I can't say it enough: Dating is freaking hard.
There is so much gray area, so few guidelines and SO many different kinds of people out there. So it can be super tricky to apply a "one-size fits all" rule to relationships.
That said, there are some classic behaviors out there that may tell you a lot about where you stand with a person.
For example, how can you tell if a person is serious about you or if they're just stringing you along?
Here are a six tips and tricks to find out if whoever you're dating is leading you on:
They won't answer direct questions about your relationship.
If they are dodging "labeling" what you guys are to each other, this could be because they don't clearly see you in any specific role in their lives.
Try being upfront with them, without pushing an agenda, and ask how they view your relationship RIGHT NOW.
If you ask the question, "Where do you see this going?" that leaves tons of room for things to change or a vague, generalized response with no truth to it.
If they dodge the question, consider yourself in the gray zone.
They introduce you as "a friend."
Being introduced "as a friend" is intentional. They are sending a message to you as much as they are to the person you're meeting.
If you are new to a relationship, and no one wants to to get ahead of themselves, that's totally fair, but they could have just as easily said, "This is Jamie" or "Meet Jamie! We met at XYZ".
Making the distinction that you are a friend is a clear, verbal clarification that you are not their girlfriend or boyfriend.
They find excuses for you not to meet their friends or family.
If you are hitting it off with someone in a big way, they will want to invite you further into their lives.
Being isolated from meeting their family, but particularly their friends, is a big, flashing sign they aren't sure about you or they're not interested in moving things along.
Another red flag is if they only invite you to hang out in very particular circumstances, like always at night and at your place or if they always mention how their original plans fell through before calling you.
They say they want to make plans but never follow through.
This is a big one. If you are constantly left with the "Let's get together sometime!" text and no follow up, they don't mean it. Plain and simple.
Again, you can go the direct route and ask them point-blank what time works for them and where they're thinking of going. If they dodge the question, offer up some times and locations. If they STILL dodge it, just let the thing go.
Some weeks you don't speak at all and others you're together 24/7.
This is symptomatic of a person who either doesn't know what they want, doesn't have their OWN shit together or only wants to spend time with you if it's convenient for them.
In all cases, you are better off without this kind of person. It's a real mind game to feel like one week you're hitting it off, and the next, wonder if you've upset them, what happened or if something is wrong.
In the end, it's not worth it, and they ARE leading you on.
Their words are different from their actions.
Never trust a person who tells you you're special and then avoids your calls or texts. If you were really special to them, they would treat you like you were.
If their words are sweet and their actions are harmful (or vice versa), they are leading you on and using you for a self-serving purpose. They definitely don't want what's best for you.
Remember, you deserve to know where you stand and to be treated well always.