Ever heard of relationship green flags? Most of us have heard about the red flags to watch out for. These are the telltale signs that a relationship may be toxic or abusive. It’s really important to know and look out for these warning signs but it’s also good to know what to look for that helps foster healthy relationships. When we invest so much time looking over our shoulder for bad signs, we may accidentally miss some of the truly awesome things that build rewarding and healthy relationships.
So what kind of stuff should we look out for? What kind of qualities and skills should we strive to build ourselves for others? This is not by any means an exhaustive list but a few big good signs of a positive partner.
Communication may seem like a no-brainer but it’s actually a skill a lot of people lack. Despite how much time we spend trying to connect with others, most of us actually lack good communication skills. It is one of the things that can make us feel isolated and alone. Our skills can be further strained in relationships because of our emotional connection. When we feel attached to someone, our emotions are more likely to impact our thinking. We can easily get twisted and turned up by them when it comes to our partners and this impacts our ability to communicate effectively. So the tone we address our partner in can be a big deal, particularly during a fight. A good sign is when each person can control their emotions during a fight and not deliberately say anything nasty or hurtful.
We are all at different stages of learning so being with someone who is the BEST communicator isn’t as important as their willingness and dedication to keeping communication open. The effort makes the difference, even if it isn’t the most effective. It will vary from person to person but we should be able to tell if a person is open and trying to communicate with us.
One definite green communication flag is listening. Does your partner really pay attention and listen to you? Are they showing you attention when you’re struggling with a problem? Do they let you work through it as a good sounding board? Or are they quick to dismiss? Many people will listen as long as they think they have to before cutting in either with their advice or a change of subject. Your partner should make you feel like they are listening, not simply waiting for their turn to speak.
Most people like to have their way all the time but one of the essential parts of a relationship is compromise. Our partner should be able to reach a compromise with us that is respectful of their needs and our own. We shouldn’t be pushed beyond our own boundaries, aside from extreme circumstances, to meet our partner’s needs or desires. Even if the relationship power dynamic is skewed in favor of one partner, those boundaries should be discussed and decided on. So no matter what type of relationship you have, BDSM or egalitarian, boundaries should always be respected.
Another green boundary flag is that your partner stops doing things that you tell them makes you uncomfortable and they stop doing them immediately. Big boundaries are important but so are the small ones because it doesn’t matter if it is a big or small thing. Sometimes people will continue to act in certain ways or perform certain actions because they perceive it to be funny. Some people will continue to do this even when their partner has expressed it makes them uncomfortable. The discomfort becomes part of the humor. A good partner would not perpetuate things that make you uncomfortable, particularly for their own amusement. This can be even more crucial in situations where the partner may not see the action/situation as a big deal. A bad partner may just tell you to get over it. A good partner will respect your wishes and offer to help you explore the reasons for your discomfort if you feel up for it. Respect helps you feel supported and safe.
Support is a Serious Relationship Green Flag
Another one of the major relationship green flags is a big one: support. Having the support of your partner may seem like a pretty straightforward thing but it’s actually an aspect of relationships that many people feel theirs lacks. Many jokes about marriage and couples actually poke fun at some very serious problems that point to unhappy relationships. Conversely, people tend to shame those who value the input and support of their partner. They are told they lack control or the upper hand of the relationship. A person who values control and power, or the appearance of it, over the needs and emotions of their partner is a person who thrives in poor or abusive relationships.
Some green flags of support are partners that will never put you down, especially in public. They will instead try to build you up and help you feel confident. They will support your growth as a person in whatever aspects you feel are most important. This may be professional, social, mental, emotional, or spiritual ambitions. Whatever your dreams are, a healthy partner should help support you. The support should not be blind enthusiasm but a combination of enthusiasm, constructive criticism, and emotional support. They are able to help you through the tough times and celebrate your success.
Good Relationships Are Built with Care
Some people think that good relationships should be easy while others feel they should be hard work. The answer really lies in your perception and how you and your partner connect with each other. There are more relationship green flags than the ones listed here and many of them come down to the small details. You can keep your eyes out for partners who exhibit these qualities as well as be aware of your own actions. Working on developing these skills for yourself will also help you foster more positive relationships, even ones with no romantic element. You can model these qualities and inspire others to develop them as well.
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