"I never watched The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross."
There’s a new meme on Twitter that’s turning traditional “red flags” into something much more lighthearted. If you recently scrolled through your feed and noticed a bunch of tweets containing multitudes of red flag emojis, you might want to know exactly what’s going on. The red flag meme’s meaning isn’t super deep, but it will make you laugh. In fact, the trend is all about cracking jokes with the tweets containing some very non-traditional warnings.
The red flag meme began flooding Twitter in early October 2021, and 1.5 million tweets globally included the emoji in tweets on Oct. 12 alone, according to an email from Twitter to Elite Daily. The red flag meme is all about the common warning phrases, “that’s a red flag” or “to raise a red flag.” The idiom comes from the historical meaning of red flags, which have been used to signal warnings for danger.
The use of “red flag” warnings dates back as far as the mid-1700s, per Merriam-Webster, and they have been used for wildfire warnings, various armed forces training exercise warnings, and unsafe swimming conditions at public beaches. Of course, people also commonly talk about red flags in relationships, which usually refer to more serious matters. The red flag meme is anything but serious, so it’s good to take them all with a large grain of salt and not as actual relationship advice.
You’ll recognize the memes by the sheer number of red flag emojis in them, which are preceded by the controversial opinion or habit. Twitter users have been employing the red flag meme for anything remotely problematic, like the Dr. Pepper account warning about an establishment not having, well, Dr. Pepper.
Examples of what could be considered an automatic red flag include disliking one of your favorite movies or TV shows, or, as Twitter joked, not being on a certain social media platform:
Once it got started, the memes just kept on coming. According to Twitter, the use of the red flag emoji grew by 455% in the past week.
Here are some of the best examples that’ll make you LOL and then immediately say, “Stay away”:
We’re not here to tolerate this kind of talk about Queen Bey:
I’m sorry, my dog, cat, ferret, hamster, fish, and I can’t hear what you said:
OK, this might be one where you want to step back as she “starts”:
You can get out of my swamp if you don’t like the Shrek franchise:
And Twihards don’t want you hating on Edward, Bella, and Jacob for Forks’ sake:
Swifties are gonna have to “Shake It Off” after hearing this one:
It’s “happy little trees” or nothing for me:
Now that you know what the red flag meme is, you’ll likely see the emojis all over your timeline. If you’re feeling inspired, you can make your own with whatever controversial opinion you think needs to GTFO.