What is a “Red Flag”?
Cross-posted to the Albany Power eXchange message board 9/06.
A “Red Flag” is any indication that you should steer clear of a particular person, either Dom/me or sub. These can pop up at any time, though most often in the beginning of a potential relationship. They can be obvious or they can be subtle.
Some common examples might be:
1) Inappropriate questions or comments during the initial conversations, such as do you want to play? or what are you wearing? or what do you look like? or asking for your phone number immediately, etc. Such questions have nothing at all to do with D/s, but rather indicate the person is looking for cyber or phone sex.
2) Moving too quickly: if the prospective Dom/me or sub seems to be in a hurry to begin a relationship, or to advance it faster than seems reasonable or comfortable for you. Like if they want to meet you within the first 10 minutes online. Trust is the cornerstone, and cannot be rushed. Clearly, there is no arbitrary time frame, but most long-lasting relationships take several weeks if not months to build before actual contact.
3) Inappropriate attitude: “Bow down and worship me” those who act as if every submissive must obey every so-called Dom, and begin giving or obeying orders from the word go. Or those who have the idea that each and every Tom, Dick, and Harry must be addressed as Sir, whether they know them or not. Many subs in the chat rooms do this, but respect is worth little if it is so lightly given. Both of these attitudes and practices show a poor understanding of the true dynamics of Dominance and submission.
4) Safety violations: reluctance to have a safeword or other safety precautions in place, either during the first meeting or later. Run.
5) Lack of communication: if your potential partner is reluctant to discuss something with you, pay attention. Likewise, and equally serious, if you are told directly or indirectly, that you may not discuss something with others, or may not talk to someone else, or may not go to a particular area, be careful. Trying to “gag” someone is a sign that something is wrong.
6) A persistent bad reputation: or unwillingness to give references. This can be tricky if the person you are talking to is new online, but it is still a red flag. Or perhaps a yellow one.
7) Trashing ex-partners. When someone is constantly talking about their ex publicly in the chat rooms and on bb’s, i.e., trying to ruin their rep, try to keep in mind that you might be their “ex” someday and be subjected to such treatment if things do not go the way they want. This is something that both Dom/mes and subs are frequently guilty of. Warning others of potential danger from an ex-partner is obviously a different case.
8) Frequent inconsistencies. If someone often makes contradictory statements from one day to the next, like Mon. tells you s/he has no children, then on Fri., mentions his/her son’s birthday or something. If a person often seems to have a lot of trouble remembering what they have said to you from one day to the next, it could be that they are telling a lot of people a lot of different things. Just in general, I would encourage anyone to really try to get to know
someone before making a final judgment on their character. However, caution and common sense should always rule. If you have doubts, do not give out personal information. You can still talk to this person, but be careful.
And please, trust that GUT INSTINCT.