Karen Fratti
Updated Jul 21, 2017 @ 2:30 pm
Getty Images/Oscar Wong

There are so many rules when it comes to dating! Everyone thinks they have all the answers (present company included), but really, who you date and why is a personal thing. No one knows what’s just right for you, even if they have tons of dating experience. Even seemingly obvious things aren’t all that set in stone, like the kinds of “off-limits” people you shouldn’t date but might actually be worth taking a chance on.

One person’s red flag is another person’s “get it!”

There are a few standard red flag people you shouldn’t date. Like, don’t get involved with someone who yells at you or is actually abusive. Or racists. People who don’t think feminism is a *thing* are usually not great for women. Or anyone who eats their pizza with a knife and fork. Alright, you can give them a break on that one maybe, if only to teach them how regular people do it.

But some other classic red flags are totally do-able. Remember, you can’t change a person. So if someone has one of these traits, they’ll likely wave it for the rest of their lives. But if you don’t mind it so much, why not overlook their glaring flaws in the name of True Love?

Here are a few “off-limits” people that might be OK to date.

1Your pothead neighbor

Potheads have a bad reputation for being lazy or a little goofy. The stereotype is essentially true, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Pot is pretty tame and legal in many places. Also, there are some very productive stoners out there. If they’re just across the hall, why not?

2Your friend’s ex

Hear us out on this one: The friendship code is real! You do not, at any time, hurt your friend or steal their partner. But if enough time has passed, the wounds are healed, and you talk about it with your BFF…what’s the harm?

3Chronically “broke” person

Sometimes this is definitely a red flag you should run far, far away from. If someone is so irresponsible that you’re supporting them, that’s not great. But being out of work for a minute or having a wacky pay schedule as a freelancer doesn’t make them a terrible human.

4The person who lives with their parents

Society tends to judge all human beings who don’t branch out on their own and overpay in rent as soon as they turn 18 years old. It might be tough to get laid whenever you want, but someone who’s crashing with their parents might have a good reason to do so. Maybe they’re doing a year to pay down credit card debt or their dad has some health problems. If it works for them, why judge?

5Someone with an STI

You are in control of your health, but most STIs are treatable. Even better, a lot of them are preventable, too. If someone discloses an STI to you, you don’t have to run right away. Actually, being open about it is a very honest and brave thing to do. Those aren’t bad qualities in a mate.

6The seriously unfunny

Your friends might hate them and you might spend most of your dates cringing at their one-liners to the bartender, but being corny can be endearing. Just don’t let them do an open mic night.

7Someone still in the closet

People should come out and be themselves, if only for their own mental health. And it’s very hard to date someone who is still self-consciously in the closet. But there are good reasons for some people to stay in the closet, namely for their safety. Maybe you can help, maybe not. Either way, it’s not necessarily a reason to write someone off.

8Your boss

Have you never seen Grey’s Anatomy? You might want to check with HR and make sure you both know what the expectations are for the relationship, but why the heck not? Just because someone is typically categorized as “off-limits” doesn’t mean you can’t give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen?