What are ‘beige flags’ when it comes to dating and relationships?

Many people are familiar with “red flags” or “green flags” when it comes to relationships, but TikTok is providing education on what it means to spot a “beige flag” in a partner.

How did ‘beige flag’ start?

According to TikTok, the first iteration of a beige flag was a sign on a single person’s dating profile that said they are a boring person — not a bad person or someone to avoid but probably someone a little on the basic side.

Caitlin MacPhail (@itscaito) came up with the term and dubbed herself “CEO of beige flags” on her TikTok profile. In the original video, MacPhail explained that some of the immediate beige flags in a dating profile include having an opinion on pineapple on pizza, referencing any mainstream sitcom or show, using puppies to “mask your personality,” and, perhaps most beige of all, mentioning a love of Excel spreadsheets.

“If you say that you’re a freak in the sheets, I’m going to assume that’s Excel-exclusive and does not translate anywhere else. I’m sorry,” she said.

But the definition has evolved. Beige flags have started trending on social media, and the real meaning has gotten a bit lost in translation.

MacPhail’s rules about what constitutes a beige flag are pretty specific. For instance, if you are spotted holding three or more alcoholic beverages in one dating profile, you get a beige flag. If one of those drinks happens to be a spicy marg? Automatic beige flag.

She also issues half-beige flags and something called “hot girl beige,” which a user can earn by posting too many pictures “for the pure purpose of just being hot slash looking good.” Although MacPhail also admits that a hot-girl beige flag is not necessarily “a bad thing, just something to be aware of.”

How has the beige flag trend evolved on TikTok?

Since MacPhail introduced the concept, countless videos have popped up that identify what others think are beige flags or show users pointing out their own beige flags in their romantic relationships and friendships.

But in established relationships, beige flags have evolved to describe weird things your partner or friend does. It’s used to define personality traits that are neither a red flag nor something entirely positive, either.

For example, TikTok user Maddie Abercrombie (@pen15_spam) described her boyfriend’s beige flag as randomly making up phrases that have no meaning at all in the situation he is in.

Another user described her boyfriend’s beige flag as him being “scarily good at gaslighting people about small things.”

A lot of beige flags by users seem to be about how their partner communicates with specific sounds or actions rather than full sentences.

Others seem quite specific to that person.

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