Mixed signals are a common relationship or dating issue. One day, things will be flowing perfectly, and the next, it’s like you hit a brick wall. What gives?
Before you render a snap judgment, we’ve got a few strategies and ideas you should consider first.
Why Do We Get (or Give) Mixed Signals?
Mixed signals mean that you or the other person appear interested but also come across as distant. Mixed messages can manifest in many ways, but one example is not calling you when they say they will.
It can be incredibly confusing when you don’t know how the person you are dating feels. The hardest part of mixed-signal behaviour is that it keeps one person in a seemingly endless space of uncertainty.
Who wants to feel uncertain about how their partner feels?! Nobody.
The best way to solve the matter is to be accountable for your part in the situation.
You have a choice: you can do nothing but sit back and watch, or you can take the reins and get to the bottom of it.
It’s (Usually) Not Intentional
People don’t get into relationships with the intention to mislead. Of course, there are exceptions—anyone who’s dated a narcissist knows this—but when communication is lacking, dating becomes incredibly frustrating.
Here are some tips to help you decode your partner’s mixed-signal behaviour.
Create a Safe Space
Create a safe space to help your partner share openly and freely. If they feel like they can speak honestly without fear of being judged, it will help you learn more about them and how they feel.
How do you do this? It all starts with you. Share about yourself. Be vulnerable, show that you trust them and that you feel comfortable in their presence. In doing this, you are creating a safe space for them to open up.
Ask Them How They Feel and Don’t Judge
Try asking them how they feel to better understand their mindset and what’s happening in their world. Don’t lead with things you dislike about them or criticize how they act (i.e., not calling you on time).You can say what you are looking for from them in the relationship. Be careful not to nit-pick, as this approach will just irritate them and create more distance and less trust. Nobody likes feeling judged.
You could start with something like, “I really like you and enjoy our relationship.” You want to frame the conversation in a positive and intimate light. “I have come to learn some important things about myself, and I wanted to share them with you.”
Being able to share your feelings openly and freely helps them know how you feel, and it also reveals what your expectations are—both of yourself and them. It is good to talk about these things instead of letting them eat you up inside. Try not to be emotional, as that adds a layer of discomfort neither of you will enjoy.
When you know how the other person feels about something, whether it’s being perpetually late, indecisive, or non-committal, you can start to consider those feelings before you act.
Listen to What They Have to Say
When your partner shares with you, keep your ears open and genuinely listen to what they say. Keep asking more questions if you need to learn more but take what they say at face value. Most people have no desire to hurt or disappoint others.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask the Hard Questions
Sometimes, asking questions about where a relationship stands can be scary. If you find out their feelings are not as strong as yours, it can hurt! It’s so much easier to avoid the question—but what good will that do?
If you’re getting mixed signals, it’s a sign. You need to have a conversation and get everything on the table, so neither of you has a false sense of what’s going on. The consequences of not talking are so much worse.