GPB's Peter Biello speaks with Abby Larner, co-creator of Green Flag.

Abby Larner of Atlanta is the co-creator of Green Flag.

Abby Larner of Atlanta is the co-creator of Green Flag.

Credit: Courtesy

If you're looking for a romantic partner, there is no shortage of apps that you can use to find someone. A new digital offering created in Georgia and designed by therapists prioritizes mental health among those seeking to find a partner and incorporates relationship courses. It's called Green Flag. Abby Larner of Atlanta co-created Green Flag, and she spoke with GPB's Peter Biello.



Peter Biello: So give me your elevator pitch for Green Flag. What can this app do that other apps either haven't been able to do or don't do? Well.

Abby Larner: Currently, dating apps connect you with someone and drop you in and expect you to figure out how to how to make it work with a stranger. There are sort of two problems that you're trying to solve. The first was around trying to help people better gauge compatibility online for a long-term relationship. And then the second problem was really trying to equip people with relationship skills to help their relationships succeed in the long term. No one really teaches you how to be in a relationship, so we're hoping we'll be able to kind of help people bridge that gap.

Peter Biello: So it sounds like to some extent there's work involved with Green Flag. You have to take courses, answer questionnaires, and really think hard about what it's like to be in a partnership.

Abby Larner: Yes. That's correct. So the idea is that we're providing these relationships courses. They cover a lot of topics that are really important when you're thinking about being serious with somebody. And a big piece of that is self-reflection, as well as learning about yourself within the context of dating and relationships.

Peter Biello: Was there a particular source of inspiration for the creation of Green Flag? Did you hear a story and say, "Gee, I wish such-and-such existed"?

Abby Larner: That is a great question. So I'm actually single myself, and I have been in this world for a while. I'm personally looking for a long-term relationship, and I have also spent time in therapy. And what I started to realize is that the lessons I was learning in therapy about myself, reflecting on myself, reflecting on my experiences, tactical things that I had done were actually improving my dating life. It was helping me be more intentional about the way I approach dating, and I sort of saw that as an opportunity to help other people.

Peter Biello: So when someone signs up for this service, for Green Flag, are they met with a questionnaire? And does that questionnaire determine where they might go in the app, who they might pair up with, or maybe even say to the potential user, "It looks like you're not quite ready to be in a relationship yet. Here's some things you should try before you actually join and start looking for someone."

Abby Larner: So we're in the early stages of Green Flag, and right now what we have is a sort of initial course and assessment that helps people gauge where they are and what they're really ready for and looking for in a relationship. And so for some people, they might come out after the course saying, "Yeah, I'm just looking for friendship" or "I'm just looking to kind of date at a slower pace" and that's totally fine.

Everyone is going to approach dating in different ways, and the way that it works is you go through, you take this course and you come out and you have a profile that really describes important research-backed compatibility traits like your communication style, your connection style. What is your dating approach? How fast or slow are you trying to go?

And once you learn that about yourself, you can actually take that profile and share it on existing dating apps. So right now we don't have a matching component, but we are actually running an in-person event called the Green Flag Challenge, which is a way for us to help people who have gone through Green Flag connect in Atlanta in person.

Peter Biello: I see, so the app itself doesn't match you with other users, but it can sit atop other platforms and help those folks better assess compatibility.

Abby Larner: Yeah, for now, we don't have matching. We don't have sort of a full app, but that's kind of where we're hoping to grow.

Peter Biello: Is there a cost associated with using Green Flag?

Abby Larner: So the Green Flag profile that we have, the shareable profile that you can put in other dating apps -- that is entirely free. And the Green Flag Challenge is $30 to participate. But of course, that includes the in-person mixer at the end, which will have a free drink and the opportunity to meet other people in person.