Beige is considered a neutral color. Why? Primarily because it isn’t “loud” like, let’s say, red or blue. It kinda blends in and complements the other louder colors. Or it provides a muted contrast to them. So, does a beige flag mean something neutral then?
We all know what a red flag is – a trait or behavior that is, or should be, a deal breaker. And we know what a green flag is – great traits or qualities that mean a relationship has real potential. But beige flags in relationships? If they mean something steady,why not just yellow – an indicator of “proceed with caution”? Well, a beige flag is none of the above. Indeed, it is something a bit neutral and boring, but not quite. Curious? Then let’s dig in.
The phrase “beige flags” started to determine boring online dating profiles. Like, when someone wrote, “My interests include travel, dining out, movies, and sports,” there is no detail, excitement, or engagement. So this is an example of a beige profile of a beige person – maybe not worth a second look.
Over time, though, the term “beige flag” came to take on a newer meaning.
TikTok seems to be the “culprit” of this whole newer beige flag trend. On this social media platform, the trend originating in Australia and moving across the English-speaking world. In it, TikTok users began to refer to beige flags as personality traits or little quirks that are odd, weird, and possibly annoying. And so, it went far beyond the dating app and entered the relationship area.
But are they warning signs that a good relationship trend is going downhill? Are they yellow or red flags? Do beige flags turn into yellow or red? Let’s check the current place of the beige color on your relationship palette.
Relationship flags run along a full spectrum and exist in all modern dating situations. Let’s see what each color means:
“Yellow flags are the signs that tell you when to tread lightly, be cautious, and give yourself time to assess your partner further.”
Parisa Ghanbari, psychotherapist
Related reading: 14 Green Flags in a Guy You Date
In this case, beige flags are kinda in between green and yellow, but probably more toward the green flag end of the dating relationship spectrum. And taking them all by themselves, they, too, fall on a spectrum, which we will explore further.
To begin with, let’s admit that we all have beige flags – those odd quirks that are habits others have noticed too and even make fun of us for. These may be minor habits, but they can be irritating to others.
Let’s see what has a low, medium, and high potential of rising to the level of irritating a girlfriend or boyfriend in this age of modern dating.
Now, these are just examples. The other important matter is this whole business of a beige flag is what you or your partner is willing to “overlook” or point out and ask you to work on it. And there is, of course, what is known as the “ick” factor – a beige flag that you or your girlfriend/boyfriend simply cannot abide.
In other words, it’s one thing to be weird, but it’s another to be gross (can we say picking our nose?). What is what depends totally on you. Blowing one’s nose at the dinner table, while being a bit gross, can be worked on with calm and appropriate nudging. Or can not be worked. There’s probably no need for a dating coach to counsel you on how to address the topic.
Relationships develop over time through the process of dating. Two people get to know each other as that dating moves forward. And there are hundreds of thousands of behaviors that people in dating relationships see as beige flags. Let’s see what you can do with that.
“Learning someone’s quirks is all part of the process of getting to know a prospective partner…a beige flag is a process flag. You’re not deciding one way or the other yet. You’re still playing it out to see how you feel.”
Kathryn Smerling, Ph.D. and family therapist
Some people identify a beige flag as funny or strange and don’t give it a second thought. Others find them mildly annoying but are willing to overlook them, being focused on the bigger picture. They and their loved ones share common goals, principles, and interests, which are far more important as a sign that a relationship is healthy. That’s why being compatible on more significant issues is the larger priority.
You must also understand that while the person you are dating is probably sizing up your beige flags, you are also sizing up theirs. And a beige flag, you may not seem to be one to them.
There is nothing to say that a beige flag in a person you are dating cannot turn out to be a positive thing. Suppose, for example, they have the habit of checking their social media accounts at only two specific times a day and you check them throughout the day, getting distracted from other tasks. You might discover that they have the better trend here and try to adopt the same behavior. Turns out, it’s a good thing for you, too.
As you continue in the dating process, you will continue to notice a beige flag or two (or more) that you do find annoying. They are not enough to spoil your attraction to this person, and you have the choice to just live with them or to address them. The best advice? Talk about them:
This first talk can be the moment that both of you engage in total honesty about some negative quirks and actually become closer.
Yes, it happens. Your love has a beige flag that seems harmless at first. You notice it but are more than willing to ignore it at the moment. Over time, though, as you keep watching this flag, you see that it is beginning to affect your dating life with this partner. It’s a trend that you find more and more annoying.
Suppose, for example, that your love is rather addicted to cosplay. You are amused when they don a costume and attend a local conference or event. Maybe you go with them and actually enjoy it. It’s a beige flag that actually enlarges your world a bit.
Over time, though, your partner’s beige flags relating to cosplay begin to show themselves as rather obsessive. They travel out of town to conventions and events; they follow their favorite cosplay characters online, often ignoring your presence and the conversation you’d like to have. What started as a bit of an endearing trait is no longer necessarily good. You are becoming increasingly irritated.
At this point, the beige flag has turned yellow, if not red. And if and when it reaches the point of no tolerance, you are not a bad person if you close out the relationship.
If you have made it this far, you have become an expert on beige flags. Feel free to explain it all to a friend, co-worker, or family member. Most of all? Explain it to your dating partner and ask what yours are.