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Relationships

2 Relationship "Beige Flags" to Look Out For

2. Selective listening.

Key points

  • Beige flags are subtle signs that may indicate deeper compatibility issues in a relationship.
  • Two beige flags could signal a deeper compatibility issue: reluctance to commit to small promises.
  • The other is selective listening or cherry-picking activities to do together.
September commercial / Unsplash
Source: September commercial / Unsplash

When we put on our rose-tinted glasses after meeting someone new, it’s human nature to ignore some red flags—those undeniable signs that warn us to proceed with caution.

But what about those subtler signs that are quirky and amusing but not immediately alarming? TikTok calls that a “beige flag,” but it may not always be as benign as the name suggests. Sure, they’re quirks that seem innocent at first, endearing even, but might hint at deeper incompatibilities as the relationship matures.

For instance, say you’ve been on a couple of dates with someone with an unusual penchant for naming all their plants and holding occasional pep talks with them. Or perhaps your new partner’s “thing” is arriving fashionably late to events.

While these behaviors aren’t inherently problematic, they warrant observation and reflection. Because as the relationship evolves, you might find that these beige flags can deepen the bond or underscore fundamental differences in values or communication styles.

Here are two beige flags that could signal a deeper compatibility issue, possibly spilling over into red-flag territory.

1. Reluctance to Commit to Small Promises

On the surface, this might seem like forgetfulness or mere oversight. Your partner might say, “Let’s watch that movie tomorrow night,” or “I’ll call you right back,” and then not follow through.

While these small lapses can seem innocuous early on, especially when the excitement of a new relationship is high, they might point to a pattern. If someone struggles with honoring minor commitments, it could be a precursor to them not fulfilling larger, more significant promises in the future. Over time, this can erode trust and introduce doubt into the relationship, potentially signifying a deeper issue with reliability.

A 2019 study published in Qualitative Health Research delved into the psychology behind “forgetting.” The study’s participants, individuals with cystic fibrosis, often cited forgetting as a reason for not adhering to their nebulizer treatments.

Interestingly, the research suggested that forgetting wasn’t always an accidental lapse in memory. Instead, it became a tool or mechanism for some participants, particularly those less adherent, to rationalize and normalize their non-adherence. This behavior indicates that forgetting can sometimes be a conscious or subconscious strategy to manage expectations, societal pressures, or personal reluctance.

In romantic relationships, a similar dynamic might be at play when a new partner frequently forgets small promises. It might not be a mere oversight but a psychological strategy to manage the complexities of burgeoning romantic expectations and commitments.

Such forgetfulness can act as a buffer, allowing an individual to navigate the relationship’s pressures without confronting deeper issues head-on. They might be avoiding commitments, setting boundaries, or even signaling a hesitance they’re not verbally expressing.

2. Selective Listening or Cherry-Picking Activities to Do Together

This beige flag manifests when your partner seems to pay attention only to select parts of conversations. They might respond enthusiastically when discussing shared interests or their hobbies but zone out or become distracted when you discuss your day or share something personal.

At the same time, it might initially feel like a harmless quirk (everyone has their favorite topics, right?), but it can indicate a lack of deeper emotional investment or empathy. In the long run, feeling unheard or undervalued can affect relationship satisfaction and mutual respect.

While each individual has their cherished activities and themes of interest, the ideal in a budding relationship is to cultivate and nurture joint passions. A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family explored shared relationship activities.

Wives who engaged in recreational activities primarily favored by their husbands felt decreased satisfaction despite the shared moments. More intriguingly, wives who were already discontented in their relationships were more inclined to participate in mutual recreational activities, even if they didn’t genuinely enjoy them, seemingly to reinforce their bond with their spouses.

This underscores the importance of genuine mutual interest and emotional investment in a relationship. It’s not just about spending time together but valuing and appreciating each other’s presence and perspectives.

Conclusion

Beige flags aren’t immediate deal-breakers, but they’re certainly gentle taps on the shoulder, urging you to pay attention. It’s essential to approach them with a balance of humor, awareness, and understanding.

Some quirks, like wanting to name a plant, are perfectly acceptable and endearing traits that add new dimensions to your partner’s personality. Know when to draw the line between quirky, weird, or controlling, and you’re on your way to a happy relationship.

Facebook image: Cookie Studio/Shutterstock

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