We’ve all felt it, the soft alarm in the back of our heads alerting us to a ‘pink flag’ in a relationship. Maybe it throws you, maybe it makes you pump the breaks or maybe you’re left straight confused. Pink flags are tricky. Not quite red enough to activate your exit plan but not entirely ignorable, pink flags take some understanding. In short, a pink flag is considered a milder, less concerning version of a red flag. They’re the type of behaviors that stop the butterflies in your stomach and make you occasionally zone out, trying not to obsess over how something feels slightly… off. While red flags give ‘immediately, NO‘ pink flaggers may need time, a little grace, and a (very) close eye.

Another thing to consider is that pink flags are typically apparent during the dating stage or at the start of the relationship. This gives you a chance to both spot and navigate the rose-tinted concerns and get back in the green zone, hopefully.

Why it’s important to validate your feelings about pink flags in a relationship

We’re not ignoring ourselves in 2023, or ever. Even if your gut isn’t screaming that you should avoid this relationship, even the slightest and most subtle observation is worth listening to. We say this because pink flags are solvable. It’s always advisable to address a pink flag that may be a deal-breaker. Big or small, it’s worth investigating these traits to see if the relationship is worth pursuing or not. Since a part of relationships is problem-solving and listening, pink flags may sometimes be necessary for developing as a couple.

It’s also crucial to acknowledge pink flags to catch them before they become big bad red ones. No-one needs that kind of drama. The best thing about online dialogues around pink flags is the push to healthily tackle them. On that note, here are a few common pink flags. This is how to spot and properly address the pink flag stage before things escalate.

Lifestyle incompatibility

So it might not be immediately obvious, but you peep a few things that don’t align with your lifestyle. You and your partner live life differently as in opposites that don’t attract. It could be that everything is going well until you notice that your sun signs are incompatible or it could be that one of you is a smoker and the other one hates the smell of cigarette smoke. However it looks, suddenly falling in love may feel less than likely.

In a situation like this, we think time will tell if the pink flag is worth working through or ditching. Being compatible is a non-negotiable for most people, the levels to compatibility vary and may even shift with life.

Terrible texter alert

This is a tough pink flag because it could mean so many things. Slow replies irritate pretty much everyone as do people who expect replies within 2.5 seconds. The trick here is figuring out why your person isn’t so good at communicating via text. Are they more of a phone call kinda person? Does their lifestyle lend better to voice notes? Let’s not forget the old-school face-to-face kind of communicators. Or maybe it is what you don’t want to admit; they’re just simply not eager to text you back. Feel it out.

You don’t like their friends

Let it be known, the company you keep says a lot about the person you are. If you dislike their close friendship circle this could indicate something about their personality that you haven’t seen yet. When they choose to share space with people whose ideals and habits irk you, this might not be a good sign. However, if this is more of a circumstantial friendship group (like say, work colleagues) then it may not be as much of a mirror as you’re afraid of.

They don’t open up about past relationships

Keeping their relationships quiet might be something to keep an eye out for. Not everyone wants to deep dive into past loves but it is kinda weird to skip past it altogether. Either they want to slowly disclose that information as they feel comfortable, or they have some shady things to hide. It becomes a real red flag when a safe space is created to discuss past relationships and they shut you down entirely and don’t even ask you about yours.

They seem to avoid confrontation, like every time

This pink flag definitely depends on your chemistry and personality. You can be super calm and easy-going and not be into heated debates, but to never disagree? The trick is knowing the difference between not engaging in full-blown arguments (pink flag) and never being open to confronting potential tension (the reddest flag). If they have an avoidant tendency then it may take some time to lovingly work through that. There is something to say about a partner who prefers ‘good vibes’ instead of working through conflict with transparency. We like emotional maturity over here.

The thing about exes and pink flags in a relationship

If there is anything that screams pink flag in a relationship, it’s this. Exes are tricky to navigate but what sometimes ruins a budding love is if your love interest is still close with their ex. A non-romantic friendship with an ex might prove that they have respectful and amicable relationship endings. It could become a pink flag if there is excessive communication, they dodge questions about their ex and there are signs of unfinished business. Sussing out the relationship may take time and may reveal layers in their friendship that you actually appreciate or that you don’t want to stick around for. In good time, an honest conversation will shed some light on it. Good luck!

Related: 5 Red Flags To Look Out For In Ourselves