One day they’re caring, attentive and asking all the right questions. The next day, they leave you on read for the next 72 hours. What’s worse is you’re not even getting a text back, but they’re still viewing all your Instagram stories. Could it get any more confusing? Mixed signals from guys can leave you scratching your head, but we’re here to help out.
In the texting era that we live in, trying to gauge a person’s tone over text can prove to be a challenge. Too many exclamation marks after a simple “Hi” can make it seem like they’re interested, too few and they’re definitely not.
Do those instances really count as mixed signals from guys? Are you really experiencing hot and cold behavior or are you reading into it a bit too much? With the help of psychologist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, let’s take a look at the most common examples of mixed signals from guys.
13 Examples Of Mixed Signals From Guys
Before we figure out what does it mean when a guy is sending mixed signals and what you should do about it, it’s important to take a look at what even counts as a mixed signal. Naturally, we sometimes tend to overthink the most minor interactions and attach more meaning to them than intended. For example, a person might just reply to your social media stories without giving it much thought. But if you assume that that’s their way of starting up a conversation with you, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. In such situations, when there is clearly no foundation for mixed signals from guys to even surface, you have only yourself to blame.
But when this person is dating your best friend and they still can’t stop sending you flirty texts at 2am, it is justifiably going to send you down a rabbit hole, trying to decipher what they mean with every single text that you get. As you can probably tell by now, knowing what counts as mixed signals from guys is just as vital as knowing why they might be sending them. Let’s help you with just that, so you can ascertain when you’re getting mixed signals from a crush or if it’s just one of those situations where you’ve been overthinking a bit too much.
1. The classic mixed signal from guys: talking about their exes
“When they keep talking about their exes to the girl they like or when they talk about how much pain they have gone through, it’s a clear-cut mixed signal,” says Dr. Bhonsle. Adding, “You’re confusing the girl you like by bringing up the one you don’t anymore. As a result, she’s bound to think, “Are they invested in me or are you likely to run to her after the first sign of trouble?
She may even have other questions in her mind like “Are they trying to make me jealous? Is this their way of trying to tell me that this is sort of a competition for their attention?” How do guys give mixed signals? By assuming that talking about their ex with someone they’re currently wooing is a good idea. Not only do they not have any idea what’s going on in their own head, but they also end up confusing you.
Related Reading: How Guys Text When They Like You – We Give You 15 Clues
2. Hot and cold behavior
When you talk about mixed signals from guys, hot and cold behavior is usually what comes to mind. One day, they compliment your outfit at work, text you till 2am, and act like you’re the only person who matters to them. And when it’s a case of mixed signals from a guy with a girlfriend, they just won’t stop making the eyes at you even when the partner is in the room.
The next day, your texts are left unanswered, they’re too busy to give you a call, and they’re canceling any plans you may have had. The worst part is, when you’re finally ready to move on because you’ve pretty much been ghosted, you get a text back with that red heart emoji. Can’t get any more confusing than that, can it?
3. “You remind me of my mother/sister”
Excuse me, but what is that even supposed to mean?! This might be their way of hinting that nothing is going to happen here, or, in other circumstances, they might even be trying to compliment you somehow. Weird. “When a man tells a woman that she reminds him of his mother, it makes the woman feel like she has big shoes to fill, or that she is inadvertently doing things that he may not necessarily agree with,” explains Dr. Bhonsle.
“For example, if he has ever talked about how his mother controlled him, then a comparison with his mother isn’t the most positive thing,” he adds. It’s a confusing statement to make, especially with someone who might be looking for a romantic relationship.
4. Mixed signals from guys: When they get sexual out of the blue
“When a man misses female companionship in his life, he may try to temporarily fill the void by being overtly sexual — or at least trying to be that way — with a friend,” says Dr. Bhonsle. Adding, “Such a sudden change in his demeanor and an attempt at changing his relationship with a friend is a clear mixed-signal since he’s only doing so because of how he misses female companionship.” In some cases, decoding mixed signals from guys isn’t the hardest thing in the world. Especially when they text you late at night asking if they can come over to your place with a bottle of wine.
5. They never make any plans with you
They’re complimenting you over texts, they’re flirting with you, and calling you literally every time they can. They share a lot of things with you, and they’re not afraid to tell you how pretty they think you are. But, they never ever ask to meet. Like, ever. If you’re getting mixed signals from a crush in this manner, it’s going to leave you thinking that you’re just an internet friend to him. Or maybe he just never leaves his house. Neither sound good.
6. They’re not supportive
If you’ve got someone on your hands who has told you that they’d like a deeper emotional connection with you but only ever seem invested when it’s convenient for them, you’ve got yourself a case of mixed signals from guys. For example, this person might come to you in their hour of need, but when things get a bit rough for you, they’re not willing to put in the effort and support you. As a result, you may feel undervalued and used.
7. If they’re contradicting themselves
“If [they] keep talking about wanting to get married but at the same time say something like, “I don’t have any time for relationships, I’m too focused on my career,” it can be construed as a mixed signal,” explains Dr. Bhonsle. Imagine if your colleague tells you they’d love to get to know you better but are apparently always knee-deep in work. They say they’re looking for a serious relationship, but work doesn’t allow them to date. At the same time, flirting with you is their favorite pastime. It’s a clear case of mixed signals from a male coworker.
