What is Breadcrumbing?
As defined, psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. says breadcrumbing is a term that refers to a drawn-out way, when dating, of keeping a person hopeful and interested, by giving periodic signals, that are flirty but non-committal. With breadcrumbing, you can see the trail the person left—notes, texts, smooches—often prompting you to justify the fact you’re intrigued by them, even if they leave you with more questions than answers.
Why Breadcrumbing Matters
Breadcrumbing is an effective waste of time (and energy)—and something all singles should be wary of. Dr. Thomas shares that the sooner you can spot the signs, the sooner you can have a direct conversation with your date to understand their intentions. “There is no guarantee that the person doing the breadcrumbing will be totally honest, but, at the very least, that person will know you’re onto what she is doing. And, if you don’t feel comfortable with his or her response, you can end the trail of breadcrumbs by ending any further communications with that person,” she continues.
You should try to fast-track your way out of this route of mixed signals, since Dr. Thomas shares that it can be a major buzzkill to your confidence. In turn, this could mean you don’t put yourself out there to meet what you really need: a 100-percent-into-you baker. “Your self-esteem may decrease with the worry of what’s wrong with you since the other person isn’t able to make a commitment. You may be upset that she was so hot and cold with you, and you may start to have trouble trusting new potential love interests’ intentions in the future.”
If you’re the one holding the basket and walking along, leaving crumb-sized grenades everywhere, it’s time for a gut check. It is good to be aware that you are breadcrumbing, and examine why you are doing it. Is it fear of making a commitment, or simply playing the field?