Pink Flags

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~Lao Tzu

What is a Pink Flag?  A Pink Flag is a micro-aggression or a form of social control.  These actions could be seen as minor actions but they can be a sign of a much bigger problem to come.  These warning signs are not big, glaring RED FLAGS, they’re smaller, lighter, PINK FLAGS.  Sometimes you enter into a relationship with someone, looking out for any red flags and fail to see a whole field of pink flags right in front of you.  Pink Flags don’t always have to be a bad thing.

No matter where you are in your relationship, the beginning, the middle or the end, your feelings are equally valid.  They should never be silenced or ignored, especially by you.  So, if someone, who you’ve just started to have a relationship with, does something that makes you uncomfortable, call them out.  This can be a great way to begin honest communication.

Look at these actions as part of a bigger picture; they may be a sign of things to come.  Pink Flags, when ignored can grow.  They can quickly turn into larger issues such as; alienation, isolation or even intellectual, emotional or physical abuse.  In a new relationship we tend to be on our best behavior, it might feel like everything else is perfect and it’s probably not going to get much better than it is right now.  So, this is the best time to speak up!

People will tell you, it’s trivial but when you know that you should never downplay your own instincts.  By not speaking out you implicitly allow the pattern of unwanted behavior to continue.  If your new partner is the real thing, they want to please you and based on that, there is no downside to speaking up.  It could deter that one unwanted action or it could cause a potentially bad egg to pack up and go away.

Was the action mean-spirited?  Probably…not.  Could you be over-reacting?  Maybe.  But being able to ask for what you want is really important in a relationship.  So, beginning at the beginning how it starts.  Talking about what you do and don’t want sets up a platform for communication that can help the relationship grow stronger, healthier and more intimate with lots of mutual respect.  Or, as I mentioned, it will scare off someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

Long-term, you want to be happy, everyone does.  We should routinely examine how we get happy.  Do things together and apart that cultivate happiness.  It’s true that, nobody can MAKE you happy but they can make a contribution.  The same goes with unhappiness.  Nobody can MAKE you unhappy but abusive behaviors will make a big, big contribution.

What’s the catch, if that’s the case, why do I even want to be in a relationship?  Look at it this way, what are we looking for?  We want a friend.  Almost every happy couple you ever speak with will tell you that they are BEST FRIENDS.  OK, how do your friends treat you?  A friend treats you with kindness, respect, trust, affection.  Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do to your closest friend and don’t take crap from a partner that would cause you to end a friendship.  But this is could be even better, ‘cause sex, we want sex too.

How can you get all this you’re wondering?  Kindness, you have to start by speaking up and speaking out of kindness.  Clearly state what you want and what you don’t want in the nicest, possible way.  Be kind and thoughtful in your actions.  You’ve found a person, you like this person and all you really want to do is iron out the kinks.  So, use your indoor voice especially if you wish to keep this person in your life.  But let your needs and wants be known.  Keep your eyes open and be mindful of the pink flags and it may keep the red flags away.


Barbara McLean
Barbara McLean earned her Master of Arts in Social Policy as well as certification in both Life Coaching and Trauma Advocacy. Ms. McLean's thesis 'Domestic Violence Advocates and How they Level the Playing Field' took a fresh look on Intimate Partner Violence and how techniques and definitions concerning recovery and outcomes have changed. Ms. McLean has years of experience in the treatment of the trauma cased by Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and various forms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Follow Barbara and her work educating people on Pink Flags, on Facebook.

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