A male friend once told me that, among the many other reasons that caused him to realize his girlfriend wasn’t right for him, what stuck out was that she used the word “yummy.” And I knew exactly what he meant. (I hate that word, and can immediately picture the girl prototype who uses it). When you’re getting to know someone – or even when you’ve been in each others’ orbit for a while – personality traits that you hadn’t noticed before begin to bob to the surface. That’s when things get interesting.

Even though these habits can seem trifling and silly, they may be indicative of a larger problem. Sometimes they’re not profound, they just annoy the hell out of you, and if you stick around for an extended period of time will make you want to smother her in her sleep. So here’s a list of red flags to look for, and avoid like the plague.

Baby Voice - How old are you? And how old is she? Riiiiiiiiiight. This isn’t a plea for a full-blown ban on using a cute voice, it’s just an embargo on ever using it around other people, in public spaces, or to excessive levels (read: all the time). I don’t know about you, but I’d like to still view my boyfriend/fiancee/husband as a man worthy of sex appeal (even if it’s just to me), and there’s nothing more emasculating and less sexy than talking to him like one of you is wearing diapers.

Usage of the phrase “Princess Wedding” - Oh dear God make it stop. I know most women fantasize about their wedding since childhood and can envision every detail of the day (except me, I somehow missed that gene and will merely tolerate being a bride just to marry my hypothetical husband). But that doesn’t mean that she should drag you into her Swarovski-crystallized, gigantic dress-wearing nuptial fantasy. This indicates that she focuses more on the day than the man, and so long as she’s wearing a tiara as if she’s starring in a Disney remake, the man standing next to her could be any stand-in. Congratulations, you’re a human Ken doll. Run.

Excessive Credit Card Debt or Reckless Shopping Addiction - Does she sneak off for retail therapy all the time (and feel the need to hide it from you)? Does she shuffle more cards than a Blackjack dealer? This is bad news bears, boys. I’m not talking about regulation girl shopping here, or even reasonable amounts of debt – hey, everyone’s been there at some point. I’m talking about a sustained level of living above her means. Why? Because it means that you’re going to be running yourself ragged trying to support her habit. And also, that she probably doesn’t respond to logic or restraint very well.

Pictures of Herself - Narcissism is no fun. Does she have framed pictures of herself all over her house? Is her Facebook profile a gallery of kiss-y faced mugging or worse – bathroom mirror poses? If no one loves your girl as much as she does, this means trouble. Case in point, I only have one solo shot of myself in my entire apartment, and it’s of my second grade Town League Soccer trader card (just for kicks – pun intended). I love when women are self-confident, but if she can’t applaud other females’ beauty, if she places all of her value in her appearance or if she just flat out loves attention, it doesn’t matter where the attention comes from – beware.

Still uses an AOL or Hotmail Email Account - Need I say more?

References Her “Daddy” Too Often - I love my family more than anyone in the world, and my dad set the bar high, but that doesn’t mean I talk about him incessantly or call him every time something goes awry. If she’s all about Daddy Dearest, runs to his side for validation that she’s right, or just makes you feel like you’ll never be able to occupy as much real estate in her heart as he does, this is a red flag. Unless, of course, you’re prepared to have a third party in your relationship.

Nicknames/Pet Names - I’m not talking about having one term of endearment or inside joke between the two of you, I’m talking about this girl. Every time I see this commercial, I wonder, instead of trying to come up with something clever of his own, why he doesn’t run out of the restaurant screaming and lock the car doors? And also, why he took his girlfriend to McDonald’s on a date…

These are just some of the early indicators that you may want to return your purchase to the girlfriend store, unopened, with your receipt. In fairness, if she commits one of these offenses, you tell her it bothers you and she adjusts her behavior, don’t kick her to the curb. Maybe she didn’t realize what she was doing wrong. But if you voice your complaints and she won’t budge, don’t say I didn’t warn you.THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID


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