I am grateful to have the opportunity to reach out to fellow Survivors, Butterfly Ninjas, and The Choose Courage Foundation supporters. It is a privilege to be part of such an important initiative. I want to extend my thanks and humbly invite you to read, share, and give insight into the foundation of healthy relationships. One in three women and one in seven men will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. CCF advocates for courage in the face of this travesty through survivor photoshoots, events, and spreading a message of hope and courage throughout the community. If you are in a domestic violence situation, please reach out to someone. There is help, and it is not shameful to seek help because nobody deserves to live in pain. One anonymous phone call to 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) will put you immediately in touch with support.

Let’s get down to business! In a series of blogs, I want to discuss the foundation and recipe for happy, potent, stable, and healthy relationships. And, I am talking about all relationships, from romantic to familial to bosom friendships. We have all heard the term “Red Flags” in regards to beginning a relationship with another. But, what are “Green Flags”? I was surprised to find that I do not know everything, so I took this question to my fellow Butterfly Ninjas and Facebook friends. I have so many thoughtful, insightful messages to share that it will be challenging to fit into a readable post. 

My dear, and oldest friend, Shelly, described a “flag” as a specific incident that gives you insight into who the person is. I set out to ask fellow survivors, Butterfly Ninjas, friends, and more what they consider to be a “Green Flag” signaling to Go! Go! Go! with the person they are embarking on the journey of forming a relationship.

Friendship is the core of a romantic relationship. Many people I spoke with expressed the desire to have a deep friendship with their partner to ensure the relationship’s longevity. Cultivating friendship can be as simple as sharing interests or devoting time and energy to learning about each other’s hobbies, pastimes, passions, and more. Keeping in mind that small gestures make a huge impact is helpful as you are getting to know one another. If you are reading a book and your partner/prospective partner asks you what it is about, GREEN FLAG!  

Love is the essential Green Flag for any relationship. We begin to define love for ourselves in infancy. Love is many different things, and it is MORE than a feeling. Being able to communicate and receive love is the ultimate Green Flag. Love is respect. Love is being a trustworthy and loyal friend. Love is being accountable for your mistakes and mishaps. Love is displaying gratitude for each other. Love is being a stable individual to provide support for one another. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu

Accountability. Holding oneself accountable is a big one for all! Being accountable ranges from 

One friend stated: How people deal with a flat tire, or any unplanned difficulty shows how they will respond to all sorts of crises or problems. Having even temperaments is a Green Flag because it creates a safe space between two people, which is when actual growth, honest communication, supportiveness, and love can flourish. Learning to apologize and make amends for your mistakes is vital to being a supportive friend, romantic partner, parent, sibling, and all-around good person. 

There was a resounding wish for grace, or courteous goodwill, in others. Simple acts and words of kindness are the basis of open and honest communication lines. Respect, healthy boundaries that are honored, vulnerability, how the person treats others (children, animals, service people, etc.), willingness to give and receive, the ability to admit wrongdoing and work to correct it, politeness, compassion, timeliness, and so much more. These sentiments reminded me of the Golden Rule (a maxim in most religions and cultures worldwide): Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

At the beginning of a relationship displaying stability is a GREEN FLAG! Strength looks different to all people, but there are core signs that indicate a person is stable. Sobriety, being on time, keeping your word, and an even temperament all point towards a person’s stability. One friend stated, “How they treat and talk about women (partners from past relationships) and previous relationships.” This statement struck a major chord with me. If your prospective partner is bashing, insulting, and belittling their ex-partner(s), it should be a Red Flag. It is imperative to be mindful that putting someone else down does not build the other person up. A stable person is comfortable being alone, has their hobbies and interests, and respects and requests healthy boundaries.

Please feel free to comment below with GREEN FLAGS you wish to share. Thank you so much! Below are Red Flags that are indicators that you should not pursue the relationship – always listen to your inner voice as it will guide you in YOUR right direction.

Typical relationship RED FLAGS (a behavior that feels unsafe and makes you feel scared, odd, uncomfortable, or even in the face of danger): Jealousy, defensiveness instead of apologizing, neglect, give insults disguised as compliments, the other person plays the victim, gaslighting, hypocritical behavior, lying, violent behavior (punching a wall, destruction of property, etc.),  belittling you, dominant behavior, forcing sexual acts, promiscuous behavior – to name a few. These behaviors are RED FLAGS, and they point to potential problems shortly. Do not ignore or dismiss these behaviors; welcome them as a sign not to pursue the relationship with a high probability of becoming violent. If you find yourself in a violent situation, reach out. There is help, and there is hope.

About (me)Marian: I am 46 years old, a survivor of two IPV relationships, a mother to four boys from age five to 21, and a writer. I love reading, learning, cooking, drawing, painting, and enjoying my friends and family each and every day.