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The concept of ‘beige flags’ became a trend on social media, specifically TikTok, but the definition has changed since it was introduced.
The term was originally coined by a TikTok creator @itscaito in 2022 to describe someone’s traits or characteristics mentioned on their dating profile that come across as boring or neutral.
For example, if you read on someone’s dating profile that their hobbies include taking walks, petting dogs, and drinking coffee, these may not be deemed as interesting or special enough about a person to really get to know them.
These hobbies may not even be considered hobbies as they are activities that people may do every day. Therefore, someone describing these as what they do for fun is a beige flag – it’s neutral, hence the color beige, a famously neutral color.
However, the definition of beige flags has shifted in 2023 to mean almost the opposite of its original definition.
The newer definition of beige flags is a trait or characteristic that someone has that can be described as quirky or different about them. This trait is neither a good nor bad trait, but it can make the other person in the relationship pause and think, ‘What are they doing?’.
Beige flags are not something that you necessarily like or love about your partner, but they’re also not serious enough to consider leaving them. A key theme is that beige flags are subjective to each person.
A TikTok trend has been circulating where creators share personal, often humorous, accounts of beige flags that their partner has, which gives an insight into the uniqueness of their partner and how they operate.
For instance, one creator describes how their partner’s beige flag is how they always ask the waitress at the restaurant for their recommendation of what meal they should have, just to not choose any of them.
This is not considered a positive or negative action, but it can be considered odd to the other person they are having dinner with.
Beige flags should not be confused with toxic traits, but they can be mildly annoying for the other person in the relationship.
They are different from red flags, which are signs that a person may make the relationship unsafe or unhealthy, e.g., criticizing or belittling your hobbies.
They are also different from green flags, which are signs that the relationship is healthy and going in a positive direction, e.g., treating your parents with respect.
Beige Flag Examples
If you use the hashtag #beigeflag or search for ‘beige flag’ on TikTok, you will find countless videos of people sharing their partners’, friends, or even their own beige flags.
Below are some examples of people sharing their partner’s beige flags:
“My boyfriend’s beige flag is that he sets timers instead of alarms. It’s midnight and he needs to wake up at 6? He’ll set a six hour timer.”
“My fiancé’s beige flag is that he’s always so unbothered he never cares to ask for details. His best friend is splitting from his partner. Why? He didn’t ask. His sister got a new job. Where? He doesn’t know.”
“My boyfriend’s beige flag is honking and waving at strangers as if he knows them.”
“My girlfriend’s beige flag is that she is never at 100% health. It’s always “I’ve got a headache” or “my stomach hurts” or “my left pinky toe is aching.” Never is there not a health issue of some sort.”
“My boyfriend’s beige flag is if I text him multiple questions on text, when he reads my texts he will choose one question, and only one question to reply to and ignore the rest of them like they were never asked.”
Other examples of possible beige flags that a partner can display include:
- Talking in their sleep
- Refusing to sit on any other seat in the house aside from ‘their seat’
- Using a straw for every drink, even hot tea
- Holding a pen in an unconventional way while writing
- Needing to sleep with a fan on, even in the middle of winter
- Clapping at the end of a flight when the plane lands
Are beige flags something to worry about?
For the most part, the trend of sharing beige flags is harmless fun, primarily shared for humor. Beige flags are, in their nature, not a cause for ending a relationship.
If you have a beige flag about your partner and it is causing you concern, making you uncomfortable, or negatively impacting your life, you have to consider whether it is actually a beige flag or whether it is a problem to resolve.
Can beige flags turn into red flags?
Of course, it can be hard to imagine how a partner who sets a 6-hour timer on their phone instead of an alarm can become a problem. Many of the beige flags may feel mildly frustrating at worst but are not deal-breakers or cause for concern.
However, according to psychologist Carly Dober, in some cases, beige flags could potentially turn into red flags.
If someone’s beige flag is that they must buy a cup of coffee every single day, this is not necessarily harming anyone. However, Dober states,
“That could become a red flag if they’re not financially literate, get themselves into debt for coffee, can’t pay their rent or bills because they like coffee so much.”
Likewise, if we go back to the example of the boyfriend who only responds to one out of multiple text messages, while it may be funny, the reason why he does it could be that he is dismissive of his partner or does not care enough to answer all their questions.
While this might not be the case in this instance, if there are similar behaviors of feeling ignored or dismissed in other areas of the relationship, it could be a red flag.
Can beige flags turn into green flags?
In some ways, your partner’s beige flags may turn into green flags. If you have a healthy relationship, your partner’s little quirks can become appreciated or endearing. After all, their differences are what makes them them.
Additionally, while the beige flags might be more noticeable at the start of a relationship, over time, they may become such a normal part of your life together that you don’t even notice them anymore.
According to the comments sections on TikTok videos for this trend, the public has decided that some of the so-called beige flags are what they would determine as green flags.
For example, one video creator states, “My fiancé’s beige flag is that he doesn’t like to eat dinner in silence. He will google “couples questions” or “relationship quiz” and ask me the most random yet intimate questions in a room full of people as if we’re in our own world.”
While this indeed might be a quirk that their fiancé has, it shows that he wants to engage in deep conversations and get to know his partner better, which feels like a positive rather than a neutral behavior, which was picked up by the following commentators:
How to deal with beige flags
So, is there anything that can be done about beige flags?
The first step would be to consider whether the trait or behavior is actually a beige flag or a red one. If it is something that is not negatively affecting the relationship or is turning you off your partner, then there is probably no need to do anything about it!
Identifying beige flags is a fun way to identify your partner’s mildly unusual behaviors and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
It is important to remember that no one is perfect, and you should have realistic expectations when it comes to relationships. If you are looking for perfection, then you may have to shift your focus.
We should remain wary that we are not losing sight of why we are in a relationship with our partner and be accepting of the differences we have.
However, it is good to remain mindful about your relationships. According to psychologist Carly Dober,
“Signposting what could become future issues early is great in relationships because that way you have options: Do I choose to talk about this with my partner or my friends… or do I just watch and wait?… I can be mindful about where this might lead.”
She goes on to say,
“You really have to decide what is worthwhile to you. What kind of relationship you want. What you can overlook and what you are happy just to accept. Not like. Not love. But accept.”
Talking to my partner about beige flags
Dober suggests that you could talk about beige flags with your partner in a lighthearted way.
You could say that you have seen a lot about beige flags on social media, and it got you reflecting on your own beige flags. You could ask your partner what they think your beige flags are, and you can share what you think theirs are.
As long as feelings are not getting hurt and it does not lead to picking each other apart, this can be a healthy way of reflecting on your relationship. Your partner might even find it sweet that you pick up on some of their quirks.
You could finish the discussion by identifying each other’s green flags to end on a positive note.
When it comes to beige flags, acceptance and open communication about our differences contribute to a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Dober, C. (2023, July 26). Everything to know about relationship beige flags. [Audio podcast episode]. In Extra Healthy-ish.