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What Is Breadcrumbing in Dating?

Breadcrumbing Is the Savage Dating Tactic We're Secretly All Guilty Of

The ever-evolving dating world has just introduced us to a new term that perfectly describes an age-old habit: breadcrumbing. This expression has nothing to do with cooking and everything to do with someone we've probably all encountered while circulating the deadly waters of the dating pool.

Urban Dictionary perfectly sums up the phrase with a couple of detailed definitions, but we've devised our own version below to properly encompass it.

Breadcrumbing (noun): The act of sporadically sending flirtatious yet noncommittal text messages (i.e., "breadcrumbs") to someone at random times in order to keep up their hopes that a relationship may form in the future although there are no actual intentions of dating.

Though your favourite childhood fairy-tale pals Hansel and Gretel used breadcrumbs as a means of finding their way back home, the hypothetical starch scraps lead to nothing but false hope when it comes to dating. Breadcrumbing is a subtle step above ghosting, a popular term that refers to completely cutting off communication with someone out of nowhere, like Homer Simpson disappearing into a bush.

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If Homer were breadcrumbing, he would jut halfway out of the shrubbery and casually accost random passersby every so often but mostly keep to himself.

This trend among daters has really piqued our interest, so we decided to delve into the idea a bit more and break it down. Below we have the answers to a few questions you may be asking yourself right now.

What are some signs I'm getting breadcrumbed?

Does he or she only interact with you via text message or social media every few months? Are those interactions very short (e.g., the classic "Sup" text)? Does the person refuse to make definite plans with you? If you answered "yes" to most or all of those questions, I hate to break it to you, but you're the victim of some hardcore breadcrumbing.

What types of people use breadcrumbing?

Breadcrumbers come in many forms. There's the "zombie breadcrumber" who seemingly reemerges from the dead to send a random 1 a.m. "Wyd?" text twice a year for no apparent reason. Or there's the "creeper," the type who will view all of your Instagram and Snapchat stories and occasionally throw you a "like" without ever contacting you by text message. A breadcrumber can even be an ex who sporadically reaches out every few months because they simply can't let go of their past relationship with you.

Why do people employ this dating tactic?

The point of breadcrumbing is rather simple: to keep someone's interest up and make them think there might be potential for a future relationship without ever actually committing to anything. It's as easy (and savage) as that. Some people like to keep their options open and reassure themselves that person is still semi-interested in them. It can be a way to keep someone "on hold" if that person isn't ready for a relationship yet but potentially might be in the future. Other breadcrumbers may just be bored and/or lonely and need someone to send cat GIFs to.

What are some examples of actual breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs may come in the form of a text message, as mentioned before. These are typically as random and evasive as possible, such as "Hey, I was just thinking about you the other day," a link to a funny article, or a cute dog-related meme. But these crumbs can also be left in the form of an Instagram "like" or Twitter retweet because the doer knows that person will receive some sort of notification of their interaction.

What do I do if I'm getting breadcrumbed?

If you suspect that you're a victim of this fascinating communication tactic and you're ready to call it quits, not responding is usually a solid go-to that gets the message across. But if you want to breadcrumb the breadcrumber, try replying to their message with even less enthusiasm and even more brevity. Hello, breadcrumb-ception.

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