If the new dating trend breadcrumbing has you down, I totally get it. It sucks. If you're not familiar, breadcrumbing is basically when someone you're seeing or just messaging leads you along but (frustratingly) refuses to set any definite plans. It can be messaging, talking to you on social media, alluding to plans that never materialize— it's just enough to keep you going and interested. And it's a real pain to deal with.
Now, the easiest way is to not get too tied into it in the first place. "If you met someone online who talks about getting together, yet when you suggest that you find a mutually acceptable time and place to meet in person they are never available, RUN," Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, psychotherapist and relationship coach tells Bustle. "You can only be breadcrumbed if you go along with it." It's great advice, but it only works if you see the breadcrumbing coming. Sometimes you don't even realize what's happening until suddenly you're in the middle of it. And you feel like you've put so much time and energy into this person that you don't want to back out— so you're all the more likely to jump at the next breadcrumb.
So what can you do? I 100 percent think you should call them out on it. You don't have to be dramatic or accusatory, you can just say something like "Hey, you keep suggesting plans but don't seem to be interested in actually meeting up. I think it would be nice to hang out but if that isn't happening I'm going to bow out now, no hard feelings." Then if they really want to go out with you, they'll have to commit to a time and place.
Why is confrontation important? Well, here's why you should confront a breadcrumber, because you're worth it:
1. You Can Move On Faster
The quicker you confront them, the quicker you can get it over with. "Vague allusions to future events — e.g. 'I'll take you there one day' — with zero follow through on making that happen or moving the relationship forward in any consistent way [is a sign of breadcrumbing]," Francesca Hogi, an NYC-based love and life coach, tells Bustle. And the big problem with that is, it ends up being a huge time waster. You can end up keeping nights free or being tentative about pursuing other options because you feel like you owe this person something. The quicker you confront them and can establish that they're not really interested in following through, the quicker you can move on to real options.
2. They Should Realize It's Crappy Behavior
Sure, sometimes there are legit reasons to flake— so many of us have experienced life getting in the way of plans we'd like to make. But there is a point where it goes too far. And either not being honest about how busy you are or just leading someone along for the fun of it just isn't OK. If you confront them on it and— in a totally measured, rational way— explain that it's pretty careless to waste someone's time, then maybe they'll be less likely to do it to someone else in the future. Maybe. I mean, we can dream.
3. Honesty Will Make You Feel Good
I truly believe honesty is always the best policy. A few years ago I started being far more direct with people I was dating or sleeping with and it changed my life so, so much for the better. There's a way to be open about how you're feeling without histrionics or being demanding. You just need to be rational and honest. "Showing up as a grown-ass adult and asking for what you want is really the only way to maintain your sanity with this new trend," Dr. Jennifer Rhodes, licensed psychologist, relationship expert, and the founder of the bi-costal consultancy, Rapport Relationships, tells Bustle. "You do not need to be angry or confrontative but learning to set appropriate personal boundaries will make you feel empowered." Once you lay down the law about what you are and aren't OK with— and how certain behaviors make you feel— there's this confidence boost about knowing you're standing up for yourself.
Every technological advance seems to bring a new horrible dating trend— and breadcrumbing is no different. Just make sure you're being direct and standing up for yourself and the breadcrumbers won't be able to mess you around.