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Red and green flags of dating: who is perfect for you?

She said:

He said:

Red flags: Going on your first date, getting your first boyfriend, and having your first kiss: these are things that almost every teenage girl looks forward to yet fears at the same time. How do you know who is “the one” or what your “type” is? Well, first, do not settle for a guy who does not meet your standards. It is essential to know what you want in a guy. If you want a serious relationship, you both need to be on the same page. 

“The biggest red flag in a guy is when they are mean to others, or they act differently around [certain] people,” freshman Annie Joiner said. “Some things I look for in a guy is that they are a gentleman, they open the car door for you, they are nice, they smell good, and have good manners.”

As teenagers, we can often disregard our standards when we meet a guy who meets only one of the criteria. However, as Christians, we need to make sure we do not forget the most important standard of all: his relationship with the Lord. Even then, do not settle for the first man with a Bible verse in his instagram bio. Take time and really get to know the person before you jump into something that might not be what you expect. 

“My biggest red flag in a guy is when they disregard spiritual growth,” senior Grace Moody said. “If a guy shows no interest in growing his relationship with God, it proves to me that our values do not align. I try to avoid dishonesty or deception because I believe a man of God is a man of sincere integrity.”

Green flags: Finding someone who meets all of your standards is nearly impossible, but do not let that discourage you. Since no one can do it all, prioritize your standards. Figure out why you value specific attributes, what you want in a relationship, and if you have similar goals to those of the man you are seeking to date. 

“My biggest green flag is probably when they click with my family really well, especially my brothers,” junior Holly Beavers said. “Or when they can make me laugh with ease.”

Communication really is essential. Things can go downhill fast, if it gets awkward. No relationship can live off small talk. You’re gonna need some deep convos, and not being able to connect is sure to give you the “ick!”

“I was on a date once,” sophomore Abby Park said. “He couldn’t really talk to me or look me in the eye, but he was super confident over text. How are you supposed to date a guy when they can’t even start a conversation in person? I knew that relationship would definitely not work out.”

Red flags: While nobody is perfect, of course, it is important to not disregard your values in order to date somebody. We have all heard the age old phrase “I can fix her,” but the truth is, you can’t. You will be the one that ends up changing. A level of maturity is required from both the guy and the girl in a relationship, and if either one does not possess that maturity, especially in his or her walk with Christ, things are bound to go awry.

“My number one red flag is if she’s not a Christian,” Dr. Ty Faulk, TKA Dean of Spiritual Development, said. “Otherwise, if she’s bossy, that’s a real red flag. I wouldn’t want to be bossed around my whole life.” 

We have all heard to seek after a godly woman, be it from our parents, pastors or mentors, but many young people choose to believe that they can bring their girlfriend to Christ through dating her or that they can witness to her through their relationship. This approach, while it might be well intended, is misguided and in direct contradiction with scripture.

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers,” Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:14. “For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?”

After addressing the serious concerns we may have when it comes to dating, the next red flags that can appear are those of personal preference. Everybody has different tastes in a potential girlfriend, many of which stem from their own interests and hobbies. In my opinion, most guys are looking for somebody who will cheer them on as they pursue their favorite sports, activities and pursuits.

“It's definitely a red flag if she hates golf,” said junior Jordan Stewart, an avid golfer.

These red flags, which vary from person to person, hopefully can help you find someone who is both capable of sharing your interests and supportive of your pursuits.

Green flags: 

If “red flags” are the red lights that stop someone from dangerously “driving” into a relationship, “green flags” are the green lights that signify that the road ahead is clear. The beautiful thing about red and green flags is that, apart from the red flags in their faith and character, they are mainly in the eye of the beholder. If both parties are spiritually mature enough to understand what dating should look like, they will be able to complement their interests and preferences. 

“Love God and do what you will,” St. Augustine said. “For the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”


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