Online Dating Red Flags You Need to Know About

Do you ever feel like you are wasting time with the wrong people when you are searching through dating apps? If this sounds like you, you may just be missing the red flags.

Online Dating Red Flags Dating Coach Near Me

Zoning in on the right match…

Being aware of the most common online dating red flags is key. There is nothing like being cozy in your favorite sweats while safely snuggling on your couch as you scroll through pictures of attractive romantic hopefuls. But don’t let your secure home environment and behind-the-screen- confidence give you the illusion that you are swimming through a utopian dating pool. 

Here are 15 Top Online Dating Red Flags You Need To Know

The Narcissist

If you only read one section of this article, this is the one. Narcissistic abuse starts extremely subtle but when it blows up it’s a nightmare you didn’t see coming, a roller coaster that makes you sick but you stay on until it throws you off or until you see the light and realize you don’t deserve to live that way.  

How to spot a narcissist: 

  • They use I and Me statements often
  • They lie often and start small to see what they can get away with. If you let the little lie go, you’ve passed their test. If you call them out, they deny reality to absurd extremes hoping you will cave or start second-guessing yourself.
  • They avoid eye contact 
  • They introduce themselves as someone who was just horribly victimized by their previous partner. A healthy partner who may have been hurt before has processed that experience and doesn’t reveal it right away.  The reason the narcissist reveals it is to manipulate your perception of him or her.

Avoiding Meeting You in Real Life

If they aren’t jumping up and down to meet you right away, or at least taking action or being receptive and responsive to the notion, they are probably doing a lot of mindless scrolling and may not be searching in earnest. It may also mean they don’t feel a palpable draw to you, and that’s okay! Catch the next one who is! 

Netflix and Chill on The First Date? 

This is a clear indication that they are looking for a warm body to be next to them. They are looking for a hookup. This doesn’t mean they are an awful person; they just aren’t looking for anything serious. If that’s what you need at that moment too, go for it, but don’t have any expectations of this person. 

Canceling Last-Minute 

Things happen, sometimes we have to cancel plans. More often than not the last-minute flake is someone who is habitually inconsiderate to other people. Your time and energy deserve respect. Whether this person is conscious or unconscious that their flaking is problematic it’s not okay. Wait for the person who doesn’t let anything get in the way of seeing you. This person will feel this way even in the earliest stages of dating, even before you’ve met IRL.

Blank Profiles

If you come across a profile with zero information or a one-liner, don’t waste your time. Don’t you want to know about the person, and see that they took the time to write an interesting, captivating bio that gives people a taste of who they are? Blank profiles often suggest this person:

  • Doesn’t know what they want
  • Is not looking for something serious
  • This person doesn’t bother to make an effort. Do you want this person planning your dates? Your anniversaries? Important life events? Your Birthday?
  • Has shallow standards and is assuming that others are doing the same. This person isn’t looking for a life partner. On to the next.  
  • Is not committed to the process of getting to know someone and allowing another to get to know him or her.  

The One Who Hides their Social Media

Use your best judgment. If you want to see his or her social media ask and observe the response. If someone isn’t sharing their social media, they may have a significant other. Unfortunately, this is all too common in the online dating world.  

Fools Rush In 

The problem with big gestures and big feelings that come at you with the speed of light is they are often not coming from an authentic place. This could be the person who is desperate to settle down with the first person who will take it or a means to an end to get what they want fast. While there is an inner knowing when you’ve met someone special, it’s subtle and it doesn’t need bells and whistles right away. It’s just a really cozy feeling. 

Impulsive Sexting

If his opening line is an inappropriate picture or a request for one, don’t waste your time. All of which is fine if you just want casual fun, but if you are looking for a relationship this isn’t it. If someone is asking a stranger for explicit photos that is a huge red flag. Sexting can be a fun way to spice it up when you are in a more exclusive relationship with someone. Save it for someone who’s earned it! 

Discussing Sex Before Meeting 

This is awfully presumptuous and a problematic by-product of the modern-day hookup culture which is becoming more commonplace. At best it’s a sign of lack of emotional maturity, at worst it’s a horribly offensive, blatant way of trying to get into your pants without considering how that mission might make you feel.  

