Quite often, when we talk about relationships, we talk about what to avoid in relationships, or “red flags.” While it is good to avoid red flags, that doesn’t tell us what to actually look for. What are positive things to look for in our familial, romantic, and platonic relationships? What are positive things to look for when getting intimate? While there may not be a complete list for everyone, these are some general green flags that you might find helpful. Remember, you know what is best for yourself.
While in a relationship, do they respect your autonomy? Can they root and support you in your own personal aims? Through having this autonomy, are you able to practice self-care? Beyond self-care, can they be apart of your community care when you need it? Autonomy is being able to practice self-reflection, pursuing your own purpose, and being active in your different communities, while getting excited and supportive of your partner’s own pursuit. It also means maintaining your time and life around your other communities (i.e. your friends, your family, your volunteering).
When getting intimate, are they communicative and collaborative on what is pleasurable and what everyone’s boundaries are? Often, when talking about sex, we consider it to be like baseball. Baseball, as a sex metaphor, is bad. Baseball is a competition between people. People strike, strike out, and steal. Since baseball is a game, it has an attitude of, “it’s just a game”. However, there is a better metaphor. Discussed in Al Vernacchio’s TED talk on this, sex would be better described as pizza. Ordering pizza is a collaborative and communicative endeavor, in which everyone’s taste and needs are considered! What we decide to order is what we want. What we ordered last time is not what we have to order this time. You can stop eating whenever you want to. No need to justify it, you’re full and have had enough.