Anyone who discusses BDSM and especially D/s outside of fantasy and erotica spends at least a bit of time warning submissives away from the bad Dominants. I'm no exception - between assholes calling themselves Doms, Domly-Doms who think they know everything, and Dominants who believe giving oral sex to their submissive partner makes them less dominant, there's plenty to talk about.
But what about the other side of that coin? What about submissives who give off their own red flags and make decent Dominants a little wary? Yeah, they exist. So what do these submissives do that make a good Dominant want to run in the other direction? I'm giving it to you straight from the mouths of Dominants I know. They really have encountered these things when meeting new people, and for them (highly respected, highly knowledgeable kinksters in the local lifestyle), it's a total turn off.
Telling a Dominant You Have "No Limits"
Most Dominants I know are fairly sarcastic and willing to push a few buttons. Their response to the "I have no limits" statement is incredulous laughter, followed by a dare. Will you let them shit on your face, pee down your throat, or cut you with a knife? Sure, some people find that level of kink exciting, but it's rare.
Telling a Dominant you have "no limits" is a red flag that you're either too desperate for a relationship or you have a hell of a lot to learn. Either way, it can be a turn off. You don't have to be full of bravado with a new Dominant. And it's perfectly okay to say, "I don't know" when asked about your limits. If that person is right for you, they'll work to figure out your limits, stay within your current limits and only later, try to push your boundaries.
Promising a Dominant You'll "Do Anything" For Them
I think most of us have said this to a Dominant at some point or another. I admit that I have - now, after years of knowing John Brownstone and understanding our own limits. When I say "anything," he knows I mean anything within the confines of what we're both okay with. But when you've just met someone, don't say you'll do anything. You have no idea what a Dominant might ask of you.
My Dominant friends usually ask (not seriously) if that particular submissive is willing to cut off their own finger for them. Be shocked, no one has taken them up on their offer. What you think "anything" means in terms of kink and D/s and what a Dominant thinks are probably two very different things. It's another sign of desperation or a lack of education. Some Doms don't mind teaching new submissive (many are willing, actually) but they'd like you to have a little common sense and a sense of self-preservation.
Submitting Too Soon
Some Dominants have a "test" for new-to-them submissives. They'll command them to do something - pick up a napkin that fell on the floor, drop something, throw something, whatever. They're usually looking for two things when they do this - the immediate urge to do what you're told and the backbone to tell a new-to-you Dominant "No."
Why should you refuse? Because this isn't your Dominant, and they have zero right to command anything from you until it's been discussed and agreed upon. Now, in fairness, this example is during a munch or some other social outing. If you're on a date or you're meeting someone in person for the first time, but you've already established a rapport or even a relationship online, this might not apply. But just because someone you met five minutes ago tries to order you around, doesn't mean you're required to do it.
Oh, and on a side note: when an online or in-person Domly-Dom™ tries to tell you that you're not a real submissive because you're not following their commands from the very first conversation, feel free to tell them to kiss your ass. I don't care if the "order" is face-to-face at a munch or through a Facebook message, if you haven't agreed to be in a relationship with them, you're under no obligation to bend to their wishes just because they've given themselves the title of "Dominant." You're a sub, not their sub.
Everyone is different, and maybe some of these red flags aren't all that bad - or you did them, and it turned out fine. Good for you. But this isn't the case for all submissives, and if you're wondering where the decent Dominants are, make sure you're not scaring them away by trying to be too submissive from the moment you meet. The good Dominants don't want a doormat - they want a strong submissive who's not so desperate for a Dominant that you'll attach yourself to the first one you meet.