So What’s Your ‘Beige Flag’?

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Ed Freeman/Getty Images

There comes a special moment in every relationship when the person you are with reveals something that makes you go, “Hmm … okay.” It could be the particular way they do their laundry or their deep fear of astronauts. This tidbit of information is neither a dealbreaker nor a dealmaker, neither alarming nor alluring; it simply is. This, according to TikTok, is a beige flag.

Beige flags are traits that, while not immediate cause for concern, are cause for pause. Of course this is subjective, making the exact definition of a beige flag hard to pin down. The phrase isn’t entirely new — videos listing beige flags made the rounds on Australian TikTok last year. And according to those TikToks, a beige flag is simply something that indicates a person isn’t very interesting. On dating-app bios, it manifests as phrases and interests that some users read as shorthand for “I’m boring.” (Think: saying you’re looking for the “Pam to your Jim”; listing “adventure” or “coffee” as an interest.) However, in the year since, what TikTok considers a beige flag has shifted.

Now the most popular videos under the hashtag #beigeflag describe traits that are more neutral rather than, say, boring.


Praying this reaches the right audience and yall dont try and cancel my bf #fyp #foryou #xyzbca #boyfriend #beigeflag

♬ Summer Background Jazz - Jazz Background Vibes

If you’re confused, so is everyone else. TikTok isn’t in total agreement on what qualifies as a beige flag. The comments section of these videos is often littered with some variation of the question, “Isn’t this just … a characteristic?” Some people’s beige flags fall into the category of “charming quirk,” an innocuous trait (e.g., remembering everyone’s birthday). Or the everyday recurring inside jokes that you have with yourself (e.g., throwing theme parties for no reason). Then there are beige flags that seem to be at best annoying habits and at worst red flags masquerading as beige flags.

This is the one thing TikTok agrees on: A beige flag isn’t a red flag, a clear dating dealbreaker. Beige flags also aren’t as off-putting as things that give you “the ick,” which are different than red flags in that they are simply turn-offs that border on cringey and repulsive, not, I don’t know, moral failings. (Stay with me.) While beige flags might leave you momentarily confused, getting the ick changes how you look at someone forever. Maybe it’s how their mouth smacks when they eat. Perhaps it’s the awkward way they picked up their dog’s poop once. The ick can be triggered when you least expect it. This, in part, gives it its power. It can also happen gradually, a once-endearing quirk becoming increasingly grating. In other words, the ick can cause a beige flag to become a red one.

While not “bad,” beige flags aren’t necessarily attractive qualities. They aren’t sought after like green flags (e.g., holding the door open for the person behind you, remembering people’s names, liking Love Island). Still, as the New York Times pointed out, users sharing their partner’s beige flags also serves as a sort of humblebrag. These videos “appear self-effacing while still serving as a flex of the poster’s relationship status.” Your partner treating you well should be a basic requirement, not a beige flag.


today him & his girly went to a gas station to get snacks #beigeflag #boyfriend #bf

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I finally figured out what my beige flag is. @Crumbl Cookies sponsor me please #beigeflag #beigeflags #crumblcookie

♬ Summer Background Jazz - Jazz Background Vibes

Perhaps the best way to identify a beige flag is by general vibe. That would be apropos for an app obsessed with microtrends and taxonomizing aesthetics. Not sure whether something is a beige flag? A quick test is to decide whether it fits with the nondescript jazz lounge music that accompanies many of the #beigeflag TikToks. (Elevator muzak is the sonic equivalent of the color beige.) However, if you need some more help, here are a few beige flags I have come across (identities have been redacted to protect the anonymity of others and myself):

  • Having the exact same breakfast every single day
  • Always needing a blanket regardless of temperature
  • Preferring Pepsi over Coke
  • Taking an entire day to drink one (1) mug of coffee. (Extra beige points if they sometimes only finish half and put it in the fridge for tomorrow.)
  • Putting their parents’ contact info in their phone by their full name instead of “Mom” and “Dad”

If it’s any consolation to your own questionable habits, everyone has beige-colored habits. In fact, someone who doesn’t have any beige flags? That’s a red flag.

So What’s Your ‘Beige Flag’?