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5 Ways to spot a Pink Flag: Online Dating

pink flag photo

I’ve talked about red flags in dating---overt signs where there is probably an issue that will cause a budding relationship to fail.  But, what about those small signs that we often have a tendency to overlook as they are not “in your face” and seem like little tiny things you can work with?

We all know to watch out for red flags and steer clear.  But, what about those pink flags and how do you spot them quickly and move on?  A pink flag is exactly what you are probably thinking---they are not as severe as red flags, but they are still important.  And, they will either be a huge deal or may be totally fine depending on the context.  After you spot one, you’ll want to proceed with caution and the best way is to gather more information.

1.       They’ve never been in a relationship

Since I work with clients that are mostly in the 40+ age category, this sounds just odd, right?  While it may seem unusual, it's important to understand why. It could be due to career focus or personal circumstances, but it could also indicate deeper issues. Don't be afraid to ask them about it and listen to their response. It's better to know upfront before investing your time and energy. But it could also indicate someone who is self-absorbed or commitment-phobic.  And, do you really think you are going to be the person to change them? 

My advice:  Proceed with caution. And graciously, ask them why they haven’t been in a relationship.  You need to know---and no, it’s not rude, just smart on your part before you invest time and energy in this person.

One more comment:  When I’m working with clients as a dating coach and choosing high-potential dates for them, we always take a look at their status---divorced, widowed, single.  If you are 50 and single, and you have had relationships—make sure this is front and center in your dating profile so you don’t automatically get passed over.   Just add something as simple as “While I have not been married, I’ve had several long-term relationships and what I want now is_________”.  


2.      The two of you never argue

Healthy disagreements are a normal part of any relationship. If you and your partner never argue, it could be a pink flag. It may indicate a lack of open communication or an avoidance of conflict. Pay attention to how conflicts are handled and address any concerns.

3.      Not vibing with their friends or lack thereof

Some people have a big social circle, while others prefer a smaller group of close friends. But if your date doesn't have any friends at all, that's definitely a cause for concern. We usually choose friends who share similar values and interests, so if your partner's friends seem off-putting to you, it might be a reflection of their character.


 If you find yourself not clicking with their friends, it's important to communicate openly with your partner about your feelings. Maybe there's a reason behind it that can be addressed. But if you notice behaviors in their friends that go against your values, it's worth considering if this relationship is right for you.

4.      Unreliability and excuses

If your date constantly flakes on plans or fails to keep their word, that's a clear sign of unreliability. It's essential to have a conversation with them about this behavior and see if there's room for improvement. But if the pattern continues, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship. My advice:  Talk about it with your date/partner in a non-combative manner.  If it does not radically improve, it’s time to move on.

5.      Early gifting and excessive attention

While this may play to our ego, it’s also a pink flag.   Quick example:  I had a client come to me right after this type of situation.  Kim, 58, met Michael and on the first date.   He took her to a Michelin-starred restaurant.  Impressed? Oh yes.  Then he sent her two dozen roses the next day and she raved to her friends.  A week later he took her to Cartier and bought her a diamond love bracelet.  What?!?Are you getting the picture here?


Two weeks later, she never heard from Michael.  A classic case of love bombing.  Too much, too soon.

My advice:  If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

I genuinely care about my clients and want them to find happiness in their relationships. During our coaching sessions, we have a great time while making progress.   I always try to focus on the positive aspects of a potential match, but I also pay close attention to any small inconsistencies I notice in their photos or profiles. If I spot one, I don't immediately dismiss the person. Instead, I suggest asking a few questions right away to avoid wasting time. And don't worry, we ask these questions in a lighthearted and fun way – we're not trying to scare anyone off!

 If we like their response, we move forward with an in-person date. It's important to remember that messaging someone doesn't mean we're committing to marry them. It's just a way to gather more information so we can make an informed decision about investing our time in meeting them in real life.

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