Without question, my cat loves me. You may laugh when I say it, but it’s true. And even though we don’t speak the same language, it doesn’t change the fact that I know she completely trusts me. Her affectionate nuzzles and comfortable purrs tell me everything I need to know. Spoken word or not, I’d bet my life on it that she is happy to be my pet. But, by the same token, I’d also know the reverse. For instance, if she began to skulk or hide, these signals would tell me a lot about her current mindset. So even though she doesn’t tell me in so many words to piss off, I’d know by her actions that it’s time to leave.
They say actions speak louder than words, and when it comes to the confusing stages of a relationship, it definitely plays a big part in indicating someone’s true intentions. So, while we can never be truly sure what anyone else is thinking, there are ways in which we can work them out. All it requires is following a different set of clues…
Sometimes hearing the words is just a red herring to the underlying truth. And just like with our pets, perhaps the best indicators of fact are not the words we hear but the things we sense. But what are those things? And how can you tell whether the benefit of the doubt should be given or if the situation is just hopeless? The answer is simple.
Outlined below are a few giveaway behaviors that, in combination, indicate when it’s time to walk away.
1. They have constant excuses
When you’re trying to make something happen (such as arranging a day to meet up) and it never happens, you begin to wonder what it’s all about. Especially if every time you mention a hangout to them they sound ultra-enthusiastic about it. Yet they constantly miss every opportunity to see you, and when you ask them about why that is, there’s always a lame excuse for it. Or perhaps they even try to make you feel bad for asking. The key to knowing that they’re messing you around is that when faced with this question, they offer no alternative. It’s all rather ambiguous, such as, “We will have to try and do something some other time!” Or they might just put obstacle after obstacle in the way. If this is the kind of excuse you’re hearing, take note. Although some reasons can be legitimate, its validity depends on the context and frequency surrounding it.
2. You can’t stop second-guessing them
There’s nothing more mind-boggling than trying to establish what someone means when the words just don’t fit their actions. They say one thing and then do another. Or maybe they say it in a way whereby the tonality renders you confused. Was that a joke or did they mean that? Whatever the case may be, if you find yourself questioning their intentions and feeling uncomfortable about how to approach them about it, there may be a bigger problem here than just the one topic of conversation.
3. They’re unable to conduct a reasonable discussion
As mentioned above, if approaching said topic causes unexpected conflict, there’s definitely something else at play. Most people only go on the defensive when they have something to hide. So if you find this to be the case, no matter how diplomatically you broach the subject, know this isn’t right. Discussions and debates shouldn’t be something to be feared in relationships. No two people are the same, and reasonable people respect that. However, if you’re treading on eggshells with someone in fear of the conversation blowing up in your face, the issue will remain unresolved. It is also likely to only get worse. Like bamboo, it will spread thick and fast over every aspect of your relationship until you’re emotionally swamped. No one need sacrifice themselves at the hand of an unreasonable person. So if you can’t nip it in the bud, walk away.
4. There are sudden communication differences
Similarly, if you find that the way you talk to one another has changed, this is also a big problem. Unfamiliar dynamics to the relationship should set off your alarm bells, because this means the goalpost has been shifted. And if you don’t know the reason behind it, then it’s probably something within the other person. This is not normal! All healthy relationships are based on a consistent understanding of one another, and communication is a standard expectation to help highlight situations that may affect that. Unexplained and bizarre behavior is just not on! So if you feel like things have changed and you’re unable to speak about it without fear of an irrational outburst, take that as your cue to leave.
5. They exhibit irrational behavior
Nothing hurts more than feeling like you’re constantly under fire with somebody. That, no matter what you say, the hurtful statements or silent treatment just keeps on coming. And even if they retract it later with a flimsy, “I’m sorry,” don’t accept it! Anyone that can do that to you will only repeat this set of actions because there’s no real repercussion for them. If the ramifications of bad behavior lead to no real sense of loss, they won’t care about hurting you again and again. People that truly love and respect you won’t attack you. They have no agenda. True friends will make a conscious effort to help you understand what’s going in a calm and rational way, allowing only for positive movement in the relationship.
6. The effort is solely being made by you
Are you bending over backwards to accommodate this person? While they sit back and do nothing, you’re the only one keeping the relationship alive. Without you, their breadcrumbs would barely sustain a bird! A good relationship meets halfway. There is give and take. A ship cannot sail smoothly without both the captain and first mate manning each end. And consequently, relationships don’t survive if there’s no support.
7. The trust has gone
A wise old saying goes, “Love without trust is like a river without water.” Thus, once this point is reached, it’s game over. Even if they’ve not done anything wrong this time, it doesn’t matter. It’s too late. They’ve cried wolf too many times and now you don’t believe a word they say. Truth or otherwise, their words are not enough. Their past actions have told you another story. And now that the trust has gone, it’s never coming back.
There’s a lot to be said for intuition. Sometimes it really is more about what you feel than what you’re told. And ultimately, if you don’t feel something is right based on what you’ve experienced, then there’s probably a good reason for it.
Remember, respect is earned, not owed. Anyone who argues otherwise is best left behind.