How is it possible that you can feel like someone is close to you, yet somehow still really far away?
Enter the dreaded mixed signal.
Nobody likes receiving them, yet so many of us give them.
Navigating mixed signals from a guy is one of the most emotionally draining things you could do.
Not only do you have to live in this thick fog of confusion, you also have to consider the possibility that there’s something bad he’s hiding from you.
In the context of dating and relationships, mixed signals are when a guy gives you signs that he’s interested in you whilst simultaneously showing a lack of interest.
This causes pain and confusion for you obviously, and I’m here to help you lift the fog on this.
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Table of Contents
What Do Mixed Signals From A Guy Mean?
I could tell you that mixed signals from a guy mean he’s not that into you.
Yet the truth is slightly more complex than that.
However, since I would hate for you to leave this article feeling even more confused than you already are, I’m going to distill the meaning of mixed signals down for you:
Most of the time, mixed signals from a guy simply mean he’s not going to invest in a relationship with you.
In this case, you should try your absolute best not to need the crumbs he’s giving you and be willing to walk away.
There are situations where it’s not simply about a man’s lack of true interest in committing to you or a lack of attraction.
Meaning he does like you, however there are other factors going on with him internally that are causing him to send mixed signals.
But what factors exactly?
The first factor I need to mention here is an avoidant attachment style.
Men with an avoidant attachment style may send out mixed signals because of their fear of intimacy.
Sometimes it’s not even just fear – sometimes it’s just that they’re only capable of superficial connection with you.
Thus when you want more vulnerability or intimacy with them, they may recoil, acting like they’re not ready for commitment – or just not interested in emotional intimacy with you.
Here’s an example of what this may look and feel like (from a lady in our facebook group who considers both herself and her man to have an avoidant attachment style):
It is not a perfect example, but this example shows us that whilst an avoidant can act interested in you, they may also act aloof, sending you into a confused state.
Next, I should mention that there’s one other important factor that causes men (or women) to send mixed signals, and that is fear.
But what would “fear” look like when translated into behavior?
It looks (and feels) like tension. Specifically, the tension of expressing interest in you whilst rarely following through.
Every move they make towards you seems enthusiastic – almost genuine – but any positive momentum always comes to a screeching halt.
Yes, that kind of tension.
When a guy is sending mixed signals due to fear, it may be due to things such as:
- Low self esteem
- Social/relational anxiety
- Trauma from past bad experiences with women; and
- Men taking bad relationship advice that causes them to manipulate and confuse women (yes, often men take bad dating advice due to fear)
Regardless of the reason, what you’re dealing with is constant uncertainty. And it sucks.
It’s bad for you either way you look at it, because it leads to more anxiety and even trauma for you.
On that note, you might be interested in the case study we did with our anxiously attached Alena: Discover how the introverted Alena got her man to ask her out almost instantly and for the very first time in her life, she started attracting highly esteemed men & making real progress in overcoming her own anxious attachment patterns… All by using this dark feminine art of banter.
Who Even Buys Into Mixed Signals?
We can’t have this discussion without addressing something important:
Mixed signals aren’t even a thing if you’re not buying into them.
Let me explain this by introducing the idea that there are two types of people on the dating scene:
- People who buy into mixed signals, meaning, they look for them and try to decode them, hoping for the best.
Basically, for some people, it’s possible to see mixed signals in almost any situation.)
- And then there are people who simply do not entertain mixed signals.
For these people, the concept of a mixed signal is rather hard to understand, because they’re a nothing kind of thing. They discard anyone who isn’t proving their investment in the relationship.
They take surface interest without the deeper proof to mean “no interest”.
These people are often the securely attached, confident people who are willing to call BS when they see it.
They naturally trust actions over words and don’t have time for the “what ifs” or the “but he liked my instagram story” type of thoughts.
As I’ve said before, you get what you tolerate in relationships.
If you “buy into” mixed signals, you get to live the life of confusion and disconnection. You’ll stay in pseudo relationships where there’s no emotional connection and no emotional attraction.
