Deliberately Sending Mixed Messages

Mercury will ingress into Aquarius on January 2nd. I like this sign to represent this placement…

It’s common that people send mixed messages. Some do so deliberately.

Have you ever purposely offered someone a mixed message?

What was your motive?

Do you feel someone has used this as a method on you, to keep you off balance? What was their motive?

Is sending mixed messages ever innocent?

How does Mercury factor here?

Tell us what you know about people who send mixed messages.

63 thoughts on “Deliberately Sending Mixed Messages”

  1. It takes a speaker and a listener to have communication, the domain of Mercury. The sender and the receiver both have a chance to mix the message. Improper timing, word choice, intonation, and inflection can mix the sender’s message; over-sensitivity and pondering too much can mix the receipt. Social etiquette and professionalism sometimes require a mixed message…a friend of mine was so excited, because his boss told him that he had much potential…that can be interpreted as “you’re operating below expectation.” I’ve been the recipient of verbal affection from a potential partner, with absolutely no action behind it (darn). I have a Scorpio sun and too much mercury dominance in my chart…I can slice and dice without even trying…I always try to be honest, that way there isn’t an intention of a mixed message, but it can sure be received that way. I appreciate the adage that actions always speak louder (and more truthfully) than words.

  2. Never on purpose, but it happens sometimes. Usually when my feelings on a matter aren’t clear. Mercury conjunct Moon in the 12th opposing Neptune.

  3. I have been doing this. Partly knowing its wrong and partly correct by my free will. This is required for few people to get the rightly deserved space. They can’t go head on no matter the motive is right , I will be stopped. :)there is not even one bit of guilt since you know you are rich so goes the Nirvana song “you know you are right”

  4. My Mercury is retrograde in Libra, the relationship sign, AND it’s square Neptune. Maybe I am the poster child for this and do not know!!

    I have been told multiple times that I give mixed messages. it is unconscious on my part. I’m innocent, I swear!

    Anytime I’ve done this on purpose, it was something silly that lasted a few minutes. I do enjoy acting and role-playing, but only my closest friends know this about me. I would never embark on a mission to play a long-term headgame. What a downer! I have LEO, I just want to play and get on with things.

    As for people who do this sorta thing, I don’t attract them because I have little tolerance. I don’t like having to play detective just to have a conversation! I think most people are unaware that they give mixed messages – they are ambivalent and contradictory, it’s common in human nature. But the sort of person who does this deliberately is on some other trip. I don’t relate and I don’t cater to it.

    In fact, the head honcho at my job is good at using mixed messages to her advantage. She tries to be all things to all people. No one knows her true agenda and that’s how she remains in power, is that everyone second-guesses her, and so bends over backward to deliver what they think she wants.

  5. Yes, I send mixed messages – both intentionally and unintentionally. Yes, people send me mixed messages. I read both and accept the one that speaks the loudest to me.

    Air and water seem to be the most mixed-up communicators.
    I’d expect mixed messages when Sun, Moon, Mercury or Mars are in:

    Gemini: unintentionally – of 2 minds about a subject; rapid change in thoughts so actions haven’t caught up; intentionally – likes to play with words, the importance of meaning is a distant second; mind games; starting an argument for “fun”

    Libra: unintentionally and intentionally – doesn’t want to offend; says what the other person wants to hear; doesn’t have a personal opinion; starting an argument for “balance”; strategic to keep opponent off-balance

    Aquarius: unintentionally and intentionally – contradicts self and others depending on where everyone else stands on an issue or to be unpredictable

    Cancer: unintentionally and intentionally – mood swings; to protect self/feelings or avoid direct confrontation/punishment

    Scorpio: intentionally – power games; to hide true self/feelings/motives from “the enemy”; a test; unintentionally – doesn’t know true self/feelings/motives

    Pisces: unintentionally – ephemeral thoughts, feelings and actions; intentionally – to amuse/entertain self or others; to avoid hurting feelings, direct confrontation, punishment, being the “bad guy”

    The other signs are consistent but people may not want to believe what is said/shown.

    Mixed messages is a Mercury/Mars-Neptune specialty. 😉

    1. I have all these and I do get accused of sending mixed messages. With Cancer Pisces I want to make everyone happy. Neptune square Sun Mercury Uranus is prim ground for confusion. Sometimes even I don’t know what I want/mean. Uranus conjunct Sun changes so quickly as well, so I may have meant it five minutes ago. Venus in Gemini doesn’t help lol!

