People often get caught up in trying to run from red flags spotted in personal relationships. However, this avoidance makes them forget to acknowledge that green flags exist too. People aren't completely bad or completely good—everyone has flaws. Be observant in your relationships and ensure that you feel comfortable, cared for, and loved.
For the longest time, I ran from friendships because I was terrified of being hurt again. I couldn't stand the idea of being let down so I did the rejecting. But remember that not everyone is out to hurt you.
Some people genuinely care, and it’s all about finding these people. I am still in pursuit of finding my people, but I've seen enough relationships to be able to distinguish the necessities in them. Here are some green flags to look out for in your personal relationships.
They Want to Know You
Pay attention to those who are interested in and devoted to who you are, and those who want to get to know you better. They want to learn more than just the surface aspects of your character. They want to learn what excites you, what scares you, what you hope to accomplish, your values, and your boundaries, just to name a few.
It takes a while to get to know someone in depth, so someone who takes time to understand you really wants you in their life. I found that devotion to a person's true spirit is really important as your relationship progresses: firstly, you can assess whether you think they'll be a good match for you in the long term (which should always be a thought); second, you can work out if you have any common ground and things to bond over but; also, you can determine how you can help each other grow.
You Feel Safe
More than anything, you need to ensure that you feel comfortable enough to be your true self around your friends, your colleagues, your significant others, and any other important people in your life. Life is full of problems and tough moments. A safe space is necessary because you need people that are going to comfort and support you through everything you go through.
Find people that make you feel safe, that embrace your uniqueness and that are there for you. Life progresses very quickly and we all embark on different dreams and passions and whilst it's incredible, at times, it can be a bit overwhelming. Ensure you establish an environment where you can be open and honest with other people.
You Can Talk To Them About Your Dreams
It's important to have people in your life you can be open with; like a friend who openly listens to what you have to say, free of judgment. I have seen and been in relationships where I hesitate to discuss my hopes and dreams because people are quick to form judgments against them. I've found myself reflecting and wishing that I'd taken a chance on that which I wanted to previously. Don't ever let anyone deter you from your desires.
If you’re in such a relationship, leave. Those are subtle hints of jealousy. I’ve seen many friends struggling to congratulate others on their successes—that's not healthy.
Be graceful in other people’s successes, while remaining patient and steadfast in seeking your own. Nothing worth having comes easy—keep trying and you'll get there.
And always remember those who love you are often more excited at the prospect of your success than you are. I know if I told my sister about my achievements, she'd be happier than me. Pay attention to people's behaviour when you discuss your future plans.
They Are Honest With You
Honesty in any relationship is important—not only in terms of building trust, but also having someone who will tell you the unfiltered truth about yourself. For me, that’s my mum and my sister. I know that no matter the circumstances, they’ll keep me in check if I’m acting up and give me the unfiltered truth in any situation. They always keep me in check and tell me the harsh reality of life which is necessary in life.
As a friend, people tend to prioritize the feelings of others and that may stop them from telling them the truth. I get it, I've been that friend who would sugarcoat to spare everyone’s feelings—but not anymore. I'd rather tell the complete truth and offer growth rather than spare others' feelings.
More than anything, you need to be able to accept criticism. People who are honest will help you grow as an individual and vice versa.
They Don't Gossip
Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions. Try as you might, you’re not going to get along with everyone you encounter—that's not a bad thing, it’s just life. What is bad is when people constantly badmouth others, or always have something to say about someone else. You don’t have to like everyone, but you do have to respect them on the grounds that we are all human beings, comprised of the same complex structures, thoughts, and emotions.
People that don’t gossip allow you to focus on your relationships and avoid drama. I also find that people who constantly gossip are the most flawed themselves—we all have our own areas for development, but gossipers divert attention away from their own flaws by dragging someone else's name. Be careful of such people.
They Educate You on Important Topics
I think the curriculum (especially in the UK) is extremely narrow—relying on just the syllabus for knowledge will leave a person with a closed-minded view of the world. There’s so much to learn, and a lot of that isn’t taught in schools. People often have knowledge they would be more than happy to share with others, especially their close friends and family.
Treasure them. And on a personal level, seek out knowledge of everything. I find it so interesting to talk to people who know a lot about a variety of things and often they can grant the greatest insight on important topics and issues. Often, however, people can be a bit condescending when they are trying to teach you a new fact so be mindful of this and appreciate friends that teach you things without making you feel less than for not knowing.
They Respect Your Boundaries.
Regardless of how close you are with someone, you’re going to have certain things you do and don’t tolerate from anyone. Those who care for you will understand you when you request something; be it space, time to collect your thoughts, or someone else to speak to.
I've had many friendships where people feel entitled to my time and feel the need for access to me. I want to remind you: you owe nobody anything. If you don't want to call back, don't.
If you don't want to text back, don't. If you don't want to show up, don't. Don't let anyone force you to do anything you feel you don't want to.
They Respect Your Relationships With Others
As I said previously, it's not a necessity to like everyone you meet—it's not realistic—but you do have to respect them. Part of that is respecting the relationships between your friends and other people that may be in their lives. People that don’t intrude and respect your boundaries in that sense are also important.
And if you ever feel left out when someone you love has a close bond with another, remember that spending time with other people doesn't invalidate your bond. I feel like if a person is also too clingy, it may sever the friendship that had existed so if anything, ensure you have positive relationships with as many people as possible: that way, you can effectively speak to anyone without feeling weird about it.
They Admit Their Mistakes
One thing I've learned is that no one’s perfect, including yourself. You’ll never be the best person (objectively speaking) and growing up it’s very easy to get defensive. I certainly was renowned for always having a rebuttal. But my mum always used to fight me for it, and rightfully so—the mark of a true friend is being able to own up to your mistakes, accept responsibility for your actions, and try to change.
Being classified as a good person is rather subjective—the word itself has connotations of purity, perfection and goodness. Sometimes I wonder how I'd classify myself. Try as I might, I'll never be pure or perfect, but would that then mean I'm no longer a good person?
Ultimately, it’s up to you how to "classify" a person. The most important thing to keep in mind is the attitude someone holds—there’s no such thing as perfect. Friends will always fall out, have disagreements, and offend each other, but it doesn’t mean either of you are necessarily bad individuals. Your view of the world and other people, as well as the way you treat them defines you.
Try to be that person for someone else. And seek out that person for yourself.