Green Flags.

By: Jen Shoop

*Image via Cecilie Bahnsen.

Earlier this week, Nell Diamond (founder and CEO of Hill House) said on Instagram: “It’s such a red flag if someone judges you for liking reality TV. In my heart, I truly believe it’s anthropology.” I thought the comment was interesting, but I found myself principally wondering: “what are my red flags?” Top of the heap: overconfidence, rudeness to wait staff, consistent lack of punctuality. But then I interrupted myself. What a dull and dark litany to recite! It is so easy to spout out the things we don’t like. It makes us feel cool, and discerning. (I remember one time, many years ago, a friend and I were examining and ultimately criticizing someone else’s behavior, and he paused and said, “God, it feels good to be perfect, doesn’t it?” And we sat in a twinset of self-reproach for a stretch. I think of him often when I find myself criticizing someone else — an effective one-two punch alongside “What does it matter to me?“)

So: what about the things we vulnerably admit endear us to people? What are my green flags?

A few that jumped to mind:

When someone remembers and references a part of a story you’ve shared with them.

“Do you want to switch seats?” [So you can see better, sit next to a friend, etc.]

An easy laugh.

“I was just thinking of you.” Or: “I was just telling my mom/husband/boyfriend/sister about you / what you said / what you did.”

Comments on flora and fauna — “look at the daffodils,” or “I think those are cardinals.”

Asking lots of questions.

A text with a link to a song. There is something so intimate to me about this gesture: “I’m sitting here, enjoying this song, and I want you to experience it, too.”

A knowing look. Is there anything more life-affirming than catching the eye of a stranger who is also bearing witness to the phenomena of life, and feeling the same thing as you are?

What are your green flags?


+Things that mattered to me at 18. (Almost none of which matters to me now.)

+A winnowing inward.


Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+Gazelle platforms in really fun new colors.

+This VERY popular pointelle tee (bestseller last week) is now on sale for 40% off. Also, my Velvet Brylies were restocked in most sizes!

+$119 for two rattan table lamps. Perfect for a console table. While you’re at Marshall’s, PSA that they have a solid coffee table book selection at great prices, like this and this.

+Gorgeous crochet cardigan. I just bought something similar from Zara that sold out in 0.1 seconds. Perfect for throwing on over a spring dress, or pairing with white denim.

+Oo! Major look for less option for my Veronica Beard vest: this Anthro find.

+Sweet spring jacket for your little love.

+We have been battling an endless head cold for weeks! We’ve gone through so much Kleenex. It sent me on a hunt for attractive Kleenex box covers to add to a few rooms in our home. Chic options I discovered: Liberty florals, blockprint, woven, scattered stars, and Schumacher-esque. (The last two are en route to me!)

+Drooling over a pair of denim sandals for summer like these Guccis or these Hermes. (Looks for less here and here.)

+Floaty white blouse for under $120.

+I shared some of our plans for the children’s rooms earlier this week — also sourcing desk lamps. How cute are this for my son and this for my daughter?

+Horror Vacui’s latest collection is dreamy.

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8 thoughts on “Green Flags.

  1. You reminded me of this Pete Holmes bit!! I too am an easy laugh. https://www.tiktok.com/@peteholmes/video/7253155586605468970
    And there’s no easier laugh than my wonderful toddler, who will laugh at anything as long as you explain that it’s a joke, who recently learned to tell knock-knock jokes and ends each with “that’s my joke. Haha!”

    Green flags:
    Special interests. I love people with deep passion, and I don’t need to understand it to enjoy it! My best friends like to monologue about D&D, football, stained glass, vintage cars, Jeff Goldblum. All things I have glancing awareness of at best. And they’re able to enjoy me brain dumping about Star Trek, French linguistics, romance novels, my kids. We don’t have to like the same thing, but common boxes are drawn around WHY we like what we like. My buddy is into stained glass because of his dad, that’s why my gal pal is into Land Rovers, and that’s why I love Star Trek. And so forth.

    I remember fondly to this day a young man of about my age (German, spoke no English) who very studiously did not hog the armrest between us on a short hop between Berlin and Munich. Being considerate of others’ space is a green flag that transcends language.

    I love a “wife guy.” Someone visibly, vocally proud of their spouse, affection oozing from them. I’m a “wife guy” about my husband!

    I am drawn to people willing to explain their internal logic. The thoughtfulness and reasons behind their choices, the self awareness, grappling with the mundane and profound in equal measure. Part of why I adore your blog, for the record!! It reminds me of conversations with all my dearest friends.

    1. These are so gorgeous, Kelly, and I couldn’t agree with you more on the considerateness of other people’s space and especially the passion one! Yes! Lan and I observed last year that one of the commonalities between our best friends is that they are all individually passionate people about a diversity of things. They are curious, they like to learn, and they light up when asked about their passions. Such a beautiful trait. Reminds me of Mary Oliver’s quotes in re: her job is to show up, look around, and be astonished.


      1. And PS – Thanks so much for the kind words. I also feel like you are a dear friend :). Thanks for the companionship in the comments.

  2. Just a plug for this tissue box cover — simple and cheap, but so fun and silly! I’m a full-fledged adult and proudly have this on my nightstand, makes me smile! Bet the kids would like it 🙂

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