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  • Writer's pictureShannon Gallagher, CCC, LCT-C, RCC

What Are Relationship Green Flags?

Updated: Jan 25

Everywhere now you can see videos and articles on what red flags are; whether they be more general or more personal to the person discussing them. Red flags tend to be very personal and not always the same for everyone. Therefore, it is likely more important to learn what the green flags are for a clearer comparison. Being a couple’s therapist, I thought it might be a good idea to remind everyone of what the green flags are. Of course, every couple is different, and they display affection and love differently however, healthy relationships tend to share similar qualities. We often as people find it way easier to focus on the negative, which means sometimes we need that reminder of what the positives even look like.


Couple holding hands


1. Effective and Healthy Communication: This goes beyond basic “How are you?” communication or “I want this for supper” This is being able to easily tell your partner(s) your wants and needs, while also being able to respect the wants and needs of your partner(s). If judgement or dismissal exists when this happens then sadly that is not effective or healthy communication.

2. Appreciation: in a relationship, this looks like respecting but also valuing your friend or partner(s) and expressing those things as well as gratitude for them often.

3. Balance: this means that you can find happiness just as much when you are together but also when you are apart. This means that your personal needs are met both within and outside of the relationship. The aspects outside of your relationship that can meet your needs are time spent with friends or family, through your career, or activities like hobbies that bring you joy.

4. Independence: this means that you both have your own hobbies, interest, and goals for life that are separate from your partner(s) or separate from the goals everyone has for the relationship as a whole.

5. Honesty: with this one goes beyond infidelity concerns and is mostly about general behaviour within the structure of the relationship. This speaks to an alignment or consistency between words and actions. When this occurs, the person's feelings and thoughts are expressed in a genuine manner.

6. Commitment: when a relationship has commitment it means that you are invested in your relationship and your partnership(s) making sure to put the necessary energy and time into the relationship and relationship goals. When this is seen in a relationship it is less likely that one of the people in the relationship feels like they or the relationship does not matter, or that they feel alone/ignored.

7. Common Ground: to extend the commitment green flag, commonality means having shared important values, goals, and beliefs. Differences in personality and behaviours between partners are very normal but at its basics having shared values, goals, and beliefs means that if an argument does happen it is more likely to be something small or something that has nothing to do with commonality factors.

8. Ability to Resolve Conflict: for lots of couples this can be difficult, especially when know what this even looks like. Simply put conflict resolution within a relationship is apologizing when necessary due to fault, taking responsibility for your part in the conflict, and working together to resolve the issues in a manner that is beneficial for all parties.

9. Self-Confidence: No this does not mean that you simply feel good as yourself in general, this means that you feel comfortable being 100% yourself within your relationship. If you hold back parts of yourself or who you are naturally then no you do not have this.

10. Safety: safety in a relationship is not just about physical safety, which is included of course, but it also means emotional, intellectual, and respect. You should feel safe to express how you are feeling without judgement or turning your feelings back on you to remove fault from them. Intellectually speaking you should be able to share your thoughts without issue, or fear of being used against you later. Finally, you should feel safe knowing that if you set a boundary with your partner(s) that those boundaries get respected.

11. Empathy: when our partners share how they feel what is needed is for our partners to listen/take our perspective and at minimum try to understand how we are feeling, regardless of if they agree or not with our feelings.

12. Intimacy: I do not what to burst your bubble, but this does not just mean sex, this means that within your relationship you feel emotionally and physically bonded with your partner(s), as well as, feeling close to them. Like I tell my clients intimacy can mean deep conversations, cuddling, holding hands, and so much more. Intimacy does not need pressure or the expectation that should be anything specific. For example, asexual relationships can be a prime example of how intimacy does not always have to be or need to include sex to be enough for the relationship to be successful.


Relationships are complicated but they do not have to be any more complicated. These green flags can be developed if they are missing, all partners in the relationship just need to put the same effort into the development.



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