If you’re a crushing hard on someone, your best bet is to be direct. I know it’s scary, but the alternative is missing out on someone amazing. And if you try to play it cool and find a halfway approach, well, that’s where mixed signals bounce about like crazy. You might not even realize you’re doing it. So today I’ve put together the 7 most common ways people send mixed messages—and scupper their chances in the process!

1. You invite them out—with friends

They’re thinking, “Am I just a friend, or something more?”

Inviting them out with your friends (or, even worse, their friends) doesn’t say ‘I’m shy but still wanna be around you.’ To them, it says ‘This person likes my company, but they’re not desperate for one-on-one time just us.’

2. You try to make them jealous

This might feel fun and naughty in the moment, but all it really achieves is to annoy them, even worse, convince them you genuinely aren’t into them. Why risk your antics backfiring when you could simply tell them how you feel?

3. You ignore them in a group

This is the first two ways combined—and it’s probably worse than both individually!

Starving this person of attention will achieve nothing. Plus, doing it in a group setting might make them feel humiliated, especially if it’s clear to everyone that they like you.

And again, this approach really could go spectacularly wrong. They may decide it’s not worth trying anymore, and find someone who will reciprocate their compliments, advances, and affection.

4. You hang out, but you’re never the one making plans

Okay, so maybe you do spend time alone together. But if you’re not proactive in making this happen, you come across as not bothered either way whether you hang out. This signals to them, loud and clear: “I see you as a friend, nothing more.”

5. You always wait for them to make the first move

In a perfect world, no one would have to make the first move—we’d all just meet in the middle! But if you’re waiting for them to make the first move—and especially if you’ve been sending some of the other mixed signals we’ve talked about—you might be waiting a looooong time.

I know it’s tough, but sometimes you’ve just gotta dive in headfirst and see what happens—there’s no other way than to take that risk. What’s the worst that could happen?

6. You talk to them about your exes

If you talk about your exes, you might think you’re cleverly hinting to them that you were taken, and now you’re free. Right here, in the present, this moment. Today. Yeah?

Nope. You know what they hear? “I’m fixated on my past. I want my ex back. And I’m not into you.

7. You play hard to get

This is the biggest one of all.

Everyone likes the chase at some time or another, sure—but not indefinitely. They can’t run forever. Eventually you’ll leave them panting, alone, and sprawled in the dust.

Engage in a little chase-baiting by all means—it’s all part of the game, and it can be sexy as hell. Just… be ready and waiting to fall into their arms when they reach you.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.