Understand Men: Mixed Signals from Men Are So Confusing

Discover how to understand men and their mixed signals which can be confusing. Texting, canceling, cooking you dinner, what does it all mean?

understand menWhat Do His Mixed Signals Mean?

“Hi Ronnie Love & Dating Coach for Women,

I need some help to understand men. Two months ago I was in another town on business. When I got to my hotel that night a guy I went to High School with had messaged me on Facebook saying he thought he had seen me in his town and had I been there? I told him I had. We exchanged a few short messages, then he asked me to dinner. I told him I was leaving town the next day. He said to let him know the next time I was in town and we could “grab a bite to eat.”

Three weeks later I let him know I would be in town the next day. He said that unfortunately he was busy and he couldn’t make it. But when I pulled into town the next day he texted me and asked me to lunch. We met for an hour. We haven’t seen each other in 20 years. He’s 40. I’m 39.

He Didn’t Make Future Plans

We left the lunch with no future plan. I was a bit confused as to whether it was a date or not. A few hours later I texted him to say it was great seeing him. He said he loved chatting and “let’s do it again sometime.” Honestly, I don’t understand men.

So, a few weeks later I let him know I’d be in town in a few days and asked if he wanted to get together. He invited me to his house for dinner. He’s a trustworthy guy so I accepted. Still couldn’t tell if it was a date.

The night before he called to cancel because he had to work. But he said we needed to get together the next time I was in town. I wondered if that was a way of him deciding he wasn’t into me.

I gave it one more shot, texting him the other day that I’d be in town again and would he let me treat him to dinner? He accepted, but today he texted and asked, if it’s it okay for him to cook me dinner at his place.

I can’t figure this out. Is this guy trying to pursue me or is this just a friend hosting a friend when I’m out of town on business? I’m totally into him. He’s very grounded and a kind person. I want him to like me. I just can’t tell if he likes me as a date or as a friend.

Ronnie, please advise me what to do!

Wanting Him”

understanding what his mixed signals meanHelp With His Mixed Signals

Dear Wanting Him,

Being a dating expert, here’s what I understand about men. When a man cooks you dinner, in his mind, sex with you is for dessert. This happened to me more than once when I was dating. And I continue to see it with many of my clients.

Making you dinner is not about friendship, but it’s not about a relationship either. Don’t have dinner at his house unless you plan on sleeping with him. Even though you know him, I strongly advise that you keep your get togethers in public, so you don’t end up heartbroken.

As a love and dating coach for 20 years, I’ve observed plenty of male behavior to understand men and their mixed signals, games and nuances.

Unfortunately, you have put yourself in a difficult position because you keep communicating first, letting him know when you’re in town. In a relationship where a man is genuinely interested, you would not have to do this.

My best dating advice is that your high school buddy is hoping to get lucky.

5 Insights on His True Intentions

understand a man's true intentions1. If he kept in touch between visits, he’d know when you were coming to town and could pursue you. Since he is not doing that, he is NOT pursuing you. In fact, you are doing his job for him by texting and initialing dates.

2. Cancelling plans does happen on occasion. But, he could be seeing other women which causes him to cancel. His excuses about work could be true, but I doubt it. It’s just so typical of the excuses I hear.

3. Another clue he’s not pursuing you is how after he left you with the vague closing, “Let’s do it again sometime.”  That’s not the sign of a man pursuing you. To be clear about how to understand men, an interested guy would say, “Let’s do it again; when will you be back in town?”

4. Preferring to make dinner at his place does more to ensure he can make a move on you then anything else. It’s a proven strategy for men to get a woman into bed. If you’re willing to go to his house, that gives him the impression he can maneuver the rest.

5. Texting and Facebook are supplementary methods of communication, not the primary choice of a man with genuine interest. And, he’s not trying to reconnect and get to know who you are now. So while it seems like he is sending mixed signals now you have a good idea of how to understand men.

