It’s so easy to talk about red flags in men. Often they aren’t emotionally available, or they’re commitment-avoidant. And you probably thought of at least one right off the top of your head. But red flags aren’t gender-specific, are they? In fact, you can find them in women too.
First of All, What Is a Red Flag?
A red flag is any trait or behavior we notice that isn’t compatible with what we want.
Think of a traffic light. Red means stop. Green means go. Yellow is the warning to take caution.
Green flags are the healthy relationship signs that mean we’re good to proceed with the relationship. Green flags might be respectful communication, honesty, and kindness.
Yellow flags — well, we don’t often talk about them, do we? They’re the things we question. They aren’t green, but they aren’t red either. This isn’t the realm of deal breakers.
This is the place where we are cautious going forward.
But red flags are stop signs. They’re clues that we’re heading in the wrong direction. They can be signs of toxic, immature, or just plain unhealthy connections for us.
The 19 Worst Red Flags in Women, According to a Former Therapist
To help you understand when a woman isn’t the right person for you, I have put together some of the most common warning signs you should look out for.
But why should you listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement and psychology. My work has been featured on large publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, Mamamia, and The Good Men Project.
1. She’s on the Rebound
If she just got out of a relationship and is on the rebound, steer clear. This is one of the worst red flags in women.
If she’s gone straight back into dating, she hasn’t grieved the relationship that ended or taken the time for any personal growth.
If you don’t mind unpacking that baggage with her or lugging it around, that’s probably fine for you.
But it’s not really. You should see a person who bounces from one relationship to the next as a walking, talking red flag. Those unresolved issues are going to come out in her relationship with you.
It’s unavoidable. If you ignore this flag, you could be headed for trouble.
2. She Doesn’t Share Your Values or Lifestyle
This red flag isn’t talked about as often as it should be. If she doesn’t share your values or lifestyle, that’s actually a clear sign that you’re not compatible. It doesn’t mean you’re right, and she’s wrong.
And it doesn’t mean she’s not a good potential partner for another person. It means she’s not right for you.
This, too, is a red flag. It doesn’t mean ignore the differences and try to merge two incompatible lifestyles and values to make it work.
It means that you’d both be better suited to continue on to find other partners.
We have created a free pdf file to help you better understand women. Download your free cheat sheet What High-Quality Women Really Want, and learn the five things women really want from a man.
3. She Plays Games
If she plays games when dating, she’s showing some significant maturity issues. And this is one of the worst red flags in a girl.
It might not even be entirely her fault when you consider that society socializes women to act in this way to gain male attention.
But an emotionally mature woman doesn’t play games. She’s direct. She tells you what she wants and what she doesn’t.
She doesn’t play hard to get because she doesn’t see the need to play a game to get anyone’s attention.
If you notice a woman who engages in game playing while dating, you’re going to see that same manipulative, indirect tendency come out in your relationship, too.
Have fun with that.
Recommended read: 17 Relationship “Green Flags” That Means You Found a Great Life Partner
4. She’s the Victim in All Her Relationship Stories
One of the red flags in women you should look out for is the victim mentality.
Is every ex she’s had a total narcissist, cheater, or liar? Warning! This is a red flag.
No one is completely innocent in every single relationship. If she constantly plays the victim, you’re getting a preview of how she’ll talk about you in the future.
Bashing your exes may be a great icebreaker if you both have troubled relationship histories, but if she doesn’t have anything good to say about any of them, you’re in trouble.
5. The People You Love Don’t Like Her
If the people you love best don’t like her, there’s a reason. This is a major red flag. If you have healthy people in your life who love you, they aren’t going to try to sabotage your happiness.
They’ll want to protect it.
So, when they tell you that your partner isn’t good for you, it could be because they see what you don’t, or won’t.
The people you love should really like the one you’re with because they see you’re good for each other. If they hint around at the fact that they don’t like her, don’t get defensive. Find out why.
They may see what you don’t (yet) notice.
Download your free cheat sheet What High-Quality Women Really Want.
