8 Signs That Someone Is Breadcrumbing You
Knowing the signs can help you avoid investing in this type of relationship.
Breadcrumbing is the modern equivalent of leading someone on; the term describes the behavior of showing another person occasional signs of romantic interest in order to keep them invested, without necessarily having the intention to follow through.
People on the receiving end of breadcrumbing are given inconsistent "crumbs" of attention that tend to keep them invested in the other person based on the potential of obtaining a full meal, although it's not likely ever to arrive.
Breadcrumbing is often a sign that someone is emotionally unavailable. They want to know that you’ll be there if and when they need you and they may get an ego boost when you respond to them, but ultimately they're unlikely to pursue a relationship with you.
Such hot-and-cold behavior can leave you yearning for more connection but ending up dissatisfied. When you're able to recognize the signs, and how it feels when someone is breadcrumbing you, you can avoid investing your energy or attention in that person. Following Below are 8 key signs of breadcrumbing:
You often feel confused about the relationship. When it comes to determining whether the person you’re dating is breadcrumbing you, a good rule of thumb is that if this person likes you, it will be clear, and if they don’t, you will likely feel uncertain or confused. Expressing how you feel about someone requires a certain degree of vulnerability, which is something an emotionally unavailable person typically has a difficult time with.
You frequently turn to others to decipher what this person’s texts and actions mean and how you should respond. We all benefit at times from getting outside perspectives from those we trust; however if you’re noticing that a lot of your time and energy is being invested in playing detective to figure out whether this person likes you, consider that their actions speak volumes and you may already have your answer.
They may leave you hanging and fail to commit to plans ahead of time. You may find yourself waiting around for this person’s call or text to confirm whether you have plans. You may notice they bristle when you bring up future plans. We all get busy, but when someone likes you and is emotionally available, the majority of the time they will communicate that to you through their words and actions.
Their communication with you is rarely consistent. You never know when you’ll hear from them. As a result, the relationship is on their terms. Even when you do hear from them, it rarely leads anywhere. Keeping things on their terms helps keep you at arm’s length, which can create a sense of false safety for the emotionally unavailable person.
You avoid bringing up how you feel or trying to define the relationship. You may fear that if you share how you feel or try to define the relationship, you will push them away. Any relationship that ends because you share how you feel about the person was on shaky ground to begin with and would likely not have lasted.
They send you mixed messages. They may come on strong, then become distant. They may say things like “I like you and can see a future with you but I don’t know if I can commit to anything right now” or “I don’t know if I can commit to you right now because I’m busy with work/school/etc. but I want to continue spending time with you.” Regardless of how they're phrased, such messages ultimately mean the person is not open to commitment or a deeper connection. Most people focus on the part of these messages indicating the person likes them or wants to spend time with them and gloss over the other parts, thinking that with enough time and affection the other person will want to commit, and ending up losing valuable time they could have spent getting to know someone else who is emotionally available.
Growing closer with them may feel off limits. A person using breadcrumbing to keep you interested typically has defenses up (of which they may not even be aware) which block deepening levels of intimacy . This is often why, just as you start to grow closer to an emotionally unavailable person or try to express how you feel, they may shut down, grow cold, or distance themselves from you.
You vacillate between feeling excited and deflated as a result of your interactions. When someone is breadcrumbing you, their communication is inconsistent; when you do hear from them, it may feel special and exciting but it’s usually a sign that you’re on edge because this person is tapping into your insecurities and you don’t feel emotionally safe with them.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or well-being.