According to our trusty friends at Urban Dictionary, breadcrumbing is when “the crush has no intentions of taking things further, but they like the attention.” Breadcrumbing is when someone uses you to elevate their own self-esteem while never considering how that could make you feel.
What image comes to mind when you hear the word breadcrumbing? I think of ducks in a pond. Do you remember feeding them bits of stale bread? Of course you do. We all did this as kids. We all fed the ducks in hopes that they’d come near and we could be entertained by them. Did those ducks ever complain about the stale bread? Of course not. They’re ducks and ducks never complain. Please don’t let anyone treat you like a duck. Don’t take the stale bits of attention that someone is trying to feed you to keep you around.
Here’s seven ways to spot a breadcrumber, and if any of these rings a bell, run or confront and then dump, because you deserve to be given undivided attention.
1. They reach out, but not too much.
This is typical breadcrumber behavior. They don’t necessarily want your attention for extended periods, but they want it just enough to feel good about themselves. You’ll get a text here and there a few times a week. A DM of a funny meme. An unsolicited selfie. They’ll always be very charming and you’ll be enticed to respond. The breadcrumber lives for these bouts of attention.
2. They disappear for a few days and start up conversations out of nowhere.
When the breadcrumber has gotten his or her fill, they’ll disappear. When they’re ready for more, they’ll come back charming and engaging as ever. They won’t see anything wrong with their behavior and will shake off any negative commentary on the subject, usually with a funny comment or an adorable emoji. They don’t see anything inherently wrong with ignoring someone for days.
3. They flirt heavily one day, then go radio silence.
They will send you romantic songs and their text messages will resemble poetry. They’ll lay on thick coats of compliments and promise you the moon and the stars. You’ll feel wooed, pursued like no one has ever done it before, but you’re in for a rude awakening. Just as our lovely little breadcrumber gets dreamier, they’ll abandon you for days. Weeks, even. When they resurface, you guessed it, they’ll act like nothing ever happened. Seeing as they showered you with so much love, you start thinking that perhaps this is it. Perhaps they’ll stop the annoying disappearing act that they’ve adopted, but they won’t. It’s best to not get your hopes up. Breadcrumbers will always be that.
4. They make plans with you, but something always comes up.
They will make you get really excited about seeing them. They’ll tell you their plan for this dream date and you’ll think about it for days. On the day of, they’ll come up with some crappy excuse. A vague ailment, perhaps. A meeting with a family member whom they haven’t seen in years. It will always be something completely unavoidable that you’d be a dick for getting mad about.
5. They take hours to respond to texts.
No one is that busy and no one just doesn’t have their phone on them. We need to retire those lies. The breadcrumber read your text in a reasonable amount of time, but because they’ve already gotten their fix of attention from someone else, they don’t really feel a need to respond. It’s as simple as that. When they don’t need you, they’ll make themselves very scarce.
6. They make you feel uneasy.
As nice as they are, as charming as they are, their constant episodes of silence and flakiness makes you feel uneasy. The breadcrumber will never make you feel like you’re always wanted. One day they are hot, the next day ice is warmer than how they treat you. You know that you deserve more and your heart tells you that this isn’t what you want. Listen to your heart. A new relationship should be fun and full of wonder, never discomfort.
7. They instantaneously fix themselves when they feel like they’re losing you.
The breadcrumber knows that eventually you’ll catch on, but the thing is that they like your attention. The moment you start stepping back, they will reach out to you every day and say all of the right things. They will suddenly be down for IRL plans. They actually start pursuing you, and the moment you let your guard down, they’ll go back to giving you sprinkles of attention.