13 ‘Red Flags’ You Can Safely Ignore In A Person (Because Nobody’s Perfect)

13 ‘Red Flags’ You Can Safely Ignore In A Person (Because Nobody’s Perfect)

We often hear about “red flags” to watch out for in people we meet – behaviors or traits that should have us running for the hills. But let’s be real: everyone has quirks, and perfection is not just overrated, it’s non-existent. In our search for genuine relationships, it’s crucial to distinguish between what’s truly a dealbreaker and what’s simply part of someone’s unique human tapestry. Here’s a list of 15 so-called ‘red flags’ that you should ignore because they’re totally false alarms.

1. Being Awkward on the First Date

When you meet someone for the first time, especially under the label of a ‘date,’ it’s like stepping onto a stage with all the lights on you. If the person across the table can’t seem to keep the conversation flowing like a seasoned talk show host, cut them some slack. Think about it: they might have been rehearsing jokes or interesting topics to discuss and then got stage fright when it was showtime. Being awkward initially doesn’t mean they’re not confident; it can indicate that they care enough about this interaction to be nervous. After all, we’re all a little bit of a mixed bag when we’re trying to impress.

2. Not Having a ton of friends

This is about the person who seems to have more acquaintances than close friends. They’re not the type to fill their social media with photos of group outings. But here’s the thing: social stamina varies. Some prefer a small circle where deep conversations replace small talk. It’s less about how many people they know and more about the value they place on their connections. So, if they’re not the life of the party or don’t have a contact list that scrolls for days, remember, it’s the quality, not the quantity, that counts.

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4. Being bad at texting

We live in a digital world where a quick reply can be mistaken for a symbol of interest and care. But consider this: some people treat digital communication as they do real life – not always on, not always available. They could be the kind who likes to ponder over a message and respond with consideration. Or, they could be in the middle of work, driving, or maybe just enjoying a moment away from screens. Their response time isn’t necessarily indicative of their feelings or respect for you. It’s just a different communication style.

5. Needing a lot of time alone to recharge

Loners get a bad rap, don’t they? But enjoying your own company is an art form. It’s not about being antisocial; it’s about self-reflection and contentment in one’s own space. A person who can happily spend a day alone isn’t inherently sad or isolated; they might just be comfortable in their own skin. It’s like someone who knows how to recharge their own batteries without needing a constant energy supply from others. Their alone time could actually make the time they spend with others (including you) more vibrant and present.

6. Not having their entire life figured out

Picture someone who’s not on a straight career path or doesn’t have a five-year plan that’s set in stone. It’s easy to think, “Uh-oh, is this person a mess?” But in reality, very few of us have a GPS for life. We’re all kind of wandering, taking different paths, and figuring it out as we go. Having everything figured out isn’t a prerequisite for a meaningful relationship. It’s about growth, flexibility, and the ability to adapt – which, frankly, can be more valuable than a well-laid plan that falls apart at the first sign of change.

7. Having “weird” hobbies and interests

Imagine you’re at a buffet and all that’s offered are different kinds of potatoes. Sure, potatoes are great, but wouldn’t you crave a little variety? The same goes for people and their interests. Someone might be into things that you’ve never heard of or have never piqued your interest. That’s not a red flag; it’s an opportunity. It’s an invitation to see the world from a different perspective, to learn something new, and maybe even to find a hobby you never knew you’d love. And let’s be honest, would we really want to date ourselves, or is there something intriguing about someone who can introduce us to a world we’ve never explored?

8. Not being able to cook

So, your new friend or partner can’t cook to save their life, or their idea of a fancy meal is adding extra cheese to their instant ramen. Before you raise the red flag, pause for a second. Cooking, while a useful skill, is not the be-all and end-all of adulthood. Maybe they excel in other areas: they could be a whiz with finances, have a knack for gardening, or simply be an incredibly supportive person. Besides, cooking is a skill that can be learned together – it could even become an adventure of its own. So, unless you’re a professional chef looking for a sous chef in a partner, their inability to whip up a five-course meal shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

9. Having questionable fashion sense

Imagine this: you’re walking through the park, and you spot someone wearing socks with sandals, a fashion faux pas in many books. But here’s the thing – clothes and fashion are expressions of personal taste and comfort. Just because someone isn’t dressed to the nines or keeping up with the latest trends doesn’t mean they lack substance or self-respect. Maybe they value comfort over couture, or perhaps they march to the beat of their own drum. A person’s worth or their ability to contribute to a relationship can’t be measured by the labels they wear or the style they sport. After all, clothes don’t make the man (or woman), right?

10. Not being a fitness fanatic

In a society that often glorifies the fit and the fabulous, it can be tempting to turn up your nose at someone who doesn’t have a gym membership or hasn’t run a marathon. But fitness is a personal journey, and everyone’s starting line is different. Some people find joy in a leisurely walk, a bike ride, or just playing with their pets in the yard. Their physical fitness routine – or lack thereof – is not necessarily indicative of laziness or lack of discipline. It could simply mean they have different priorities or interests. It’s important to find someone who respects healthy living, but they don’t need to be a mirror image of your health habits to be a great match.

11. Forgetting stuff a lot

You know the person who might show up to your coffee date sans wallet or who constantly misplaces their phone? It’s easy to slap a ‘scatterbrained’ label on them and worry about their reliability. But hold on a minute. If we’re honest, everyone has those days when the coffee pot ends up in the fridge or the keys are found in the freezer. It doesn’t necessarily signal that they don’t have their act together; it could just mean they’ve got a lot on their plate or that they’re simply human. And hey, isn’t it a bit endearing when someone isn’t flawlessly put together? It makes those moments of forgetfulness in ourselves a little less embarrassing.

12. Not being super outgoing

Here’s to the ones who might hug the wall at a party or prefer to listen rather than dominate the conversation. Some might see this as unsociable or aloof. But isn’t there something to be said for the quiet ones, the observers, the thinkers? Being the life of the party is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s worth remembering that someone’s social battery might run on a different charge than yours. It’s not a red flag if they’re not the first to hit the dance floor or lead a group; they might simply process social gatherings differently. And in one-on-one situations, they might just surprise you with their insight and depth.

13. Having kids from a previous relationship

Kids in the picture can cause a knee-jerk ‘it’s complicated’ reaction, but let’s step back for a second. Having kids doesn’t mean someone is carrying around baggage; it means they have responsibilities and priorities that extend beyond themselves. Sure, it introduces more dynamics to a relationship, but it also shows they’re capable of deep love and commitment. It’s not about stepping into a drama; it’s about embracing a fuller picture of someone’s life. And who knows? Those kids might just be awesome, and you might get the chance to be a positive influence in more lives than one.

14. Not always being “on”

Imagine this: someone who doesn’t always crack the best jokes, whose anecdotes don’t always land, and who isn’t perpetually upbeat. It might be tempting to think, “What’s wrong with them?” But let’s be real: nobody can be “on” all the time. Expecting someone to be the life of the party or a constant source of entertainment is like expecting a phone to never need recharging. It’s okay if someone has off days or quiet moods. It’s not about them being a downer; it’s about them being a person, not a performance artist. It’s those off days that often make the good days stand out anyway.

Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.