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Simply Solo Spotlight: Wave That Red Flag, Girl

June 21, 2011

Happy Simply Solo Spotlight Tuesday! Today’s guest post is written by Larissa over at Thoughts Simply Arise. Larissa is a beautiful and poignant writer. I’ve loved following her journey after heartbreak and learning to love the solo life. I hope that you enjoy today’s post as much as I did, and please take a moment to check out her blog. It’s one of my very favorites in my Google Reader!

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at:

Wave That Red Flag, Girl

Photo courtesy of shaun_jones72

It’s called a red flag for a reason: it’s usually broadcasting itself pretty obviously. If you’ve ever ignored one, then you know the pain it caused you to do so. I’ve gotten pretty hurt, and I’ve hurt others too, by ignoring red flags. So, I’ve compiled a list of my knowledge on red flag behavior, and I hope it saves you and me both some time and emotional distress.

1. He only texts.

Yes, we live in a world where cowards men have found a way to communicate with minimal effort. But really, I think it’s made it easier to sift the bad from the good. If he asks for my number, he best be dialing it. If I meet a guy online, I can understand why he might text instead of call initially. But after we’ve had an official date other than our first meet-up, he better call me. If he only texts, he’s letting me know he’s not worth my time, since I’m not worth his effort.

2. He talks about his ex on the first few dates.

He’ll just casually say something like, “What used to annoy me about my ex-girlfriend was how she never re-filled the Brita.” It doesn’t sound so bad. I mean, it’s an ex-girlfriend mention, but it’s in a negative context, right? Watch out. In my experience, men don’t talk about their exes unless there are still lingering feelings. He might even say he’s ready for a new girlfriend, and he might be a really good boyfriend, but her ghost is looming nearby, and you will feel it.

3. He doesn’t compliment you.

I once dated a guy for months before I noticed that he never complimented me. I found that I was never quite comfortable with him, especially in bed, and that’s when I realized it: He didn’t let me know he thought I was beautiful. When I’m romantically and intimately involved with someone, I want to know he thinks I’m attractive. The reasoning behind why he doesn’t compliment you might vary, but it’s usually not good. He could be trying not to show how much he likes you or he could not be all that physically attracted to you, but really, who wants to stick around to find out?

4. He doesn’t let you have the last California roll.

Remember how in The Wedding Singer, Drew Barrymore knew her fiancé wasn’t the right guy for her when he didn’t let her sit by the window as they flew to Vegas? Yeah. No good. A guy who’s into you will let you have the seat with the best view, will let you hold the remote control (at least sometimes), and will let you have the last California roll, even though it’s his favorite food, because seeing you smile is his favorite moment of every day.

5. He doesn’t make an effort with your friends and family.

I’ve made up all sorts of excuses for guys. He’s shy. He’s anti-social. He’s busy. He’s scared he won’t impress them. Etcetera. But now I know better. A guy who really likes me will sweat it out, make room in his schedule, be nervous but do it anyway. Because he’ll know it’s important to me, and so it’s important to him.

6. He’s aggressive when talking about sex.

By all means, when you’re alone with someone, unleash and let go. But when you’re talking about sex, it reveals a lot about how you feel not only about sex, but also about your past and what baggage you have dealt with. When a guy always refers to it by the f-word, hates the term “making love,” and talks about it aggressively, I’ve found it usually means he holds some hostility toward women. What probably happened is some girl (or girls) really broke his heart or disrespected him in some way, and so he is storing anger towards women, and his aggressive way of talking about sex is one way in which he is acting out.

7. He uses the word “just” a lot.

If she’s really a friend, then saying, “I’m meeting up with a friend” or referring to her by name shouldn’t be a problem. “She’s just a friend,” “I’m just busy with work,” “It’s just a party with the guys,” and so forth, are not good when happening frequently. “Just” is defensive, and the innocent do not usually feel the need to defend themselves.

Trust me, you don’t want to ignore red flags. If you really, really like a guy, and you think maybe one of his red flags can be justified, then I suggest you talk about it completely openly with him. I’ve even said, “Listen, buddy, I like you and I think you like me too. But the fact that you haven’t called me is a red flag, so tell me what’s up with that.” Sometimes, there really is reasoning behind something and it can still be worth working on. But, in general, a red flag is a red flag, and it’s there, waved loudly and proudly, so that you won’t get unnecessarily hurt.

What other red flags would you add to this list?

41 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2011 9:14 am

    The biggest red flag for me ever was being embarassed to take my boyfriend out in public with me. I could’ve saved four long years of my life by not ignoring that one!

    • June 21, 2011 10:04 am

      Solitary Diner, I hear you! That’s definitely a red flag, and it probably works both ways: if you’re embarassed to take him out in public, or if seems he’s embarassed to take you out in public, RED FLAG! the biggest payoff of paying attention is, indeed, sparing ourselves wasted time and heartache.

