dating

The 12 green flags to look out for in a new relationship.

Before I met my current husband, it seemed like good single people in their 30s and 40s were a nearly extinct species. 

In relationship coaching sessions, several of my clients (both men and women) moaned something along the lines of, "All the good ones are taken!" and I nodded along in sympathy.

It can be disheartening to put yourself out there again and again only to keep meeting 'Mehs'. Because of that, it can also feel off-putting when you do finally meet a great person. 

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Video via Mamamia.

It can feel a bit like stumbling onto an oasis in the middle of a desert. Are they real? Are they actually awesome, or are they just great at faking it?

If we’ve done all of the necessary work on ourselves to make ourselves great, then it’s not surprising that we’d one day meet another great person. Here a list of 12 green flags to notice when meeting someone new:

1. Good hygiene.

It seems silly to note because it’s not like you’d want to date someone who smelled bad, but someone having good hygiene actually goes farther than just looking and smelling nice.

Good hygiene is often an indicator that they take care of themselves in other ways too. They likely make fitness a priority, eat well, and go to the doctor when they’re ill.

People who take care of themselves are much more likely to live longer, so if you want a long-lasting relationship, pick someone who’s covering the very basics.

2. Excellent listening skills.

Somebody with excellent listening skills will make consistent, direct eye contact with you while you’re speaking with them, nod their head, make verbal sounds indicating that they understand what you’re saying, and ask questions about the subject matter that you’re discussing.

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It’s a sign of respect when we give someone the gift of our attention, and you and your potential love interest deserve that from one another.

Communication is an important way to create a connection and to build a healthy relationship. You want and deserve to be heard in your next relationship, so pick someone that can facilitate that.

3. Good conversationalist.

When most people talk about their forever someone, they talk about their "best friend".

We connect the best with people who engage with and entertain us. Dates and a relationship will always be better with someone who is gifted at talking. Plus, if they already do well talking, that will also hopefully translate to them being good at communicating and resolving conflicts too.

4. Has long-term goals.

Responsible adults generally have long-term goals. They know who and where they want to be in five plus years, and they have an idea of how they can get there. They have boring things in place like a retirement fund and probably some career plans.

People looking ahead are often also more trustworthy and reliable.

If your goals align, then these are the kind of people to choose to date seriously.

5. Shared interests.

While opposites can attract, you need some kind of shared interests. Ideally, something you could both enjoy together or at least enjoy talking about.

While shared interests aren’t totally necessary to begin a new relationship, it can help you get through the early phase of a new relationship and give you conversation topics.

6. Accepting of diversity.

The world is full of beautifully different people. If you want someone to accept you unconditionally, they should also be able to accept this great hodgepodge of an existence too.

This includes being aware of and fighting against any prejudice based on race, colour, religion, national origin or citizenship status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

If they are willing to accept the reality of diversity in this world, the chances are that the person you’re interested in is going to be open-minded in other aspects of their life, more easy-going, understanding, and empathetic. 

Highly attractive qualities in a partner.

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7. Polite and well-mannered.

Nobody wants to date an a***hole, but you’d be surprised how easy it can be to excuse someone’s poor behaviour by thinking, they’d never treat me that way!

Watch how someone treats the strangers they encounter around you. Do they say "please" and "thank you?" How’s their tone of voice? Do they go off like a rabid dog when their food isn’t properly prepared?

The three traits of a healthy relationship are trust, love, and respect. If your potential sweetheart can’t show basic kindness and respect to strangers, it’s not likely they’ll show you the same either.

8. Selfless behaviour.

Relationships must have a balance of give and take. 

Someone who actively cares about what you feel and think will include you in on decisions and ask your opinion and thoughts. 

These are signs of someone who would be willing to compromise, a necessary for any healthy relationship.

9. Humility.

While some people might believe humility is more akin to humiliation, it’s more of a way of looking at yourself. 

Someone who is humble sees themselves as no better or no worse than anyone else.

You should desire a partner that sees you as a true equal. That’s not possible if someone either has you on a throne above them or the other way around.

Humble people have high self-esteem and self-worth and so much more to offer you than the overconfident or self-deprecating.

10. Punctual and consistent with plans.

You are important. Your time is precious. Someone who values you will also value your time.

Someone who makes plans with you needs to follow through with them. It shows that they’re reliable and dependable. Anyone who can’t doesn’t deserve for you to make time for them.

11. Direct about feelings.

Traditionally, and not until quite recently on the historical spectrum, it was taboo for people to talk about their feelings, particularly for men. Slowly, the stigma around men being allowed to be more in touch with their feelings is disappearing.

It’s also more important now than ever that men in heterosexual relationships learn how to communicate those feelings since women are looking for a partner instead of a provider.

Every healthy relationship is built on honesty. Honest sharing means that you and your partner will be able to communicate, overcome disagreements, and grow closer.

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12. Undivided attention.

Someone can show you their undivided attention by SLANTing.

SLANT stands for:

S: Sit up
L: Lean forward
A: Ask and answer questions
N: Nod your head yes or no
T: Track the speaker

In today’s culture, it’s easy to find something to distract yourself with, which is why we now have the term "phubbing." If someone gives you the gift of their full attention, they’re someone you should want to have in your life.

We often attract our complements, so if you’re exhibiting these green flags, you’re likely to attract another person exhibiting them too. If you’ve been struggling to find a special someone, take a look at this list and see if you have these traits. If not, put the work in to get there!

Feature Image: Getty. The feature image used is a stock image.

This post was originally published on  Medium and republished with full permission.

Tara Blair Ball is a Relationship Coach and Writer. Check out her other work at tarablairball.com, and sign up to get her FREE "Be a Match for Your Dream Relationship" worksheet   here.

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