We’ve all heard about the red flags of doom.
You know, the signs that point to the inevitable failure of your relationship (according to Buzzfeed, at least). You fret over them until eventually the long-expected break up finally occurs. Sometimes the blazing flags were valid, sometimes they weren’t. Either way, the bloodshot banners staked a place in your heart and drove the relationship to its ultimate extinction.
But, what about the little green flags in relationships? What about the ones that mark the clichéd warm fuzzies you feel inside, or the moments you think “maybe they’re the one?”
In a society constantly forced to examine every negative aspect of every romantic relationship under a microscope, it’s easy to underappreciate the positive aspects of dating.
So, I’d like to wave around some positive flags that mark the potential success, rather than unavoidable disaster, of your budding romance.
1. Two’s a Party
When you’re in an awesome relationship, you don’t have to shuck your group of current friends in order to find the time for your partner. Having said that, there’s a high chance that the person you’re dating has probably stepped into the role of best friend. They check every box on the requirement list: they make you laugh at obviously stupid jokes, never get sick of hanging out with you and comfort you when it seems like the world is caving in.
Spending time with them makes you happy, plain and simple. Suddenly, you’re fine with obnoxiously adorable things like Disney movie marathons or brunch dates. When they’re with you, anything becomes an adventure. Even though most healthy couples don’t spend every single second of every single day together, the Pam and Jims of the world know that no one completes you quite like your significant other does.
2. You Both Screw Up (Duh)
He spilled coffee on your laptop. She forgot to call back after class even though she promised she would. Let’s face it: You both make a mess of things at some points. Whatever the issue is, you both own up to your faults without resentment.
No one wants to be the lone apologizer in every situation, and in your relationship, everyone does their fair share of groveling and forgiving.
Not only does this keep you two from resorting to the silent treatment like fifth graders, but it also helps you respect one another. Nothing makes a person feel more appreciated than when they hear a heartfelt apology, and in most cases, your forgiven mistakes only bring you closer.
3. You’re a Pair of Personal Cheerleaders
Your significant other is your Will Ferrell at the chess tournament, unafraid to cheer you on with every ounce of enthusiasm they’ve got. Whether they’re providing you with an endless supply of espresso while you pull an all-nighter or chanting your name at a sporting event, they’re your number one fan. Relying on them for support becomes second nature, and they know you’ve got their back, too. When your partner has a test, you’re the first to wish them luck and shout encouragements. Most importantly, you take turns waving the pom-poms around. Both of you have goals, and you’re working toward them as a team.
4. The Pros Outweigh the Cons
When I was little and couldn’t decide on which Barbie to buy or what movie to watch, my dad always encouraged me to make a list. Nerdy, yes, but effective nonetheless. I would chart out the positives and negatives of each potential decision, then evaluate which decision had a better ratio of positives to negatives.
I know this sounds like an extremely stoic way to evaluate a meaningful relationship, but the message behind my dad’s advice still rings true: The positives should outweigh the negatives. Every couple fights, but the pleasure you receive from a healthy relationship undoubtedly outweighs the negatives. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Your romantic relationship sprinkles happiness throughout your daily life instead of consistently weighing you down with unnecessary stress.
5. Trust Falls Are No Biggie
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but as a college student seeking committed romance in a hook-up culture, I know how much trust means. It’s not uncommon for me to receive a text from a friend worrying about her boyfriend’s recent Snapchat story, which just happens to feature an unknown freshman with impeccable style and an empty red solo cup. Trust doesn’t come easily for many couples, but in a strong relationship, it can.
When you’re with a keeper, you’ve got each other’s backs and prioritize the other person’s needs and emotions. Jealousy, although acceptable in some situations, doesn’t rear its ugly green head every time your significant other hangs out with someone else. Privacy is also important, and you respect that at least some alone time is a necessity. You’re both considerate, and before long, relying on truthfulness doesn’t take much effort.
6. Peas and Carrots
Like Forest Gump noted, the best relationships are the ones that feel effortless from the get go. That’s not to say you won’t have your own struggles (heck, even Jenny disappeared for half of the movie), but when you’re together, something clicks. “Awkward silence” isn’t a phrase in your vocabulary, because working problems out seems like the only option. Tiptoeing and faking smiles are also no-nos because you value honesty.
Not only do you mesh well, but you also bring out the best in each other. You’re the Instagram filters to each other’s lives, bringing out color and beauty in every shot, including the bad ones. Everyone deserves a relationship that makes them feel admirable and valuable, and you two naturally complement each other. However, this doesn’t mean you only bask in the light of compliments; your significant other also knows how to give you a reality check when you need it. The key is balance, and you have acquired a fantastic mix between praise and realistic advice.
Everyone has always told you that no relationship is perfect, and I’m not here to contradict that age-old adage. Still, it never hurts to evaluate your happy little green flags in a relationship, not just the menacing red ones.