The Crucial Red Flag You Should Look Out For When Dating

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When it comes to the current dating landscape, variety is certainly the spice of life. With all the dating apps and sites at your fingertips, there have literally never been more options to choose from. That said, the plethora of possibilities can make keeping focus difficult, not to mention make any major dating red flags difficult to spot immediately.

While everyone’s personal preferences and relationship goals are different, there are some universal issues to look out for — and most can be detected early on. “I believe if you’re a good listener, you can notice red flags on the first date, or in the first few dates,” says Julie Spira, online dating expert and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. “Perhaps someone has a substance abuse issue and drinks heavily on a date, bashes an ex and hasn’t gotten over a breakup, or is rude to service staff at a restaurant. These are all signs that this person might not be relationship material.”

Now that’s not to say that you should be quick to make snap judgements, either. Dating can be nerve-wracking for some, which can make first impressions less than ideal. “Know that some people get nervous when they first meet you, and try hard to make a great impression,” says Spira. “This often leads to conversations about topics you should avoid early on or behavior that’s unacceptable. Rather than point it out or get into an argument, I recommend you notice these red flags, and decide later on if they are deal breakers or not.”

To help you get a better handle on key indicators to look out for on your next date, two dating gurus were tapped to offer their professional insight. Ahead, the three major dating red flags you should keep in mind the next time you swipe right.

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Because dating online or via app is becoming so much more commonplace, so is this particular issue. “[One universal red flag includes] identifying obvious discrepancies between what a person says/writes about themselves, and what are actually facts," says celebrity matchmaker and online dating coach Carmelia Ray. “For example, if they said they were a non-smoker and you notice they are smoking cigarettes or any occupational or career discrepancies — they are unemployed when they stated they are an ‘entrepreneur.’”

This fibbing can also pertain to a person’s personality or character. “Someone could describe themselves as super fun, outgoing and sociable, yet every time you plan a date, they want to Netflix and chill or order UberEats,” says Ray.

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Personal Deal-Breakers

Although these can be subjective, keeping an eye out for any personal deal-breakers is essential to ensure you’re not wasting your time on someone who isn’t a fit. “Deal-breakers in a relationship are the things that matter to you that would make or break the relationship,” explains Ray. “A deal-breaker could be if someone is not completely divorced. Perhaps you discover this person is going through a separation, when they said they are divorced. Perhaps you are not interested in dating someone who drinks and you see photos of the person drinking alcohol. A deal-breaker could be if someone already has kids. Deal-breakers are different for everyone, so a lie about a deal breaker would be a good reason to cancel a date.”

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Some red flags can make themselves known before you even go on a date. “Red flags can become as apparent as your first phone call of first couple of texts,” says Ray. “For example, they might tell you they can't call you back because they are working, yet you notice on social media they are posting about being somewhere else. You may discover a red flag like they say they don't drink often, yet on a date they order a bottle of wine and do three shots at the bar.”

Consistent flakiness and rescheduling can be a key indicator that your date is not exactly relationship material. “Maybe they continue to cancel plans, reschedule, or ghost you on occasion,” says Ray. “If you are not able to schedule a face-to-face meeting within a couple of weeks, this is a major red flag. Actions speak louder than words.”