Here’s more on men who are inconsistent in their pursuit.

When A Guy Confuses You, That Tells You Something Right There

understand men and mixed signals

This is why you feel he’s sending mixed signals. He’s not being clear because he knows you want more than he’s willing to give. But he can’t say that since he has his own agenda (hoping to hop in the sack with you).

However, he’s not putting in any effort into winning you over. That’s why you can’t tell if this is a date or friendship. And it’s also a signal he’s not serious about you.

You want a relationship that hopefully builds to lasting love. That’s the Real Deal. However, when a man behaves like this, he actually is being very CLEAR. He’s demonstrating that he’s not into you enough to pursue you, but happy to sleep with you if you make it easy.

The way to understand men and what is really going on is actually more simple than you might think.

How to Respond to Mixed Signals

Sometimes women think talking to a guy to understand what he’s thinking will help and change everything. They imagine how having a direct, open and honest conversation will automatically clear things up. Unfortunately, this is not true.

The reason this doesn’t work is that men might not want to have an open, honest conversation. And they definitely don’t like confrontation, particularly during the initial stages of dating.

Another point to keep in mind is that some men don’t know what they want. Others just want to sleep with you, but aren’t about to say that to make themselves transparent. That’s why there are often so many mixed signals.

For these reasons, my dating advice is to stop texting and letting him know when you will be around. Don’t initiate any contact and leave the ball in his court. If this high school buddy seriously wants to see you, he knows what to do. And if not, you’ll be completely clear about his intentions.

Pulling away is often the only way to know how important you are to a man during the early stages of dating.

If you want more expert dating advice on understanding mixed signals, download my free book His Mixed Signals Are So Confusing





Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony, MSN.com, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

29 thoughts on “Understand Men: Mixed Signals from Men Are So Confusing”

  1. Hi,
    A bit of a tricky one. Summary is met a guy in a bar. He lives a short flight away but after a few weeks flew over to see me. We spent 24 hours together and had a great time, albeit a little intense. He mentioned meeting again “sometime” as he went for his flight the following day. I’d had a red flag when he talked quite a bit about his ex, and how he’d been messed up when they split 18 months ago.
    Anyway his communication went sporadic. I stopped initiating and he stepped up, but after he’d left me hanging a week in one case, 5 days in another. He never once over the course of a month referenced meeting again, and even though it was good to chat I didn’t want a pen pal.
    So I send a message a few days ago saying I was getting the sense that we weren’t going to meet again, and that it would was a shame because I’d had a greaf time and liked him. I wished him well with everything, and said take care of yourself. I have heard nothing sense.
    My friends are saying I should have gone with the flow and not shut it down so quickly, but I couldn’t get rid of the sense that I was being kept on a string in case he wanted to pick me up again in future. Paranoid or fair?

    • Not a tricky one at all. You are smart enough to see the writing on the wall. Why hang in there for a man with no plan to see you? You deserve better than that. This is why I recommend dating more than one man at a time – so you don’t pin all your hopes on one guy who doesn’t follow through. Know that there are men who love romance and are happy to tell you anything to have that one romantic night or weekend. Then they move on. That’s your guy. Stick with local men – its easier to figure out if they are serious or not because you don’t have the flight expense or travel time to blame a lack of interest or response on.

  2. A guy from my high school contacted me a few weeks ago. We haven’t seen each other in 9 years. The last time was at a reunion where we ended up kissing but neither of us were in the right place at the time.

    We have talked everyday since the first contact and he has told me some very personal things. I’ve never been so honest with someone before and he says he feels the same. The conversation has become very sexual but there is also normal ones as well.

    My dilemma is that when we first started talking he told me he had just ended a very unfulfilling relationship, he felt free being single again and he didn’t think he was built to be in a relationship. This concerns me as I know I could develop feelings for him. Despite this, he is the one who has done all the chasing and our conversations are equal.
    Very confused!!!

