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All The Red Flags We See In K-Dramas That We Shouldn't Ignore IRL

From commitment issues to creepy behaviors, we hope you steer clear of partners like these.
All the red flags we see in K-dramas

Some K-drama characters are impossibly dreamy. Take the fabulous five of Hospital Playlist, for example. Each one of them is practically perfect. On the flip side, there are nightmarish fictional guys (and girls!). They bear big, bright red flags from head to toe, yet the bida still chases them or welcomes them with open arms.

We'll let them go since they redeem themselves in the end…usually. But if you do spot any of these red flags IRL, please, we urge you to abort the mission and move on.

All The Red Flags We See In K-Dramas

The Flirt “With No Strings Attached”


As seen in: Nevertheless (available on Netflix)

Flirts are okay, TBH—but if hindi mo papanindigan? Not cool. Park Jae Eon, Song Kang’s character in Nevertheless, has spun countless memes and tweets. His flirting powers definitely put a new meaning to seeing butterflies. But we can’t discount all the warning signs he’s shown since the pilot episode.

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The guy was actually there to meet another woman, supposedly. Instead, he decided to spend time with Na Bi (Han So Hee). What if you were the other girl? He also recycles swoon-worthy moves, doesn’t DTR, and doesn’t admit to seeing you when asked by others. To be clear though, we respect people who prefer casual dating and open relationships—do your thing. But if you’re going to lie about it and make one of the people you’re stringing along think that she’s you’re one and only? Boy, bye.

The Cheaters

As seen in: A World Of Married Couple, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Fight for My Way, Go Back Couple (all available on Viu)

This should be obvious already, yet time and again, we see drama characters get entangled as the third party. Unfortunately, it’s the same IRL. There are still women that fall for married men like in A World Of Married Couple or Scarlet Heart Ryeo. There are also still women who will flirt with guys with serious girlfriends like in Fight for My Way.

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But we’re not putting all the blame on “the other woman.” Sure, you can be smart and avoid men with existing commitments. However, people can be deceiving. Remember that innocent-looking med student guy from Go Back Couple? Others like that can sweet-talk you into thinking he’s only dating you. So do simple background checks if you didn’t meet through friends! You never know if you’ll end up with an adulterer later on. 

Also, we shouldn't even remind you this, but if you're married or are in a serious relationship, stop. flirting. with. other. people.

The Plain Jerk

As seen in: Boys Over Flowers (available on Netflix, Viu, and iQiyi)

Okay, some people change for the better. Other people even have a savior complex and welcome the challenge of reforming bad boys. However, it’s not always a happy ending IRL. More often than not, bad habits persist and some “quirks” are actually toxic behaviors you’re going to deal with on the reg.

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One classic K-drama comes to mind when it comes to fictional jerks: Boys Over Flowers. The tall, rich, and handsome F4 were bullies! The chances of fixing real-life bullies are quite slim, and as the show depicted, it could take life-threatening events to snap them out of their destructive behaviors. Sure, you can still try—but take a breath before diving in and there’s no shame in choosing your battles.

The Clingy, Insecure Ex

As seen in: Weightlifting Fairy: Kim Bok Joo, When the Camellia Blooms (both available on Netflix)

“If I can’t have you, nobody else can.”—that is their [toxic] motto. Sometimes, they realize your worth when you’re gone, but that’s their fault! You don’t have to come back to them, especially if they treated you like garbage. Remember the gymnast ex-girlfriend of Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk) in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo? If she didn’t get a wake-up call, she probably still kept sabotaging Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) and calling up Joon Hyung when she needs something. Getting proper closure can be difficult if you had a messy breakup. Naturally, the best way to prevent a nasty aftermath is to end it the right way. Be clear with the reasons you’re ending the relationship and avoid misunderstandings.

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Of course, some people could also suddenly reveal their dark side once you cut ties. You may have already moved on, and then your ex could suddenly open cans of worms, cling onto you, and try to get in the way of your happiness. If that’s the case, first let them realize that it’s over and you’ve moved on. Just like how Dong Baek (Gong Hyo Jin) did it with her baby-daddy in When the Camellia Blooms. If that doesn’t work, do everything you can to keep him or her out of your life. Or at least, make sure that the people who matter most to you know the real deal.

The Psycho

As seen in: Vincenzo, While You Were Sleeping (both available on Netflix), The Penthouse (available in Viu)

This one's much trickier than the rest because some villains have the best disguises. Remember Ok Taecyeon’s role in Vincenzo or Lee Sang Yeob’s in While You Were Sleeping? Good thing they showed their true colors sooner than later, so the heroines in those series got out before they really fell for those guys. But what if a hypothetical Joo Dan Tae (Uhm Ki Joon) from The Penthouse enters your life and tricks you with thrill, romance, and even wealth? We just hope you’re able to recognize the signs and cut ties before it gets batshit crazy.

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Any other K-drama red flags you’ve encountered in real life? Please share and save lives! ;)


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