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A new trend has been emerging on social media and online dating sites.

It’s called “breadcrumbing” and it’s quickly becoming the new ghosting.

What is breadcrumbing?

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Breadcrumbing is the act of sending flirtatious, but non-committal messages (breadcrumbs) that end with you never meeting the person IRL.

They will lure you in with delicious messages, just to leave you hungry for more.

They might like one of your Instagram posts “here and there” just to keep you interested. Or send you a sexy Snapchat, hoping for a flirty reaction.

But the relationship never moves forward and they never ask you out. And if you ask them, there’s always a reason they can’t.

Why do people breadcrumb?

Ego boost

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Self-confessed “breadcrumber,” Nina Harty admitted that chatting with matches “is something to pass the time.” She said, “You get a little ego boost, flirt a bit.”

For some online daters, breadcrumbing is just a way to know if they’re attractive to other people.

Fear of meeting IRL

It could be that the advent of the internet has diminished our “real-life” social skills or the fact that millennials are a commitment-phobia generation, but in any case, we seem to have a fear of seeing the people we meet online IRL.

It also may be likely that the person you’re talking to is really a catfish.

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Catfish are notorious for avoiding talking on the phone or meeting in real life. Never put too much trust in anyone you meet before you confirm that they truly are who they claim.

A catfish’s actions may go beyond breadcrumbing too. See our post 10 Signs You’re Dating a Catfish to get a better idea of what this person may be up to.

A kind of game

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Remember the kid in elementary school who was the “teaser?” The one who’d laugh and mock at anyone at any opportunity they could?

Well, breadcrumbing is the digital tease. Some people just never grow up.

An ex can’t let go

Sometimes after a breakup, one person won’t want to let go. So, they’ll become a breadcrumber to keep you constantly reminded of them.

How to deal with getting breadcrumbed

Get out while you can

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If you notice a pattern of someone agreeing to meet up, then backing out with a different excuse, it’s best to get out ASAP.

A breadcrumber can only string you along if you go with it.

Also, remember that anyone who truly wants to meet you in real life will find a way. No one is ever that busy.

Be direct from the beginning
If you’re direct and honest about your intentions, you should expect a direct and honest reply. If you aren’t getting clear answers, this person probably isn’t worth your time.

Don’t play into it

Those sweet morsels of hope – a flirty Snapchat, a like on Instagram, an allude to the future (like, “I can’t wait until I’m done with finals and then we can hang out”) – won’t lead anywhere with a breadcrumber.

These breadcrumbs are just to keep you in their game. Don’t play into by saying something they want to hear.

Be true to yourself

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Take a step back and realize that the person breadcrumbing you isn’t getting emotionally involved, and therefore you shouldn’t either.

This is just one person in a sea of online daters, and if they’re only giving you breadcrumbs when you deserve the whole loaf of bread, it’s time to let go. Be good to yourself.

Move on

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If you’re wondering when this person will ever ask you out, that’s a good sign to just move on. They probably won’t.

Following a trail of breadcrumbs will only keep you from finding a better match. Know the signs, follow these tips and forge your own trail.