  6. My ex-husband was a master of this. Another twist on this would be lying by omission.

    Gemini Sun trine Mars in Libra. He also has Neptune in the first house of his Scorpio Ascendant (too wide to be conjunct, though).

  7. I think people often experience inner conflict and ambivalence — i.e. he loves someone and wants to be in a committed relationship AND he wants his autonomy and freedom too. Both sides of himself are genuine and real and unfortunately in conflict. Hence, his communication is likely to come across as mixed messages as he expresses both parts – sometimes simultaneously! Can be very confusing…

    As far as deliberately sending mixed messages…never thought much about it until I experienced a co-worker who was very clever, mischievous, and rather dark and dramatic who admittedly had the modus operandi of: “If you can’t beat’m, confuse’m” I observed her firsthand messing with people’s heads and confusing them. For the most part, she was rather entertaining to watch in action — knowing what she was doing — and her “scenes” caused little harm beyond irritation for the other person. But I definitely can see how this way of interacting can eventually be very harmful. Underneath it all, I detected her to be a very insecure person, sadly. Consequently, I think her motive for such behavior was a way to get or keep the upper hand when she felt intimidated or threatened. Or it could be even simpler: she was bored and it was entertaining! That was very possible too, given her intellectual capacity. Ya never know sometimes….

  8. I think I’m guilty of it from time to time, but when it becomes apparent to me I rectify the miscommunication immedietely. I have been given mixed messages. It happened in a situation last year. It was confusing and painful. This person and I both have Mercury in Scorpio. Mine is conjunct my Moon. In general I’m pretty good at conveying my honest emotions.

  9. I’m 31 and I’m just learning that not everyone is honest or forthcoming with their feelings. This is one those veils dropping on a projection that Elsa talks about a lot.

  10. I am receiving quite a few right now. I hate it!
    I think Jazz summed it up pretty well.

    I do have Mars/Neptune, Cancer and Gemini, but I am generally regarded as a very straight shooter, who is direct and honest.

    Could be my Taurus Capricorn and Leo. I just want to get on with it and do what I said I would do.

  11. I am thinking about that question is it ever innocent??? I just don’t know. Are people lying to themselves do they even know what they think…


  12. I sent mixed messages to my husband when we were coming to the end of our marriage. The counselor called me on it and said I needed to let him know, that I was all but out the door and my actions needed to match my inner decision.

    She was right, the timing was awful though, right around Christmas. Ruined the holiday for everyone, but the sin by omission would have been huge and unforgivable. And my integrity was sore…

  13. @Jazz: Pisces: unintentionally – ephemeral thoughts, feelings and actions; intentionally – to amuse/entertain self or others; to avoid hurting feelings, direct confrontation, punishment, being the “bad guy”

    My Mercury in Pisces, trine my Neptune/Moon in Scorpio resonates strongly with that!

  14. sometimes I’m ambivalent. but I stand by whatever I have stated in words. just because I’m ambivalent does not mean I don’t mean what I actually SAY.

  15. @Jazz that is quite the expose.Being Scorpio I relate to your thesis and have been both the recipient of mixed messages and the source of them.

    Elsa, I’ve mulled this post over before and after breakfast and have cut and pasted the questions into a journal I keep as to chronicle my journey of recovery. The beauty of your post and the questions you pose lies in the way ‘sending mixed messages’ affect the sender in unconscious and habitual ways. It’s thus for me, as I recover from a physical condition that is inseparable from the neurological way in which a message is received and then interpreted. Though your post speaks about person-to-person relationships and Mercury’s factor in the diatribe, all and some of it relates to the internal mix that bears attention.

    As usual, Elsa, you’re probing deep, wide and specific all at once and application is available at all or some level.
    Deep sea diver, over and out:)

  16. When I’ve sent mixed messages in the past, I had no clue I was doing it at the time. It is only in hindsight that I now realize that I was sending mixed messages.

    I don’t think I was able to see my own ambivalence or internal conflict until I was in my 40’s. The 20’s and 30’s for me were too traumatic – recovering from an abusive relationship that twisted my head on wrong. The best strategy I developed was avoidance because I was just so unclear about myself.