(Also known as situationships.)
Having said all this, I’m not blaming you for buying into mixed signals, as I have bought into them before as well!
But we can’t ignore the truth, and I want you to know that some people are more vulnerable to jumping on the mixed signals train than others.
This gives us people who are more vulnerable to getting lost in the land of “he loves me, he loves me not” something to work towards.
With that said, now let’s look at some examples of common mixed signals from guys.
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8 Examples Of Mixed Signals From A Guy
1: He Says He Only Wants You, But His Dating Profile Is Still Up
One of the most common mixed signals from a man is when he says he wants to date you, but he won’t (or hasn’t) taken his profile down.
He may even be exclusive with you, almost acting like he’s your official boyfriend, but one day you get a call from your BFF telling you that she came across this guy’s profile on match.com.
What does this all mean?
It means he’s not all in.
He might try to justify it in many different ways, such as “I forgot to take it down”, “I didn’t think we were fully committed” or “I’m just seeing what’s out there”, but it doesn’t change the facts.
His dating profile is still up.
Unless he honestly forgot to take it down – or you guys have only been on one or two dates thus it’s understandable that he hasn’t taken his profile down yet, it’s a sign that:
- He might not be a very loyal guy
- He’s looking for other sexual opportunities; or
- He isn’t emotionally committed to the relationship with you
2: He Doesn’t Want to Define The Relationship (Keeping You In The Land Of Limbo)
We live in funny times, where people (at least on a population level) are committing to less and wanting to take more.
This is evident on the dating scene where many men and women both have extreme FOMO, can’t resist the urge to keep their online dating options open, and don’t really honor the important concepts of loyalty and taking responsibility.
Now does this mean that there are no loyal men and women out there?
No. They’re still out there, for sure.
It just means that looking at the collective consciousness of the single population, people are less focused on family and loyalty than they were many decades ago.
The idea of loyalty and family has been degraded along with traditional values, and it reflects in the general population.
This has given rise to:
- Slow fading
- Men using polyamory as an excuse to keep multiple women in rotation, getting sex and company from them; and
- A refusal to define any relationship.
This refusal to define the relationship (whilst still showing interest on a superficial level) is a classic mixed signal.
Some men have even tried to come up with new “loose” definitions of “exclusivity”. Take a look at this example of such appalling behavior from a lady in our facebook group:
The audacity right?
Nice try I guess, but to water down the idea of exclusivity to “not a couple” but just only dating each other is a confusing way of keeping a woman in a situationship.
I don’t blame the guy though. He’s looking out for his own reproductive interests, but it’s an “interesting” way of doing it.
From a woman’s perspective, this is disrespectful.
3: He’s Not Affectionate In Public, Only In Private
Another common mixed signal from guys is when they’re affectionate with you in private only – never in public.
If your guy is doing this and it makes you feel bad, listen to that bad feeling.
It usually doesn’t mean anything good for you.
It most likely means that he doesn’t want to publicly declare that he is seeing you or dating you. He wants to keep it a secret. And that’s because:
- He still wants to date or have sex with other women
- He’s not proud to be seen with you
- You’re in his “one of many” basket, not the “one and only”
- He might actually be married (small chance but a chance nonetheless); or
- He’s using you
You can’t ignore the obvious here. Someone who has found their “one” is proud to declare it publicly, whether that’s verbally or simply through their actions.
As someone who has been helping women find their “one” for 14 years, I can tell you that this is bad news. It’s possibly also degrading as a woman.
To be all over you in private (because he can get sex that way) and be the complete opposite in public is just not on.
There’s a small chance he has issues with public displays of affection, but that’s not likely.
What would I recommend?
Always ensure that you’re a man’s one and only before giving over your emotions, your time, your energy and your heart.
When you’re in the “one and only” basket, you’ll never get crumbs. You’ll get all of him and more. He’ll go above and beyond to make you happy.
He’ll take great pride in providing you with security, safety and happiness.
