lessons on “green flags”: pt 2: how do you know if it’s real?

Watercolor hand drawn sketch illustration of garland of green flags with white stripes isolated on white By fuzzylogickate

You understand red flags.

You’ve just met the person. Initially, they do something that sets off your spidey senses. They showed up late to your first date, come on! After that, though, they never show up late again and you live happily ever after. Red flag averted.

Okay, not really. But they mostly show up on time. Like a regular human being amount of times.

Green flags are slightly more difficult. Sometimes I feel every single nice behavior shown to me is a green flag. I had (have?) a bad habit of distrusting love. I was (am?) sure that those I place the most faith in will turn on me.

But I did come across a bit of a secret.

The best way I’ve found to identify the difference between a green flag and a desirable behavior is this:

Time.

That’s it. Eventually, like red flags, green flags will prove themselves. Nobody can keep up a lie forever, whether through lack of ability or lack of caring.

I ask myself, what is more likely? That this/these person(s) who have invested years in me, say my master and the munchkins, are sincere in their words and actions? Or that it’s an elaborate plot where they’ll jump up and declare, “Hah! I lied! I faked it for YEARS, just to make you suffer that much worse in the end!” Probably nobody who dislikes me cares enough to waste ten years on a plot against me.

Same with my friends who have stood by me over the years. Do they really despise me enough to fake their friendship?

How do you know when it’s been “long enough to know”?

You don’t. I know, that’s not what you wanted to hear. But you don’t. For me, I’ve found people generally can’t last through three dates. Some can last for about six months. Longer than that? Most will move on to easier prey.

This doesn’t mean that six months is the end all and be all of determining trust. But after six months, you’re perfectly warranted in saying this is beyond a green flag, but solid enough evidence for you to believe this is who the person is.

Bear in mind, green flag or not, people change.

That doesn’t mean you were wrong to believe in them. Or to be with them. It might mean you need to change, too, but at some point, if you want to believe in the relationship you’ve got to let go of the “green flag mentality” and give the person your trust and vulnerability.

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