Dating with traffic light system eHarmony

The experts at eharmony have suggested a new traffic light system to determine healthy dates – with red, yellow and green flags. Almost all Aussies (89%) believe that noticing green flags (which symbolise good traits) is just as important as the red ones (dealbreakers). But beware the yellow flag – the borderline dating traits that can leave many singles stalling. These include being besties with an ex, consistent lateness and being broke.

We’ve all been caught in the gridlock of a bad date, but if you’re keen on achieving your relationship goals, it’s useful to apply the new traffic light coloured system, proposed by the experts at eharmony.

New research from the international dating app shows that almost all Aussies (89%) believe that noticing the green flags is just as important as red flags when it comes to a first date.

Buta new category that is proving to be increasingly important is the ubiquitous yellow flag. It might appear golden, but this flag means singles are undecided about their potential partner. And the union could either heat up or be sent to the tip like a beat-up old car.

Yellow flags

These are the traits and behaviours that can lead us all to pause on a date and wonder whether we really want a second date. They usually mean gently applying the brakes, rather than being all-out dealbreakers.

They include a match who’s close to their ex, although interestingly, this is more of an issue for territory-minded men than women (51% v 38%).

Other yellow offenders are matches who appear to have money issues (more of an issue for female daters (63% v 51%). This aligns with eharmony member data which suggests financial security is more important to around a third of women.

In addition, dating someone who isn’t good at talking about their feelings, falls into the yellow zone – not least because good communication is vital for a healthy relationship.

But these poor conversation skills pose more of an issue for men on dates than women (37% v 26%). This potentially flies in the face of conventional wisdom which suggest women are naturally more communicative than their male peers.

Red flags

Contenders for red flags across both genders include singles who are rude to bar or restaurant staff, don’t listen to their date, drink enough to sink the Titanic, or get jealous on the date.

Crucially, the genders are not fully aligned on one big issue – singles who describe their exes as ‘crazy’ on a date. This is far more of a dealbreaker for women than it is for men (78% v 58%), possibly because it’s perceived as misogynistic behaviour.


Green is go!

A match who genuinely listens is the number one green flag for both genders (75%), followed by being present in the moment (71%), and good eye contact (70%).

However, men and women have slightly different stances on two green flags. Three quarters (74%) of women think being asked about themselves on a date is super positive, compared to only just over 60 per cent of men.

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But the biggest contrast in the green zone, is how much importance the genders attach to having a sense of humour. Almost three quarters of women (70%) like having their funny bones tickled on a date, whereas only just over half of men prioritise humour (59%).

eharmony relationship psychologist Sharon Draper says: “eharmony’s traffic light system is useful for establishing baseline compatibility with a new match. You need to know that your values and relationship goals are aligned to have a successful relationship, and what unfolds on early dates is somewhat revealing.

“It’s great to see that both genders love someone who genuinely listens to them, is present, makes good eye contact and makes them laugh. And it’s hardly surprising that being rude to bar staff, getting drunk on a date or calling an ex ‘crazy’ is a red flag for most singles.

“But yellow flags are fascinating, because they’re seemingly inoffensive behaviours that leave many singles unsure about how to proceed romantically. They might include someone being close to an ex or having money issues.

“If you’re left holding a yellow flag, I’d recommend going on a second or third date. Sometimes things that we think are potential dealbreakers can easily be resolved with good communication and some golden support.”


Table one – Traits considered green flags by men and women

Traits  Men Women Total
1.     Genuinely listen 70% 80% 75%
2.     Present in the moment 64% 77% 71%
3.     Making good eye contact 66% 75% 70%
4.     Ask you questions about yourself 61% 74% 67%
5.     Great sense of humour 59% 70% 65%


Table two – Traits considered yellow flags by men and women

Traits  Men Women Total
1.     Appear to have money issues 51% 63% 54%
2.     Get upset by criticism 47% 42% 52%
3.     A close relationship with their ex 51% 38% 52%
4.     Always late 46% 35% 51%
5.     Hard time telling you how they feel 37% 26% 43%


Table three – Traits considered red flags by men and women

Traits  Men Women Total
1.     Rude to bar staff 70% 83% 76%
2.     Don’t listen to you 68% 81% 74%
3.     Drink too much 66% 78% 72%
4.     Get jealous of you talking to other people on your date 62% 78% 70%
5.     Describe their exes as “crazy” 58% 78% 68%


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