In today’s video, I’m going to share my top “Green Flags” in dating–because looking only for “red flags” is not enough.

Read on or watch below to learn all about my top “green flags” in dating.

Zachary Stockill: I recorded a video recently talking about my top relationship red flags. In other words, the qualities in someone else, or certain characteristics that someone else might demonstrate when I’m dating them, that might be potential indicators of future complications, problematic future drama, and all the rest. And so I was thinking that it’s only appropriate that I create a video/article talking about my relationship “green flags.” In other words, the things that I look out for that could indicate that the person I’m dating and I might have a good future together, that the person who I’m dating is worthy of bringing into my life on a long-term basis.

My first green flag is pretty simple. It’s pretty obvious to my mind, but I don’t think it’s obvious to a lot of people. My first green flag is when I’m dating someone is: are they a happy person in general? Are they happy? Do they have a happy life? Do they have a happy disposition? Are they happy without me? I think this is so important.

green flags in dating

The way I see it, the recipe for a healthy relationship is two happy people who are happier together, but also happy apart, also happy on their own.

One thing that makes me cringe is when people say: “I want someone to make me happy.” Or “I’m just looking for someone to make me happy.” Or other people will say “I just want to make someone happy. “

I don’t think you can have a great truly great long-term relationship or marriage until you’re truly happy on your own, until you can be happily single.

I pay very close attention to the woman I’m dating to make sure that they’re a pretty happy person without me. Now, of course, everyone has bad days, we all have problems, I’m certainly not happy 100% of the time. But I want the person I’m dating to show that they’re capable of being quite happy without me. I am not looking to “save” anyone, and I’m not looking to be saved myself. There are a lot of people out there who go looking for someone that they can save, they want to rescue someone from themselves from their own drama or whatever.

There are also people out there who want to be saved themselves. I’m not interested in that for all kinds of reasons I could spend hours talking about, but fundamentally, it’s a recipe for a dysfunctional, unhealthy, unrealistic relationship. I want to be with someone happy.

Alaos: are they kind to people they don’t have to be kind to?

My second relationship green flag is also counterintuitive, but I think it’s important. It is such a turn-off for me when I’m in a restaurant and I see someone harassing the waitstaff or talking down to people, or snobbery, people who think they’re better than other people, for whatever reason. I can’t stand it when people treat people like that. And I think it’s a huge red flag for a relationship.

Someone said to me once “You want to pay attention to the way she talks to the waiter when she’s slightly annoyed because she might be talking to you like that someday if you’re in a relationship with her.” If she’s disrespecting the waiter, chances are pretty good that she’s going to start disrespecting you. You want to keep that out of your life. I’ve followed that advice, and it’s worked out pretty well.

So I want to be with someone who’s kind, and this ties into the happy equation. Happy people are generally kind. But I want to be with someone who is kind to people, they don’t have to be kind to.

Another green flag: “Can I negotiate with this person? Or is this person so damn stubborn that they’re can’t take any critique, they can’t take any criticism? There’s no self-reflection, there’s no self-accountability. It’s my way or the highway.” That vibe, I find a huge turnoff, I don’t want that in my life. I’m flawed in all kinds of crazy and complicated ways. I’m not a perfect person, I have lots of work to do. And I want to be with someone who you can bounce ideas off with. Can you argue constructively? It always worries me when someone says about their partner:

“We never fight. We’ve never had a fight…” Because I feel like, “Oh, it’s coming. It’s just going to be a nuclear bomb of a fight.”

Rather than a minor skirmish. In other words, things happen in life. We’re all complicated. And there’s going to be times when you clash, and I always try to pay attention to how well we clash. Do we take ownership of our own mistakes and failures? Shortcomings? Can we negotiate with each other along with those terms? Is our communication relatively good, relatively “clean,” for lack of a better word? 

In other words, we’re not projecting and yelling and getting animated for no reason. Can we fight constructively? Can we negotiate with each other?