    • Definitely fantasy. You are not in a relationship with man you don’t have dates with. He is getting what he needs from you via telephone – emotional and sexual intimacy with no strings attached and little effort. This is not pursuit. Pursuit includes spending time together. I’m so sorry to tell you he is wasting your time. Do you have a connection? Sure! But he’s never going to make this real because he already told you he’s not meant to be in a relationship. That is his truth and when a man says this always believe him and move on asap.

  3. Hi Ronnie, I’m wondering if you could please shed some light. I met a guy online a month ago. We started chatting and hit it off. I asked him out for a drink and we had a really fun 8hr date together. The next day he said he couldn’t wait to do it again so a week later we did. He asked me what I wanted and we wanted the same thing -a long term relationship. We agreed things needed to be taken slowly as we both usually rush into things. We went on a third, ended up at his place and we slept together. We communicate via txt only during the week and even I haven’t made an effort to call him. We have talked in person about how we feel for one another and what page we are on and its mutual.

    However I tried to set another date last week but he said his business was going to take up most of his time for the week and he would let me know. When I pushed a little further he said that he wants to slow it down. That same evening I got a msg at 10pm asking me to come over and i declined as I don’t want this to be about sex as I like the guy. One minute he is keeping me at a distance but I feel if he has a beer or two he wants to bring be closer… for the full story and my response please visit https://nevertoolate.biz/2016/06/20/is-he-playing-me-im-not-some-booty-call/

  4. So I’ve liked this guy for a while now, and we were starting to talk a lot and text. One day at lunch we were talking and someone said “keep flirting” and my friend told me that he liked me too. He texted me saying we should “hangout some time” and we decided to catch a movie together. During the movie, he didn’t make any moves at all, he was very reclusive as if I’d break of he touched me. Afterwards we went to a bookstore and it seemed like I was the only one flirting…. Does he want to be friends? Or more than friends?

    • He might not know what he wants. But I can tell you this – “hanging out” is a very casual term to a guy. So he’s probably not that interested in dating or forgive me, in dating you. So friends probably yes. If you want more, look for other guys who don’t send those mixed signals.

  5. Hi, so I have a major crush on my coworker who is also a close friend. When we first became close friends he would always tease me and poke me but I would always call him mean and immature. Fast forward a few months, he became super nice complimenting me everyday calling me pretty or how I look very nice today, etc..
    Heres a little backstory, my mother has a set up for me to meet a guy who she thinks is a good prospect as a husband for me. My coworker knows about this. So one day as he was complimenting me he said, if only you weren’t getting married. I was little taken back and asked what he meant and he just said that I will never understand… It’s little things like this that makes me thinks he has the same feelings but then the next day he would tell me he would never date coworkers because it’s unprofessional.. What is he feeling, im so lost. And since he said that, I’ve been pulling back from him and I can’t help but be mean and upset with him (which he always notices and ask whats wrong and I cant give him a straight answer). What do I do?

    • Hi So lost,
      This guy is playing you. He flirts and compliments, then tells you that you’ll never understand. Don’t fall for that crap. He doesn’t have the same feelings or he’d be dating you. Yes, maybe he got jealous about your fix up, but what did he do about that? Nothing but try to make you feel bad. He didn’t try to make you his did he? Stop hoping this guy will become more because that is NOT going to happen. He isn’t even a good friend since he’s playing with your head. Go meet that guy your mom has for you if you want to find love – you won’t find it with your coworker.

  6. Hi Ronnie, first of all I like your insights and I enjoy all the response.
    So I met this guy online and he is all I want in a man. We thought about having a relationship but he said he has never dated someone long distance (he lives in Chicago and I live in London) and finds it difficult since the person isn’t there physically. Too bad since he told me I am definitely his type. Anyway I occasionally text him to call me which he does immediately or after he gets off from work. Our conversations are mainly getting to know each other vs. anything romantic which I prefer since we only know each other for 3 months. I’m starting to have feelings but he has the distance issue and he feels that am hiding my feelings, intentions and I should basically tell him what I’m feeling inside about us.

