24th September 2023

Signs You’re Leading Someone On – 6 Expert Ways To Fix It

Signs You’re Leading Someone On – 6 Expert Ways To Fix It

Have you been at a point where you’ve connected with someone but are unsure where you want to go with it?

Well, You should be careful since leading someone on can cause confusion, heartache, and damage to your trust.

It’s all too common. Most of the time, you date to come to a committed relationship eventually. However, it’s also common to take your time to assess where your relationship is going. 

So how do you know whether you’re leading someone on?

It’s all about your expectations for the relationship; the definitive answer will depend on your expectations. 

This blog post will highlight 7 signs you’re leading someone on, and you’ll find actionable tips for solving this problem and ensuring you’re clear about the expectations for your relationship. 

Is Your Relationship Platonic? Are you leading someone on?

Determining whether a relationship is truly platonic or if one is unintentionally leading the other person on requires a careful examination of the expectations associated with dating.

It’s crucial to consider the context of dating and the dynamics between the two of you. While platonic friends may share a close bond, you must be mindful of inadvertently making false promises or sending mixed signals that can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Meg Manthos, Ph.D., says on Refirnery29 that it is possible to have a healthy platonic friendship while dating someone, but you must be careful not to lead your friend on through intentional acts that might give the wrong impression.

She adds that If you have to worry that your friend could misconstrue your motivations, then it is a sign that you need to clear the air. There might be deception or misunderstanding, or one friend might be violating physical or emotional boundaries. Or there could be an imbalance of power damaging someone in the friendship.

Do you consider your relationships as friends with benefits?

When evaluating the nature of our relationships, it is important to determine whether we consider them as friends with benefits.

In a casual relationship, there is an understanding that both parties engage in a primarily sexual connection without expecting to develop romantic feelings or pursue a deeper emotional bond.

These relationships are characterized by a focus on physical intimacy rather than long-term commitment or emotional connection. However, you should know that emotions can sometimes emerge unexpectedly, even in purely sexual relationships.

If romantic feelings arise, it is essential to communicate openly and honestly with your partner to ensure that you are both on the same page. 

Signs You’re Leading Someone On – The Importance of Communication

Communication skills are all it takes to handle these difficult love situations and avoid broken hearts.

Allow yourself to skip dull conversations and focus on using essential communication skills to handle difficult situations at the beginning of your dating journey. 

If you think you’re leading someone on, the best thing to do is have an honest conversation about your concerns. Dr. Manthos, Ph.D., says on Refirnery29 that this conversation could make the person feel vulnerable, you should approach it with kindness and compassion.

No doubt it will be a difficult conversation, but you’re not a bad person for expressing your real intentions.

1. Sending Mixed Signals

Signs You're Leading Someone On

Do you want a real relationship or just a platonic relationship?

It’s not just that easy, is it? 

Imagine this: You meet someone who seems genuinely interested in you, and you enjoy their company. However, deep down, you’re not really looking for a serious relationship. You give them your undivided attention, even though you just want to have a casual relationship. 

Other people might experience that they find themselves flirting without genuine interest or engaging in inconsistent communication despite their true intentions. These mixed signals can confuse the other person, leaving them uncertain about your true intentions.

I’ve been there, and let me tell you, it can create a whirlwind of emotions and misunderstandings.

Delightful Mindset simply states that mixed signals are hard to interpret, especially when there is no commitment from one or the other person. “People that send mixed signals lack essential communication skills and put emotional stress on other people.”

Are you ready to connect with your partner on a deeper level, putting your sexual attraction toward each other aside for a second?

2. Lack of Emotional Investment

Ah, emotional connection, the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.

When you fail to invest emotionally, it’s like building a house on shaky ground. You might find yourself disinterested in their feelings or not putting in the time and effort required to nurture the bond.

Trust me, I’ve learned from personal experience that neglecting the emotional aspect can leave the other person feeling unappreciated and disconnected in a relationship.

If you don’t have concrete plans and strong feelings to build a romantic relationship, you should let the other side know about it. 

3. Ambiguity about Future Plans

Shared goals and future aspirations are vital for building a strong foundation.

However, if you find yourself avoiding discussions about the future or keeping your options open without clarity, it’s a sign that you might be leading someone on.

It’s important to acknowledge that uncertainty breeds doubt and anxiety, leaving the other person questioning where they stand in your life (and your relationships). 

4. Lack of Commitment

Commitment is the glue that holds relationships together.

It could be a red flag if you’re reluctant to define the relationship or avoid using labels. Sometimes we fear commitment due to past experiences or a desire to keep our options open.

But let me tell you, not being upfront about your intentions can leave the other person feeling unsure and unimportant. 

5. Limited Time and Effort

Relationships require time and effort to thrive.

If you find yourself consistently communicating infrequently or frequently canceling plans, it’s a sign that you might not be giving the relationship the attention it deserves. I’ve been guilty of this myself, unintentionally sending the message that the other person isn’t a priority. Investing time and effort in building a relationship is crucial for its growth and development.

6. Maintaining a Flirtatious Attitude

Signs You're Leading Someone On

Flirting can be fun, but when it’s continuous without genuine interest, it can lead others to believe there is romantic potential.

Excessive compliments without substance might make the other person think you’re romantically interested, even if that’s false. There is no doubt that this experience in relationships can create false hope and emotional turmoil.

I’ve witnessed friends get caught up in these situations, and it’s never a pleasant experience for either party involved.

We get it. Flirting is fun and challenging to refrain from, regardless of your type of relationship. 

7. Ignoring Boundaries

Setting boundaries is one of the most important steps to healthier relationships. 

Respecting personal boundaries is vital in any relationship since it allows you to build a deeper relationship with an emphasis on your preferences.

If you ignore their requests for space or invade their privacy, it’s a sign that you’re not considering their needs and boundaries.

It’s a delicate situation, but disrespecting boundaries can give people the wrong idea of where the relationship is heading. 

How to Fix These Problems

Signs You're Leading Someone On

Now that we’ve explored these signs and shared some personal stories let’s discuss how we can rectify these situations and prevent leading someone on:

1. Self-Reflection

Take the time to reflect on your own intentions and behaviors. Understand how your actions might be impacting the other person.

How would you feel if you were looking for intimate relationships, and the other person goes along without the intention to build emotional intimacy? 

Someone might use plenty of physical touch and words of affirmation, while in reality, they’re just into the whole friends-with-benefits situation.

2. Honest Communication

Open up a dialogue and honestly discuss your intentions and expectations. Effective communication is key to avoiding misunderstandings and hurtful situations.

Talking about expectations will give you a good idea of whether you share her commitment toward the future. 

3. Clarify Your Intentions

Be upfront and transparent about your intentions to avoid giving false hope. Discuss what you’re looking for in a relationship and determine compatibility early on.

4. Set Clear Boundaries

Respect their boundaries and communicate your own. Establishing and maintaining personal boundaries creates a healthy dynamic and fosters trust.

5. Be Consistent

Strive for consistency in your actions and communication. Avoid sending mixed signals and maintain open and regular communication to build trust.

6. Prioritize Emotional Connection

Signs You're Leading Someone On

Show genuine interest in their feelings and create an emotional bond. Build a strong emotional connection to foster a deeper, more meaningful relationship.


Recognizing the signs of leading someone on is vital for maintaining healthy relationships and avoiding emotional harm. It’s essential to reflect on your actions, communicate honestly, and be aware of the impact you may have on others.

If you realize you’ve been leading someone on, it’s important to take responsibility and have a conversation to let them down gently.

By being mindful of the aforementioned signs and implementing the expert advice shared in this article, we can foster healthier and more respectful connections with others. 

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