What is a Beige Flag

Rita

Last Updated: May 22, 2024

Dating Tips

Ever read a detail in an online profile that was neither particularly interesting nor something that you could just breeze by? Chances are, you just picked up on a beige flag. Learn more about this dating term made famous on TikTok and what it could mean for your dating life!

Origin and Definition of Beige Flags

When a new dating term comes on the scene, we usually can’t say for sure who started it. Not the case with beige flags. Caitlin MacPhail was the first person to coin the term with her infamous TikTok series that changed the world of dating forever (or at least, for now.) In the videos, she lays out a few of the details in an online dating profile that would make her assume that person is boring, such as caring about whether pineapple belongs on pizza or making references to very well-known sitcoms.

In her view, a beige flag is any uninteresting detail that someone uses to describe themself or shows that they didn’t put enough thought into their profile. Someone with too many beige flags is just not datable in MacPhail’s book! This is, of course, in contrast to red flags, which are more sinister hints that someone could be very bad or harmful to you in a relationship. And, beige flags are definitely not green flags, which are signs that someone is very worth dating!

That being said, not everyone agrees that beige flags are deal breakers. Although MacPhail uses the framework to weed out potentially boring matches, other people on the internet see them as cute quirks. In other words, if your partner has a trait that is quaintly ordinary, it may actually make you appreciate them more. Not everyone has to be interesting all the time!

Characteristics and Examples of Beige Flags

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So, what constitutes a beige flag? Well, that will vary from person to person! We all have our own ideas on what is interesting and what is so uninteresting that we instantly get “the ick.” But, here are a few of the most popular examples from TikTok and Instagram users:

  • Describing themself as “loves to travel”.
  • Being very interested in Bitcoin.
  • Hating on Astrology or crystals.
  • Reading self-help books exclusively.
  • Sprinkling in very generic quotes, such as “looking for a partner in crime.”.
  • Using dogs or other animals in photos as a prop.
  • Having only selfies in their profile picture or alternatively, having no selfies or solo pics; there should be a good mix of both.
  • Complaining about how awful the apps are.
  • Listing “food” as a hobby or interest.
  • Being against pop culture phenomena, such as Taylor Swift or Star Wars, for the sake of being contrarian.

Now, we mentioned that the definition of beige flags has moved beyond just being a tool to weed out boring dating profiles! As the phenomenon has spread across TikTok and Instagram, couples started to take a look at the quirky or simply neutral behaviors of their partners and share them with the world for everyone’s enjoyment! Here are a few examples:

  • Needing a little treat after doing a very minor task or chore.
  • Always reaching for a blanket or pillow whenever sitting down on the couch.
  • Telling their partner, they need to drink more water every time they have a headache.
  • Being very emotionally calm in stressful situations but getting irrationally angry at minor inconveniences such as a stubbed toe.
  • Ignoring a phone call only to immediately text “What’s up?”
  • Knowing very obscure facts that aren’t really useful.
  • Asking the waiter for recommendations on the menu at every restaurant.

While beige flags are more neutral and subtle than red flags, some relationship experts advise that you shouldn’t overlook them. After all, accepting beige flags out of the anxiety of being single could lead to unhappy relationship dynamics. It’s never a good idea, in other words, to be in a relationship with someone who annoys you. And, on the flip side, you don’t want someone to feel like their beige flags are not welcome in the relationship.

So, if you’re feeling like a potential partner’s beige flags are more aggravating than cute, it might be a sign that you’re not compatible.

Impact on Relationships

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Are beige flags inherently bad? No! You could, after all, have a fulfilling and fun date with someone who had beige flags on their dating profile. Likewise, if you’ve fallen in love with someone with an odd beige flag, chances are, you may love them even more for their quirks.

Here are a few ways to think about beige flags when you’re browsing through profiles on the apps and dating long-term:

  • Consider that not everyone is their best self online. Part of the problem with fixating on beige flags is that it can put you in an overly critical mindset. Sure, someone’s profile might come off as boring and unoriginal. But, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t hit it off face-to-face! So, instead of writing someone off immediately, consider whether there’s something about their profile that does interest you and go from there.
  • Learn to tell the difference between beige and red flags. One thing that has become clear with this TikTok trend is that some of us struggle to tell the difference between a beige flag and a red flag. For instance, a beige flag shouldn’t be a subtle form of emotional neglect such as leaving you “on read” for hours.
  • If a certain behavior bothers you, don’t ignore it. If you think that a certain beige flag is going to drive a wedge between you and your partner, bring it up. You might broach the subject in a friendly way and talk about whether they’re willing to compromise with you. After all, your partner may not even realize that they’re doing something that annoys you and will appreciate the chance to make a change that benefits the relationship.
  • If the beige flag is there to stay, then the two of you might decide to end the relationship and find other partners who will be happier with that personality trait. That’s a better option than sticking together and being unhappy.

Beige Flags in Social Media and Culture

As is often the case with dating trends on TikTok, the beige flag phenomenon has given us a fascinating insight into modern relationships. Here are a few things that have come out of this latest wave of viral videos:

  • Women in particular want more effort from potential partners. TikToker MacPhail may have been the first one to start roasting men for their unoriginal dating profiles, but the reason her video went viral was that it was relatable! Many singles are feeling burned out by the lack of imagination and originality on dating apps and are looking for someone who is more interesting. Based on some of the responses to her videos of men asking her to review their profiles, it seems that there are people who have used this cultural moment to put in more effort.
  • Many couples feel seen by the shared experience of beige flags. Meanwhile, the beige flag trend has meant something different for established couples. These videos have allowed people in relationships to consider and even celebrate the lovable beige flags in their partners. The amusing common comment, “Are we all dating the same person?” Just goes to show that while the specific behavior may be unique, the experience of getting to know and love someone’s quirks is universal in healthy relationships.
  • Maybe we can all stand to be a little bit more accepting of personality quirks. Being more discerning in the early phase of dating can be a good way to weed out incompatible partners. But many relationship experts are warning not to put too much emphasis on beige flags. After all, instead of being overly critical of someone’s online profile, we shouldn’t let an internet trend dissuade us from giving someone a chance. Instead, maybe we can all learn to be more accepting of the vast variability of personalities in the dating pool. That’s what makes falling in love so fun!

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