    He also asked me whether I wanted a relationship out of it. I don’t understand why he would say that to me as he already knows I like him. He’s the one who said we couldn’t be together because of distance so why ask what he already knows!? I have to admit I’m the one who initiates texting. My point is I don’t think he does it out of politeness. He could ignore me or tell me he’s not interested. What confuses me Ronnie is his questions. I don’t want to seem desperate and convince him to get into a committed relationship I just want him to grow some balls and see that we could some potential for us. What do you think Ronnie?

    • Hi Confused,
      You are right, he could ignore your texts or request to speak by phone. But I’m sure he enjoys the attention and support you provide. That doesn’t mean he wants a relationship. Some men crave female connection but never go further. This seems especially true since you are initiating contact.

      Why is he questioning your real desires? Hard to say. Maybe he just wants to hear it to boost his ego. However, I don’t see any advantage for you so I recommend not honoring that request. In fact the very best thing you could do to discover how into you he is is to stop contacting him. Find out how long it takes for him to contact you on his own. Sad to say chances are you’ll discover he’s just stringing you along and taking up your time.

      I wrote another post about long distance relationships that might help and one about how women trade emotional support for love. But I recommend never trading anything for a man’s affection.

      PS.Thanks for the compliment!

  7. Hi Ronnie. First of all I really enjoy reading your responses.

    My situation is… I have been with my boyfriend for about a year and a half. we started off cool, then became rocky and broke up. we got back together 3 months later And have been together since. He is younger than me by 4 years. He will be 22 and I will be 26. He seems very much into me. But I feel like his words speak louder than his actions. I mean when we areally together he shows he loves me and we have deep conversations. But he barely takes me out or suggests we should do things. He says it’s just not him. He would rather just kick back chilling in his car and he says I’m always welcome. But I ask him why doesn’t he call me and ask me to hang out. He does it when we fight about it then goes back to his normal routine and barely ever asks if I’m okay or how I’m doing for a couple of days if I don’t call first. He does call me too sometimes. He tells.me not to make the phone calls and texting thing such a big deal because I should know he loves me and phone calls and texts don’t define love because back then people didn’t even have phones. I have met his whole family and friends so I know he’s not trying to hide me. I don’t want to make it seem like I am trying to make excuses for him because I really don’t. I just want answers. The other night I suggested we go to the movies. We enjoyed the movie and everything and then he says “don’t ever ask me to do this again” I said what??? Fine I won’t ever ask you. You can continue staying home and chill in your car. I don’t care anymore. He asked why I’m yelling.. I wasn’t really yelling but he did get on my nerves. I asked him if he could just be positive for once. He didn’t speak to me the entire ride back to my car. And he just laid on seat waiting as if he was falling asleep. I got even more mad because I didn’t even do anything. I woke him up and asked him to open his trunk to get my purse because I was going home. He didn’t call me the entire next day. So I called him. He was getting me even more mad. He drove me crazy from the non sense. I yelled at him and told him all he does is hurt me and I don’t want him anymore (due go my anger) I’m planning on staying away as much as possible. What do you think?????? Please help

    • Dear Unsure,
      This guy doesn’t want what you want. That’s pretty clear right? He prefers spending time hanging out in his car to spending time with you. He doesn’t want to communicate or have you ask him out. He doesn’t want to please you or make you happy. What do you like about him? Why put up with a guy who treats you this way? As you can see, this is not something that will get better. Why not move on to find a man who wants to communicate, spend time with you and try to please you? Your love is not enough to create a relationship. Sadly, this guy has made it clear he won’t even try.

