Have you ever stared at an emoji of a panda and Santa and wondered, WTF does this even mean? Even more puzzling if it was in response to something like “Are we still getting dinner tonight?” Look, we know all about the mixed message, because we’re queens of changing our minds. Never apologize for going after what you want, even if you don’t know what you want. But when you’re on the other end of a mixed message, you might find your enthusiasm is not so hot. Like, how do you deal when you’re not even sure what the other person is trying to say?
Here’s a classic mixed message from a bro example. You don’t hear from him for two weeks, but you see that his Snapchat game is still strong as ever. Out of nowhere he texts you “I miss you” and when you do hang out, he holds your hand in public. But when you ask him what he’s up to this weekend, he says something vague like “Crushing it” and then you don’t hear from him until Sunday night when he comes over with ice cream just because. Clearly this bro is just as unsure of his own intentions as you are. The reason he seems so genuine one moment and so distant the next is because that’s exactly what’s happening. He sees your face and he’s like, “Oh shit, I like this girl.” Then he forgets that he thought that for two weeks until you pop up on his Instagram and he remembers again.
We would say avoid this bro like the plague, but you probably won’t. At the very least, you can be prepared. If you’ve ever hit “Maybe Attending” on Facebook, then you know that unless you’re 100% committed to going to something, you probably won’t go. Like, imagine your freshman year roommate invites you to her birthday party, and sure it looks fun, but you’re not really great friends anymore. Chances are when you hit “Maybe”, you considered actually going and enjoy having the option to go – and really, you might go! But if you’re anything less than 100% sure, then you’re just as likely to say yes when something better comes along. And in the 5% chance Friday night rolls around and nothing else interests you, you might show up to your roommate’s birthday and you will probably even have fun! But it’s just not your priority.
In the same way, when a bro sends a mixed message, he’s not so much lying to you as he is not sure of what he wants. And as unlikely as you are to go to that event is how unlikely it is he’ll ever choose you. Basically, don’t count on it. You’re reading mixed messages wrong if you’re trying to decipher which way his heart truly lies. The answer is, there is no right answer. At any given moment, he could be thinking about you, or he could thinking about the ten girls he’s talking to on Tinder. Translation: there is nothing “to figure out” because he just doesn’t care 100%. Stop wasting your time trying to translate a mixed message – if there’s any doubt, then he’s not worth it.
When you start getting mixed signals, you could walk away. Fucking duh. But you won’t. So you can do the next best thing: send them right back. Does fighting fire with fire ever work? Well, only if you’re trying to keep a fire going. In this case, you kind of are?
So if you’re having fun and you’re over trying to figure this bro out, keep it going by confusing the fuck out of him. Beat him at his own game. When he reaches for your hand as you walk to brunch, you could slip in a “I like hanging out with you because you never make me nervous. Like I’m so nervous for my date tonight I’m thinking about cancelling.” Switch things up! Tell him how much he reminds you of his baby sister. Then give him a blowjob! Venmo request $10 for that sandwich you bought for him. Casually mention how good your kids would look, then push him into traffic. He’ll never know what’s up. Then when he texts you, “You up?” respond with a dick pic. Hopefully that’ll keep him guessing long enough to figure out what he wants.