According to biology sophomore Marisol Gonzalez, a red flag is a sign in any relationship that shows something bigger is going on. It can be something bad, a secret being kept or just something to look into, she said.
Red flags are different for everyone and manifest differently in every relationship, and it can be difficult for some people to be honest with themselves when they arise.
Communication is definitely important, no matter what kind of relationship it is, Gonzalez said. If you see a red flag but want to make things work, you need to talk.
“Honestly, if you’re going to get through anything, you have to communicate,” Gonzalez said.
If someone doesn’t communicate well and can’t address problems when they arise, then that’s red flag number one, said computer science freshman Dayja Wallace.
Wallace knows from experience that good communication is essential. She dated someone who wasn’t good at it, and the problem kept coming back, she said.
Making yourself pay attention when you notice something’s off is essential, Gonzalez said. Ignoring signs is something many people do because they really want to make it work.
To continue the relationship, people must critically examine whether or not the red flag is a deal breaker and will affect the relationship permanently, she said. Having a good support system of friends and family is also useful.
Due to the value placed on romantic love and the societal pressure to be in a relationship, it can be easy for someone to make excuses or overlook certain personality traits in order to be in a relationship, music education freshman Libby Birdwell said.
Many people date and move through relationships with a scarcity mind-set, she said. It convinces them that there aren’t a lot of romantic options and that they have to settle.
Love can cause people to make irrational choices and accept behaviors like cheating, lying and disrespect from a partner that they wouldn’t tolerate in a different form of relationship, Birdwell said.
“You’re not gonna do that to me because I love myself too much to let you waste my time,” she said.
Seeing a partner through rose-colored glasses hides their flaws, Gonzalez said. It’s easy, especially in the beginning of a relationship, to be stuck in the “love is blind” phase and not want to see a partner’s issues, trauma and baggage.
It’s important to be clear about what you want and need in a relationship, and what you expect of a romantic partner, Birdwell said. Personally, she likes to give two chances.
“They’re not worth me staying around if they’re going to be acting a certain way,” she said.
Communication is easy to learn, and it can make or break a relationship after you see a red flag, Wallace said. Anything can be compromised, it just depends on how badly you both want to make things work.