8. There’s little to no communication after the date
The examples of mixed signals from a guy come in all shapes and forms. If you’ve secured a date with this person and it went well, not getting a call or a text or even a reply after is definitely going to leave you wondering what went wrong. When you get a “Sorry, just been so busy with work! Had a great time. Again? Xo” try not to completely melt over it. What you’re witnessing is a lack of dating etiquette.
Related Reading: Why Do Guys Distance Themselves After Intimacy?
9. When they don’t care too much about your sex life
“It can be a mixed signal from guys when it seems like they’re extremely nonchalant about your sex life and the other people you may pursue. They may seem to care about you romantically, but won’t bat an eye at the prospect of you being intimate with other people. That might leave people confused because they won’t be sure if it’s a monogamous relationship or what exactly it means if anything,” explains Dr. Bhonsle.
10. …Or when they suddenly claim monogamy is not a priority
If you’ve been on the cusp of developing something more serious with this person, a part of you might assume exclusivity between you two (depending on your tolerance for sociosexuality, of course). But when they suddenly claim that they’re usually the “open relationship kind” two months after talking to you, it’s not the nicest thing to hear if you swear by monogamy.
11. There’s blatant flirting with others
An example of mixed signals from a male coworker can include a situation where someone seems to be bringing their A-game with you, only for you to see them repeat all the same moves with someone else. “In a way, what they’re trying to show to you is that you’re not too important for them. When they hint at a romantic affiliation between the two of you but go and flirt with others openly, it can feel extremely humiliating as well,” points out Dr. Bhonsle.
12. They’re committed, but flirt with you
Mixed signals from a guy with a girlfriend can make things awkward for everyone involved. It’s even worse if you know their partner personally, but this person is also in your DMs, talking about how much they’d like if their partner was just like you. In such cases, it’s always advisable to not give in to the temptation. There’s a very real chance that things will get ugly, and you’ll be left decoding mixed signals from guys while the fickle couple fights about their trust issues.
13. When they just won’t tell you what to call it
“By refusing to put a label on it, they’re basically not giving the relationship a certain dignity. They may assume that you’re now sort of friends with benefits, but won’t even admit to that. The other person has to make sure that they articulate what they want as well. Changes have to come from both sides since these things cannot be based on assumptions,” explains Dr. Bhonsle.
They may take your presence in their life for granted and may not even respect it enough to give you a clear answer when you ask them to define the relationship. In most cases, they may refrain from doing so because they’re not sure what they want.
What To Do When A Guy Gives You Mixed Signals?
If you’ve ascertained that you’ve experienced something similar to one of the examples listed above, it might be a little disheartening to know how little regard they give to you and the ‘relationship’ you thought you were cultivating. We’re here to help. Now that you know the answer to the question, “How do guys give mixed signals?” it’s time to take a look at what you can do about it. Dr. Bhonsle tells us all we need to know.
1. Let them know what you’re feeling
Mixed signals from guys can often be thrown your way without the guy even realizing what they’re doing. They may not even be aware of how they’re hurting you, and they definitely don’t know how much their confusing words make you overthink. In such situations, find the courage to address the elephant in the room. Dr. Bhonsle explains further, “If you’re feeling taken for granted, if you’re feeling like your feelings have not been taken into account, communicate that and let the person know what you’re thinking. Let them know what you feel like and the implication their behavior has on you.”
2. Be careful with how you communicate it
“Make sure that you try to be as non-threatening and fact-based as possible. Talk about the things that happened and how they made you feel. Stick to a very narrow agenda, and don’t spread the conversation to points that are not important. Make sure the conversation is succinct and mutually respectful,” says Dr. Bhonsle. Such conversations have the potential of getting really awkward, really quickly. If you approach the conversation in an agitated manner, they may get freaked out since a heated argument might be the last thing they were expecting from you.
Related Reading: 15 Clever Ways to Turn Down An Ex Who Wants To Be Friends
3. Put forth your expectations
“Be extremely direct and transparent about your expectations. By that, I mean literally saying something like, “I am looking for marriage,” or “I am looking to be in a committed and monogamous relationship with someone,” explains Dr. Bhonsle. The sooner you tell this person what it is you’re looking for and what you expect from them, the more you limit your chances of experiencing mixed signals from guys.
4. Take a step back
If you’re not comfortable with confronting the issue or don’t think that your dynamic is capable of handling such a relationship, a great way of dealing with mixed signals from guys is by backing off a little bit. By doing so, you tell them that you’re not available whenever they wish to talk to you, and they may start respecting you a bit more.
5. Walk out and consider other options
“The question about when a person should walk out is extremely subjective. You alone can answer how much suffering is too much suffering, and what you’ll let them get away with. Some people have more of a tolerance, but others may not take lightly to being toyed with,” points out Dr. Bhonsle. If you think your mental health is being negatively affected by all the drama that you’re experiencing, it’s always a good idea to distance yourself from the situation completely.
Hopefully, by now you can answer the question “What does it mean when a guy is sending mixed signals and how do I deal with it?”. If you find yourself in such a situation, remember to always put yourself first. Just because this person is confused about what they want doesn’t mean they get to make you feel equally confused.
If he acts hot and cold with you, if he flirts with you and then disappears, or if he flirts with you while he has a girlfriend, he’s giving you mixed signals. Other examples include when he flirts with you but flirts with others around you as well, or when he never makes any plans to meet you.
Mixed signals are not really a good thing under most circumstances. If anything, they signify that a person is very confused about what it is that they want and are not capable of communicating their thoughts and feelings very well.