There is a lot of talk of “mixed signals” from singles while they are dating. I've talked about this with friends and I have talked about this with clients. A lot of singles consume themselves with trying to understand and decode the conflicting statements and actions (or inaction) of a prospective partner. I have been guilty of this myself in the past—and it is absolutely exhausting and a waste of time and energy. But here is the thing you should always remember, it shouldn’t be so hard. You should not have to constantly guess or worry about what the other person is thinking or how they are feeling. Yes, part of dating and pursuing a new relationship requires being comfortable with the unknown and uncertainty, but at some point, you need to ask yourself, “is this person putting in effort or doing things half-a**?” And if there is a lack of effort or noticeable inconsistencies, chances are this person is not truly invested or at least not ready to invest in a relationship with you.
It may sound harsh, but you deserve a partner who is committed and going to follow through. You deserve to have someone make the time for you (because there is ALWAYS time). You deserve someone who is going to try. You deserve someone who will be explicit in their feelings for you. You deserve someone who wants to be in a relationship with you or to pursue a relationship with you. Here are 5 different “mixed signals” that should signal you to walk-away.
Minimal (but some) effort: They engage with you but not regularly. They reach out on occasion, but they do not seem interested in spending time with you (or at least not that often). They do not ask about you—how you are doing, how your day was, what interests you. And if they do ask about you, they don't actually seem to care. You feel like you are doing most of the work.
Lack of follow through: They say they will call back or reach out “later” and then don’t. Or if they do reach out later its days/weeks/months later. They frequently make plans but then cancel or flake. They say they are interested or “like” you (and it may feel that way) but do not make the time to get to know you or to further progress the relationship.
Hot and cold: Some days they seem really “into it” and other days not so much. You have fun dates and conversations and then there are periods of little contact and only brief exchanges. You may feel like there is “really good chemistry” some days and then less on others.
Unsure of what they are “looking for”: They may say they are interested and appear (or act) interested but are hesitant to talk about the future or commit to anything (plans, exclusivity). They give excuses as to why they cannot commit or what needs to happen in their life in order for them to commit or be “ready.”
Talk the talk: They are mostly talkers. They may shower you with words of affirmation and validation. They communicate regularly with you, but you see very little of them. They talk about what “could be” between the two of you and how much they care or want to date you, but it's inconsistent with their actions. Again, no follow-through.
So, these mixed signals, are in fact “signals”—yellow or red flags even. And while it is most likely not about you (I would guess there is a 99.9 percent chance it is unrelated to you), these behaviors and inconsistencies tell me that a person is not in a place in their life where they have the capacity to be a good partner or are even ready to be in serious or committed relationship.
If you are “cool” with something that is on the more casual and less predictable side (hey, maybe you are also experiencing some hesitancy or are not ready to dive into anything), and are comfortable proceeding without expectation, then something like this could work for you. But if these signals are causing you distress and you are constantly racking your brain and trying to read between the lines—walk away. It doesn’t matter the reason (i.e., apprehension, avoidance, lack of awareness, commitment ), you should never have to chase or convince someone to make time for you.
So, let it go and know that the right person will be ready and wanting to spend time with you and meet you half-way.