Breadcrumbing Is the Worst and You Don't Even Get Dinner

It’s a foodie term for something we’ve all experienced

There are a lot of ways that dating in the modern era sucks. You have to scroll through dozens of apps to find someone funny, cute, and employed. Then, after you swipe right (or whatever) on an intriguing person, all they want to do is Netflix and chill. OKAY. And then maybe after a few dinner dates, you start hearing from them less and less. But occasionally, right when you’re ready to delete their contact, they text you again. What is this nonsense? Well, it’s called breadcrumbing. And it sucks.

Yes, one of the latest ways to get semi-rejected is called breadcrumbing. Taking its name presumably from how one feeds ducks in the park and leads them around the pond, “breadcrumbing” is the act of essentially someone leading you on with the most minimum amount of effort. Basically, you’re smitten but all you get is the occasional “hey u up?” text. Or perhaps you went on a few dates with someone, don’t hear from them for months, and then they randomly text you about a movie they saw. You know you should ditch this zero, but relationships are hard so you just roll with it.

Oh, you’re getting breadcrumbed.

So why would someone do this to another person? It’s pretty obvious it’s crappy, right? Abby Thompson, a San Francisco-based therapist and expert in confidence, has some insight. “It definitely feels ‘safer’ to have someone as a backup or willing to hang out. It's a much scarier emotional risk to put a lot of effort into contacting someone only to be rejected. And for some folks, not having any prospects might feel really unsettling. So it's totally understandably why someone would string someone along and avoid taking greater risks,” she told The Daily Meal via email.

And what should someone who’s getting breadcrumbed do? “Don't be too hard on yourself. I think we all want to give others the benefit of the doubt. And the dating world can make us all feel a little off-balance and vulnerable,” Thompson said. “If you're concerned that someone is doing this to you, you may want to ask if that's true in case something else is going on. But at the end of the day, your self-esteem is your own to cultivate. A person who repeatedly makes you feel badly about yourself is probably not someone you want to spend more time on.”

So if you’re getting breadcrumbed, reconsider how you may rely on others and learn to love yourself. If you’re breadcrumbing someone (even unknowingly), try to consider their feelings and learn how to be a more polite person.