‘Breadcrumbing’ – Is Half-Heartedness Really All That New?



This is not a post about how much I love carbs (better than most of my Tinder boys is the answer if you are asking!). Anyway…

So, who here has heard of the term ‘breadcrumbing’? No one? Well me neither! Till a dear friend enlightened me recently. With a little bit of Google research you’ll find that ‘breadcrumbing’ has been dubbed the new ‘ghosting’, essentially the latest form of rejection it seems. For those of you who need some clarity, Urban Dictionary defines ‘breadcrumbing’ as :

The act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (i.e. “breadcrumbs”) to members of the opposite sex in order to lure a sexual partner without expending much effort.

Relationships are difficult. By now we all get that. Sure, it always starts off with butterflies and foot-popping kisses. Things are all good when you keep things light and fluffy. But the whole ‘getting to know each other’ period can’t go on forever and eventually things need to be taken to the next level. And with that come the hard times (in addition to good times, hopefully!) – dull family outings, shared responsibilities, disagreements and compromise – all of which are elements of adult relationships.

Wouldn’t it just be lovely if we could just stay in that honeymoon phase with all those lazy mornings looking longingly into one another’s eyes? Well, it can’t. We all need to grow up sometime. Right? Well, not really. Enter the commitmentphobe. They want all the fun times without all the boring adulting that comes with a healthy relationship. I don’t know enough about it to be honest but this whole ‘breadcrumbing’ idea doesn’t seem like anything new to me. Booty calls have been around forever and day. Flirtationships are of course another form of half-heartedness we commonly see featuring in modern romance. But I guess our techy-savvy way of life does allow for ‘breadcrumbing’. You know they’ll like your Facebook profile picture but never ask you out on a proper date. The odd WhatsApp here and there is enough to keep an intelligent human suitably entertained, surely?

Ugh. To be honest, I don’t think any of these half-hearted attempts at romance are wrong, per se. We are all adults here and should be capable of managing our own expectations. As much fun as the dating game can be at times (I’m being sarcastic!), the world can be a lonely place for the last single girl/guy standing so looking for a bit of a comfort (read : sexual satisfaction) with your FWB isn’t a crime (just be sure you’ve both been tested for all those pesky STDs). Likewise, seeking that much-needed ego-boost through that an on-going flirtationship is all good as long as all involved parties know where they both stand.

However, what is wrong, and what inevitably will happen in a world which is made up of 50,000,000 shades of grey, is that one party eventually gets led on and starts to think that something more substantial will come out of this. Unlike in the 50 shades triology, most of us normal folk don’t get all our potential lovers to sign legal contracts stipulating the terms of a relationship and what the boundaries are. Maybe things would be less (and a lot less romantic, probably) if we put everything down in writing but the world doesn’t work that way. Sometimes without intending to, when we get involved in any of these half-hearted pursuits, we throw people ‘breadcrumbs’. Something as insignificant as a pat on the back could be read as ‘Oh my God, he really is my Prince!’.

So, far as I’m concerned, ‘breadcrumbing’ is just a new name for an age-old phenomenon of giving someone just enough to let them think you may be interested thus giving them the justification to keep you in the picture a little longer. People may disagree with me, but I think when it comes to love things really are black and white. Well, at least when it comes to two people liking each other enough to give things a fair chance. There is the type of love where after just a week of knowing each other you tell the guy that you aren’t interested in a holiday fling so if that’s what he wants he should let you walk away, and instead of thinking ‘wow this chick is intense’ he sweeps you up in his arms and that marks the beginning of a long-distance debacle that crosses continents. On the other side of the spectrum, you’ve got ghosting. And then there is everything in between. Of course, even when two people start out on the same page there is no guarantee of happily-ever-after. However, no matter what the end result at least you can both exit that relationship knowing that you both gave it your best shot. Everything else, whether it’s the FWB relationship, the booty call or this latest craze of ‘breadcrumbing’, all have the makings of a horror movie…well at least for one of the parties concerned. My intention here is not to preach. If you want to have a few nights of no-strings-attached fun, go for it but just make sure you know that that’s all of this half-hearted stuff can never be anything more than temporary. The moment you started envisaging more than what was promised to you in that unwritten agreement is the day you start on the slippery slope to a heartbreak.

Oki dokes. That’s all from me Rinsers. Your turn. What are your thoughts on ‘breadcrumbing’? Is is something new or something you’ve been party to in the past? Am I wrong to think that everything is pretty black and white when it comes to giving things a go or do you believe here is always a chance that even something that begins half-heartedly can lead to happiness in the end? Answers in the comments below.  






  1. Breadcrumbing sounds like another word for teasing someone. it is an excuse for being irresponsible to someone else. Is it fair to play with someone’s feelings no but some people don’t mind as long as it is understood that all you both are doing is just flirting and nothing is going to be come of it.
    Something you said I am not clear on …And with that come the hard times (in addition to good times, hopefully!) – dull family outings, shared responsibilities, disagreements and compromise – all of which are elements of adult relationships. I am not clear as to what you are saying? Is that saying that all relationships are like that ? And why would you call family outings , shared responisbilities boring ? This is all part of knowing what kind of relationship you are seeking before you jump in one…no?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear this breadcrumbing word first time. Well, it happens on beginning of relations when someone is not sure how long will stay. Fair enough for start, but not fair if person use this as strategy whole time. It looks as you are one foot on the exit.


  3. I recently made a post titled Modern Day Romance (with your blog being one of my inspirations 🙂 ) that touches on the dating lingo and practices in use today. As such, I did some research on some of the terminology (cause the last time I was single was over 10 years ago), and the term that comes to mind that is similar to ‘breadcrumbing’ is ‘benching’- infrequent but consistent communication; which who knows how long this has been ‘a thing.’

    I think that as long as both parties are aware of the other’s expectations (or lack there of) of the relationship, then its fine. But when one starts developing feelings for the other, that’s when things can turn messy pretty quick.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes you are right new term for something that has been around fir ages. It is an activity used by lots of people looking for sex or sexting on line…paricularly those not using conventional dating sites


    • In some sense this is worse than sexting because you really are toying with someone’s emotions. Sexting is just stupid, especially for women but I think even the most intelligent folk could get sucked into be ‘bread crumber’ (?!?!?).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes but I have met women sucked into sexting by exactly the same methods..then after sexting these womens emotions are tied in knots in just the same way…
        I think also its the dating game …some people are seriously looking for a relationship, some just want to boost their egos by pulling and maintaining convienient relationships.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Totally. I guess with ‘ego boosting’ nobody is really going to put it on their dating profiles like they do with things like casual sex and hook-ups. What a strange world we live in.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve heard the term before from a male friend and he got a smack on the wrist for admitting to following this practice. I understand that some out there are not interested in ‘real’ or ‘lasting’ relationships but shouldn’t the other party be made aware of this before the onslaught? I find pulling someone into something like this is simply playing on their emotions.


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