One moment they seem totally into you.
And the next it’s like you never even met.
But then they’re warm with you again, like it never happened.
So they like you right?
It was just like a…. glitch. Right?
Well, sadly, probably not.
In this post, we’ll go through how to decipher mixed signals and what to do about them.
My guess is that you landed on this page for a reason. You’re not merely interested in what mixed signals are, you probably know you’re getting the cold shoulder sometimes. And a warm shoulder others. But sometimes we doubt ourselves. Is this behavior really normal? Are these signals actually mixed because when we’re on, we’re on.
If your crush is normal and sending you green lights and then all of the sudden you experience any of the following, you’re getting mixed signals:
In any case, it sucks. It feels like you’re building a relationship with someone only for it to come to a screeching halt for no reason. Maybe it’s stop and go and you can’t really figure out why.
Do they like me or not?
If this were a storybook with a happy ending, I could tell you that they’re giving you mixed signals because they aren’t too sure yet. They really want to make sure they’ve found “the one” before wasting any more time with you. And then…
BOOM, he realizes how great you are.
And it’s no longer hot and cold.
It’s warm all the time.
And it’s happy ever after.
But the unfortunate truth is that’s unlikely the case.
A person who gives you mixed signals may be doing so for multiple reasons. Sadly, almost none of them lead to a relationship…at least a healthy one.
If they’re hot and cold and suddenly have a craving to text, sext or see you at late hours—it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. They’re looking for a hookup. Which is totally cool if you are too. But if you’re looking for more, don’t hope that a hookup will change that.
Yep, exactly like the movie. Sometimes, we want so badly for someone to be into us, but they just aren’t. Maybe they really want to be. Maybe you’re doing all the right things and you’re so sweet and kind and attractive—but the other person just doesn’t feel a connection. Maybe they feel bad about it so they just keep stringing you on, hoping you’ll eventually get the hint without getting hurt. In this case, you deserve someone who’s into you 100%.
Maybe they don’t think there’s a spark, but they’re willing to spend more time with you to make sure. Perhaps in their times of being cold, they’re out on other dates, seeing if there’s a better connection with someone else. It’s possible they could come back to you, realizing you’re “the one.” But more often than not, they already know, which is why they’re already treating you that you. Or, they may be thinking things could change, but if not, they’ll keep you around until they find someone they like more.
It’s possible that the person you’re getting mixed signals from is very low on time. For example, maybe they work 16 hour days and barely have time to eat, shower, cook and sleep. They fit you in when they can, which is basically never. But every time you get a message from them, it feels great for you. The truth is though, someone who isn’t willing to make any time for you isn’t worth your own.
Another reason for mixed signals could be that the person just doesn’t care to keep in contact or see people often. Maybe it’s not even you—maybe they have attachment issues with everyone. They don’t care to get close and they’re perfectly ok with being alone or busy with other things most of the time. Whenever they’re feeling low on interaction, they hit you up. Of course, you deserve someone who can be emotionally intimate with you on the regular, not just in the rare cases they feel like it. And stop waiting around for them to change—many people with attachment issues need therapy for that.
Maybe the person genuinely likes you, they just don’t want to be in a relationship. They enjoy time with you or texting—but not so much that it could become “couply.” If they wanted to be in a relationship, they’d invest more effort. Think about it: You really like this person right? Are you ignoring their text messages? Cancelling dates? No. That’s because you genuinely want the relationship to move forward. When someone really likes another person, they’ll show it.
If you’ve read the possible reasons for getting mixed signals above, you probably know there’s only a few ways to deal with it.
This is the best option. Sure, you could talk to them first. It may give you closure, but it’s unlikely to change anything and moving on is probably inevitable. If your crush was deep, this can really hurt. Even if you never formed a relationship with someone, the emotional attachment you developed in your head can be hard to break. That’s normal. Congratulate yourself on being so open to love. If the pain seems too much, remember that it’s still less that the pain of letting someone drag you on for months.
If you’re getting mixed signals, you could always have a conversation with them and say something like, “I’m confused because sometimes you treat me X way and sometimes you treat me Z way and I’m not sure if you like me or not. If you don’t, it’s ok, but I need to know if I’m wasting my time or not.”
The upside to asking this is that some people are honest and will tell you straight how they feel. Not only could it free up your time, but it could give you closure. Or, maybe they’re genuinely just getting to know you, they open up slowly or you kind of just met them and it’s normal for them to be unsure.
The downside to confronting them about mixed signals is that not everyone is honest or courageous enough to tell you hard truths. For example, maybe the person doesn’t like you but they don’t want to hurt you, so they can’t bare tell you to your face. They may think fibbing and continuing to send mixed signals will be better on your heart (even though it’s not).
This is an option. But it’s not a good one. You can stick around to see if the person you like will eventually be more warm than cold. It’s likely they’ll continue to lack consistency though. There’s few hot and cold partners that end up turning into a healthy relationship. Even if you do get a relationship out of it, the behavior isn’t guaranteed to change. You deserve someone who likes you, knows they like you, and knows how to show it. The only good reason for staying would be if the mixed signals are so early into knowing someone that they’re genuinely trying to figure you out. If that behavior continues, you have your answer.
This is another bad option. One time, a guy friend asked me what he should do after being sent mixed signals. Of course, I told him option #1: Walk away, you deserve someone who is clear on their intentions after this long. He didn’t listen. He thought it would be a good idea to play the game back because “not everyone likes you right away,” and “it’s fun and cute.” Lucky for him, his heart wasn’t invested, so the worst he got out of the situation was… nothing.
Even though we want mixed signals to mean something positive, it rarely does. It usually means the person isn’t as into us as we are into them. Although that’s sad, realizing it frees up our time and heart to find someone else who likes us a lot more—who is worthy of our big, loving hearts. You could stick around and see if it changes or you could talk to them about their behavior. But most times, even though it’s painful, it’s easier to walk away.
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