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When it comes to the online adult dating scene, it can be hard sometimes to gauge someone’s authenticity, especially when you’ve not even met in person.

There are plenty of ideal partners and flings floating around in cyberspace, but in order to find your Mr Right, you’ve got to go through some toads (or the equivalent opposite). Fortunately for us, the real creeps and time wasters tend to throw up plenty of signs, so know what to look out for, and you’ll find what you’re looking for in no time.

Here’s seven of the most common red flags that you should be looking out for.    

Too Much Self-Deprecation

Who doesn’t love a little bit of entertaining self-deprecatory humour? But when it’s every other sentence? Whether it’s in their bio or their conversation, you don’t want to be dating someone who kind of hates themselves, and thinks that they’re beneath you.

Ultimately, we all want to meet someone who’s in some ways our equal. A little self-deprecation can put people at ease, too much says ‘I don’t think we’re equals’. 


You’ve been chatting for fifteen minutes and she’s already talking about her father’s alcohol problem? Red flag! There’s no telling why they’re oversharing, they could just be lonely and need people to talk to, or they could be really strange. Either way, you’re not looking to work as a freelance councillor, so move on.

Don’t be too clinical with this observation either, they could be drunk, or more trusting than you. It’s all about combinations with red flags, if someone throws up a bunch, then you can bin them off. Don’t get rid of someone for telling you their favourite colour too willingly.

Disingenuous Compliments

People who think endless generic compliments are the be all and end all of seducing and charming someone are at best unoriginal, and at worst disingenuous and false. No one wants to date someone that won’t stop complimenting them in a cringe-worthy manner, especially not if they later reveal they’re expecting something in return.

One of the hardest elements of online dating is developing a rapport and trust with someone you’ve not even met. How is that going to happen if all they’re doing is wasting your time with bland compliments? 

Fresh Out of a Relationship

 You know what most people are after when they’re straight out of a relationship? One quick bang. Of course, there’s no problem there if you also want that kind of thing, but if they’re pretending they want more, or if you want more than that, keep people who’ve just left a long-term relationship at arms-length. Or sleep with them. It’s up to you.

Don’t hold up too much hope that a one night stand with someone who’s just back on the market will turn into anything special though. People need to go through that casual experience to get their confidence back after a long relationship, so expect it.

Super-Slow Responders

Now there’s nothing too worrying or sinister here per se, but do you really want to be showing too much interest to someone who’s clearly not got that much of an interest in you? You don’t want to be wasting your time, and you don’t want to come off as desperate.

If someone’s not responding within a similar time frame to you, give or take an hour or so, as well as valid excuses, then they probably aren’t all that into you, or they’re hiding something.

Social Media Stalking and Weirdness

I’ve talked about this before, and my take on social media stalking is like anything else. It’s okay in moderation, but if someone you rejected on the dating app starts dm-ing your Instagram account, that’s disconcerting.

Same goes for someone who within minutes of learning your name decides to add you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter and connect with you on Instagram. Don’t even get me started on LinkedIn. People who act oddly online will probably act oddly in real life.

Overly Evasive

If you ask them a question, and they answer with a joke, that can be fun, flirty and mysterious. If they never answer your question properly, or they keep changing the subject, that’s evasive and slightly weird. Do you want to date a politician with something to hide?

Bear in mind that being a little coy and evasive is a big part of flirting early on, and asking way too many questions is also a bit weird. Really, it’s just about watching for people doing things in excess, and becoming a little bit strange.

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