While online dating is a whirlwind of scrolling through app profiles, thirst traps, and sliding into DMs, it's not always easy to distinguish a potential soulmate from a should-be-solo date. With busy lives, spending time swiping right for dull conversations and incompatible dates is wasted effort. As such, there is a new dating term to describe the signs to look out for to avoid a lacklustre dating life: beige flags.
It's likely you've heard of red flags, those toxic warning signals that pop up early in conversations that scream "stay away". They are different for everybody, but could be not respecting your boundaries, or overly jealous messages that lead to a quick block-and-delete. Beige flags are less about absolute no-nos and more about preventing us from "meh" matches.
On first look at a potential suitors profile, they might seem fun, but on closer expectation their photos and bio are full of clichés that are copy, paste, repeats from the online dating world. The lack of originality can equate to a lack of effort, which doesn't bode well for a relationship. The hashtag #beigeflags has currently got 3.8million views on TikTok as users reveal the generic bios they've encountered while scrolling through the apps.
So, how do we spot these beige flags early on? And how do we prevent ourselves from sending them to others? Hinge's Director of Relationship Science, Logan Ury, speaks to POPSUGAR to reveal all.
What Are Beige Flags?
"Beige flags are signs that someone hasn't put much effort into their profile. The thought is that these online daters with "beige" profiles won't be as much fun since their profiles lack more creative photos or responses," Ury says.
Beige flags vary for everyone, depending on your personal preferences, but we've all seen profiles laden with gym selfies or snaps holding catches from a fishing trip. Combine these with generic photos that give little away, it can make scrolling that much more frustrating. The same goes for the words on a bio. Hinge, for example, offers online prompts to get the users creative juices flowing, yet can sometimes result in vague answers, like "I'm most competitive about… everything".
"While this might seem amusing, it's actually showing a lack of openness or imagination," Ury continues. Research by Hinge proves that beige flags are, in fact, a turn-off with half of users feeling bored when they receive one-word openers.
Should You Pursue Someone Who Has Beige Flag Energy?
"Unlike red flags, beige flags don't mean you should run in the other direction, but it's reasonable to think twice about dating someone who puts little effort into their profile," Ury says. "That being said, I've coached many clients who are fascinating people, but have profiles riddled with beige flags because they simply didn't have the time or knowledge to stand out."
In the world of online dating, it can be difficult to show your depth of personality in a few words or photos. And some are just too self-conscious to put themselves out there so vulnerably. "If you were initially attracted to them, keep in mind that amazing potential partners may not immediately shine online," Ury says. "Send them a message asking an interesting, topical question and see if they are able to catch your interest with their answer."
How Can You Avoid Beige Flags on Your Profile?
While you might be plagued with beige flags on profiles as you swipe through, you might have suddenly realised your own profile is an abundance of clichés, too. "Use your profile to tell a story. Who are you? What are you about? Show different sides of yourself and your life and mix in your humour and vulnerability," Ury advises. "When it comes to selecting photos, you want to go for flattering, but accurate. The all-important first photo should be a clear headshot, without any filters or sunglasses so potential matches feel they can really see and connect with you on a personal level."
Ury also has a ticklist of photos to include to give the best chance of dating success. Following the first head shot, she says to also include a full-body shot, a photo with your friends or family, and a photo of you doing something you love or are passionate about. This way potential matches can get a well-rounded insight into not just your looks and personality, but also your lifestyle. Take them on a journey with key points of your life, rather than five photos of you doing the same thing.
"When answering prompts or questions, go deep," Uly adds. "It might take more time on the outset but the first step is selecting prompts that allow you to be vulnerable and help the other person get to know you."