I’ve written extensively on red flags, what they are and how to identify them but weirdly enough I haven’t written about the importance of collecting them. Not everyone who has a red flag is an abuser, or a horrible person so they don’t need to be thrown in the trash but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth being aware of their faults and maybe (if you have the time/energy) you could let them know about it in a nice way. No one is as an unproblematic angel, and we’ve all had times where we’ve had to come face to face with the fact that we’re problematic.
We’re all products of our environment, regardless of whether we want to or not, and sometimes we absorb the negative social aspects of this environment.
I don’t know when I started doing this but I sort of look out for little mini red flags in people after meeting them and make a weird character study based on their behaviours – obviously this takes some time, but it’s good to keep an eye out. Whether it’s just to see how someone actually is as a human, whether they’re behaviours could be harmful to you as a person or just to gage their reliability.
I obviously wouldn’t recommend being obvious about it or even starting off with heated questions like their stance on feminism, because not only would that lead the other person into a defensive place, it would also paint you as an aggressor, and no one reveals their red flags to any possible enemy.
A lot of spotting red flags also comes with paying a weird amount of attention to someones responses to things and assessing whether it is a red flag or not, as not everything is a red flag and it’s important to be able to tell the difference at any given time. I guess practice makes perfect and practice would help you choose who you use your time on as lifes too short to spend it on someone who’s annoying, but lifes also too short to not even try to help someone out.
If you’re at a meal with someone and they’re rude to the waiter, it might be worth calling them out about their behaviour, if they defend it – then put them in the bin. If someone isn’t a feminist but it’s because it’s about ‘hating men’ then it’s not a red flag, they just don’t have a clue about feminism, so it might be worth letting them know the actual facts. Ignorance isn’t a red flag, but they’re behaviour once they’re no longer ignorant can lead to one.
I guess spotting red flags is also a survival tactic, and as a woman I can’t stress the need for it enough. Be aware of the people you let in to your life, not everyones nice, and it’s important that you at least try to gage someone before giving them access to your personal time and space.