6. She’s Critical and Condescending
A woman who is critical and condescending is not ready for a healthy relationship. These behaviors are big waving red flags that are telling you to run, not to chase.
It doesn’t matter why she’s critical and speaks to you with condescension. It’s not respectful communication, and it’s not okay.
If she’s making you feel bad about yourself and talking to you like you’re stupid, then she’s the problem.
This is emotionally abusive, and it’s also a sign that she’s just not very mature. If she was, she could communicate respectfully with you even when angry.
Address this behavior, but if it doesn’t change, know that it’s a red flag you should never ignore.
7. She Wants to Change You
A significant red flag in a girl is when she wants to change you. You are not a Pinterest project. You are a human being, and you deserve to be loved for who you are.
If she’s constantly trying to give you a makeover to be someone else, she doesn’t love you for you. She loves you for who she thinks you could be if you just tried harder.
The woman who sees all the potential in you might flatter your ego, but if she wants you to be someone or something you’re not, it’s a red flag that’s never going to work out for you.
A great relationship will make you want to be better for each other, but no one should be pressuring you to be someone you’re not.
8. She’s the Jealous Type
One of the main red flags in women is obsessive jealousy.
Jealousy might be flattering at first. At least, a little. You can admit it. But the jealous type is a red flag.
You’re entitled to a past life, to private communications, and to privacy in general. If she’s questioning you about your past, looking through your messages, or generally invading your privacy, it’s not okay.
Her constant suspicion and jealousy may be a sign of low self-esteem or past trauma, but that’s on her to deal with — not you.
9. She’s Not Accountable
If she can’t ever admit when she’s in the wrong, there’s no other way to see this. This is always a red flag in a girl. Partners should be accountable for their behavior.
If she can’t admit to fault or apologize, she’s not ready for a real relationship.
It goes back to the ex history, too. Does she see her role in past problems, or is everything everyone else’s fault? At home. At work. In friendships and romantic relationships.
Her victim mentality is a way to avoid accountability, and you should take note. It’s a red flag that will only get worse over time.
Recommended read: 9 Relationship Red Flags You Should Never Ignore
10. She Has a History of Cheating
Let’s be clear. If she flirts with you while she’s in a relationship, it’s a red flag. If she has a past history of cheating in general, it’s a red flag.
She’s already showing you what might happen in your relationship if she gets bored or find herself attracted to someone else.
A history of cheating is a red flag that could come back to bite you later. Even if she’s cheating with you, it’s a red flag that she’s not the healthiest she could be for a relationship.
Otherwise, she’d end her current relationship and start a new one with you without the need for lies or secrecy.
11. Her Sense of Humor is Mean
A woman who has a mean sense of humor is waving a red flag that you shouldn’t dismiss. She can pinpoint your weakness and use it as comedic material, and it makes you feel bad about yourself.
She probably does this to your friends and family, too.
If she’s always joking around in a mean way, it’s not a joke. It’s a red flag.
Run, don’t walk, away from the woman who is mean when she’s funny. It’s not an endearing character trait.
It’s a flaw she doesn’t appear to be working on if she keeps doing it.
12. She’s Clingy and Pressures You to Commit
If you’re dating someone who keeps pressuring you to commit, you need to review the relationship. If you’ve been together a pretty long time and you’re still avoiding commitment, her pressure might be understandable.
But if you just met and she already wants to update the relationship status, that flag is scarlet, not just red.
The woman who is clingy and pressures you to move faster than your comfort level is showing you some serious insecurity and likely some other issues, too.
While it might be cute in the beginning, having to pry her off you to go about your day will get old fast.
Being pressured to commit could be a love bombing technique meant to lock the relationship down before you see the other, more subtle red flags she’s hiding.
13. She Gives You the Silent Treatment
When she’s mad, does she ignore you, screen your calls, or fail to respond to texts?
The silent treatment isn’t just immature; it’s a red flag. And it’s a toxic behavior. Anyone who acts like this isn’t ready to be in a healthy relationship.
While it doesn’t mean you have to dump her and move on, it does need to be addressed. This behavior isn’t a trait of a healthy relationship.