      • June 21, 2011 11:39 am

        Ooh ditto. My guy was good-looking, but boy did he not make a good impression sometimes. Why oh why did I ignore that?

        • June 21, 2011 9:18 pm

          KD, it’s the curse of the good looking guy. They blind us to all their faults. But not forever. ; )

  2. June 21, 2011 9:38 am

    Great Guest Post….I’ll have to hop over to Thoughts Simply Arise and check out more 🙂

    • June 21, 2011 10:05 am

      Thank you Melissa’s Meanderings! Do stop by Thoughts Simply Arise, new followers are ALWAYS welcome!

  3. June 21, 2011 9:53 am

    That’s a good poing about the word “just.” I’ve never thought about that before.

    • June 21, 2011 10:06 am

      Thanks thoughtsappear, took me a while to learn that one, I’m more than happy to share the knowledge. Hopefully it’ll save you some time in the future. =)

      • June 21, 2011 11:40 am

        Love the ‘just’ section. So true!

  4. June 21, 2011 9:53 am


  5. June 21, 2011 10:03 am

    These are good red flags. They make a lot of sense.

    • June 21, 2011 10:08 am

      Mairedubhtx, thanks! Experience makes for good lessons, and red flags are sensible teachers.

  6. June 21, 2011 11:45 am

    One major red flag I ignored was him making sure I was ‘OK’ when we went out. No, I don’t need to be protected or smothered, and I understand after years of dating that independence is acceptable in a relationship, but if I want to leave early, you better come with me, or you better make sure I leave safely, OR it better be obvious that we’re together, and you’re not flying solo. His need to be a ‘Good Time Charlie’ got in the way.

    • June 21, 2011 9:20 pm

      KD, I totally agree! That’s definitely a red flag. A couple means togetherness. Not all the time, but much of the time, and, at the very least, in spirit. If he’s checked out, physically or emotionally, it’s not a good sign.

  7. June 21, 2011 11:53 am

    I stumbled across Simply Solo and then, the Spotlight blog, and thought it was hilarious! That whole thing with using the word “just” is dead-on! Great stuff. I’ll be checking in when I can, so long as y’all don’t mind a guy reading this stuff. 😉

    • June 21, 2011 9:21 pm

      Sarcasticus Rex, you are more than welcome here. A guy’s perspective is often helpful! Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out as well, for some more femme stuff! =)

  8. June 21, 2011 1:56 pm

    Hi Larissa! Thanks so much for writing this guest post. I totally agree with your red flags. And I never really thought about the word “just.” I use it a lot at work – “just wanted to let you know” or “I was just thinking…” and I think in that context, it diminishes what I’m trying to say. It’s as though even I don’t think what I’m saying is important. Now that you’ve mentioned how it can sound defensive, I can totally see that too. Something to keep in mind, for sure! Great guest post – thank you!

    • June 21, 2011 9:23 pm

      Catherine! You’re amazing for having me here as a guest, I am so grateful. Your blog is beautiful and I’m honored to be part of it.

      I agree with the “just” observations you make: it does diminish the importance of what we’re saying, in all areas of our lives. Definitely not a power word!

      Thank you again! Such a pleasure to be featured here!

  9. I like boys who wear glasses permalink
    June 21, 2011 4:45 pm

    I’ve done The Texter, and the Just Man (except that apparently we were ‘just’ friends, he could have fooled me…oh wait, he did! ;)).

    Thanks for the post, Larissa. And I love the idea of a guest writer!

    • June 21, 2011 9:25 pm

      Thank you too, I like boys who wear glasses (and what a great name!). Once you’ve dated The Texter and the Just Man, you never wanna go there again, right? Not worth the trouble if they’re not real men.

  10. June 21, 2011 5:20 pm

    The texting thing is so true! It’s one of my biggest frustrations! It’s such a cop-out and “safe” way to communicate instead of taking the bold plunge and actually calling me to talk.
    Oh, red flags… it’s taken me a depressingly long time to finally see them! The biggest one I completely overlooked was my ex’s inability to keep a job longer than 6 months, sometimes as short as a week… And I ended up marrying him despite all that… Thankfully I’ve learned to trust those red flags, because they wave big and bright for a reason!

    • June 21, 2011 9:27 pm

      Kate, What a story! You should share it here. Marrying the guy who couldn’t hold a job, sounds like a red flag to me! I’m sorry it took its toll on you, but I’m glad you’ve learned from it. Hey, if they’re not keepers, they’re teachin’ us somthin’, right!

  11. June 21, 2011 10:52 pm

    A red flag for me: He asks to go to the movies for the first date. Yes, it is a casual and cliche date idea, but the issue is… you don’t actually get to know each other. To me if a guy asks to go to the movies on the first date or even the first three dates, he probably is only interested in one thing and just wants you to feel like he is “Into” you. I am starting a rules to turn boys into men blog series that will start tomorrow, and I think I will be adding some of your red flags to the list!

