Within the realm of dating, it’s important to make sure that you’re sending the right signals. You don’t want to be conveying the message that you’re not interested in someone if you are, and you most certainly don’t want to convince someone that you like them if you don’t. If you’re a naturally flirty and friendly person, you may be doing just that.
Are You Leading People On?
How, then, can you tell if you lead people on? Think back over the years of your dating life and ask yourself how many times the guys or girls you were (at most) platonically interested in made a play for you. If it’s only happened once or twice, then you’re probably not to blame. Most likely the one or two people who mistakenly thought you liked them back were just blinded by their own hopefulness. If it’s happened on multiple occasions, then you probably are leading on unsuspecting people. However unintentional, you need to get a handle on what you’ve been doing to confuse these folks. It can make the difference between losing a good friend over a misunderstanding or not.
Flirting typically involves a lot of the same things that being friendly or outgoing do—talking animatedly, laughing loudly when the person you’re speaking with makes jokes, leaning in close when you talk, etc. If you’re a generally amicable person, try paying attention to your actions the next time you talk to someone you only want to befriend. If you’re touching them a lot when you talk—patting them on the back, playfully hitting them in the arm when they say something funny—that contact can be misinterpreted as flirting. There’s no reason not to act like yourself, but you may want to tone down some of these actions. Try to limit the physical contact you make with people you’re not interested in dating. While a handshake or hug is fine for when you first see them, it is best not to linger during either action.
Sending Other Mixed Signals
There are other dating mistakes that can lead people on, as well. If you spend too much one-on-one time together, most especially if it’s all initiated by you, that definitely sends mixed signals. This doesn’t mean you have to stop hanging out with your friend, but you should try to mix things up and hang with a bigger group more often. If you currently have a significant other or crush, regularly complaining to your friend about them can cause confusion. Your pal may suspect that, since things are awry, he or she has found the perfect moment to swoop in on you. Either talk up your current partner or love interest, or limit talking about them for the most part. If your friend thinks you’re happily taken or satisfied with being single, they probably won’t go after you.
All in all, if you review your dating habits, you’ll probably get to the root of the problem, whether you’re too much of a flirt or are spending way too much time with your friend. Just remember that you wouldn’t want anyone to lead you on romantically. That should be all the incentive you need to keep things honest and straightforward with any potentially confused friends and acquaintances.