Dating Definitions Part 2: Breadcrumbing

Last week we wrote about the digital dating trends benching and cushioning, where people put potential dates “on hold” until they ready to date them. Or not date them. This week’s dating trend is “breadcrumbing,” described by urbandictionary as “the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (i.e. “breadcrumbs”) in order to lure a sexual partner without expending much effort.”

The idea is to give someone just enough attention to keep their hope of a potential “relationship” alive. It’s basically stringing someone along with a “digital tease” whether they are interested in a relationship with you or not. Also known as “Hansel and Gretelling”, where the fairy tale characters used a trail of breadcrumbs so someone would know where they were and rescue them, the modern day dater texts people but never sets up a time to get together.
Why do people breadcrumb? Because they are lazy or bored at work and want to flirt without too much effort. Or because they don’t want to be too committal because they’re already committed. Or perhaps because they’re married and just like to flirt.
We have all breadcrumbed someone, perhaps not even realizing it. But the problem with being the breadcrumbie is that our time is wasted and we are left frustrated. Women often ask “Just why don’t you properly try to date or court me?” Because the breadcrumber doesn’t have time to date all the people he/she is breadcrumbing.
Breadcruming is sending you a twitter DM once in awhile, an Instagram like, or an email, just to keep you interested in them. Breadcurming can happen after someone broke up with you but still wants to stay in touch and tell you how fabulous you are (after it’s too late.) Or breadcrumbing can occur when someone just sends you quickie flirtatations–breadcrumbs, but has no real intentions of ever dating you.
It is also used in online dating when you are put “on the rotation” while the other person swipes and breadcrumbs a bunch of other people on Tinder and then gets back to you. There has to be a better way. Tinder and other dating apps have a tendency to make everyone disposable. Too many perceived choices = breadcrumbing.
So what is the solution to this? Get off the Junior High dating apps, get out more and meet people in the flesh. The people doing the real dating are going out and meeting people in person–and getting their loaf stroked, or their bagel licked.
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Anka Radakovich is a legendary Sex Columnist, Certified Sexologist, Sex Educator, Screenwriter, and Author of the new book THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, PART 2, Tales from New York to Hollywood. THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, Part 2 is her third book. Her first two books The Wild Girls Club; Tales from below the Belt, and Sexplorations; Journeys to the Erogenous Frontier were both published by Crown/Random House. She was the Sex Columnist for DETAILS Magazine for 9 years and is currently a Sex Columnist for BRITISH GQ. Her writing has appeared in dozens of magazines including Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Men's Journal, Seventeen, Glamour, and Maxim. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 8 appearances with Conan O’Brien. She was a Jeopardy question under the category “Men’s Mags.” As a Sex Educator and Sexologist, she is a college lecturer at Universities throughout the country who offers her unique brand of sex education. She lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.