Call us politically incorrect, but just as there are some types of guy you wouldn't want your sister dating, there are some types of woman you should steer clear of. See whether you recognise any of these.
She looks like a model and her folks like you. But you keep wishing you could transplant the brain of the girl with whom you backpacked around Europe into her head. If there's a small voice warning you about this woman, perhaps she fits into one of the following categories:
The scene stealer
Your lady friend needs to speak a little more loudly, be a little more theatrical or come up with some lengthy, intriguing anecdote whenever you have company. It probably means she needs to be the centre of attention.
Some guys find it fun to be with an exhibitionist, but it's likely to have temporary appeal. It might also put strain on your other relationships, and you may end up having to choose. Or maybe you've just grown a bit stuffy and boring and she's actually good for you. The reaction of your friends or family may guide you, unless they're stuffy and boring too. Being able to listen and to make each other smile is a good yardstick.
The heart-lung machine
Can't go for a walk on your own or have a beer with your mates without being subjected to days of misery? You may be dating a sticker. If her cat just got run over, or if her neighbour was attacked while gardening yesterday, these are external factors making her insecure. It's your cue to be warm and understanding. But if it's been months since you had any time on your own, you have cause for concern.
Try suggesting that she have her book club night while you play pool with your mates. If that still doesn't work, look for the exit sign. Remember that solitude is good for you both, and for your relationship.
This is as unbecoming in women as it is in men. If your new friend never seems to have any cash on her and always promises to pay you back later, start keeping mental tally. The law of averages says that you're being taken for a ride if you've paid for lunch number four.
If you just inherited a castle, some yachts and several Euros, you might be feeling expansive and inclined to pay for everything. But it's the 21st Century, folks. Most women will at least offer to go Dutch, even if they know you'll insist on hauling out your magic plastic. Or they may be completely open and say: "Look, I'm a bit overdrawn this month. Next time it's on me." Fine. If it isn't, bail out.
Unless you like being a sugar daddy, in which case you're in as much trouble as she is.
The baggage handler
Bad things happen in relationships, and they can leave you feeling bruised emotionally. But if your date is constantly scrutinising your behaviour for signs that you're in some way like her succession of dysfunctional, no-good former boyfriends, entertain some second thoughts.
If you're serious about each other, you'll have to allow some latitude and take some emotional risks. If her father was an alcoholic and gambling addict who dabbled and drank away the family fortune, you can expect her to be sensitive about you knocking back shooters and feeding the blackjack machines after your office party.
If you have the complete collection of James Bond movies on DVD and her dad cheated on his wife, encourage her not to lose perspective. After all, several Bond leading men were solid family types in real life, Moneypenny.
Inane chatter may mean that she's simply flustered by your male presence and darkly good looks. In the early days of wooing her, this means you're on the right track. But if the conversation is a continuous monologue about things that really interest neither of you, you may need to look long and hard at yourself in the rear view mirror: could you drive across America - or even the Karoo - with this woman?
Some blokes are happy with talkers. Having safely established that they're required to do nothing more than nod pleasantly, they go into listen mode. If she has a really lovely voice, this can be enjoyable. But if it's a banal, stream-of-consciousness yarn about the traffic, the crowds at the mall and the prices of shoes, it may mean she's insecure.
Some people worry that silence between people equals tension, but silence can be a good sign - that you're comfortable in each other's company. Or that one of you has left. It's why many blokes go fishing together, or alone, if their friends are talkers.
(Picture: flirtatious woman from Shutterstock)