Red Flags for Online Dating


Written by Ofonime Idiong


Finding a significant other is not always the easiest.

It may be that we're feeling extra single on Valentine's Day, or everyone good is actually taken, but either way, dating sometimes feels like more misses than shots. Many of us (me included) sometimes turn to dating apps or social media to find that special someone. Platforms like Tinder and Instagram are convenient, free, easily accessible, good for making connections and a great center to meet fun people. Although there are some good catches out there, there are others that you should look out for. Not everyone says who they are or show their true colors at first. To safely navigate the swipes of Tinder and the DMs of Instagram, here are some ways to be more smart while finding someone online and red flags you should look out for


1. Having Only One Picture

This is a clear read flag. In the age of Instagram, who only has one picture of themselves? You couldn’t find at least two good pictures? It’s either a catfish or someone who doesn’t take pictures of themselves often. If you do swipe right or follow because that picture is cute enough, ask them to send you another picture of themselves. If they refuse, then run the other way.


2. Messaging You in the Middle of the Night

You’re probably half asleep in your bed, or even up scrolling through Twitter and suddenly you get a reply from the person you’re talking to. But why are they messaging you back at 2 a.m.? Granted, they may have just saw your message, but messaging back at 2 a.m. is never that serious. Just wait until the morning and maybe slide in a “good morning text” if the mood calls for it. You also know the old saying, “the freaks come out at night”, so if you’re getting messages that are not so PG-13 past midnight, it may be time to just roll over and go back to sleep.

3. Trying to Meet up the Same Day You Match or Follow Each Other

Someone’s eager! Why do they want to meet so soon? One, you do not know them, so you may put yourself in danger going to meet a complete stranger. Two, you’ve barely held a conversation online, so how would you know you would enjoy a conversation in person? And ultimately, do you really want to interact with someone who wants to meet up with people they do not know? Yikes!


4. Faceless Pictures

This is self explanatory. Why is your face not in the picture? Are you that ugly? Do not swipe or follow an unknown person. If they can’t even show their face, then maybe they're not ready to meet someone online. And besides, what else can they be hiding?


5. Group Pictures

If he’s not the cute friend then save your energy and move on to the next profile.

6. Their Bio Is A Short Novel

Why is your bio almost 10 line longs? Is this the beginning to your self-memoir? When looking for people through dating apps or social media, we want the essentials first. Just give me your basic facts + pictures and let me decide if I want to stay or go. Your bio is like your 30-second elevator pitch, but just in 30 characters. Letting me know you clean or enjoy long walks on the beach isn’t going to make me see you as marriage material. If you do decide to read it, and nothing in the essay is cute or funny, then don’t waste anymore energy. On to the next.

7. Holding a Fish in Their Profile Picture

My roommate gave me this one, and I completely agree. Why do you have a dead animal in your profile picture? I don't care if it's just a fish, was this supposed to turn me on? Nice catch, but we’re going to have to let this one go.

8. Pictures That Are Doing A Little Too Much

If a guy is showing his junk in pictures, then he may be looking for something sexual, or just thinks it’s attractive -- but it’s not. Those are the guys you should most likely stay away from. Or, if you see someone who most definitely Photoshopped themselves, then that's another red flag to step back and admire from afar. They may be good looking, but remember online dating gives us the power to shape how we present ourselves to the world. We can hide the bad parts just as much as we can flaunt the good ones.


So if there’s anything you take away from these lessons, it’s that looks aren’t everything, but it’s important to be cautious when meeting and judging someone online. Looking at their pictures is always a good way to start, and we are all inclined enough to know when something looks a little off. If they’re giving you bad vibes or red flags all over the place, it’s time to move on to the next profile and hope that one is solid match.


Edited by Neah Gray