10 Dating Red Flags You May Be Overlooking

The early stages of dating are often filled with romance, excitement, and plenty of butterflies. But this time can also be ripe with red flags and warning signs. While some red flags are obvious, others are easy to overlook, especially when you’re dreaming of a fairytale ending. Here are 10 major problems you may be ignoring about your dating partner.

  1. They come on too strong. Do you feel overwhelmed by their interest in you? If so, they may be love-bombing you when they shower you with excessive affection and adoration. If their love for you seems like it’s too much too soon, chances are their feelings are inauthentic and may even be a manipulative attempt at keeping you hooked. In this case, the sparks are likely to fizzle out just as fast as they started.
  2. They’re exceptionally charming. “Charming” is usually seen as a positive way to describe a date. However, charm can actually be a red flag. Often, charm is a combination of calculated one-liners, gentlemanly gestures, and compliments that are disingenuous and may be recycled over and over with each person they date. Take it as a warning sign if their charm seems too good to be true.
  3. They overshare. Whether about exes or difficult childhood experiences, oversharing before any trust has been established can be a red flag. People who overshare early in dating may lack boundaries or they may still be processing something from their past. Similarly, beware if they’re quick to ask you questions that feel too personal and invasive. Though it’s okay to still be working through a difficult breakup or past experience, you don’t want to feel responsible for being each other’s pseudo-therapist.
  4. They’re uncomfortable with opening up. Though oversharing can be a major red flag, being uncomfortable sharing any emotions or opinions can also be an overlooked red flag. If your date appears visibly uncomfortable when you ask about their life or share how you’re feeling, this may be a sign that they’re not looking for an intimate relationship. Instead, they may prefer something more superficial. If you’re dating with the hopes of building a deep connection with someone, this person may not be the one for you.
  5. They’re inconsistent. Begging for a date one minute, silent for weeks, and then popping up again out of nowhere: if this sounds like your dating partner, this is a red flag worth noting. Even though life happens and schedules get busy sometimes, if they’re trying to get to know you, they’ll make a consistent effort to—period.
  6. They’re forgetful. If your date forgets details about you, such as basic information from your dating profile or from past conversations, this is problematic for two reasons: at best, this may mean that they’re too distracted and busy to remember details about you; at worst, they may be juggling too many dates and are unable to keep details straight between each person they’re meeting. Either way, this is a warning sign that they may not be able to give you the attention you deserve.
  7. They check their phone—a lot. These days, scrolling through our phones is so normalized, but this should not be taken as acceptable behavior on dates, especially when you’re just getting to know each other. Not only is phone-checking bad manners on a date, but it also shows their lack of care and interest in you. While it’s one thing to peek at a notification here and there, it’s a red flag if their time with you is spent absorbed in social media and scrolling through apps.
  8. They plan all your dates. Honestly, it can feel nice to be led on a well-planned date. Dating someone who takes initiative in arranging dates can take the pressure off and make you feel pampered and cared for. However, there’s a fine line worth being aware of. If your dating partner plans all your dates and controls nearly every aspect, from where you go to what food you order, this can show a lack of flexibility, as well as a lack of care for what you actually want. Ideally, a partner should be willing to make some decisions, while also staying open to collaborating and receiving your feedback too.
  9. They’re good at humble bragging. It may seem obvious that bragging is a red flag, but less conspicuous humble brags are easy to overlook. Just like any other brag, humblebrags are used to subtly put the focus on your dating partner and how great they are, which can be one way of manipulating you into being more attracted to them. If they seem to be indirectly flaunting their fancy job, expensive car, or envious salary, take this as a red flag.
  10. They see fault in everything. Sharing honest opinions with each other is important to get to know each other. But if they spend dates heavily criticizing other people, the slow service at the restaurant you’re dining at, something you expressed interest in, or even themselves (a sign they may have low self-esteem), expect their critical behavior to only get worse as you get closer, not better.
Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo