• Nicole Sherwin

Why We Pick Red Flags. Everytime.

Why do we choose the serial cheater responsible for three new strains of chlamydia over an educated, charity running engineer?

No red flags here. Source: 5why


*Content Warning

-This article may contain content that some readers will find triggering. Please call lifeline on 13 11 14 if you need assistance with your individual situation.-


Humans and bulls have something in common: we go wild for a red flag. But unlike bulls, we’re colour blind as fuck, because we do not see that flag. A potential mate could come on a date in a suit made outta red flags and we’d still just see a well-dressed thirst trap.

As many of you know, I’ve been in a rel longer than Prince Phillip has been a propped-up corpse, but I have friends who make some real bad choices, so I don’t feel completely removed from the topic. And really, I felt the podcast was missing some relationship bants.



Why are red flags so attractive?

"I love that suit, let's be together forever." Source: GQ


First up, let's think of the most recent Red Flagger we've all been watching on TV. Like, whyyyyy oh whyyyyyy would every girl in Bachelor in Paradise be attracted to a misogynistic cheat responsible for three new strains of chlamydia, when there was an educated, charity running, home-owning, engineer right in front of them?!


One answer could be what is known as the cheerleader effect. The ‘underlying dark traits’ that cause the red flags are generally accompanied by some very attractive friends that distract us. According to an aptly titled study ‘How Alluring Are Dark Personalities?' Jauk et al. studied the appeal of what they called the ‘dark triad’ of traits. Me, I’d call them the flagpoles, flying the three red flags to RUN from: narcissism, machiavellianism and psychopathy: