Does your boyfriend feel compelled to announce everything he’s about to do before he does it, even if it’s just getting milk from the fridge?
Or maybe your partner loves Bruce Springsteen. Like, a lot. So much, in fact, they’ve been to 89 concerts (and counting).
This isn’t the first time the color beige has come up in the context of dating according to Thomas Edwards, dating coach and founder of The Professional Wingman.
“Beige flags started as a way to see if someone’s online dating profile was seen as boring,” Edwards tells TODAY.com. “If you use very cliche lines or you like pineapple on pizza or Excel spreadsheets, it seems like it was hints that you were totally boring.”
But recently the term has taken on new life and from the meaning of beige flags to if they matter in a healthy relationship, we’re here to help break it all down.
What is a beige flag?
According to online dating coach Max Alley, a beige flag is a behavior that your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or anyone else exhibits that’s, well, kind of strange without quite crossing into full-on freaky territory.
“It’s a super niche idiosyncrasy that is kind of funny, weird and unique, but not necessarily bad or not necessarily good,” he tells TODAY.com.
According to Alley, an example of a beige flag is your boyfriend reciting the etymology of someone’s name every time he meets a new person or knowing all the lyrics to every Jack Harlow song and singing them nonstop.
“(It’s) a pertinent interest to that person that they go all in on, which is seen as endearing and kind of cute. But also, a little weird,” he explains.
Are beige flags something to worry about?
Most everyone knows about red flags, or the blatant signs that your relationship is toxic, and green flags, the indicators that you and your love interest are well-suited for one another and it’s a positive situation overall.
Beige flags, however, are relatively new to the relationship flag family and fall somewhere in the middle. After all, we’ve all got our deal, right? The thing or things we do that, to us, seem perfectly normal, but to someone else, may seem a bit odd.
“We all have habits, traits and behaviors that are unique to us and that make us who we are. They may be ways we cope, how we react to stress or something we do to feel good,” Phyllis Ginsberg, M.A., MFT and author, tells TODAY.com.
Are these behaviors something we should be concerned about? Not necessarily, says Ginsberg.
“What might be called a ‘beige flag,’ that weird, odd, or quirky behavior, could be reframed and seen as cute or endearing. As long as it’s not so annoying that it makes you cringe or embarrasses you. That could be a dealbreaker,” she says.
Given that we’ve all got our own definitions of cringe and cute, what qualifies as acceptable in a relationship can be a little murky.
That said, if something seems a little off, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on it.
“If something comes up and it just makes you say, ‘Hmm,’ that’s something you just want to keep watching and paying attention to. See if it’s just the tip of the iceberg or is that a little thing, like he pins his socks together when he washes them and that’s pretty much it,” says Dr. Zoe Shaw, licensed psychotherapist.
It’s also important to recognize that, like the old adage, no one is perfect. If perfect’s what you’re looking for, you may want to shift your focus.
“You’re looking for somebody who is a good fit for you. You’re looking for somebody who you know well enough to know all their deficits,” Shaw says. “And that those deficits are something you can work with and deal with for a lifetime or for however long you want to date that person.”
Are beige flags overkill?
Since becoming a thing, countless TikTokers have taken to the social media site to post occasionally serious, but mostly amusing, accounts of their partner’s unusual quirks, running the gamut from poor texting skills to never checking their bank balance.
For better or worse, beige flags are having a moment.
“We live in a society that loves to identify and categorize things. That’s just kind of the trendy thing to do,” Edwards says.
But while we’re busy analyzing someone’s mildly unusual behavior, Edwards says to be mindful that we aren’t losing sight of why we’re with them to begin with.
“Those quirks and those interesting things can be a part of the personality and the character of who that person is, which is the very thing that you fell in love with or appreciate,” says Edwards.
“I think it’s important to know what green flags are, red flags are, but when we get into a whole spectrum of flags, then it makes the situation around dating, relationships, connection and attraction, really, really complicated.”
The bottom line? While poking fun at someone’s eccentricities makes for lighthearted TikTok fodder, keep the categorizing in check.
“I don’t think anybody should be ruled out because of the beige flag, because we are all quirky,” says Shaw. “Every single one of us are quirky in some way, shape or form and a beige flag is essentially a quirk.”
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:
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