Relationship red flags (for dummies)

Save yourself time and heartache with these three fail-safe strategies for spotting an incompatible partner.

NOTE: This article is a dramatisation of the long and often ridiculous pre-requisites some of us have created in the search for love. I felt the need to explain that on the off-chance someone thinks I’m being serious. (The only part I’m serious about is the nachos rule — that is truly a game-changer).

How to spot an incompatible partner — three simple rules to live by.

How they order their coffee

  • Espresso — they’re direct, they know what they want, they’re driven, busy and they don’t mess about. They probably also still sleep with a cuddly toy because they were starved of affection as a child.
  • Cappuccino — they like to indulge a bit, indicated by the cheeky chocolate on top. What that really means is, they might partake in a caffeine hit between 9–5, but after dark, they’re probably in a back alley somewhere buying uppers, downers and in-betweeners from some cashed-up investment banker called Markus with a ‘k’.
  • Latte — traditional, respectful, nice people. Prone to collecting hair samples and fingernail clippings from ex-partners.
  • Flat white — they’re a traditionalist, conservative by nature, dog lovers. A good choice if you’re happy in the missionary position for the rest of your life.
  • Mocha — position themselves as sweet and innocent. Relationships usually come to an abrupt end when they’re found using your grandmother’s Le Creuset to boil a bunny.
  • Piccolo — most frequently ordered with a side of smashed avo on gluten-free toast (the devil’s carb/cardboard). Short of a severe case of lactose intolerance, this is never OK.
  • Tea — probably British or suffering from a heart condition. Avoid.
  • Chai — also not coffee. Please refer to the previous point.


How a person squeezes toothpaste from the tube can reveal a lot about their personality and propensity for being a massive pain in the arse later on in a relationship. It’s been well documented by a number of clinical studies* that people who squeeze toothpaste from the top of the tube are also more likely to piss on the toilet seat and not wipe it, and also pull the wings off flies for fun.

If its nacho problem, it's everyone’s problem

It’s a well-known fact** that Hitler’s favourite snack was a plain corn chip. What I take from this is that you simply cannot trust someone who doesn’t appreciate the importance of corn chip accoutrement.

I once dated a guy who I’ve written about before; specifically his comment about my size — and now I’m writing about my love of nachos, so…). He asked me to his place for dinner and said he was making nachos. I told my friend about this and she laid down, what proved to be, some pretty accurate wisdom: “All you need to know about a man is communicated by how he has his nachos”.

I was shortly thereafter presented with a plate of corn chips that had barely been touched by, let alone covered, in a bland concoction of mince, corn and tomato paste. Not a spice nor a chili in sight. There was some partially melted (and I can barely get this out) LACTOSE-FREE — let’s call it for clarity-sake — “cheese”, and a dollop of mild salsa on the side. The plate had not so much as been waved in front of an avocado, and the greatest crime of all was the complete absence of sour cream. What kind of monster eats nachos without sour cream?! I once witnessed a taxi driver do a three-point turn in the middle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. That I can understand. Nachos without sour cream, I cannot. Needless to say, we didn’t have much to taco ‘bout after that. (Sorry, it was impossible to resist).

So there you have it. Three ordinary ‘relationship-ready’ tests you can roll out any time. You’re welcome.

*No clinical studies have ever proven this link.

**Fact may be taking some creative license. This isn’t true at all, but I figured Hitler is probably as bad as it gets, so it was an effective way to illustrate my point. I have no regrets.

Chronic over-sharer. Graphic language lover. Aspiring coffee addict. Highly functioning single person. Mum. Animal enthusiast. Don’t like much music post 1989.

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