If you spend a lot of time on TikTok (guilty…) you mind have noticed everyone is talking about beige flags.
They’ve moved on from moon phase soulmates, and now the new TikTok trend is discussing your partner’s ‘beige flags’. You’re probably here because you’re wondering, “what on earth is a beige flag?”
A beige flag is a bit like a red flag, but it’s more of an indicator of harmless, if not weird, behaviour. Consider a beige flag a unique trait that could be grating or annoying to one person, but endearing to another.
TikTok users are sharing their partner’s beige flags on the platform, usually in the form of a selfie or simple video of their face, overlaid with text detailing the beige flag in question. Often these videos have a jazz-style soundtrack. Why? We’re not too sure. It’s just TikTok.
Red Flags, Green Flags, Beige Flags
Whilst red flags are seen as serious relationship deal breakers, such as being rude to waiters or never offering to split the bill, and green flags are good signs, like always making time for their grandma or being kind to animals, beige flags are a kind of in-between.
A beige flag in a relationship could be something like the way they pronounce certain words, or helping other people pack their shopping because they are impatient.
They’re associated with the colour beige as they’re typically a bit boring or bland - none of the flags will be alarming enough to be in ‘red’ territory, or endearing enough to be in ‘green’, but they are not exactly considered normal behaviours.
TV presenter and relationship expert Anna Williamson explains: "Beige flags are a bit of a trend that have gathered pace in recent times on TikTok. Initially, it referred to - in a relationship, or if you’re dating someone - a characteristic that’s a bit boring, a bit underwhelming, a bit kind of ‘meh’.
“It could be something like watching your partner munching a cheese sandwich, whilst scrolling on their phone, for example. That could be like, hashtag beige flag!
“But more recently, no one is owning what the definition of a beige flag actually is, so it is really ambiguous. A beige flag is starting to skew to mean someone’s quirks, something that is a bit kind of quirky about them.
“A beige flag can be used to refer to a bit of an ‘icky’ thing - it’s icky but it’s not a deal breaker. Beige, in life, it’s not offensive, we can all live with beige, we all accept that beige is part of our palette, and that’s what a beige flag is. It’s not offensive, but it’s not particularly inspiring or exciting either."
Examples given by TikTokers include using certain expressions wrong, such as ‘I don’t want to throw a needle into the haystack’, or insisting on making very elaborate meals that take hours, although they’re hungry then and there.
Another example of a beige flag given on the video platform was only answering questions with one word answers.
Beige Flags and ‘The Ick’
You might be wondering what the difference is between beige flags and ‘the ick’. ‘The ick’ is a dating concept where something happens that causes you to go off that person irredeemably.
You might be a few dates in and really enjoying their company, but then see that they carry a shopping basket draped over their arm, and immediately you’re put off them. Classic ick.
Beige flags differ from ‘the ick’ because they are tolerable to you. One person’s ick is another one’s beige flag, or so they say.
When asked what to do if beige flags start to bother you, Anna shared her expert advice: "If your partner’s beige flags start to bother you, I would say to turn the spotlight inwards and say to yourself, ‘what is it about me that means I am finding this irritating? Am I being unreasonable? Is it more icky than a beige flag?’
“If someone’s beige flags start to irritate you, focus on their green flags. Red flags are a no, but beige flags are okay, so if they are starting to bother you, but maybe you are just being a little bit intolerant or maybe even a little bit mean, i think the best thing to do is focus on the green flags, the positives, so the beige flags become - as they should be - inconsequential.”
Are Beige Flags Good?
We need to be upfront here and say, beige flags are not bad. They are not necessarily good either, in the way a green flag is. They’re just…beige.
You can live with them, and maybe even grow to love them, as they’re part of what makes your partner who they are, but for someone else, they could be a deal breaker.
Anna explains that: “Where beige flags have come to mean a bit more of a quirk, for example, someone who needs to wear earplugs and an eye mask at bedtime, or if your partner has a real thing about watching Eastenders every night in real time, it’s something where you might be a bit eye-rolly but it certainly isn’t something that would determine whether the relationship starts or finishes, unlike a red flag which is obviously toxic behaviour, or a green flag which is good behaviour or characteristics."
What Does Beige Flag Mean?
Believe it or not, beige flags have been around for some time! The phrase was first coined in a TikTok video posted by @itscaito where she used it as a way to help people who were actively dating determine if people were boring or not.
Since then, the beige flag has evolved to describe a mannerism that’s pretty unique to that person, and it’s neither good nor bad. Just…a bit odd.
Unlike red and green flags, which tend to be pretty universally agreed on, beige flags are in the eye of the beholder (didn’t Shakespeare say that first?), so they’re a little harder to agree on.
One thing is for certain - we’re all guilty of a beige flag or two. Pondering your beige flags? Read up on our best relationship advice to help you navigate it.