Breadcrumbing (2024) – How To Avoid Being Led On?

Breadcrumbing is a term you will frequently hear in the dating pool, especially among people engaging in online dating, because it happens while messaging.

If you are engaging in online dating services and don’t seem to be having too much success, then you may be breadcrumbed by people or be breadcrumbing someone.

What is breadcrumbing and its signs are the things we will try to explain to all fellow daters in our article!

Let’s discuss the following intensively:

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What is Breadcrumbing in Dating?
The Signs You Are Being Breadcrumbed
Why Does Breadcrumbing Happen?
How To Prevent Breadcrumbing?

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What is Breadcrumbing in Dating?

Breadcrumbing is a frequent thing you will see in online dating these days, especially if you are an avid user of social media and dating apps.

This phenomenon happens when someone is reaching out to you occasionally – a text message here and there, a phone call or an invitation for a date all of a sudden, or just liking your Instagram pictures although you haven’t talked for months.

After you answer them or go out with them, the breadcrumbing examples will continue to appear, and you will not hear from them for some time until they feel like seeing you again.

These sporadic messages and invitations shouldn’t be considered only part of the dating world because there are plenty of breadcrumbing friendships and relationships with family members.

This leads to a one-sided relationship where the person breadcrumbing the other one is initiating everything only when they need something from them or when they feel like they could dedicate some time to them.

It is similar to gaslighting, and it can have a huge impact on people’s mental health because it will make them lose self-esteem and feel less worthy and loved.

The breadcrumbing behavior is typical among men who are into casual dating and want always to have a girl to hang out with but don’t want to offer anything.

What is Breadcrumbing in Dating?

This behavior is mainly noticed among narcissist men and women who will always try to go over set boundaries and try to do everything that is a massive no from you.

However, this is also something that can happen in a committed relationship or a friendship too, so you always need to keep an eye out for people in your surroundings because you never know how good their intentions may be.

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The Signs You Are Being Breadcrumbed

Recognizing a manipulative tactic like breadcrumbing can be very hard, especially in modern dating, when so many people are meeting new daters through dating apps and social media.

Breadcrumbing happens in a relationship and among people who are into hookups, too, but it can be hard to recognize it, so these are some of the most frequent signs of breadcrumbing.

If you were asking what are examples of breadcrumbing, then this is what you need to look out for because you don’t want to react at the last minute.

  1. They are replying once in a few days – people who don’t care about your well-being will send you a message from time to time, once in a week or once in two weeks love bombing you and not even explaining why they didn’t reach out to you for so many days.
  2. Always mentioning shared interests – if a potential partner is always saying the things you have in common and similar interests, they are trying to keep the connection alive, although there is no valid reason for that.
  3. Messages are superficial – even when they reach out to you, these messages are a booty call in the first place, and they are full of red flags, so you don’t get to discuss anything with them except when to meet and what to do tonight.
  4. They like your social media posts but don’t respond – if the two of you have added each other on different social media and they are constantly viewing and liking the things you post, but they never messages, they are using the breadcrumbing psychology.
  5. Only communicate with memes or emojis – if you always get a no-text response meme and they fail to answer any of the questions you ask simply by using smiles or random photos, then these are breadcrumbing signs because they want to keep the connection alive without doing pretty much anything.

Most people will ask, “is breadcrumbing emotional abuse?”, and although it can be perceived this way too, it depends on the people involved and on their previous ways of communication and connection.

Signs of breadcrumbing are pretty obvious, and no matter what dating terms you are on, this is no way the type of behavior that should be ignored, especially if you are hoping for a healthy relationship with someone.

The moment you identify this behavior and realize that this person is in no way giving you the validation you need, you become the victim of breadcrumbing in a relationship, and you need to try and get out of this toxic cycle as soon as possible.

As you can see, breadcrumbing meaning is pretty obvious, and just a few small sentences can show you when a person is trying to manipulate you that way.

Why Does Breadcrumbing Happen?

Why breadcrumbing happens is something no one can give you a precise answer to, and you probably won’t hear it even when you are confronting a breadcrumber.

Sometimes, people are not even aware of their behavior, but there tend to be other psychological reasons for that.

Relationship experts have defined a few reasons why people breadcrumb and act this way:

1. They are not ready to commit

Some people like interacting with others, but they are afraid of commitment which is the reason why they are not able to develop any deeper communication, which will make them look like they are breadcrumbing you.

They are not ready to commit

They are probably not even aware that they are breadcrumbing you because they simply don’t know how to act and be open about their own needs, so everything comes off as manipulation.

2. You are a backup

If someone sends you breadcrumbs during no contact, this is probably a sign that this person is viewing you as a backup plan and that you will be their option if it doesn’t work out with anyone else.

3. They don’t want to say goodbye

If you have already been in a relationship with someone and they seem to be reaching out to you all the time, sending messages that don’t make too much sense but have a mission of keeping in touch with you, then they probably don’t want to say goodbye to you, and they are trying their best to keep you with breadcrumbing.

4. They’re lonely

Many people don’t have healthy relationships with others, so they try to cling to those willing to stay in touch with them even when they are only offering crumbs.

This is especially common among women who seem to be hot and cold all the time because they don’t know much except breadcrumbs dating.

How To Prevent Breadcrumbing?

There is no way to prevent breadcrumbing, even if you are discussing things like this with someone before you engage in any connection or conversation.

Confronting a breadcrumber is never easy, especially if you are dealing with a narcissist breadcrumbing and a person that doesn’t even know what this means because it is a common way of treating people for them.

What is breadcrumbing narcissism is something everyone needs to know, especially if they don’t have too much dating experience because narcissistic have no idea how to love and interact with someone.

They are used to getting used to people and making them work to their advantage without thinking about their mental health or wellness.

The only way you can prevent yourself from this breadcrumbing is to make sure you never get in too deep with a narcissist because this is the least harmful thing they can do to you, especially long-term.

You also need to know what is the difference between breadcrumbing and ghosting because the fact that someone reads your messages and ever replies again in their life has nothing to do with this, and you can’t label their behavior as breadcrumbing.

Learn to recognize people who are prone to manipulating others and who don’t have since intentions for you, and you will be able to avoid breadcrumbing easily.

If you see the slightest sign of breadcrumbing, then you need to run away as fast as you can because you never know what kind of toxic behavior you may experience in the future.

How To React To People Breadcrumbing You?

Even though most people want to know what to say to someone who is Breadcrumbing you, the truth is that you don’t even need to respond to people like this because that is the best way to get rid of their toxic behavior.

Ignoring is the safest way to get rid of a breadcrumber, especially if they have been practicing this sort of behavior for a more extended period.

What happens when you ignore a breadcrumber is that this sort of behavior will also stop, maybe not immediately, but after a few days or weeks, it eventually will.

There is no other response or technique that can ruin a breadcrumber faster than being left unread, so if you are looking for the right way to react to these people but don’t want to cause any problems for yourself, then this is the right way to do it.

How To React To People Breadcrumbing You?

Now that you know what are the different types of breadcrumbing and how easy it is to recognize people behaving like this, you will be able to step into the dating pool and eliminate all toxic people from your love life.

Never settle for people trying to breadcrumb you and make you think you are not worthy of constant attention and love because these people don’t feel confident with themselves and are trying to project their insecurities onto other people.


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