So far, it’s difficult to point out where it all originated from. There have been plenty of cases in the media lately of abusive relationships where the red flags seemed evident but things proceeded and it ended badly, so it’s no surprise that people are opening up about the risks associated with relationships. There are TikTok users who were shelling out relationship advice using the #RedFlags hashtag as far back as May and they shared what they saw as poor behavior in other people, to help others avoid a potentially harmful or unpleasant situation. They highlighted things like someone who is clingy and love bombs you right away, someone who constantly brings up their exes, and more serious things like punching holes in walls when they’re angry.

But as it goes with most internet discourse, some people didn’t take it seriously and poked fun at it by turning the warnings into a hilarious meme. By the time the trend hit Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, things took a lighter turn and it started spreading quickly. People started deeming minimal and inconsequential things as “red flags,” and the meme took off. The format is also so easy to use since it’s just a phrase along with a long string of emojis. So many people participated in the trend because it required such little effort, and for some social media users, the trend was getting old fast.