After my divorce, I spent five years online dating. In the process, I learned how to avoid dates with relationship issues. I call them "big red flags." If you are casually dating, these flags may not matter to you. If you want a relationship, however, you should weed out people with traits that are detrimental to long term success. Here are my top 10 big red flags:
1. List Makers: These people list everything they don't want in a date on their online dating profiles, or verbalize that list on an actual date. This list usually includes the elimination of liars, cheaters, manipulators, drug users, etc. These things should go without saying; no one wants to date people like this! Making this kind of list screams, "I am not ready to date." These people are either not over the last relationship and are telling you everything bad that happened to them, or they have stellar grudge-holding fortitude. Run.
2. Those With A "Woe is Me" Attitude: If you find yourself with anyone who has said any of the following within the first couple of dates, or worse, after only having spoken on the phone, run Forrest, run!
a) "I am leaving you a voicemail, so either you are busy or avoiding my calls." [This is designed to make you feel guilty, whether you have done something wrong or not. Run.]
b) "Your actions indicate that you are not as into me as I am to you." [Run. You will never be able to feed that kind of need.]
c) "I just don't think I am good enough for you." [This is designed to elicit a speech from you touting the enormous list of attributes that you love about him/her. Run. You will be making lists until the end of time.]
d) "I think you like so-and-so better than me." [The best answer to this is "yes." Less work than running and definitely less work than the convincing game this manipulator is trying to make you play.]
3. Rudeness Incarnate: If someone is rude to others in front of you after barely knowing you, imagine how you will be treated later. I went to the movies with a guy on a second date. The theater was full. There were two seats beside me and one on the other side of him. Three women asked if he minded moving over so they could sit together. His response? "Yes, actually, I do mind." I quickly moved to the seat on the other side of him. After the movie, I ran.
4. People Who Share Too Much Too Fast: These people seem to want a relationship, and you fit the bill. This does not make you feel special. Attention is great; too much attention too quickly is not great. As my good friend likes to say, "I know you are the greatest, but no one can know that about you in five minutes." If someone talks about long-term plans, coordinates trips or calls/texts multiple times a day when you are in the "let's see if we like each other enough for another date" phase, cut the cord.
5. Selfish People: These people fall into two categories: those who ask no questions about you and those who immediately want to know what you can do for them. Those who ask no questions are actually showing no interest in you. They want an audience. This is a great indicator of self-absorption. It will never be about you. Those who want to know how you can meet their needs are also self-absorbed. One guy I talked to on the phone asked me if I wore pantyhose. When I responded in the negative, he asked if I would be willing to wear them for him. Run away fast. It will never be about you.
6. Secret Spillers: People who feel the need to share intimate details of their lives before getting to know you are seeking drama or attention. Secrets should be earned by the evolution of a friendship. They are not to be given away for free.
7. E-mailers: When online dating, those who email or text endlessly without making plans to meet usually have a reason for this behavior. In my experience, they are usually married or in a relationship and are playing a game. Don't be a pawn. Email, talk, meet.
8. People Who Spout Technicalities: If someone starts a phrase with "technically," yell, "liar, liar, pants on fire!" And then run. "Technically" indicates the beginning of a lie, however small. One person I talked to had a profile that indicated he had a college education. On the date, I asked what his degree was. Technically, I didn't finish school yet." This is a lie. It doesn't necessarily matter whether he has a degree or not, but he lied. And if he lies about that, what else? No lie is too small not to count.
9. Horn Tooters: Those who feel the need to toot their own horns are probably tooting it because no one else will. If you are great, show me -- don't tell me. Same thing goes for those who tout their wealth.
10. Pouters: Profile pictures should always be current and honest depictions. People should have at least one profile photo with a smile. That way, you can see if all teeth are present and accounted for. After multiple dates with men missing teeth, smiling photos are a must. Who knew?
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