Breaking Down The Maze Of Modern Love Lingo: Breadcrumbing Vs. Benching

If you’ve ever attempted to negotiate the love scene in the twenty-first century, you’ve definitely come across some perplexing terminology that has left you scratching your head. Breadcrumbing? Benching? It sounds like we’re constructing a sandwich or playing a sport rather than looking for love. But don’t worry, we’re going on a jargon-busting adventure together today.


‘Breadcrumbing’ is a name that has arisen to describe a particularly perplexing behavior in the vast maze of modern dating. Consider this: you’ve met someone who appears to be wonderful, you’ve swapped phone numbers, and you’re delighted about the possibilities. They then begin to drop breadcrumbs. These aren’t the meaty slices of dedication you were looking for, but rather small crumbs of love and attention.

They might send you a flirtatious text message out of the blue or tag you in a social media post. However, they never follow up, never schedule a date, and never truly engage in a conversation. They’re bringing you down a path, but there’s no gingerbread mansion at the end, just more breadcrumbs.

The core premise of breadcrumbing is to keep you interested with as little effort as possible. Breadcrumbs offer you just enough to keep you hanging on, to keep you texting them or following them on social media. However, they never provide enough to make a genuine, lasting connection.

The hard thing about breadcrumbing is that it can be easily misinterpreted as genuine interest. They appear to be paying just enough attention to make you assume they’re interested in you. In truth, they’re tying you up with no intention of advancing the relationship.


Moving on from breadcrumbing, we approach another habit that’s similarly perplexing: ‘Benching’. Benching in the dating world is derived from the world of sports, where players are kept on the bench until they are needed.

When someone benches you, it means that they retain you on their roster but are not actively participating in a connection with you. You’re like a player on the bench, waiting to be called into the game if one of their current interests doesn’t pan out.

The bencher will keep you close enough for them to have options. They may engage in casual chat, respond to your social media posts, or meet up for a casual hangout on occasion, but they never commit to a meaningful relationship. They keep you waiting in the wings, giving them peace of mind that they have a backup plan if their current dating prospect falls through.

Benching can have negative emotional consequences. It’s a kind of limbo, leaving you unsure of where you stand. This lack of clarity, along with the feeling of being a “second choice,” can be detrimental to one’s self-esteem.

Dissecting the Jargon

The inherent ambiguity of both breadcrumbing and benching is intriguing. They exist somewhere in the middle of casual dating and serious relationships. Both entail a lack of clear communication and an unwillingness to commit, and both can leave the person receiving the treatment feeling used and confused.

Understanding these concepts and recognizing these habits can be empowering. You can defend yourself and demand your needs if you realize when you are being breadcrumbed or benched. Remember, you deserve clear communication, genuine attention, and complete slices of affection in the dating world, not just crumbs.

It’s fine to communicate your feelings and request clarification if you’re being breadcrumbed or benched. It’s also okay to walk away if the other individual is unable to meet your needs. There’s a lot of lingo in the dating industry, and it can be confusing. We can make sense of our experiences, negotiate relationships more successfully, and advocate for our own self-worth if we comprehend these terms.