How to Decipher Mixed Messages While Dating

by Contributor
How to Decipher Mixed Messages While Dating

He says he'll call, but doesn't. Instead he sends a brief text announcing that he is too tired to talk and will call you tomorrow. He doesn't call tomorrow. Instead he pings you on Facebook the day after tomorrow and invites you to a happy hour with a group of his friends. At the happy hour he flirts with you, but also flirts with another girl in the group. It's confusing. Does he want you as a date? A friend? A fling? Dating is full of this type of confusion. If you are single person--male or female--looking for a relationship, you are sure to receive many mixed messages during the course of your search. Fortunately, there are a few tips that will help make decoding those mixed messages a little less difficult--and a little less devastating.

Step 1

See things as they are, not as you hope them to be. It is important not to let your hope for what could be blind you to the reality of what is. When trying to decipher mixed messages make an attempt to detach from your hopeful longings, to set your emotions aside and to examine your situation with an objective eye, as if you are an outsider looking in on yourself.

Step 2

Believe what you are told. If the person you are dating tells you that they are not fully available, uncertain or weary of entering into a relationship, believe it.

Step 3

But don't believe everything you are told, especially when it has to do with the future of your relationship. Just because the person whom you are dating makes references to all the wonderful activities that the two of you will do together someday doesn't mean that those activities are certain to take place. Remember, people often get caught in the moment and speak freely without giving much thought to their words, so that they end up saying things that they don't really mean.

Step 4

Move slowly. It takes a while to get to know another person and to understand the ways in which he or she communicates. It is good to keep your guard up a little in the beginning, to observe the other person rather than to invest yourself completely right from day one. The more you observe, the easier you will be able to recognize and make sense of mixed messages. If you dive headfirst into the relationship it will be harder for you to maintain the distance you need to remain objective. Objectivity is important in the beginning stages of dating if your ultimate goal is a long-term relationship.

Step 5

Send clear signals. Often people receive mixed messages from others because they are giving mixed messages themselves. Know what you want and be clear about it.

Step 6

Seek advice from people who can give you legitimate insights. If you want to understand why the guy you like is acting the way he is, the last thing you should do is sit around and theorize with your girlfriends. Instead, talk to other men, because they are the ones who will be able to give you the perspective you need. And if it's a woman whose mixed messages you are trying to decipher, don't try to figure her out by talking with your male buddies. Talk to other women and get their take on your situation.

Step 7

When in doubt, wait it out. Time and space can bring a lot of clarity to a situation. If you aren't sure about the messages you are receiving from your new love interest, take a deep breath, step back and wait to see what next moves he makes.

Step 8

Ask. It's always fair to ask directly if you are confused about the messages you are receiving from somebody you are dating. Just make sure that your question is clear and answerable. Don't ramble on about a bunch of different issues. Instead be short and to the point. If he or she is willing to discuss the situation openly and honestly, then you can rest assured that you are dealing with a kind person whom you can trust. On the other hand, if she gets defensive, argues, dodges your questions, makes you feel guilty or talks in circles in such a way that you feel even more confused than when you started, you should to look for love some place else.

Step 9

Remember, a person has the right to change his mind at any moment. Just because he liked you yesterday doesn't mean he will like you tomorrow. That's part of the risk of opening your heart; you become vulnerable. There are no guarantees about what the outcome of dating will be.

Step 10

Choose to love somebody who can love you back. If a person is giving mixed messages it means that she is not available to you in the way you want. While it's natural to have some ambivalence in any relationship, if uncertainty and mixed messages are primary themes, you are best to move on and look for somebody who is as excited about you as you are about her.

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