Want to learn how to make sure you’ll always be in his one and only basket? I made a whole program for you on this called “Becoming His One and Only”.
(The promise of this course is for you to have your chosen man fall in love with you & beg you to be his one & only by embodying these 5 feminine secrets, even if he’s been distant, avoidant, or losing interest…)
4: He Flatters You, But His Actions Don’t Match The Flattery
Words cost little. Actions cost a fortune.
Thus we have men who will flatter you and compliment you to no end, making you feel like he might just see you as perfect…
Only, he treats you as if you’re an afterthought.
This happened to a friend of mine long ago. I couldn’t believe how slimy it was (of him).
She discovered that he wasn’t fully serious about her, so she wanted to break up with him.
But he kept trying to reel her back in by saying:
“I found the perfect girl too soon.”
“You’re the best woman I’ve ever dated.”
“If we met 10 years from today, we’d be married.”
As a woman it’s easy to buy into this mess – this mumble jumble of enticing words.
But it means zilch.
It’s just a way for him to buy himself more time to get sex and attention from you.
Sure he might “like” you. He might even love you in the way he might love a teddy bear – or a glass of red wine.
But he’s not committed emotionally.
He’s not there when it matters. And he likely never will be.
That’s a harsh truth, I know. It’s really not easy to get used to the idea that someone you’ve let into your life (and perhaps your body) doesn’t care (enough) about you.
But life is harsh like that.
The earlier we can accept that most people don’t really care, the more seriously we start to take the process of testing and vetting men.
Not to mention how much more quickly we are able to find “the one” who truly loves us and wants the best for us.
Here’s a simple test you can use…there is one specific phrase you can say to a man to test how far he’s willing to go for you: CLICK here to discover the one thing you can say to ANY man that will capture his attention, trigger his curiosity and make him hang onto every word you say!
5: He Talks About His Ex
If we want to talk about manipulative behavior, this is it. Some men will intentionally send mixed signals by talking about their ex girlfriend or wife.
Other men don’t have bad intent (at least they’re not deliberately trying to make you feel bad), but they’re unsure of who to choose, so they talk about their ex.
Either way, this is a mixed signal.
He’s dating you, but he reminisces about his ex….to you.
Or he mentions all the awesome things she used to do, as a way to make you do more for him (without him actually committing any more to you).
This is also a sign he might be breadcrumbing you, so just be careful.
Again, he might just be a very confused guy. We can’t assume nefarious intent in every man.
All I’m suggesting to you is:
- Be careful
- Test a lot in the beginning; and
- Be honest with yourself about what your gut is telling you!
Another great testing method to weed out the toxic and manipulative men (and separate them from the good hearted men), is to engage in some high value banter with him.
Lead with some banter to see how willing he is to actually put effort into connecting with you and attuning himself to you.
Look: “Online Dating” has completely changed – CLICK to Learn Why you as a woman need to use the dark art of “High Value Banter” to quickly weed out the weak and create emotional chemistry with the “BEST of MEN”!
(…Even if no man has ever given you any love and all you’ve encountered so far are pen pals, ghosts, booty calls, and duds!)
5: He Says He Misses You, But Never Plans Dates
It almost seems like the common theme in mixed signals is that actions speak louder than words. Would you agree with that statement?
Because this sign screams not only mixed signals, but that words need to be backed up with actions.
If a guy tells you he misses you but seems way more interested in other things in his life than he does in planning a date with you, that simply means he’s keeping you around in the background; nothing more.
He’s giving just enough to keep you around, albeit hanging by a thread.
But if you are feeling desperate, you might hang on for dear life. And it will waste all your precious time away.
So learn to acknowledge your own feelings – they are there to guide you.
In other words, if it frustrates you that he “says he misses you” but doesn’t have the actions to back those words up, it means something is not right here.
For more on this, read this article I wrote: When He Says He Misses You: But Does He Really?