The Ex-Factor

If they talk about their ex on the first few dates, especially the first, they are not over their ex. This is a rule of thumb. They may not want to be with that person but the chord hasn’t been cut. There are still emotions to process and it can be painful for you if these suppressed feelings come up to the surface in front of you after you have developed feelings of your own.  

The Houdini 

When someone you have been dating goes M.I.A for good it doesn’t feel good but eventually, you’ll forget about them if it happens early enough. However, if they are disappearing and reappearing for differing and extended amounts of time this isn’t healthy or considerate of you.

If you allow someone to treat you this way you may:

  • Become overly insecure about benign things because you have repressed what you are actually rightfully insecure about. 
  • Lose time in your day or sleep at night obsessing over your relationship
  • Become controlling in an effort to stop this behavior
  • Lose your sense of self-worth

If they are apologetic and take their absence seriously it may have been legitimate. If they are casual about it or act like it’s no big deal, that is a red flag.

This is a big sign that this person isn’t serious about you. Of course, there are exceptions and people go through major life crises that may cause them to pull away from dating altogether for a time. Use your best judgment.  

Group Photos or Sunglasses

If they only have group photos on their profile, you may have a problem on your hands. Apart from it being hard to tell who the person is in each photo, it’s an indication that they lack confidence. It shows they don’t feel good enough as themselves on their own. Insecurities can manifest into other problematic behaviors. Find someone who embraces themselves! 

If you can barely see their face because the picture is too small, blurry, or overpowered by sunglasses this is a sign that they aren’t being truthful about their identity. 

Too Mysterious

This online dating red flag is a big one. When someone reveals little about themselves while encouraging you to reveal your inner world they are gathering information based on strange intentions. The process of getting to know someone should never be one-sided. Some people are guarded and share information slowly, but if they have a fortress up, little information in their bio, and aren’t willing to share information that’s an online dating red flag.


Relationships always involve negotiations. Even in the earliest stages. If someone is giving you a demanding list of what they want or expect, that could indicate more dangerous forms of control in the future. Refusing to acknowledge your needs during the initial dating process is an indication that they aren’t looking for a relationship, but rather someone to control.  

Feeling Bullied?

Healthy, natural dating feels effortless. It may make you feel vulnerable and nervous at times, but both people involved are on the same page when it comes to showing up and making an effort. Of course, maintaining the relationship for the long term is a different story. If you are messaging someone on a dating app and they become overly emotional or aggressive when you aren’t able to meet up with them or for any other reason, this is an online dating red flag. This person is trying to get what they want by force rather than co-creating a meaningful connection. This behavior is problematic and objectifying yet it can feel intoxicating. To those with a certain wound, it can feel like desire, but it is definitely toxic and a red flag!

The biggest red flag is that when it comes to online dating is that there may be no red flag at all.

 It may seem like everything is going great and then the person you have just started seeing drops off the face of the earth with no farewell. Some may even portray themselves in a way that makes you feel safe, a familiarity only to find out there is toxicity or danger that lies beneath.    

When it comes to online dating read the flags, don’t collect them like a bouquet of red roses. Instead, use them as information to protect your heart and your life.

Follow Your Gut 

Trust your gut. If a situation feels sketchy, it probably is. If you aren’t sure if you are being intuitive or paranoid, request to meet at a certain place or take whatever other measures you need to in order to feel safe. Our gut is a brain of its own and the chemicals that allow our brains in our head process certain emotions and feel things are actually created in our gut before they are sent to our brain. So, trust it!

Need More Help?

If you feel like you could use additional support while navigating online dating I am here to help. Sign up for your free consultation session.

I’m a relationship coach that specializes in helping people heal and find love again after divorce and heartbreak.

  • Wondering if you are too damaged to find love again
  • Looking for “The One”
  • Living in a world of “What if I am alone forever”
  • Frustrated with online dating and feel hopeless
  • Recovering from a breakup or heartache but don’t know how to move on
  • Need to gain more confidence
  • Obsessing about love that got away

If any of these ring true… I’m your coach! Putting yourself out there again can be terrifying, especially if the internet wasn’t used for dating the last time you were single, or maybe the internet didn’t exist at all! 

If you are dealing with overwhelming pain and challenging situations in your love life and relationships… it does not have to be this way.