Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mixed signals

One of the blogs that I really enjoy reading, watching and listening to is Gay Male Love.  This blog makes me feel good in a lot of ways everytime I spend some time on it.  While listening to the podcast from September 15th, I understood something.

During the podcast, Kev answers to a guy who says he's receiving mixed signals from one of his straight friends.  This guy is uncomfortable with the situation, because if his friend is not attracted to guys, than he doesn't want to have false hopes.

Kev's advice to him is to clarify things with his friend, even if it can be awkward, because things could get bad if the situation is not resolved.

I can say that what Kev says is true, because I've experienced it.  Actually, it was not me who was receiving mixed signals.  I was (unknowingly) the one sending them to Janice and people around us.  I suppose you guys had already figured it out, but I really realized it while listening to the podcast.

The problem is that Janice didn't have a Kev to tell her to clarify things with me.  So, for months or maybe even years, she modified her behavior towards me and also what she thought of me because of those mixed signals. 

When I came out to Janice, shit hit the fan....  Her perception of me didn't match with the "new" me.  It made her doubt about me a lot and, long story short, things got bad and right now she doesn't want to talk to me.

That situation could have been avoided at many moments during the course of our friendship, in particular  if she had clarified things with me when she was getting these mixed signals.  A lot of misunderstandings would have been avoided I think.

So, Kev is right.  Whoever we receive mixed signals from, if we care about the relationship with that person, we need to clarify things right away.  I hope many people will remember that advice, because it is not fun to lose or to fear to lose a friend over misunderstandings. 

You probably wonder like me what's going to happen next between Janice and me.  Right now, the ball is in her camp because I have tried a few times to resolve the situation with her, but she never wanted to. I told her that I would wait for her to come to me.

Meanwhile, as I've been suggested in the past, I'm thinking that she may not be a good friend for me.  That's also a reason why I don't push things anymore.  I guess that in the end, it will depend if she decides to come to me and if she does, it will greatly depend on her attitude towards me if I decide to renew my friendship with her.

It is really deplorable, but I can't hang on to somebody who refuses to admit that I am not the bad person she now thinks I am.  For one thing, I have really been more honest with her than she has been with me during our friendship days.  That conflict has also made me realize that there are behaviors that I don't want to accept in my life.

In the end, my door is still open... but I may close it for good if she doesn't behave correctly with me.

Just because of stupid mixed signals.

There's probably a saying that explains that the true nature of people shows up during hard times.  At least I'm proud of how I personnaly dealt with the situation, but I cannot control how Janice deals with it.  These hard times have allowed me to see her true nature.

Those mixed signals were maybe not so stupid after all....

PS.  I want to thank my friends (my dear cousin Sandy, I love you;  and John) for the support you gave me when I was faced with the possible loss of a friend.  You helped me stay strong and stay me.


  1. I think Gay Male Blog is one of those that I keep meaning to check out at home, but don't follow, since I check my blogroll at work. (If memory serves, GMB also has some very nice visuals that, sadly, would not be appropriate for my work machine.) From what you say here, I'd say that Kev's advice on clarifying mixed signals is pretty spot on, though.

    The thing is, the whole concept of mixed signals is thoroughly rooted in the fact that we live in a society that, by and large, does not communicate directly and instead relies heavily on carefully parsing and interpreting every word and behavior for indirect meaning. That's both tricky, exhausting, and ultimately counterproductive.

    Personally, I've gotten to the point where I prefer to take everything at face value. If a guy tells me he's straight (or otherwise disinterested), I take his word for it. Even if he gets flirty or makes a few weird suggestions that make me go, "bwah?" I fall back to "he said he's straight/disinterested. Until he says otherwise, that's the face value statement I'll go with."

    In cases where someone hasn't made a direct statement and gets flirty, I'll either consider it nothing more than playful flirting (something very common in my social circles anyway) until they're more direct or I'll say, "Hey, I'm not sure if we're just joking around or what anymore. If you're seriously interested, please let me know. (Or, this is just playful flirting on my part, and if you're thinking of seriously pursuing me, please, I need to know so I can put the brakes on now and not give you the wrong idea.)"

    The problem is, most people are socialized to be extremely uncomfortable with that kind of directness. Fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, and all that.

    1. I definitely only look at my blogroll at home. There's way too many NSFW sites that I follow :P

      Your second pararaph is spot on. Those 2 words: interpreting and indirect, they sum up pretty well how too many persons deal with people.

      I'm also more of a direct person, if you haven't noticed. That makes it really challenging to have real conversations with most people, because I want to go further then they do on some personal (but not private) topics.

  2. Your ex-friend is not really a friend at all. If you care about someone, you talk things through, you don't just refuse to speak to them. That's ridiculous behavior.

  3. You will make friends, you will lose friends, unfortunately such is life. You will soon learn that your true friends respect you and who you are. The rest don't matter.