Why you should watch out for ‘beige flags’ on dating apps


We know all about toxic red flags, minor pink flags and positive green flags – but how can we learn to understand beige flags on dating apps? 

Swiping through dating apps can often feel like groundhog day. From the copious amounts of gym selfies to pictures of potential matches holding onto everything from puppies to babies, the dating app process just isn’t much fun anymore, particularly at a time when we are eager to meet more people IRL.

If you’ve been left feeling particularly frustrated and unfulfilled by dating apps and want to avoid dull conversations and dry dates, there’s one thing you may want to look out for – and that’s beige flags.

The hashtag #BeigeFlags has currently amassed over 2.4 million views on TikTok, and there is one person leading the crusade – Caitlin MacPhail. The self-proclaimed “CEO of beige flags” went viral earlier this year after highlighting generic phrases and photos that come up time and time again across scores of dating profiles.

While beige flags vary from person to person, some of the most common witticisms include “the way to my heart is through food”, adding “if that matters” after your height, or any reference to extremely mainstream sitcoms (*cough* The Office *cough*). 

The use of these phrases showcases a lack of effort and originality and can be an indicator of how conversations with these potential matches may be, well… pretty bland.

“If someone hasn’t put much effort into creating their profile, it makes you question how seriously they’ll take things further down the line,” says Jessica Alderson, relationship expert and co-founder of So Syncd.

“You might question whether this person will even reply to your messages or make time for dates. A minimal effort dating app profile can be an early indication that they might not be willing to invest much into your future.”

Alderson adds that beige flags can be a sign that you simply have nothing exciting or interesting to say. “Generic dating app profiles can make you wonder how original and fun this person really is,” she says. “At the end of the day, everyone wants to be with someone who is unique in some way.”

Lastly, beige flags not only make dating apps a drag, but they also make it impossible to find out anything about the person behind the profile and, more importantly, if you have anything in common (except a penchant for dogs or sitcoms).

“Creating a truly original dating app profile requires vulnerability, which is essential for building a connection,” explains Alderson. “At the same time, there are exciting and all-around great people who are just innately less comfortable with revealing details about themselves online. So this is something to bear in mind.”

With many dating apps including a variety of creative prompts to encourage conversation and things to talk about, it’s up to dating app users to open up and be honest about who they are and what they want.

While some put in the bare minimum effort, others use them as an opportunity to get a cheap laugh, making the dating app landscape tricky to navigate. After all, generic comments may widen your pool to more potential matches, but you are less likely to find a genuine connection if you are playing it safe.

“Being successful on dating apps is all about your USP (unique selling point),” Alderson notes, “[Some] people struggle to get their personality across on dating apps because it can be hard to be original. Creating an engaging dating app profile is an art, not a science.

“In particular, people who lack self-awareness can struggle when it comes to writing dating profiles because they can be unsure of what to say. For example, they might not understand themselves well enough to know which of their personality traits to highlight.”

The good news is we all have a USP, even if we aren’t very good at selling it, and Alderson advises that people get across what makes them different as the best way to stand out. “If you have any attractive quirks, they’re a good starting point.” 

Dating apps don’t have to feel like a chore – and putting in that little extra effort could be key to getting the spark back in your swiping game.

Image: Getty

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