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4 Practical Ways to Deal With Mixed Signals from Your Male Friend

4 Practical Ways to Deal With Mixed Signals from Your Male Friend

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I think there is an ongoing argument on which gender is the “king of indecisiveness” – the male or the female. 

Personally, I think it is a personal thing and not a gender thing.

Anyone can be an indecisive person.

For instance, that male friend who has “made his stance clear” that he just wants to be friends.

Clear enough.

But the guy just won’t stop flirting!

For crying out loud, stand with your stance, man!

Work your words!

Okay, I think I got a tad emotional right there.

But for real, how do we deal with men who have clearly said they do not want to be more than friends but are clearly showing that they want to be more than friends?

I am a woman, and I have been here.

And I reckon that there are quite a number of women who have been here or who are right here at the moment.

If this is you, let’s talk – woman to woman – how do we deal with this?

4 Ways to Deal With Mixed Signals from Your Male Friend

1. Understand What Mixed Signals Are

Ways to Deal With Mixed Signals from Your Male Friend

The first thing you need to do is to have an understanding of what mixed signals are.

Mixed signals are basically conflicting messages that are conveyed through words or actions that look seemingly clear and concise but yet so confusing and ambiguous.

In simple words, the message sent is or should be, as clear as it goes.

But there’s this underlying ambiguity that makes it so difficult for you to understand the sender’s intentions.

Mixed signals can really get on your nerves.

Why is a message so clear yet so confusing?

Let me explain the “why.”

In communication, there is something called “body language.”

It means the action or reaction of your body with or to messages.

How your body acts when you are talking, or how your body reacts to certain messages.

Body languages are supposed to compliment words and make them clearer and easier to understand.

It can work without words and still make clear meanings.

Most issues of mixed signals occur when the simultaneous body language and words someone is sending at a particular time are not in symphony.

So their words are clear – “I don’t want.”

But their bodies are saying something entirely different.

Now, their verbal message is as clear as it gets, but the unmatched body language sends the message across as mixed signals.

Nobody likes to deal with mixed signals, especially in relationships.

If you are like me, when I begin to feel negative energy or mixed signals in any relationship, I begin to withdraw.

I create a defense mechanism that keeps me ‘safe’ from any incoming heartache.

But what to do in a case like this one, where the mixed signals are not exactly negative energy?

Do we follow body language and keep ourselves open to being more than friends with him?

Or do we take him for his words and steer clear?

This takes us to the next issue.


2. Engage in Healthy Communication

Ways to Deal With Mixed Signals from Your Male Friend

Where there are mixed signals, there is no better way to handle it other than communication.

Even the withdrawal I mentioned earlier as my way of dealing with negative energy is an unhealthy method.

Because what I may perceive as negative energy may be someone who is dealing with one thing or the other.

So, if there will be clarity and understanding, then there must be communication.

He says he doesn’t want to be in a relationship but wouldn’t stop flirting.

Go out to him and ask him questions in the most calm and respectful manner you can.

I would suggest that you choose the location for the meeting, and you should choose a place with an ambiance that soothes your mind.

That way you are calm and collected to have the conversation.

Now, you should note that this conversation will be even more difficult to pull through if you are really interested in being in a relationship with him.

The fear of the conversation leading to a “no relationship” ending when you were already getting somewhat comfortable with the attention that comes with his flirting.

But for your mental health’s sake, you must go through with the conversation.

One thing you should pay attention to is using the “I” statements during conversations.

This way, you are able to convey your thoughts without placing blame or making accusations.

For example, instead of saying, “You’re sending mixed signals,” you could say, “I feel confused about our relationship.

Your words make me understand that you want just friendship.

But the flirting kind of keeps me in a tight spot.”

After laying out your concerns, give him an opportunity to share his perspective and clarify his intentions.

You may be surprised to know that he didn’t consider his actions “flirting.”

Or maybe he’s been reconsidering what he said about just being friends.

Anyway, just listen to him.

The outcome of the conversation will be the deciding factor in your next move.


3. Set Boundaries

Ways to Deal With Mixed Signals from Your Male Friend

If at the end of your conversation with him, it is clear that he really doesn’t want to be more than friends with you, your next move would be setting boundaries.

Setting clear boundaries helps in maintaining your emotional well-being and establishing mutual respect in the relationship.

You know, some people can be petty.

He may be flirting with you just because he knows that you are interested in him and not because he has any interest in you.

And that kind of behavior is detrimental to your emotional and mental well-being.

Start with drawing your boundaries and getting familiar with them.

When you do this, you should know what you’re comfortable with and what doesn’t work for you.

The latter should stay out.

The next thing is to reflect on how the mixed signals are affecting you emotionally and address the behaviors that are tampering with your boundaries.

This can include specifying what types of interactions are appropriate within the context of the friendship and what crosses the line into flirtatious territory.

Make your boundaries clearly known and stick strictly to it.

This way, no matter how far gone a person is beyond your boundaries, they can adjust and stay within the confines of boundaries if they want to stay in your space.

The thing with healthy boundaries is that it helps you filter toxicity and maintain a healthy emotional life.

That person who seems unable to stay within boundaries and is always overshooting should not be in your space.

Creating boundaries will also help you see things from a clearer perspective and open up opportunities for you to have a more healthy and clearly defined relationship.

Remember that setting boundaries is not about controlling other people’s behavior but about advocating for your own needs and boundaries in relationships.


4. Take Care of Yourself

Ways to Deal With Mixed Signals from Your Male Friend

Finally, all these issues won’t be a thing if you lose yourself.

Wherever you find yourself in whatever situation, always remember that you are a priority.

Dealing with mixed signals can be emotionally taxing, so prioritizing self-care is necessary if you must maintain your well-being throughout the process.

There are chances that people, including the man in question, may want to invalidate your feelings and make it seem like it’s all in your head.

It’s not just in your head, darling.

Your feelings, your emotions – they are valid.

If it happens that you find it difficult to navigate through the process by yourself, you should seek support from people who genuinely care for you.

Explain the situation to them and let them hold your hands through it.

You may want to seek the professionalism of a therapist, too.

Whatever works for you, just make sure you are not alone when you should be with people.



Always keep it in mind that you deserve to be in relationships that are healthy, respectful, and mutually fulfilling.

Don’t give up your mental and emotional well-being just to be in a relationship.

Two things with toxic relationships – you either end it, or it becomes the end of you.

I do not want the latter for you, and I’m certain that you do not want the latter for yourself, either.