    I don’t know if Merc is involved or not. I have Sun/Merc in Sag in the 5th.

  17. Mars Gemini/ Mercury Aries and I definitely do this! I use my air energy to avoid intimacy (although this isn’t something I became conscious of until the last year)

  18. to answer the innocent question – I would say, it was inadvertent before, I definitely never meant to hurt anyone… if anything I was only hurting myself

  19. Have you ever purposely offered someone a mixed message? Yes, when I wasn’t sure how I felt about them just yet, or when I liked them as a person but did not feel we would be a good couple. Or in a work situation where I cannot give a no and lose them…

    What was your motive? To get my point across, but not have backlash as they could make my life hell. Or to set a line but be nice and leave friendship open.

    Do you feel someone has used this as a method on you, to keep you off balance? What was their motive? Yes, sometimes for the same reasons. Other times, to control, manipulate, catch me off guard, use my compassion and play on my confusion, and wear me down so they can abuse my trust.

    Is sending mixed messages ever innocent? Sometimes, when people are going through something intense so what they say and their bodies aren’t congruent. Also when they do not realize they are sending mixed messages or are unsure. Or when there are miscommunications due to habits or personality. E.g. cat thinks a wagging tail in the air is a sign of aggression, dog thinks it’s being friendly and trots over…cat freaks out!

    How does Mercury factor here? I don’t know for sure as I have Mercury in Pisces either confused or can sense the lying…

  20. I have been guilty of this I have to say, but it was more due to conflicting thoughts & emotions in me about a possible love relationship; the strong sexual attraction/giddy excitablility vs the more serious realism that this may not be real love, just infatuation.

    My mercury opposition her moon & sun I’m sure created confusion for her & her reaction frustrating me in return.

  21. I’ve done it because of confusion or conflicting desires.

    I’ve also done it on purpose to make it harder for some people to read me.

  22. Avatar

    Mixed messages: usually a veil or a trap

    A veil to hide behind, to confuse someone as to your true motives.

    A trap to set, to force someone else to choose or take action.

  23. Have you ever purposely offered someone a mixed message? What was your motive?

    I may have. Often at work, but that happens when I cannot decide, so I may be wiahy washy. But that´s unintentional.

    Do you feel someone has used this as a method on you, to keep you off balance? What was their motive?

    Yes. Ussually take and not give.

    Is sending mixed messages ever innocent?

    Maybe if you are wishy washy about sth. But when you identify the issue, you either make your choicem or make the chioce for the one that keeps giving missed messages.

    How does Mercury factor here?

    Don´t know. But I have mercury in taurus, I take my time to make a choice. But once done, it´s done. You are done.

  24. I think I send mixed messages unconsciously, but then when I realize I’m being unclear and give a straight answer, it’s like being hit with a ton of 10 Commandments stones.

    Poor Moses.

  25. I would address the confusion I’m getting from the other with them, but they would probably say I’m projecting my own confusion on them. 😀

  26. People who purposely send mixed messages want to be in control, flipping you like a switch. They get their jollies off toying with other people’s feelings.

  27. WEll I have quite the name dropping book to write and would have to send mixed messages all the time..throughout.. .Presidents thier personal lives my mother knew Trump Dad knew Obama’s dad in1968 time RCA institute I know the real story of everyone’s birth Chelsea Clinton… guess I can confide that here.. and names will be changed.. if ever a book is to be.. Don’t know.

  28. Definitely am guilty of sending mixed messages. Not intentionally but I have Moon conjunct Venus in Gemini. I sometimes don’t know what I want so I’ll blow hot and then cold. Hem and then haw. Moods are very fickle things as well as my interests in certain things. I’ve had enough life experience now to understand the implications of certain situations but younger, ohhh, I feel so bad. ?

  29. I feel I was a genuine victim (I hate that word) of someone doing this for a long time, it was to keep me on tap I an emotional sandbag and it was a very long time before I realised that’s all I was to them because it was very cleverly done and I was vulnerable at the time.
    I could often think I was going crazy with it got so complex.
    It’s scarred me really deeply and I have trouble understanding what’s real and what isn’t sometimes now still

  30. Oh to add this person had Venus square Neptune Natalie
    And our Mercurys were square, so I recognise the potential for misunderstanding but this was much worse…I’d almost put it in the camp of gaslighting, but they are mentally ill

  31. Yes. Someone used to do this to me all the time. He had 12th house in Gemini, Cancer Moon and Mercury in the 5th House. He was kind of a master at it and even admitting when I asked why had he led me on, said he liked things “messy”.

