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‘Breadcrumbing’ Vs. ‘Benching’: Unraveling The Maze Of Modern Love Lingo

If you’ve ever tried to navigate the romantic scene in the 21st century, you’ve probably encountered some puzzling terms that left you scratching your head. Breadcrumbing? Benching? It sounds more like we’re making a sandwich or playing a sport than trying to find love. But fear not, because today, we’re going on a jargon-busting journey together.

In the grand maze of modern dating, ‘Breadcrumbing’ is a term that has emerged to describe a particularly puzzling behavior. Picture this: you’ve met someone who seems great, you’ve exchanged numbers, and you’re excited about the potential. But then, they start dropping breadcrumbs. These are not the hearty slices of commitment you were hoping for, but rather, tiny crumbs of attention and affection. They might send you a flirty text out of the blue, or tag you in a post on social media. But they never quite follow up, never set a date, and never fully engage in a conversation. It’s like they’re leading you down a trail, but there’s no gingerbread house at the end – just more breadcrumbs.

The underlying principle of breadcrumbing is this: to keep you interested with minimal effort. Breadcrumbers give you just enough to keep you holding on, to keep you responding to their texts or following them on social media. But they never give enough to establish a real, meaningful connection. What’s tricky about breadcrumbing is that it can be easy to mistake for genuine interest. They seem to be showing just enough attention to make you think they’re into you. In reality, they’re stringing you along without any intention of escalating the relationship.


Moving on from breadcrumbing, we reach another practice that’s equally perplexing: ‘Benching’. Derived from the world of sports, where players are kept on the bench until they’re needed, benching in the dating world follows a similar principle. When someone is benching you, they’re keeping you in their roster but not actively engaging in a relationship with you. You’re like a player waiting on the sidelines, ready to be put into the game if one of their current interests doesn’t work out.

The bencher will keep you close enough to keep their options open. They might engage in intermittent conversation, react to your social media stories, or occasionally meet up for a casual hangout, but they never commit to a serious relationship. They keep you in the wings, providing them with comfort that they have a backup plan, should their current dating prospect fall through. The emotional impact of benching can be tough. It’s a limbo of sorts, leaving you in a state of uncertainty about where you stand. This lack of clarity, combined with a sense of being a ‘second choice’, can be quite damaging to one’s self-esteem.

Breaking Down the Jargon

The interesting thing about both breadcrumbing and benching is their inherent ambiguity. They exist in the gray area between casual dating and serious relationships. They both involve a lack of clear communication and a reluctance to commit, and both practices can leave the person on the receiving end feeling used and confused. Understanding these terms and being able to identify these behaviors can be empowering. If you can recognize when you’re being breadcrumbed or benched, you can take steps to protect yourself and assert your needs.

Remember, in the realm of dating, you deserve clear communication, genuine interest, and full slices of affection, not just crumbs. If you’re being breadcrumbed or benched, it’s okay to express your feelings and ask for clarity. And if the other person isn’t able to meet your needs, it’s okay to walk away. There’s a lot of jargon out there in the dating world, and it can feel overwhelming. By understanding these terms, we can make sense of our experiences, navigate relationships more effectively, and champion our own self-worth.