail to tell you anything about their personality, it might be because there’s not much to tell.
- Generic bio or short answers
If their profile says things you’ve read a million times on other profiles (like loving traveling, tacos, or The Office), either they’re a beige enough person they can’t come up with something more interesting to say, or they’re so beige that those things really are their only interests.
- Messages you only about mundane things
It’s okay to message about mundane things if you can spin them so they’re humorous, unique, or at least interesting. But if the person is talking about mundane things and it feels mundane? That’s a beige flag.
- Unable to come up with date spots or ideas
It’s a nice sign if someone is flexible on the first date location or activity in order to accommodate your preferences. But if they don’t offer any ideas and make you do all the legwork, that can be a bad sign.
Great – now we know the negatives. How about the stuff to look for that indicates a great person behind the profile?
Dating App Green Flags
- Photos are crisp, clear, and show a diversity of activities and interests
- Bios and short answers paint a picture of their personality and are easy to engage with
- Messaging is fun – you don’t have to struggle to come up with responses, because the person is engaging with you about things that are interesting and is asking you questions
Does your own profile have any flags other than green? If you’re thinking you might need a quick profile makeover, check out Profile In An Hour – all it takes is an hour and you’ll be waving green flags from every inch of your profile.