For anyone who’s ever dated, or maintained any kind of relationship in the digital age, you have probably known a breadcrumber. They communicate via sporadic noncommittal, but repeated messages -or breadcrumbs -that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be).
Breadcrumbers check in consistently with a romantic prospect, but never set up a date. They are one step shy of ghosters, who disappear without a trace, but are in more frequent contact than a person giving you the fade.On the hierarchy of digital communication, the breadcrumber is the lowest form. It really is a cousin of the `friend zone’. It’s about relegating a person to a particular dead end, but one that still keeps them hanging on in some way .“
The term breadcrumbing probably came from the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. In it, Hansel snags a slice of bread in order to leave a trail of breadcrumbs so he and his sister, Gretel, can find their way home. Hansel’s breadcrumbs were a bust but the term was adopted by early computer programmers to describe those little navigation tabs that lead you back to home. The breadcrumbs we’re talking about do the opposite. They lead you astray .
Among the different types of breadcrumbers: link-baiters, who try to entice you with a text message of a URL, but without providing any context or setup; bitmojiers, or their cousins, snapchatters, who, rather than communicate with actual words, prefer to remain ambiguous with an exagger ated cartoon of themselves holding up a sign that says, `LOL’. There are creepers, who peep your social media pages but never make contact; there are zombies, who re-emerge from the dead, so to speak, after months of no correspondence; and there are text bubblers, or those who type a message, stop, begin typing again and then stop, creating a specific kind of digital hell. These are connections, not conversations. In a dating context, this can be particularly complex. There’s breadcrumbing when you’ve broken up with someone but don’t want to let them go; breadcrumbing as a way of keeping a dating prospect on `hold’. Or there’s breadcrumbing as a kind of game: when a person is not interested in you, but only in staying relevant to you.
Rest assured, though, there are ways to beat breadcrumbers at their own game. Whenever people are breadcrumbish to me, I always reply to them with less words than they send me. So if they were like, `sounds good,’ I would respond with `thumbs up.