What Is Breadcrumbing And Why Does It Suck So Bad?

Ever had a guy ghost you and then come back from the dead… only to disappear again and return one more time? You were totally breadcrumbed. You’ve heard of ghosting, of course, and you’ve probably even experienced it firsthand (or you’ve maybe even done it yourself). However, breadcrumbing is so much worse. Here’s what this new form of ghosting is and why it sucks so much.

  1. It’s confusing AF. Look, you get it: sometimes you get ghosted. It’s happened before and it’s going to happen again. No big deal, really. But when you think that the new guy that you’re into is gone forever, you have as much closure as you’re ever going to get and you’re free to move on. With breadcrumbing, there is zero closure and zero moving on. It means that guys will text you every once in a while with just enough space to make you think they’ve lost interest, but they keep coming back.
  2. It’s really obnoxious. A NY Times piece referenced Urban Dictionary ,who claim the term comes from Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. Makes sense since real-life breadcrumbing is just as dark as that so-called fairy tale. You’re pretty pissed off that this guy thinks he can randomly waltz back into your life (or your iPhone) like nothing happened. If he wanted to keep talking to you and seeing you, why not say so?
  3. It’s ridiculously immature. Just as ghosting can seem like the coward’s way out, breadcrumbing can be pretty similar. And when this happens to you, you have every right to be totally disgusted. Instead of asking you out again or admitting his feelings, a guy will randomly text “How’s your day going?” or mention a movie he just saw. You’re left wondering why he can’t be honest and open and mature.
  4. It makes you lose all hope in humanity. Okay, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but it feels that way at first. Now you don’t only have to worry about people ignoring you, but you have to worry about them ignoring you for two days or a week and then paying attention to you again. It’s completely impossible to tell if someone likes you and if your supposedly new romance is going anywhere. Awesome.
  5. You feel like you’ve done something wrong. Chances are when someone new ghosts you, you almost laugh at this point because you’re used to it. You get that it happens and that it’s his loss. You can shrug and get on with your dating life and you want to forget about this guy. But when he breadcrumbs you, your first instinct is to ignore him, and then you feel bad. You wonder if you’re doing something wrong and if he really is a good guy. It’s a mind game and it sucks.
  6. You don’t want to make the choice. You already thought that you knew what was up with this guy: absolutely nothing. And then he returns. Now you’re left to make the all-important decision: do you write back? Do you say nothing? Do you ask him out and see where it leads? It’s too much and it means you’re the one who has to figure everything out, which doesn’t seem all that fair.
  7. You’re still going nowhere. This is basically the exact same thing as ghosting because this guy is not really interested in you and he never will be. You’re still going nowhere and you’re going to wind up as single as you were before. The same rules apply: if he liked you, he would be straight up with you and you would be together.
  8. You feel nuts. The longer this keeps happening, the crazier you feel. You wonder if this is all in your head and if he’s actually being normal… or if you’re reading too much into it or overthinking things. This alone is reason enough to totally ignore him because no guy should make you feel out of your mind.
  9. You would never treat someone like that. The truth is that while you do ghost when guys are particularly creepy or rude (or worse), you would never breadcrumb. You just wouldn’t. Why would you text someone whenever you felt like it without admitting how you felt or trying to see them in person?
  10. You end up worrying too muchWhen you escape a breadcrumbing situation alive, you realize that you worried for nothing because in the end, you’re not this guy’s girlfriend. You hate that you worried so much when you could have focused on better things. And that’s why breadcrumbing is truly the worst: it’s a total and complete waste of time.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.