Hoist the Flag.
By Kiran Khanijow
These days a lot of us are quick to point out red flags in potential partners and in the relationships around us. We all probably know why our next door neighbour’s niece broke off with her boyfriend of two years. Heck, we probably saw the red flags before she did! When it comes to dating, we’re usually ready to list off the deal breakers, turn offs, or anything icky.
What do you do at the first sign of oh-ohs? Do you run for the hills or take a step back to observe? While some deal breakers are usually a matter of personal preference, others are toxic, unhealthy and definite no-nos. On the other hand, it’s just as important to recognise healthy relationship signals as well.
When you’re in a committed relationship with someone special, take some time out to figure out exactly what you’re getting into. Sometimes a certain quality might seem unbearable in the beginning, but might turn out to be an excellent trait long term. By failing to note the good stuff , some impressive qualities could be missed out on.
Some women in the community have shared their thoughts on what might seem risky in a relationship in the beginning, but with a lot of thought, could actually work in the future.
Sneha Khurana, 34
Market Research Consultant and Mum Influencer
In a relationship, especially when people come from diverse backgrounds, there are often opinions and judgements formed based on one’s own life experiences. Over a period of time, these experiences are perceived as a reality in our minds. Like in my case, I was very sheltered as a child and always had the privilege of my parents doing everything for me. In my naiveté, I associated this with care. So in spite of getting married to the person that I loved, my partner encouraged me to do things on my own, such as travelling solo, planning our itinerary, writing blogs and driving a car. Coming from my childhood experience and misplaced association of someone else doing things for me, this was initially a big red flag for me. I failed to understand that this was a push to make me more independent in life. Now, when I look back and connect the dots, this push was to get my confidence soaring and make me the real independent woman I am today.
The other area that I used to be absolutely miffed about was the immense amount of time my partner used to spend in meetings with random people. In my view, this was precious time lost. However, over a period of time, I’ve seen the tangible value of these connections made, and it has been beneficial on numerous occasions. Whether it’s getting help in a remote country like Bora Bora, or seeing an ailing family member being evacuated to the nearest hospital from a moving train, or getting COVID medications delivered right at our doorstep. Just because of those ‘meetings’, connections were made and a Good Samaritan was always a phone call away.
Dhvani Sanghavi, 23
As couples, we are usually each other’s biggest critics because it seems like we know each other the best. Through helpful criticism, we want our partner to improve. Criticism can be looked upon as a setback, but it is actually great as long as there is also praise for your partners’ achievements. All achievements, whether big or little, should be celebrated. A balance of these two is definitely a green flag.
There’s also this misconception, I believe, that couples should do everything together. I think a certain amount of space and being able to lead one’s own life while being in a relationship is healthy, because then the relationship doesn’t consume you. Doing things by yourself or with your friends, participating in activities that align with your own interests is also a positive signal. In the beginning, it might not look like personal space is important, but it surely is.
Mythili Gupta, 23
Student (Law School)
Before exploring any deeper connections with a potential partner, prioritise a simple friendship. Someone who is willing to take the time to get to know you as a friend may seem like a slow burner in the beginning, but eventually finding common ground as friends could mean that you never need anyone else to have fun with!
Another example of one of the biggest unexpected green flags for me is when your partner occasionally prioritizes other commitments, such as career opportunities or friends, over their respective partner. Yes, everyone wants someone who is completely devoted to them. However, one who puts their career above you on occasion, especially at a young age, is beyond important because it shows that the person is an ambitious and driven individual. Lastly, fights! Having arguments can actually be a big winner because it shows a desire and willingness to communicate, voice perspective, and finally come to a conclusion that both can agree on. Not arguing seems ideal but it could also be a sign of a communication barrier.
Drishti Agarwal, 25
Marketing and Client Relations Manager
Green flags are easily spotted as long as we stop focusing on the red ones. I firmly believe that communication is essential and the best course of action, yet some individuals require space and prefer to be alone first. Sometimes, in the early stages of a relationship, this need for distance is seen as a danger as it looks like the person is trying to avoid conflict. However, this is sometimes untrue. They might simply require some time to gather their thoughts before speaking out. Once you observe this as a green flag, and you’ve both shown patience and understanding, you can continue to give the other personal space without them even asking for it.
Another example is when our partner keeps checking in on us. It may at first seem that the person is being jealous and over protective, but eventually it becomes clear that we are being cared for. For example, when you are out alone at the grocery store and haven’t returned back at a certain time, the partner will get concerned and might call you repeatedly. This is being done because they are worried about you and want to make sure that you’re okay. You might feel like you’re being controlled, but in the long term it is a sign of love and concern. Maybe next time when you know you will be back late, you can call and inform first.