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15 Ways to Deal with Mixed Signals

It’s one of the most common complaints in the dating landscape: dealing with mixed signals from a potential partner.

Your date was fantastic and he said he’d call soon—but didn’t. Or maybe your growing relationship suddenly went cold when she started acting distant. Or perhaps the other person made an out-of-the-blue comment that caused you to wonder where you stood.

Sound familiar? The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, try and remember any of the following:

1. Don’t jump to conclusions or assume anything. You’re tempted to read into everything, but you can’t know for sure what’s going on inside another person’s head. Try not to waste too much energy on wondering what is happening on the other end. Time will reveal all.

2. Take off your blinders. Love has a way of clouding our thinking. Make sure you’re seeing the relationship accurately. What would your advice be to a friend if they were going through this experience?

3. Don’t take it personally. Mixed signals may have nothing to do with you, so resist the urge to feel as if you have done something wrong.

4. Back off. Allow for plenty of breathing room.

5. Believe what you’re told (until convinced you shouldn’t). Give your partner the benefit of the doubt and show trust—until trust is broken.

6. Realize the other person may have issues going on. The confusing behavior may lie with your partner’s life circumstances, fears, or past hurts.

7. Don’t be demanding. One of the worst responses is to become huffy: “Why didn’t you call? What took you so long?”

8. Recognize the emotional tug-of-war that can happen. There is a push-pull phenomenon common to relationships: the more you push, the more your partner will pull away.

9. Make sure you’re not contributing to the confusion. Feeling insecure may prompt you to send your own mixed signals, but this will only make matters worse.

10. Get a second opinion. A trusted friend may see things more clearly than you can.

11. Beware of overanalyzing. When we are strongly attracted to someone, it’s easy to dissect every word, action, and tone of voice.

12. Ask direct questions. Without being pushy, a few well-chosen questions can clear things up in a hurry.

13. Realize you’re only responsible for you. You can’t control what signals your partner conveys, but you can control how you react to them.

14. Bolster your self-confidence. A sense of self-assurance will help you endure the ups and downs—and will add to your attractiveness.

15. Know when to walk away. If mixed signals persist, decide what you are willing to live with. You deserve better than to be with a manipulator, or at the very least someone who is just not available for a relationship.

Have you endured mixed signals in your relationships?