    1. Someone sort of did that to me too. He would criticize the heck out of me and rarely say anything positive, then when I’d ask “so you have a problem being with me” he’d say “why do you have such a low self esteem.” I really couldn’t figure out why he was with me exactly.

  32. I think a lot of bartenders/service personnel who look approachable but not available have to send those to keep the clientele.

    Also, girls who have a male friend kind of interested in them who hasn’t broached it, they want to be warm and friendly, but don’t want to reject them right away. Or girls who are nosing around dating one guy, pretty sure they dont like him but not all the way, and continue to engage in repartee. The guy might want to push it forward, but they have to fight to keep the dialogue in between neutral and romantic.

    Also with friendships that occur on the internet with mixed genders.

  33. Often women are socialized to do this, uncomfortable and suspecting some dude is coming on to them but having no choice but to keep the conversation going, they smile and laugh and send a mixed message. Sometimes for their safety, sometimes to keep a level of friendship, sometimes to get attention without wanting to promise anything in return. I used to smile my widest when uncomfortably cornered by a dude doing that combined friendly/predatory thing. Or when they give you free stuff and are nice, then creep on you immediately after.

    Sometimes I send mixed messages to protect my self esteem. Or I defend myself in other ways. Basically, to keep a relationship on a certain keel, not wanting it to fall one way (coldness, violence, or rejection or neutrality) or the other way (possession, expecting something, “the inevitable awkward lunge.”)

    Many women walk a tightrope even to be feminine and flirtatious. Men may call it a “tease,” but perhaps they do it for various reasons to maintain their lifestyle.

  34. Getting them from time to time, mostly women. Usually a promise of a date that they do not follow through on. Upon identifying such behavior I usually end contact. Timewasters.

  35. I have Mercury in Aquarius, Sun in Aquarius, Moon Cancer, Gemini rising . I don’t think I send mixed messages. I think that would be such a waste of time. I have better things to do and don’t want to spend anytime explaining myself. I don’t think many get this about me. I don’t want to have to spend time interpreting what someone says either.

  36. I have sent mixed messages, but not from a place of trying to manipulate or to steer the outcome. What happens is I haven’t made up my mind on a course of action and others asking what I want to do or what we are doing. I don’t want to hold others up so I pick something and decide I’m feeling out the solution with this choice I’m not conflicted about but might want to change course if it’s not going well.

    Or, another thing that could happen is I haven’t made up my mind, someone involved needs to get started. I forget I gave the green light, and then make up my mind and it’s different then what we discussed before.

    I personally hate giving mixed messages.

    I have Mercury in Capricorn square Mars in Libra.

  37. This thread really threw me for a minute. Because you linked to an old thread that I commented on years ago and suddenly I’m getting comments in my email that brought me here.

    I am curious why Mercury in Aquarius represents mixed messages? I could see them being unusual messages or out of the box type energies. Is it because Aquarius is very social so people will say what’s expected of them?

    1. Hi, Raven, it doesn’t. It’s the picture that I’m associating with Mercury in Aquarius…because it’s quirky and because it seems to put a person in a situation where whatever they do, equals rebellion. It seems clever. When I talk to people with Mercury in Aquarius, the number thing I note is that they’re lighting-fast, assimilating information.

  38. Two sons are Aquarius, both seem at ease
    Which could suggest inviting, they are not to all ,though they have strong opinions they keep their cards close to their chest
    They often last to contribute thought
    Which can be contrary to many, so this could to some be quite surprising
    They don’t seek approval, very hard
    Working , both do well which might suggest they spend easily, they do not;
    So I do see, have seen them taken
    Advantage of as have very relaxed
    Nature, quiet ,surprisingly easy to walk
    From any conflict which could be seen
    Many ways,curious to listen on Jan.2
    What comes with Mercury

  39. Is the ‘mix’ in the message, or in its receiver’s uptake of it? I am inclined to think that it is in the latter, for ‘mix’ connotes ‘ambivalence’, ‘indecision’, ‘uncertainty’, etc., in the state of mind of the messenger. Logically, its subject need not be you, the receiver of the message. For instance, if I say ‘I get on really well with you, but my family might not’, I am saying something primarily about me and my family, not about you. That I am sending you a ‘mixed message’ here is your uptake/construction on what I said.
    Indeed, I cannot think of how one might send a ‘mixed message’ to someone. Take this: ‘Your kindness is your delightful attribute. But your bad moods are hard to cope with.’ Here, I made two distinct observations about you. That does not contain a ‘mix’ at all.