6: Hot And Cold Behavior
If a guy is super warm one minute and cold as an iceberg the next, it’s not only a bit odd, it’s a classic mixed signal.
There are lots of reasons guys act hot and cold. Some of them are innocent reasons, and some of them are sinister.
If you want an in depth break down of why he’s acting hot and cold, you can watch my husband David and my video on the 9 reasons why men go hot and cold:
Sometimes men are hot and cold because it’s them transitioning from relationship mode with you, to problem solving mode.
Other times it’s because they have fearful avoidant attachment style or just avoidant attachment style.
For more on this, see this article: Fearful Avoidant Vs Dismissive Avoidant: Differences & FAQ.
He might also be confused about his feelings for you, or is using you.
I don’t know your unique situation or your guy, so you’re the best person to figure out why your guy is acting hot and cold.
Regardless of the reason, hot and cold behavior can be a mixed signal, and it does deserve your attention.
Just try your best not to jump to conclusions about his intent, since not every man is hot and cold because he’s evil or playing games.
It is better to calmly investigate and understand this behavior than it is to make wild assumptions. Your relationship (and your sense of self respect) will be much better for it.
7: He Flirts With Other Women
If you’re dating a guy but you notice that he hasn’t stopped flirting with other women, something is up here.
Simply put, he’s not fully investing in the relationship with you.
If your relationship means a lot to him and if he’s emotionally committed and loyal to you, then he’d minimize (or eliminate) flirting with other women.
Not only would flirting with others hurt you, it also makes him look bad (and disloyal) in front of other people.
Most men are decent enough to care about these two things, so if he is openly flirting without a care in the world, then consider the possibility that he doesn’t take your relationship as seriously as you do.
He might still be on the lookout for another woman, but just doesn’t have enough integrity to be honest with you about it.
Having said that, it’s important to know that some guys have a very playful personality.
Yet if you’re an anxiously attached woman, you may take this playfulness to mean he’s flirting with other women, despite the fact that he’s exactly the same with other men, or the elderly, or even his dog.
So if you know you’re the anxious type, try your best to see things objectively: if a man’s intent is to flirt and gain the attention of other women, it’ll be obvious. There will be an energy of desire in his actions with them.
If he’s naturally playful, you’ll see that element of detachment in him (whilst still strongly feeling his loyalty to you).
- 12 Anxious Attachment Triggers: How To Recognise & Heal Them.
- How To Self Soothe Anxious Attachment In 2 Easy Steps.
8: He Sends A Text, Then Doesn’t Reply to Your Answer
So he sends you nice texts or asks you questions, but when you reply, he ignores it or leaves you on read.
What on earth is this?
It’s him showing his real intent: that he is not investing in you. Either he can’t invest in you, or he doesn’t actually want to.
No one who cares about their relationship with you would just send you texts with questions or even sweet, warm messages and then disappear when you reply.
It’s not normal. It’s not kind. It’s bizarre and even slimy.
But users don’t know they’re being slimy, they’re just slimy.
Ok. Maybe I’m being a little too pessimistic on this. And since I like balance in every discussion, let me say that there are some people who are more likely to get distracted than others.
This is more true of men who are super busy all the time, have unresolved trauma, or who are especially insensitive (but not meaning to be).
So there is a chance that you’re just dealing with a really busy, easily distracted or super insensitive man. Keep that in mind also.
9: He Doesn’t Want to Make It Official but Is Jealous of Other Men
Talk about a mixed signal! If he doesn’t want to fully commit to you, then why is he getting jealous when you hang out with (or talk to) other men?
Perhaps because it threatens his sexual access to you.
He might not want to commit to you or define the relationship, but he still wants to maintain access to you if he can.
Plus, in a man’s mind, he worked for your approval and for the sex, so provided he’s getting enough from you, he wouldn’t want his effort to go to waste.
Also, don’t forget that what you think (or feel) as jealousy from him may not always be jealousy regarding you. There’s a possibility that he’s actually envious of the other guy who is hitting on you for some reason.
