Beige Flags Are the TikTok Dating Sensation That Actually Kind of Make Sense
It's likely you've already heard of red flags, which are those toxic warning signals that pop up in your mind or gut to alert you that something is off. But TikTok's newest dating term "beige flags" are something that offer a slightly different perspective.
While red flags serve as a clear indicator to proceed with caution (or maybe even move on from the situation entirely), beige flags aren't as serious. And really, they're the softer, less alarming cousin of red flags. In other words, beige flags aren't necessarily dealbreakers, and they're also not necessarily cause for immediate concern, but they do still warrant attention and consideration.
Because they're so nuanced, though, beige flags largely vary from person to person; one person may think something is a beige flag while another person may not. And yes, they are also different than getting the ick, too, since the ick is something you may not be able to move past.
On TikTok, many content creators have been poking fun of the term by using the #beigeflag and sharing their partners' beige flags. In one example, a TikTok user says their partner's beige flag is that they are "never at 100 percent health. It's always 'I've got a headache' or 'my stomach hurts.'" Another user says her partner's beige flag is that he "pretends he isn't tired when i know he is."
Beige flags don't solely exist for people in relationships, though. In fact, they can be found all over dating app profiles too. So if you're curious to know more about these beige flags and how to spot them — whether you're single or already in a relationship — here's everything you need to know about the latest dating trend, according to Hinge's Director of Relationship Science, Logan Ury.
What Are Beige Flags?
In general, beige flags are the less-serious version of red flags. They're more like cautionary nudges rather than full-blown alerts. And in the dating app world specifically, "beige flags are signs that someone hasn't put much effort into their profile. The thought is that these online daters with 'beige' profiles won't be as much fun since their profiles lack more creative photos or responses," Ury says.
Beige flags vary for everyone, depending on your personal preferences, but we've all seen profiles laden with gym selfies or snaps holding catches from a fishing trip. Combine these with generic photos that give little away, it can make scrolling that much more frustrating. Hinge, for example, offers online prompts to get the users' creative juices flowing, yet can sometimes result in vague answers, like "I'm most competitive about . . . everything." Some people may consider the lack of effort in their profile to be a beige flag.
"Beige flags are the softer, less alarming cousin of red flags."
"While this might seem amusing, it's actually showing a lack of openness or imagination," Ury continues. Research by Hinge proves that beige flags are, in fact, a turnoff with half of users feeling bored when they receive one-word openers.
The same goes for beige flags with your romantic partner. If you notice a beige flag in your partner, it doesn't necessarily mean you should break up with them. It's more so just a sign that encourages you to take a closer look at the person you're dating, and evaluate whether the behavior could potentially become a more serious problem as your relationship progresses. Most of the time, it's not something you have to be worried about, and they really are more like quirks that make your partner unique.
Beige Flag Examples
As we mentioned above, beige flags are very nuanced, and largely vary depending on the person. But based on what people are sharing on TikTok, here are some fairly common (and popular) beige flag examples for people in relationships or dating:
- They give random items pronouns, such as "She's looking good" when referring to a car.
- They don't use phrases or sayings in the correct context.
- They continue to wear underwear or clothes that have holes in them.
- They always need something sweet after eating any meal.
- They eat pizza with a fork.
- They will not plan ahead — or worse, they will not plan anything at all.
- They will not find out the details about something. For example, if their best friend just broke up with their partner, they won't ask why.
- They love popping pimples.
As for Beige Flag examples on a dating app, here are some common ones:
- They wear sunglasses in every photo.
- They have too many group photo pictures, even to the point where you don't even know whose profile you're on.
- They want to debate whether pineapple belongs on pizza.
- They are competitive about "everything."
- They don't know how to fold a fitted sheet.
- They are holding a fish in their profile picture.
- They have one photo.
- They have put zero effort into a bio.
Should You Pursue Someone Who Has Beige Flags?
When it comes to dating app profiles, "Unlike red flags, beige flags don't mean you should run in the other direction, but it's reasonable to think twice about dating someone who puts little effort into their profile," Ury says. "That being said, I've coached many clients who are fascinating people, but have profiles riddled with beige flags because they simply didn't have the time or knowledge to stand out."
In the world of online dating, it can be difficult to show your depth of personality in a few words or photos. And some are just too self-conscious to put themselves out there so vulnerably. "If you were initially attracted to them, keep in mind that amazing potential partners may not immediately shine online," Ury says. "Send them a message asking an interesting, topical question and see if they are able to catch your interest with their answer."
If you are past the point of online dating, use a beige flag to pay closer attention to the person you're seeing. Ask yourself if it's a beige flag you can live with, or if it's something that would eventually become a problem or dealbreaker down the road. Then, make sure to communicate that with your partner, and explain why it feels like a beige flag.
How Can You Avoid Beige Flags on Your Dating App Profile?
While you might be plagued with beige flags on profiles as you swipe through, you might have suddenly realized your own profile is an abundance of clichés, too. "Use your profile to tell a story. Who are you? What are you about? Show different sides of yourself and your life and mix in your humor and vulnerability," Ury advises. "When it comes to selecting photos, you want to go for flattering, but accurate. The all-important first photo should be a clear headshot, without any filters or sunglasses, so potential matches feel they can really see and connect with you on a personal level."
Ury also has a checklist of photos to include to give the best chance of dating success. Following the first headshot, she says to also include a full-body shot, a photo with your friends or family, and a photo of you doing something you love or are passionate about. This way potential matches can get a well-rounded insight into not just your looks and personality, but also your lifestyle. Take them on a journey with key points of your life, rather than five photos of you doing the same thing.
"When answering prompts or questions, go deep," Uly adds. "It might take more time on the outset but the first step is selecting prompts that allow you to be vulnerable and help the other person get to know you."
— Additional reporting by Taylor Andrews