The Match Lab

Red and Green Flags in Online Dating


It’s fair to say online matchmaking has become one of the most popular leisure activities of the modern era. Dating websites and apps are advertised on TV, while rom-coms regularly feature storylines about singles who search for prospective partners or local hookups via their web browsers. There will undoubtedly be many individuals within your social circle who have succumbed to the temptation of looking for love in the digital world. Perhaps you’ve dabbled yourself? 

It’s important to balance the many positives – convenience, finding the most compatible people, and ease of communication – with the downside, no matter how rare the latter happens to be. Most of us are aware of sensationalized TV shows featuring ‘catfish,’ who use dating sites under a false identity. Occasionally, unscrupulous site users will try worming their way into someone’s affections only to try and extract personal information. Like passwords for online banking. As with anything in life, there are red flags and green flags associated with online dating. Understanding what these are will allow you to react appropriately should they arise.


Before introducing a list of these flags, it might be worthwhile to create some context. To gain a handle on the pros and cons of relying on digital services to match you with someone suitable, you need to appreciate just how widespread online dating has become. People sign up for these sites and their app versions for so many reasons. Have you ever asked the question, ‘Where would be the best place to find hook ups near me?’ In days gone by, the instinctive answer might have been to go to nightclubs or the nearest trendy bar! 

Nowadays, more and more singles are choosing to become immersed in the virtual world of online dating. By registering with a dating outlet, you take control of how things are going to pan out, with the power to check out as many or as few profiles as you wish. Hookups nearby can be arranged with as much ease as booking anything via your laptop or smart device. Of course, many singles also have greater aspirations than organizing one-night stands. The algorithms built into these services will assist with tracking down the most compatible individuals – ideal for anyone seeking a long-term partner. So much for the background to the digital dating phenomenon. How about those red and green flags?

Notice green flags

Shared interests and values

Finding hobbies, interests, and passions you share is undoubtedly the bedrock of any successful romance. These are the topics that will provide endless subjects for conversation as you are getting to know each other, icebreakers that will fill you with mirth, dispensing with any notions of awkwardness. Dating sites are terrific for helping members find these compatible individuals, thanks to algorithms that will suggest the likeliest candidates based on shared likes (or dislikes). Whether you’re drawn to someone who shares your love of Star Wars movies, or a fellow Sagittarius (other star signs are available!) or another LA Lakers fan, finding something that will allow you to start forming a strong bond is always a wonderfully billowing green flag!

Willingness to communicate

While compatibility is vital to any successful dating adventure, an equally important driver is strong communication. No matter what stage you are in any partnership, just getting to know each other, or developing chemistry, it is always important to maintain open channels. This is why we always value those dating site users who are ready to answer our messages and maintain meaningful dialogues. Even a simple text crammed with emojis is better than days of silence from your potential date, let alone sincere and deep exchanges. There’s a fine art to meaningful communication, which can be a good indicator for those looking for love or casual hookups online.

Positive online interaction

It’s so convenient to sign into social media or drop into your favorite dating channel’s inbox to check on messages. There can be a temptation to spend a lot of time fretting over news in the digital environment. But the important green flag to focus on is the quality rather than quantity of the interaction. Even when you two just touch base for a short while, make sure your interaction involves good humor and positive vibes.

Respectful sense of humor

Laughter is guaranteed to break the ice in the early stages of romance. Perhaps you’ve been there yourself at some point, sitting in bashful silence with a potential date while frantically trying to concoct riveting conversation topics! In this case you know how light self-deprecating observations can bring an instant outburst of chuckles and alter the entire mood. Maintaining this light-hearted approach is also a nice big green flag, so make sure to notice these aspects of behavior when talking to you potential date or hookup partner.

Openness to video calls

Dating sites offer so many flexible ways to keep in touch and being open to video chats is one of the best ways to establish chemistry. Gaining a strong visual impression of the person you’re connecting with is always a joy.

Beware of red flags

Incomplete or suspicious profile

Does a profile appear as if it was composed half-heartedly or less than honestly? This is a clear red flag and an indication this person isn’t trustworthy.

Disrespectful communication

Messages should always be uplifting. You should be wary of anyone who appears to be spiteful or antagonistic.

Inconsistent stories and information

Does the person you are chatting to tell stores where the information changes? Are their descriptions of their achievements inconsistent? Again, red flag time!

Pressuring for quick meetings

Trust is something to be carefully nurtured. Anyone trying to rush through things has ulterior motives.

Disregard for personal boundaries 

Everyone needs their personal space. It’s of paramount importance. When someone consistently oversteps the mark, this is counter-productive to a successful romance.

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