    • June 22, 2011 1:44 am

      justlivelovelaugh, That’s a good red flag too. Movies are usually a cop out. Leave ’em for when you’re an official couple! Your rules to turn boys into men blog series sounds great! I look forward to checking it out! Let me know if you’re looking for a guest blogger. =)

      • June 29, 2011 12:52 am

        Larissa: I would definitely love one! I have started on my Rules To Turn Boys Into Men series, and I think you would definitely blend in perfectly 🙂

    • July 21, 2011 5:15 am

      WOW…I never thought about it this way…Thanks for mentioning this justlivelovelaugh! The guy definitely made me feel like he was “into” me…coz he was always the one to ask me out, but we usually only went to movies for dates!!
      Good thing it never really worked out!! 😉

  12. June 21, 2011 11:19 pm

    Larissa made some strong points. Making me think about the guys that I currently talk to or use to rather. I saw the red, green, and yellow flags and just left the situation all together.

    • June 22, 2011 1:45 am

      Oooo, someone should write about the yellow and the green flags!

      Glad you had the strength and wisdom to leave– so many of us don’t, for too long!

  13. Geek Girlie permalink
    June 22, 2011 5:31 am

    omg! Love your blog. this is just what i need. 😀

  14. greentomatoesandme permalink
    June 22, 2011 7:18 am

    Wow great post!
    Made me realize the way I’ve been ignoring those red flags myself!

    • June 22, 2011 9:19 am

      We all need a little reminder sometimes!

      Thank you for stopping by!

  15. June 22, 2011 1:12 pm

    I read your entire blog over the course of two days. It’s funny how similar we are…but also creepy. I didn’t have an ‘unwedding’, but was with the same guy from the time I was 19 until I was 24, and we were planning to get married until one day he decided he wasn’t sure if I was ‘the one he wanted to marry’. I moved out, got my own apartment, also spend weekends at the lake in the summer time with my Mum and Stepdad (I told you it was creepy), really love to write and have been through all the same things you have. It’s hard…I can’t even imagine having to have canceled a wedding though, and I think you’ve come a long way. Impressive, and you owe yourself a nice big pat on the back. TIme really does heal all wounds, even though it seems like bullshit advice when you get it. Things get better 🙂

    • June 23, 2011 9:45 pm

      Thanks so much for checking out my blog – I can’t believe you took the time to read the whole thing. There are some posts out there that are definitely not winners. That is crazy how much we have in common! I’m sorry to hear about everything you went through as well. No matter if there is a wedding or not, being with someone for that long is significant, especially during that time period of your life (we were supposed to be dating, having fun, finding ourselves – instead, we spent it in a relationship!!). I really appreciate your reading and commenting and I look forward to getting to know you more 🙂

  16. June 22, 2011 5:03 pm

    Oops, and just to clarify the above comment was made towards Catherine. Love the guest post though, I’m all about recognizing red flags!!

  17. June 23, 2011 1:14 am

    My only objection is to the first red flag; while opting to text in lieu of a call is often implied as being secretive, there *are* some instances where the nature of someone’s schedule might impact their methods of communication. Granted, it’s infrequent, but it’s not a catch-all rule. Also, it’s important to note that today’s society is so lenient on technology and newer forms of communication, that the old rules about calling need to be adjusted to compensate for new-school methods of courtship and dating.

    Otherwise, as a guy myself, I agree with the other red flags. I’ve found myself actually on the giving end of those flags (bad, I know!), and the reasoning behind each flag is fairly correct.

    • June 23, 2011 5:33 pm

      Thank you for your perspective, the FRANCHISE. I know you’re right about the texting one, but I gotta say, I may not rule off a guy completely for only texting, but I will question his investment and intentions.

  18. ACommenttoMake permalink
    June 23, 2011 5:18 pm

    Love this!

    I love this not only because of the content, but also the whole “it’s called a red flag for a reason.” About the time I broke off my engagement, a male coworker of mine broke off his engagement…in sharing our stories we mad a big joke about “flags.” Some yellow. Some red. It’s one of those fond memories I have in a time of a lot of pain and distress!

    Thanks for the post!

    • June 23, 2011 5:35 pm

      Glad you liked it, ACommenttoMake! Learning from our times of pain and distress, and sharing them, is certainly the best part of going through them. : )

  19. C. Ungor permalink
    December 26, 2011 12:18 am

    Great post. I found your #6 to be especially interesting.

    At my work Christmas party a few nights ago, I was semi-drunkenly discussing sex, with a few female co-workers. When I off-handedly used the words “make love to a woman”, & they grimaced at eachother, laughed and told me. “No one calls it ‘making love’ anymore.”

    Is it a phrase you use or like being said to you?
    Is it just semantics to say f&%king or making love? Is there a difference between how you f*@k someone and how you would ‘make love’ to them?
    Thanks and keep writing!


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