  8. Hey Ronnie,

    I’ve been seeing this guy for about a few months or so, I’ve only hung out with him twice, on a date since he works in military and lives two hours away from me. He made the drive the first time and I made the drive the scene time. I really like his company and he seems like he does mine as well. After our second date, he had told me that it’s going to be busy at work for about a month so we didn’t know when we would see each other again. It’s been almost a month since I seen him, we text everyday, and talk on the phone every other night. But lately, he hasn’t been texting his usual good mornings, goodnights, etc. But everytime I would mention anything or question him about “feeling like he’s pulling away”, it’s difficult for me to receive a response. We barely text anymore, since I feel like he avoids the topics I try to point out. But yesterday we were texting again for a short time, and he went back to calling me “babe”, “sweetheart”, and when he said good night, he called me gorgeous. Which he hasn’t done in a few weeks. He said good morning to me today and I responded with the same, but I didn’t receive anything back all day. I know his work has been killing him, but it won’t hurt to text for a minute. But I decided to stop being the pursuer, I figured if he wanted me, he would make a legitimate effort to try. But I would love to hear your input. Thanks. 🙂

    • Hi Angelica,
      Take a step back and let’s look at this logically. He can only see you once a month and the last time wouldn’t even set a date because he’s “busy”. Really? do you honestly believe that? He couldn’t even keep up the texting. This man is not really interested in you. Words like honey, babe and gorgeous – he’s flattering you to keep you hanging on – why? Who knows. Some men just want women to adore them. So they text nonsense to act like they like you.

      Trust me, a man who is truly interested in you would want to see you and as often as possible. Men in love or who value love will move heaven and earth to see you. They FIND time. This man is completely stringing you along. Please don’t let him do that to you. Stop texting, stop hoping to see him and move on to find a man who is physically and emotionally available. You deserve to find true love not this bullsh-t.

      To read more about men and texting please visit this post https://nevertoolate.biz/?p=6658

  9. Hey I go to a gym, my trainer’s brother showed intrest in me for a bit and we hooked up one night, just messed around not a home run. Then any time i ever asked him if he wanted to get together he was always busy working. He does work a lot i will give him that, he like the money. So I left town for 2 months, granted anytime I ever messaged him weather it was tex or facebook he always messaged me back and will always have a conversation with me, but it is me always initiating the conversation. I came back home stop by the gym to find out the scheduled he was there and when he saw me he had a big smile, but yet we don’t get together ever.. He doesn’t ignore me by any means but he does not pursue me nether. I dont understand it at all..

    • Hi Smelt,
      You have been chasing this guy and even though he never initiates, you keep chasing. If you took a step back and thought about this logically rather than with your heart, you ‘d see things very clearly. He’s not interested in dating you. He’s always nice but never initiates. Get it? Stop initiating and go meet some other men who will pursue you to win you over. When you chase a man you push him away, turn him off, or give him the impression you are easy or desperate. During the first few dates of any new romance (6-10) men prefer to pursue. Your job as a woman is to say “yes” to his request for a date or “No thank you”. This is what works 99% of the time, but don’t fret – things balance out once you get past the 6-8 date range and with time become even. Read more on why you don’t want to pursue men https://nevertoolate.biz/2012/05/09/dont-pursue-him-or-hell-think-of-the-movie-fatal-attraction/

  10. So I’m dating this guy it’s been a few months I like him a lot he’s funny he’s everything I want in a man but lately he has been like make reasons not to talk. We texts and talk every day but very short now. Or he’ll say my phone is gonna die or my mom called me. Or I’ll call and he’ll texts me after he doesn’t answer say he’s on the phone will the cable company or so some weird crap. What do I think or say . What do u think

    • Hey Lost Girl, I hate to say it, but your guy is pulling away. Sometimes men just become unavailable rather than breakup, hoping the woman will do it for him. There is nothing you can do to recapture his attention except to withdraw yourself. Granted, this does not always work, but it’s still your only choice. Chasing him will just make him pull away more. Look for other men to date. If he misses you enough he may wonder what he’s done and come back. But, I wouldn’t count on it.

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