Do you know what your red flags are? Dick Richards remembers back to some of
his worst dates and how they helped him realise what he did and didn’t want.

I was hanging out with a friend last week, and she was telling me her dating woes. It took me back to some awkward times and got me thinking. Fuck, I have had some weird dates. I remember meeting with a guy I was chatting to on Tinder. We had great banter online, and I was looking forward to meeting him. Ten minutes into our real-life interaction, it was clear that neither of us were attracted to each other, so we just ate a burger and talked about Game of Thrones. We gave each other an awkward hug at the end and said, “Lovely to meet you, might see you around.”

Another time, I had a drink with a guy that I hooked up with and realised that hook-ups rarely turn into anything other than a quick hand job in the sauna.


As up and down as the dating experience was for me, I would never look back and wish it all away. You can’t go into the dating scene expecting nothing but good times – that’s ridiculous and completely unrealistic. You have to sift through a shitload of sand and rocks to find a piece of gold.

Let’s be honest, people are fucked. Have you ever gone through a clothing bargain bin at a second-hand store? It’s like that: you gotta rummage through a big pile of rubbish to find something that works for you. I’ve found that saying to be oh-so-true: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I’ve met a lot of trash. But I wouldn’t have met my treasure without those trash bags.

Whenever I was in a shitty dating situation, my best friend used to tell me that the next guy will be better because I would hopefully have learned what works for me and what doesn’t. One of the most important things I learned was what my red flags were. I had no idea what mine were. I mean, there were the obvious universal ones – like no hitting (doesn’t include spanking in the bedroom), no physical and emotional abuse, no disrespect, no stealing, no lying, no cheating, etc. But everyone has different boundaries and criteria, and you have to figure out what your red flags are.

I think it’s important to make a list of what your uncompromising qualities are. They can be actions or things said. Things that make your gut go, “Wait, what was that?” or “That was weird.” You gotta trust your gut because your gut is usually always right. Here are some questions that you might find helpful. Are they secretive about parts of their life? Are they respectful of your feelings? Do they listen to you? Are they able to say sorry and apologise? How do they treat you when you’re with friends? Are they the same person in private as they are in public? Can you talk about sex and each other’s needs and desires in the bedroom? Do you trust them?

Ideally, you’d be able to answer yes to all of those if you’re in a relationship or dating. If not, it might be time to take a moment and figure out what your red flags are. As I said earlier, red flags are different for everyone, but either way, a red flag needs to be addressed because they don’t go away. It can be scary, but it’s about self-respect and some things you just can’t compromise on – and that’s totally okay. Trust me.