Most of us are familiar with the concept of “ghosting.” But there seems to be a lack of familiarity with the term “breadcrumbing.” So what exactly is breadcrumbing, and why is it so problematic? We’re here to help you understand it.
What Is Breadcrumbing?
Breadcrumbing is essentially leading someone on. It’s the act of engaging in flirtatious communications with someone in the hopes of keeping them romantically interested – even if you aren’t necessarily looking for a relationship with them. In other words, if you have been flirting with someone for an extended period of time but never commit to taking any steps toward a real relationship, you may be breadcrumbing them.
Interested in the Urban Dictionary explanation?
“When the “crush” has no intentions of taking things further, but they like the attention. So they flirt here or there, send dm/texts just to keep the person interested, knowing damn well they’re staying single.”
Well, It’s Not Great…But Is It Really That Bad?
The short answer is yes. Breadcrumbing, especially when the other individual is actually interested in you, is a constant roller coaster of hopes and letdowns. As a general rule of thumb, if this sounds like something you wouldn’t want done to you, don’t do it to someone else.
How Do You Know If You’re Breadcrumbing Someone?
The tragedy of breadcrumbing is that most people don’t really realize they’re doing it. The first indication that you may be breadcrumbing is that you receive more attention than you give. If a person prioritizes you and your interests, but you don’t think about theirs, you’re already facing an imbalance that errs on the side of breadcrumbing.
It’s a common trope that we want what we can’t have. So, if you notice that you’re only interested when that person starts to pull away, you’re likely breadcrumbing.
Finally, if you have a hard time committing to someone, you may be breadcrumbing. If you don’t see the relationship progressing, or you notice more feelings on one side of the relationship than the other, you should probably respectfully walk away before someone gets hurt.
How Do You Know If Someone Is Breadcrumbing You?
If you find yourself in a constant state of confusion regarding someone’s romantic interest in you, you may be experiencing breadcrumbing. Look out for ambiguous, noncommittal messages, a surge of interest followed by a seeming lack thereof, or general negative feelings that arise from your conversations. If you notice these signs, you could make a point of asking them about commitment. If they answer this indecisively, it might be time to walk away.
Regardless of your current relationship status, you’ve likely experienced breadcrumbing at some point in your dating life. Moving forward, we recommend paying attention to how you speak and behave around people to ensure you don’t perpetuate or fall victim to breadcrumbing.