    1. I think it means saying one thing – but meaning another. Like ‘lets meet up’ but never following up on it because you really don’t want to.

          1. I am failing to communicate.
            I meant when a person says one to you and indicates or says the other, not in the same sentence of on the same day.

            A “mixed message” in my mind is when someone will not allow you to have clear information and generally speaking, it’s a deliberate action.

            1. This is still worrying: ‘not allowing you to have clear information’ is just that; it is not a message. I’m sorry, Elsa, but I cannot come at the ‘giving a mixed message’ concept. This is because intention (the messenger’s)is perceived by the recipient, sometimes accurately, sometimes not. To put it another way: ‘Uptake’is the recipient’s understanding of/construction on, something the messenger says or does. So a message, per se, cannot be ‘mixed’ by the messenger.
              Another angle: A fond friend might say ‘I cannot help loving you, you mean bitch!’ I would understand that as irony engaged for a joke. It would never occur to me to think ‘mixed message’. Another person might think differently, e.g: ‘The person who calls me a bitch cannot possibly love me.’ And now we have come full circle: All is in the uptake, the recipient’s construction on, what the messenger said; the ‘uptake’ is the receiver’s construction, not the sender’s.

              is not something ‘sent’ by the messenger.

              1. I find it very ironic that in a topic about mixed messages I find your comments very confusing.

                Personally, it’s a simple concept. The message is just the meaning that your words hold and if they are not clear or if your intention is different than the word to use that becomes a mixed message

  40. Feeling in agreement with Jazz. I have gemini sun. There is a world of nuances, playful teasing, double meanings, banter, sarcasm and rhetoric and I’d rather have to put a disclaimer or clarify than give up my way of communicating. Mishaps like these happen in writing the most because there is no tone and no verbal cues *gem sun mercury in taurus. It has happened in here too, sometimes my words have been taken too literally. That is a gift in the right situation but not when one is being ‘light’. I have another example with face to face interaction. This person I knew for years, we know how we joke and we had a good mental raport, there is an expression which means ‘that’s too funny’ but in the literal sense it means ‘having a bruise’. Then she put the most serious face and worriedly said : show me the bruise. There was no bruise. I was using the other meaning. People see my (saturn 1st) face and think I could never be playful when the truth is miles away. Maybe that’s how I’m sending mixed messages.

    1. Where, when people see only one aspect of you, is the message? But your example has bought me the closest to agreement, for it seems to me to be in line with my ‘your message?’ or ‘the recipient’s uptake?’ dichotomy … unless I misunderstood you! 🙂

  41. Don’t know if I can say it exactly – (I feel the need to apologise for confusions, my mercury is progressed exact in opposition to my natal neptune.) Dichotomy is a real thing. What I say and what the other person understands can be soo different. We live in different realities shaped up by our thoughts, experiences, beliefs. I am not saying anything new with this, I know I am being captain obvious. The ‘message’ in pure form is ‘altered’. The sender has their intention and the receiver decodes it as he is wired or prone to. With my example I meant to say that even with someone that I had good raport and joking around- it happened once that we weren’t on the same line of thought. It was a small oddball moment but mishaps can happen. And yes, people focus on what I say and a couple of times they can take the immediate meaning. And no one can blame them, that’s very fast decoding, first meaning, literal sense. We think and interpret in our own unique way.?

    1. Haha, can’t believe I wrote something so similar to what you said, Sophie. I didn’t read your comment above, came from baking my cake but I saw your comment to Elsa now. Yup, message is altered or different. It’s the same with thie example ‘there is how we see ourselves, how others see us and how we truly are’ and no one can see how we truly are. Same with the message. Our own message with our intention, the message as heard and decoded, the ‘real’ message but how do we have a message without it being interpreted/ changed/ altered? I’m off to the kitchen again.

      1. ‘Haha, can’t believe I wrote something so similar to what you said, Sophie.’ Similar, but much better put, X-ray. And I am very flattered. xx

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