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Breadcrumbing, is the latest dating trend and label that replaces stringing along.

The New York times describes it as “They communicate via sporadic noncommittal, but repeated messages — or breadcrumbs — that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be). Breadcrumbers check in consistently with a romantic prospect, but never set up a date. They pique your interest, of that prospective job, perhaps, by reminding you repeatedly that it exists, but never set up the interview.”

Breadcrumbing and Stringing Along in Finding the Person for YouBasically, you’re keeping your options open while stringing someone else along with the least amount of effort or regard for the other person. Like ghosting, the other person is entertaining them when they reach out. What kind of reaching out you ask? Oh, “liking” a photo on IG or FB is the signal that game is back on. Right. What? It’s probably the saddest and minimal amount of effort to demonstrate interest in someone. I mean, we spend more time liking cat photos.

Let’s look at some of the most common types that will most likely breadcrumb:

1. Stalker Types

These are the ones that reach out on your social feeds every now and then, but don’t follow-up with any sentences. They treat you like you are a notification on FB that they forgot they were connected to. If they can’t reach out to you in a text, what makes you think they are interested in having something pop off with you?

2. Booty Call Types

These are the “DTF” “WYD” messages you’ll get at night. They aren’t interested in going beyond just the sexual set up you have. If this is acceptable to you, proceed with caution. Because it may not evolve into a (serious relationship).

3. Can’t Get Over You Types

These are the ones that reach out to you months and years after it’s over in hopes of rekindling the relationship. If they failed the first time, chances are they aren’t new and improved. They just realize the error in not having you in their lives and hope that you are going to want to waste time with them again.

4. Predator Types

These types stalk you on your social feeds to keep abreast of the latest going on in your life. Once they notice a difference in posts or photos that indicates you’re seeing someone or they see that you’re seeing someone, they all of a sudden find you interesting. If they were on the fence about dating you and only reach out because you are happy in a new relationship or enjoy your new relationship.

These types will pursue people that they probably wouldn’t ever approach because they have an inflated self-esteem while the person who is waiting to hear from/meet the other person, begins to have a diminished self-esteem.

Why do these do people breadcrumb?

Filtering through hundreds of profiles, spamming everyone, and getting rejected is rough on the ego. A way to deal with the rejection ratio is to find any kind of attention. At the end of the day, people want to feel some level of relevance, importance or their own delusions of grandeur. Some get their rocks off by knowing that they’ve hooked you with a like or that you are still around when they disappear.

Their ego is fulfilled when they reach out to you after months and you accepted their previous behavior and continue in a cycle of a dis-satisfactory relationship. Your ego, on the other hand, begins to take a hit to your self-esteem. Now you’re asking yourself questions like: why they reached out if they hadn’t ever planned to follow through, what’s the point of reaching out to me and why not meet up with me and finally why do I continue to attract these bullshit types?

This is what it’s doing on the individual level. Breadcrumbing also has a second layer. It’s creating a false sense of hope in someone else and they will apply that to their next relationship target(s). Creating a string of people they will never meet. Isn’t that the opposite of what dating is. Isn’t that just you having a relationship with your device?

How do you avoid breadcrumbers and breadcrumbing?

Approaching dating as though it is testing out what I call, Your Happiness Hypothesis, your personal algorithm that can help minimize some of our own expectations.

Create an equation or a list that includes the elements that you absolutely require (fixed variable) and the elements that you think you want (random variable).

Focus just on characteristics, qualities and life desires. For example: a friend of mine has the following requirements of the men she dates: ivy educated, graduate degree, professional, shared religion, family-oriented, certain age range, & certain height requirements. Physical appearance, sense of humor, adventurous, and work-life balance are not priorities for her.

Identify the elements that you think you must have and those that you’d like to have. You might find that dating based on a system testing out your happiness hypothesis, will help you figure out what is a better fit for yourself.

Clarissa Silva, MSW

She is a Behavioral Scientist and Clinician with 17 years of experience in mental health, behavioral science, and public health. She is the author of a very tongue-in-cheek relationship wellness blog, “YOU’RE JUST A DUMBASS”, to help people select and maintain healthy relationships and avoid some of the difficult life lessons that one encounters in suboptimal relationships.  On, she shares techniques that she developed to help clients with creating relationship wellness in their lives.

She is also the creator of Play Ideal Date game show. She is developing this concept to offer people a unique approach to dating. What makes Play Ideal Date different is a mixed method matching system based on personalized attention and online dating!

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