Furthermore, sometimes he gets jealous of other guys because he’s been taking you for granted and realizes that he has something valuable that is at risk of being taken away.
So is him getting jealous a positive or negative thing for you?
It can be either.
It’s worth mentioning that sometimes men with avoidant attachment patterns may keep their emotional and physical distance from you in order to maintain his perception of control. In other words, he keeps his distance in order to avoid feeling too many emotions.
But when he’s forced to due to some random dude cutting his grass, he can’t really run away from it.
10: He Likes Your Social Media Posts
…But doesn’t really call or text you.
This is his way of putting in the bare minimum without much effort.
How much effort does it take to like your instagram story or tiktok video? Not a lot.
But if you’re buying into these mixed signals, you might think he’s madly in love and planning to propose marriage secretly.
A guy who says he’s interested in you but can’t do more than liking your instagram stories is not really into you.
So make sure you’re strong enough to tell yourself the truth on this.
The last thing you want is to hang onto some social media likes as if it’s a sign of his undying love. You’ll only end up disappointed.
CLICK HERE to discover the ONE PHRASE you can say to ANY man that will capture his attention, trigger his curiosity and make him hang onto every word you say! (Works like magic in a high vale non-needy way!)
What To Do When He Sends Mixed Signals?
Step 1: See it as it is.
These are mixed signals. Thus they are signs that he is not committed – or that he’s not capable of committing for some reason that’s unique to him (such as his attachment style).
It’s not if, but or um.
It’s a lack of commitment.
His inconsistencies aren’t a sign of anything more, and pretending that they are might damage your mental health in the long run.
Step 2: Don’t buy into them.
Don’t get stuck on the mixed signal train, please. Easier said than done, I realize.
But your future depends on you not buying into them. What does this mean?
It means you don’t assume they’re a sign that his deeper commitment is there, it’s just hiding away and waiting to be coaxed out of him.
In other words, don’t mistake inconsistencies for real commitment. They’re not a sign of a healthy relationship.
Don’t try to find “hope” where there is none. A lot of us ladies tend to do this, as if even the lowest investment actions taken by a man could be a sign of hope. Like the lady in this example:
Not seeing signs of commitment where there are none is different from a man’s intent, though.
Meaning, a guy could be sending mixed signals with negative intent, or innocent intent, but regardless of the intent behind it – it’s still a lack of commitment, and you have to understand and accept that.
Even if it turns out that he’s an avoidant and you’re willing to stay and do the hard yards to make it work with him, you have to accept that avoidants tend to present with a lack of emotional commitment to the relationship.
They can heal and improve over time, but it still requires you to be somewhat ‘ok’ with the fact that they’re not really into intimacy and not always that vulnerable or trustworthy.
Step 3: Choose from two different paths.
There are two paths here:
- You choose to inspire more commitment from him by leading with vulnerability (you can do that with this one specific emotional trigger within men), or
- Walk away, and stick to it. This act of walking away will set boundaries in a simple manner. It allows you to show him this is not what you want (nor what you will accept) through your actions, not your words.
But how do you choose which path you want to walk down?
You have to read and understand this article in full, and then determine the reasons for this guy sending so many mixed signals.
If the reason is his attachment style, or just him being insecure, you may choose to stay. That’s entirely up to you, and I cannot make that choice for you.
On the other hand, you may have figured out by now that your guy is toxic and manipulative. Or married or is simply a player.
If so, then you definitely don’t need me to tell you that walking away is the absolute best thing for you.
It may be hard, but it will give you the freedom to find a new, healthier relationship.
Do Guys Give Mixed Signals If They Like You?
Sometimes they do. Usually this only happens with guys who are really insecure, have low self esteem, or are responding to your mixed signals.
What To Text A Guy Who Gives Mixed Signals?
There is actually one specific phrase I recommend you send through text to a guy who’s sending mixed signals.
Do you have any other warnings or examples of mixed signals that you can share with us? Please leave a comment below sharing your experiences with me. I always read my blog comments!
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Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
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