When a person shows you who they are believe them the FIRST time. – Maya Angelou
This has been one of my favorite quotes since I was a teenager. When I first read it I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant. I just knew I liked it. Now that I am a little older, and have had more dealings with all kinds of people, I get it. People show you and tell you who they are and what their intentions are early in your interactions. It’s up to you to listen, pay attention and believe them the FIRST time.
I still struggle with the first time part, but overall I think I am getting better at recognizing red flags. I have compiled a list of red flags based on things that I have experienced. This list is not all-inclusive.
They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries
This is a big one and it can take place in many forms. In a previous blog post I shared that I am celibate. During one encounter I had a guy tell me that if we were together he would purposely push my limits and test me to get me to have sex with him. He was blatantly disrespecting my boundaries.
This doesn’t apply solely to sexual boundaries. It can also refer to personal boundaries like the sharing of personal information. A person may try to push you to share more than you are willing or they may overshare. Honesty is a great quality; however, there are some details that you might not want to discuss in the early, getting to know you phase. One individual caught an attitude with me for not wanting to share certain personal details. The conversation went something like this…
Him: What are you thinking about xyz?
Me: I don’t want to talk to you about that right now.
Him: What? That’s not ok. My mom couldn’t tell my dad that she didn’t want to tell him what she was thinking. That would not have been acceptable in their marriage.
Me: We aren’t your parents and we’re not married. I’m not telling you.
I don’t remember what the XYZ was, but I didn’t want to go there with him. His response to me and the tone he used to respond said a lot. We were not on the same page when it came to personal boundaries. I don’t believe it is healthy for someone you’re getting to know/just starting to date to have access to all of you. He felt entitled to know everything about me. Red flag.
Excessive Phone Calls/Text Messages
We are all so connected to our phones that this can be a huge oversight in our generation. Texting is the new norm and while it is a valid form of communication it is not the best way to communicate. Phone calls are the next best thing to face-to-face conversation. A simple phone call lets us know if the other person is interested, but we need to be aware of the frequency. Too many phone calls over a short period of time gives cause for concern.
One weekend I drove home to Louisiana to be with family. On the drive back to DFW a guy called me to keep me company. No big deal. I enjoy a little conversation to keep me company on the road. I got off the phone because I needed to stop for gas and a bathroom break. I told the guy that I would call him back. Before I could get back on the road he called me back. “I thought you would call me back,” he said. He didn’t give me a chance. We talked for a few more minutes and I eased my way out of that conversation. I called another one of my girlfriends so that we could catch up. As soon as I hung up with her he called again. I didn’t answer. A text message came through immediately. Three incoming phone calls over a period of two hours is a bit excessive.
The person who always wants to know your whereabouts
I don’t know the technical term for this, but it is still a red flag in the early dating stages. It can start out with a couple of seemingly innocent questions about your weekend plans. Then it escalates. They start asking you who else is attending, even though they don’t know any of your friends. Or they question your motives for attending events.
Him: What are you up to?
Me: Not much headed to they gym.
Him: Why are you working out so often all of a sudden? You never did that before.
*Note that this person had known me for all of four weeks. I had a deliberate reason for taking a three week break from physical exercise. Also note that I hate it when people tell me what I always do or what I never did as if they have known me for my entire life. I digress
Him: What are you doing on Friday night?
Me: Going to a bible study with a friend
Him: You better not be going to talk to/hook up with a youth pastor
*This was not a joke.
Someone who is possessive and/or controlling will try to take up as much of your time as possible. This can include phone calls, text messages, popping up on you at work or home, planning to be with you every night of the week, running errands with you, etc. They’ll also make it known that they are upset when you aren’t readily available to them.
The summer after my freshman year of college I dated a guy who would visit me at work every day. I worked in the mall and he was a waiter. His shift started at 4:00pm and he would come to see me before heading to work. I thought it was the cutest thing. One day he was upset because I didn’t call him back when I said I would. 3:00pm rolled around and there he was, pacing back and forth in front of the store. After a few minutes he came in to the store. He wouldn’t speak to me. This brings me to my next red flag.
The Silent Treatment
We are not children. It is not ok for anyone to give you the silent treatment to punish you or make you feel bad. I have literally had someone call my phone and then proceed to say nothing for 20 WHOLE minutes. I know what you’re thinking, “why didn’t you get off the phone?” Sometimes I like to conduct mini experiments. I peeped game and I was timing him. Then I told him I was hanging up because I wasn’t willing to waste more than twenty minutes not talking. The next day he called with a fake apology and blamed it on being tired. Nah G. If you were that tired, then you would have gone to sleep instead of calling me to play on my phone.
Too many compliments.
Yes, this is a real thing. Especially if they give you compliments for the most basic of things. You tie your own shoes? That’s amazing. I’m being facetious, but you get my point. Too many compliments reek of insincerity. One compliment is polite, two is sweet, three you’re pushing it. Calm down. I’m getting tired of saying thank you. More than that and you’re up to no good. In the words of Keia from Getting’ Grown Pod, “Stop playing in my face.”
Him(while Playing basketball): “You can dribble?” This is amazing.”
Me: This is the most basic of basketball skills.
They are constantly reminding you that they are a good person, but only with words and not with their actions. They give themselves a lot of compliments. They are always telling you about what they have (material things) or what they have accomplished (accolades/money). They also remind you of ALL the nice things they have done for you.
I’m a really cool guy. If you ask anyone they’ll tell you.
Aren’t you glad you have someone who listens?
Aren’t you glad I came to this event with you? Without me here you would have just been another single black woman. ßyes, someone really said this to me.
Nothing is wrong with having a positive self image, but the hard sell isn’t necessary. This is the equivalent to a woman calling herself classy. If you have to say it, then it probably isn’t true.
I don’t really trust women.
Sis, or Bro, this one is self explanatory. RUN.
I’m not a good communicator.
This is coded language. Believe them. Refer to notes above concerning the silent treatment.
Always a Victim
Something is always going wrong and they are always the victim. They don’t acknowledge ever doing wrong in any situation. Aside from this being a signal of other problems it can also be very emotionally draining. I am feeling zapped at the thought of having to someone constantly dump their fake problems all over me. Yuck. Don’t talk to me. Talk to Jesus. He saves.
Like the first item on this list this can also take many forms. One common example is sexual. If a person wants to perform certain sexual acts and they are not willing to reciprocate, chances are they are selfish. They only care about their pleasure and not about yours. Get rid of them.
They show no interest in your interests. They always talk about themselves. Cut you off often. They are not here for you.
You should also pay close attention to the tone in which people speak. Nice words said with disdain or in a sinister tone are not very nice indeed.
Heed the Warnings! Ride the Maverick!
Happy Hump Day Beauties!