The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags authors' 5 Do's and a Do-Over

The second we started reading The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags: Relationship Warning Signs You Totally Spotted...But Chose to Ignore by Natasha Burton, Julie Fishman, and Meagan McCrary, we screamed, where has this book been all our lives?? To say we dated our share of men with HUGE red flags is an understatement. Lisa's problem was that they always looked so damn good on paper that she overlooked huge ass red flags like the fact that they had oedipus complexes or suffered from gaming addictions. And Liz's problem was that she liked those damn bad boys who were always so damn good looking...Why is that? So ladies, how many of you can relate to this...

You've done it before. Saw something wrong with him—whether it was suspect grooming habits or ridiculously childish behavior—but let it slide. It's not that big of a deal. Except it totally was. You wanted to fall in love, but ended up going insane. You swore you'd never do it again. But did.

Don't beat yourself up. In the search for love, we've all either blatantly ignored or completely missed red flags. Instead, smarten up. It's time to figure out what you missed and learn how to avoid similar flagtastic fiascos in the future. If you raise your red flag awareness now, you'll be able to greenlight a real relationship down the road

And if you leave a comment, you'll be entered to win a copy of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags. We'll randomly select the winner after 6pm EST on July 31st. Good luck!


By Julie Fishman, co-author


1. Do learn from the past -- Reflect on past relationships, not to determine how much of an asshole you ex-boyfriend was, but to help clarify exactly what worked for you and what didn't, as well as what was missing. If you notice no-so-great trends, like you always date controlling men or flock to deadbeats, give a guy outside your "type" a chance -- he may just surprise you.

2. Do know what you want -- Start noting the qualities you really want in a man, as well as those you won't stand for. Maybe even make a list to help you remember your standards when your dating circumstances get a tad dismal. Don't include superficial stuff like "must look like a young Paul Newman" or "can't be under six feet" but real issues like "can't be best friends with his ex" or "actually needs to refer to me as his girlfriend." We all deserve a bodacious beau, but we'll never get one if we don't stick to our guns.

3. Do make sure you're on the same page -- While the notion of a soul mate is appealing, a ton of factors come into play when determining the trajectory of any given relationship. Being compatible as a couple is not just about having similar likes and values; it's about wanting the same things out of life, as well as wanting those things to happen on roughly the same schedule. If you're anticipating a white wedding and your man in question is only looking as far into the future as Sunday's football game, you're likely operating on different life clocks.

4. Do be honest with yourself -- Many women hesitate to express their true feelings when they're unhappy in a relationship. We often feel like we "should" be with a person or that we're stuck with them because our parents want us to be with them, we imagined the romance working out, whatever. Fact is, if it's not right, it's not right -- why waste your precious time on a dude you know isn't a match? Don't focus on what other people think, impose crazy expectations on yourself, or follow some outdated idea that you need to work things out because it's "meant to be." After all, what about being happy?

5. Do have fun -- Don't let yourself get caught up in the "must find a man now" hype. This anxiety often prevents you from evaluating a suitor fairly and may cause you to miss out on a really great guy. Try to plan outside-the-box dates, like a ballroom dancing class or a wildflower hike: seeing a guy in action offers more insight into his personality than a dinner date anyway. Plus, active options ensure you have something to talk about, help you go with the flow and make the date enjoyable even if the dude's a dud.


Do Over: Excess drinking on dates -- While a drink or two is a great way to calm the nerves, six or seven will likely land you on an imaginary stage singing something by Journey. Even if you don't go that far, verbal diarrhea may lead you to reveal details about your felony-filled past, your ex's bedroom habits or that one time in band camp. Plus, there's nothing cute about puking out the car window on the way home. In short: have fun, but don't funnel beers like a frat boy.

To find out more about the ladies behind The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags, visit their website.

Thanks, Natasha, Julie & Meagan!


Liz & Lisa