Communication is key, and you can’t communicate with someone who will tune you out every time there’s a problem. Beware this red flag.
14. She’s Passive Aggressive
Instead of addressing issues with you, she finds other ways to let you know. She’s petty, passive aggressive, and anything but direct about how she feels.
She’s just handed you a red flag that you shouldn’t ignore.
Does she post a vague status on social media for attention or to get people to take sides rather than talking to you about it?
Does she go around slamming cabinet doors rather than telling you she’s angry? Even worse, does she cry and say nothing is wrong when you know she’s upset? You’re in red flag territory, my friend.
15. She’s Not Independent
A person who isn’t independent is a red flag for any relationship. If a woman isn’t financially independent or emotionally resilient, you’re going to find yourself as more of a caretaker than a partner.
If you’re cool with that dynamic, press on, but it can be problematic if you’re independent and have interests and a life and she doesn’t.
The best partners are the independent ones who aren’t expecting you to entertain them all the time or fill their social calendar.
They’re the ones who take care of business but also understand making time for the relationship. They’re interdependent but never codependent.
If you see those codependent signs, it’s a red flag you’ll need to note.
16. She’s Not Authentic
Is she the same person online as she is in real life? Is she honest about her flaws? These are questions you should ask yourself. Not being authentic is a red flag in a woman.
It may be an indicator that she doesn’t know herself very well, or it could show you that she’s manipulative and more concerned with being who people want her to be than just being herself.
It might not be a conscious decision she’s making, but it will impact you, so heed this red flag before proceeding.
17. She Runs Hot and Cold
Inconsistency in a woman is yet another key red flag.
If she runs hot and cold and you find yourself in an on-again-off-again relationship, you’ve got to ask yourself why you’re seeing this red flag and not running from it.
This isn’t a healthy relationship. If she’s not sure about you, let her go figure it out alone and not drag you through the ups and downs of deciding if she wants to be with you or not.
Her inconsistency should not be your problem. So, why are you making it your problem?
18. She’s All Drama
Drama is a major red flag in a girl, and the thing is, she probably won’t tell you she loves it. She’ll probably say she hates drama, and yet, she’s always engaged in it.
There’s always something upsetting happening in her life, and emotional upheaval is just part of her daily routine.
If you love drama, this might not be a red flag for you, but for most of us, this behavior gets stressful fast. She’ll bring that sense of drama right into your relationship.
If that works for you, good. If not, it might be time to reconsider the relationship.
19. She Monopolizes All Your Time and Attention
Does she monopolize all your time and attention, isolating you from your other relationships?
Abusive relationships start out that way, too. I’m not saying your relationship is abusive, but I am saying this is a red flag behavior.
You need space and balance in healthy relationships. Without it, the relationship will collapse under the strain. You need outside relationships — friends, family, and colleagues.
You can’t make one person your whole world, and if she’s made you hers, know that this is going to be a lot of pressure that no single person could ever live up to — nor should you.
What You Should Do About Red Flags in Women
Once you see these or other red flag behaviors in a girl, you need to have a conversation about them. Be honest but kind. Noticing these behaviors doesn’t mean they’re a bad person.
They just aren’t a healthy person for you.
There’s no need to be mean about it. You can simply say that you’re not compatible and move on. Being honest about why just might be the push that she needs to work on her issues.
She may not even realize what she’s doing or how it made you feel.
You get to decide if you want to give her a chance to work on these behaviors or if you’d rather just move on. It might be more of a cautionary flag for you and not a sign to stop. You get to choose.
Just remember that you have to live with your decisions.
We all have behaviors someone else might see and think “red flag”. It’s not fun to be someone else’s warning sign or cautionary tale.
But this is how we decide what we want and what we don’t. We don’t have to make a value judgment about the other person to decide that they simply aren’t for us.
Red flags are everywhere. You can ignore them. You can accept them. But if you want to keep growing and learn to have healthy relationships, you’ll need to heed them.
Don’t forget to download your free cheat sheet What High-Quality Women Really Want.
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