What Are Beige Flags? The TikTok Dating Term, Explained

Here's what to know before swiping right.
Beige Flags
Photo: We Are for Getty | Design by Tiana Crispino
Jamie Cuccinelli the knot writer and wedding expert
Jamie Cuccinelli
Jamie Cuccinelli the knot writer and wedding expert
Jamie Cuccinelli
Senior Editor, Sex & Relationships
  • Jamie is a Senior Editor for The Knot where she oversees all sex and relationship editorial content.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, she worked with an array of digital publications that include Brides, The Zoe Report, Bustle and MyDomaine.
  • Jamie graduated with a degree in English and Media, Culture & Communications from New York University.
Updated Jun 20, 2023

Generations of daters past have warned of red flags—those glaring warning signs that you may want to reexamine your relationship. And while the advice still holds true (thanks, mom), TikTok's modern-age relationship gurus are now cautioning against a dating warning flag of a different color: beige flags.

To get the lingo lowdown on beige flags, we took a deep-dive into TikTok and tapped Jacqueline H. Sherman, Ph.D. As a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Intimacy and Relationship Coach, she aims to help her own TikTok following achieve better sex and strengthen their relationships.

Here's everything you need to know about beige flags before swiping right.

What Exactly Is a Beige Flag?

Coined by TikToker @itscaito, the term beige flags was originally used to describe the dating app indicators that someone is, well, uh, boring. Think: those eye-roll-worthy conversation starters you've seen ad nauseam as you've swiped left and right. "If you're looking for the Pam to your Jim, I'm just going to assume you have no deeper meaning," says @itscaito in her now-viral TikTok.

Since the creation of the original video in May of 2022, the definition of beige flags has shifted a bit: TikTokers are now using the term to describe a partner's quirks that they willingly put up with. These little oddball habits can range from the weird to the mildly annoying to the surprisingly adorable. "My boyfriend's beige flag is that he sets timers instead of alarms. It's midnight and he needs to wake up at 6? He'll set a six-hour timer," says @cat.elizabeth.

In short, beige flags aren't the relationship dealbreakers that a red flag may be. Far more benign, beige flags can be defined as both:

    • Signs of unoriginality
    • Neutral qualities that may give you pause—or, at least, make you take notice

    13 Examples of Dating Beige Flags

    So, what are some beige flag examples that @itscaito and others call out? When speaking of those dating app copy-and-pastes that supposedly scream, "Hello, I'm dull!" examples can include:

    • An opinion on pineapple on pizza (or mentions of pizza in general, along with tacos, coffee or wine)
    • Biggest risk I've taken: "Downloading this app"
    • Noting their sarcasm or affinity for "roasting" or banter
    • The best way to get to know me: "Just ask"
    • Mentions of partners in crime
    • I'd fall for you if: "I trip"
    • References to almost universally liked activities and things—such as puppies (who doesn't love puppies?)

    When looking for this type of beige flag, pay attention to things that seem generic or don't actually divulge anything significant about the person.

    Since beige flags can also be the neutral or unique qualities or habits a partner may have in a relationship, examples of this type of beige flag can very well be endless with many one-of-the-kind additions:

    • @valeovr: "My boyfriend's beige flag is that he will never include himself in a conversation until someone talks to him."
    • @enochpaxton: "My wife's beige flag is that she literally cannot sleep without touching me."
    • @itsgomey: "My GF's beige flag is every time we go out to eat, she 'goes to the bathroom' to tell our server it's my birthday for the free dessert."
    • @dendennis234: "My girlfriend's beige flag is that she gives herself the most unreasonably long to-do list and then gets mad at herself when she doesn't get it accomplished in one day."
    • @kodaknprozac: "My girlfriend's beige flag is that she cannot keep a secret to save her life. Bought me a lil present? Babe, guess what I got you."
    • @shark_bateman: "My girlfriend's beige flag is that every time I put on Chapstick, she comes up and gives me a kiss (to steal some) and then looks very satisfied with her thievery and goes 'OUR Chapstick.'"

    How to Spot Your Own Beige Flags

    Since the term has gone viral, other TikTok users have taken to the social media app to proudly proclaim their own beige flags. "My beige flag is when I'm sleeping in the same bed as my boyfriend, I can only fall asleep when I'm facing away from him," says @sadcrumbs. "My beige flag is I'll never tell you I made it home," admits @anika.williams. "You could ask me to let you know and I'll say I will. It's a lie."

    Want to get in on the trend and spotlight (or just plain spot) your own "beige flags?" Dr. Sherman has some advice: "You can begin to spot your own beige flags by becoming inquisitive and asking the partner(s) you are dating if they have noticed any quirks about you."

    "Explain to them that you are looking to learn the unobvious things you might say or do that they were not expecting," she says. "They likely have noticed your beige flags and this can be a great opportunity to gain awareness of the quirky behaviors that might be making them and others pause."

    If you aren't in a romantic relationship, your closest friends will likely have insight into your beige flags. Just remember to keep the conversation light, non-combative and ultimately positive.

    So, Are Beige Flags Good or Bad?

    "Beige flags are more neutral than good or bad," according to Dr. Sherman. "You get to decide if the beige flag behavior is cause for pause or not."

    "When considering how much weight to give beige flags, assess if the beige flag goes against your values," she suggests. "If you are an extremely timely person and being late gives you anxiety, then a beige flag to look out for is someone who [is consistently late]."

    As Dr. Sherman notes, "Someone who underestimates their ETA might not value time in the same way you do."

    Ultimately, according to the psychologist, what it comes down to is this: "Beige flags should be ignored if they're simply quirks that don't impact your value system." Otherwise, they should be reason for pause and may call into question your compatibility.

    Why? If the beige flag reveals misaligned values (such as when that "chronically late" beige-flag-waver is matched with someone who values timeliness), resentment can build over time. And the thing with some beige flags? They can turn red with age.

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