Mixed signals are one of the most seemingly complicated, yet completely uncomplicated aspects of relationsh*t territory that you will ever encounter.
& they’re completely non-discriminatory when it comes to relationships.
Mixed signals can happen in dating, romantic relationships, friendships, professional, and family relationships. The pain that they cause however, is only a prelude to the damage that subscribing to them inflicts.
Relationsh*ts that are plagued with mixed signals generally result in:
- Romanticizing of f*cktards (because if you have low self esteem & nonexistent confidence, you’ll interpret the consistent mixed signals as mysterious/alluring, in a “please-validate-me-while-I-throw-away-my-dignity-trying-to-solve-your-contradictory-puzzle,” kind of way).
- Delusion in the Land of Limbo. Stay in the circus long enough and you’ll no longer know what you can trust/rely on and what you can’t. With an emotional compass missing and a sense of reality in shambles, your fear of loneliness, rejection and abandonment will begin to mute your instinct (& sense of reality).
And because there’s no solid foundation underneath your relational house, you’ll never want to leave the house for fear that it will all come crashing down if you take so much as one STEP toward the front door.
- Self-blame. Because if you only base your value one someone else’s ability to recognize it, what else is there to do?
It kills me to acknowledge the extent to which I let confusion from mixed signals (& the subsequent need to investigate/answer seek), waste my time.
Looking back, the saddest part about it is that I devalued the preciousness of my own time far greater than anyone’s mixed signals ever did.
Here’s why mixed signals happen, how to decode them & what you need to know…
Does any of this sound familiar?
“He tells me one thing and then does the complete opposite.”
“He said that he had never felt this way before… then he recoiled and disappeared.”
“He was so connected and attentive in the beginning and now, he’s cold. I feel like I’m always bothering him.”
“He told me that I could talk to him about anything, but whenever I talk about how I feel, it “freaks him out,” and he uses my insecurities against me.”
“We’ve been dating for months, but I don’t even know if we’re official? I don’t know how he truly feels.”
“He says that he’s only interested in me, but still has active dating profiles.”
“He says that he’s completely over his ex and not in communication with her, but he likes and comments on her photos.”
“He basically screened me in the beginning and said that he’s only looking for something serious, but now, every chance that we have to move the relationship forward, he recoils.”
& this list goes ON.
OH – and if you ever kindly address any of the contradictions, you’re met with defensiveness and are made to look/feel crazy.
You’re now the villain of your OWN story, sitting on the sidelines of the dance floor with no rhythm, while your emotional DJ of a partner mixes more signals for everyone else to dance to.
RELATIONSH*T ALERT: you are now on a crumb diet, perpetually investigating whether or not it’s indeed a crumb that you were just given (and not a microscopic loaf).
How to decode mixed signals? Recognize the denominator. The common denominator to all mixed signal equations is a lack of character. Character is nothing more than seamlessly, consistently and without audience, intention or effort, matching your words with your actions.
I used to think that power, talent, education, influence, money, good looks, accomplishments, charm, chivalry, being able to throw a ball at a professional level, languages spoken, trips taken, sense of humor, bond with family etc., were indicators of character.
While all of those attributes are great to have, what good is the best icing in the world going to do if it’s on a cardboard cake?
Character is the CAKE. The other stuff is just icing.
& character isn’t something that can be learned, instilled, bought or attained.
The biggest mixed signal out there is the lie we tell ourselves – that superficial attributes are a precursor to the most substantial attribute of all: character.
Why do mixed signals happen?
I think about the times in my life where I’ve given mixed signals and if I’m really being honest with myself, it all boils down to time, effort & agenda.
When someone is giving you mixed signals, it’s generally because they want to buy as much time as they can where they can reap all the BENEFITS of having a mutual relationship and a monogamous, serious partner, without having to do much on their end. This propels their wishy-washy agenda (that’s always in “self-serving” mode).
Bottom line – Mixed signals are utilized to propel the agenda of: buying time to reap benefits that should be EARNED, not given because future faking words were in consistent contradiction with hurtful actions.
Why do we stick around?
Because it’s less scary to be in the pits of investigatory hell than it is to be alone (again) and risk even more abandonment, heartbreak, rejection and re-traumatization. We hang onto words because it’s all we have.
If you have low self esteem, it’s always going to be more comfortable to hold onto false hope than it is to dive into the ice bath of acceptance.
What you need to know…
Before you allow confusion to instigate another FBI-mode-answer-seeking quest, understand that a mixed signal is actually one of the most direct signals out there.
It’s a direct signal of consistent inconsistency.
It’s a direct signal of insecurity.
It’s a direct signal of relational ineptness.
It’s a direct signal of an inability to evolve.
It’s a direct signal that he will be the same with the next girl and its a DIRECT signal of f*cktardery.
Remember – there’s nothing grey or confusing about a black and white, DIRECT and consistent pattern of inconsistency. Tying your value to your partner’s emotional incontinence is assuming responsibility for their lack of character (which was MIA way before you were even in the picture).
USE the mixed signals as a DIRECT SIGNAL that you need to do the one thing your partner can’t do – speak with your actions and opt out of the bullsh*t.
You are destined for so much more than the role of “gullible detective #1,” in the story of YOUR life.
If someone is disconnected, empathetically bankrupt and delusional enough to try to convince you that the weeds are indeed a rose garden, why waste your time investigating if there’s a type of rose that resembles a weed?
USE the identification of other people’s dysfunction to launch you out of your own. It will take you to heights beyond your wildest dreams 🙂
Love to you all. Thx for being a part of this tribe.
+ another helpful post: Do I Have Abandonment Issues? How To Know + What To Do