Red flags are tricky. I feel like the reason that we avoid seeing red flags for what they really are (a warning sign) is because we want to challenge ourselves. We want to prove ourselves wrong. We want to be capable of doing anything that we so choose. We want control. But the problem is that we actually persevere through those red flags. And when we do, the success (if we can even call it that) is never as gratifying. At the end of that journey, we look back and think, well damn, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Maybe I should’ve waited until all of the signs pointed me in the right direction instead of invalidating my gut instinct. Because now, chances are, when those red flags are so avoidable that it’s painful (see: career, relationship, etc.), we will have to start all over.
I’ll give you a fine example that I think a one too many of y’all will understand.
Several years ago, I went on a date with a man who I ended up dating, spoiler alert, for almost 10 months of my life. Granted, I was young. I was also almost out of college, so sure, I thought it was a good idea to maybe get out there and date some people. But what I failed to recognize was that this man was showing all signs of not being the right partner for me, and those red flags were screaming.
Allow me to paint a picture for you.
- Start of date, he asks, “how old are you exactly?”
Uh. I kind of laughed at this considering I was a few years younger than him, but I brushed it off. Looking back, he was clearly trying to establish dominance via age. This was a pattern throughout our relationship.
- Then he continued to talk about himself for the duration of the date. “I been to *this* fancy country and have *this many* mommy issues.” Ruh-roh. Here’s the thing- I like to talk about myself. Two divas in a relationship ain’t going to work for me. Learned that the hard way.
- I started to notice that he was minimally passive aggressive and minimally condescending. Not enough to where it was blatantly obvious that he was being degrading, but just enough to make me feel uncomfortable and less worthy. “I know you don’t know what it’s like to *experience this very average thing* but…” Ehhh.
Yea. I knew that he wasn’t the one from day one. I kept ignoring those red flags. At that point in the game, I should probably have learned to trust myself, because I wasn’t that dumb (well, according to him, maybe I was) but I knew right from wrong. I knew that he was not right for me. But yet, I wanted to prove that I could win. Or maybe I should prove to everybody that I can make my own decisions and be in a mature relationship with an older gentleman who was an actual condescending human. Well, guess what? It was dumb. And I was wrong.
Are you in a situation right now where there are so many red flags that you keep pushing them away because you’re trapped in an “ignoring red flag” cycle? Let’s be real, we all know how this is going to end up. Why don’t you do yourself a favor and make the decision to reverse the red flag. Turn it blue. Or white. Or any g-dang color you want. Whatever the situation is, please try to do right by your intuition, and listen to it. Your future thanks you.