Another huge green flag is a relatively matched-up sex drive, and high sexual compatibility. I think physical attraction, sexual attraction is extremely important in a relationship, something that’s very important to me.

And when I’m dating someone, if I get the sense that maybe we wouldn’t be a great match on that level, for me, that is a deal-breaker. I mean, I think that physical connection, sexual compatibility, all these things, physical attraction, are extremely important. I want to be with someone who’s on the same level.

Another green flag: is she interested in personal growth? Likewise, I’m not saying she has to be making personal development videos on YouTube. (In fact, one of those people in a relationship is probably enough, frankly.) But are they interested in growing as a person? Do they have any interest in personal development whatsoever, whatever that looks like for them? 

Ultimately, we all have to be our own salvation. We’re all responsible for ourselves, for our own growth, for our own personal development. 

Again, remember I’m not trying to “save” anyone, I’m not trying to rescue someone from themselves. And I want to date a woman who understands that, who’s taking ownership of her personal growth, who has at least some interest in becoming a better woman a year from now than she is today. In the same way, I want to be a better man a year from now than I am today.

Another green flag in dating: is she honest with me? Even when it hurts? Is she honest with me even when I don’t necessarily like what she’s saying to me? Is she willing to take that risk that she might tick me off? Or she might even, possibly, offend me, when I asked her to be honest with me? I believe a healthy relationship is founded on honesty. If there are lies and deception, it’s not going to work.

green flags in dating

Because I want the truth. I don’t care if it hurts. When I ask someone a question. I want the truth. That’s very important to me.

Out of all green flags in dating. This one took me a little longer to figure out, frankly, in my own personal life, but I think it’s important. Do we have compatible lifestyles? I mean, just in general, the way we live our lives, our interests, the way we want to spend our weekends, things like that. The general day to day of being in the same place, aside from the vacations, aside from the hotels, aside from special occasions, aside from dates, can we live together in a way that is relatively complimentary? Even down to mundane things, like: what time does she like to go to bed? What time does she like to wake up? Because these things are important, these things matter. We don’t necessarily have to be 100% simpatico on these things. But there should be some general compatibility there.

For example: I am in my mid-30s now, and I’m in a place in my life where I enjoy going out for a drink now and then, but I’m not at that point in my life anymore where I want to party until 4 am. It’s not interesting to me; I have too much I want to get done in the morning. I hate being hungover. I want to make good videos, I want to do good work, I want to have good coaching calls, I’m focused on my fitness, and I have a lot going on.

Frankly, I couldn’t date someone who wants to go out and get blackout drunk every weekend at the bar until 3 am. Or, she’s unhealthy and she hates the gym, and she never wants to do anything like that. Or she doesn’t like documentaries (I’m a documentary film junkie). I want someone who’s interested in living lifestyle.

The most important, final green flag is: are they self-accountable?

Now, I alluded to this earlier, but I want to emphasize this point. Are they self-accountable? Or do they have a victim mentality? It is not going to work if I’m dating someone who never accepts personal responsibility for their life, never accepts responsibility for their own choices, their own decisions, their own destiny, their own direction in life.

I can’t be with someone who thinks her life is everyone else’s fault. “It’s society’s fault,” or “It’s the government’s fault,” or “It’s your fault,” or “It’s my parent’s fault.” I believe that life only gets better once we take 100% personal responsibility for our lives. And it’s as simple as that.

We’ve all been through challenges. We’ve all been through hardships, we’ve all had people wrong us. And We’ve all had people hurt and disappoint and betray us. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter because those people aren’t around anymore.

We are alone with ourselves, fundamentally. And I need to be with someone who takes responsibility for their own life. Now if I love someone, of course, I’m going to take some degree of responsibility for that woman, I’m going to protect her where I can and I’m going to love and nurture her and all the rest. I’m not saying that. It’s like, oh, you’re on your own with your problems. You’re on your own with your life. But at the end of the day, I want to be with someone who takes personal responsibility for their life and more importantly, who takes personal responsibility, personal ownership for their direction in life, their direction in the future.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.