Is your crush "breadcrumbing" you?

You're officially done.

The last few weeks, your crush has put you in a confusing, "they love me, they love me not" whirlwind. On one day, they'll swipe up on your private Snapchat Story, telling you your mirror selfie is fire, and the next day? Literal radio silence (like srsly, they better answer before you lose your streak). 

After deleting them from Snapchat, you're feeling pretty good about letting go of your noncommittal, sort-of S.O. That is, until they like your Instagram Story a week later, and you're back in a cycle of mixed signals. 

We've all heard of being led on, but in a digital age, "breadcrumbing" has become the increasingly popular way of stringing someone along—leaving you in a one-sided relationship. 

Being breadcrumbed by your crush is not only a serious crush red flag, but it can also leave you in a sticky love situation: Do you stick it out with this person because there seems to be potential or call it quits? 

What is "breadcrumbing"?


Breadcrumbing is when you have feelings for someone who has no intention of being in a legit relationship with you but who actively leaves flirty "breadcrumbs" for you to follow.

The intention? To keep your attention on them, even if they don't see a romantic connection developing in the future or have actual feelings for you. The breadcrumber will give you *just* enough energy (or the right amount of affirmations) to keep you interested, but not quite enough to the point where the two of you can call yourselves official. 

How can I tell if my crush is breadcrumbing me?


Being breadcrumbed can look like a lot of things depending on the person, but some common ones to look out for are...

The flaker

You've put on your cutest skirt, platform shoes and even try out a new bold eyeshadow look for this special occasion—bc yes, finally getting to hang out with your crush is a big deal. Before you head out the door, you see a text from them: "Sorry I can't make it."

Having a flaky crush can be one of the key signs you're being breadcrumbed. Life happens and yes, sometimes people really do have to cancel plans last minute. But if this becomes a regular thing, beware. At the end of the day, someone who constantly cancels on you doesn't recognize or value the time you're putting into the relationship.

The "busy" bee

It seems like your crush is just always busy whenever you ask them to hang out (how convenient). They'll tell you they have an important chem quiz coming up or say they need to prepare for their upcoming soccer championship game. This breadcrumber will then apologize and say "next time," or find a vague way of making up-in-the-air plans with you in the following weeks—ones they usually never follow through with.

Having a packed schedule is understandable, but always having an excuse is a sign that your crush isn't interested or willing to compromise to see you. 

The inconsistent communicator 

It seems like just as you've started ghosting your crush, they suddenly want to keep a conversation with you—or are *totally* interested in how your week has been. This breadcrumber will only talk to you when they sense that you are no longer interested. Your lack of attention bothers them, so they'll talk to you just as you start pulling away in hopes you won't totally let them go. Once you do give them the attention they want, they'll start to pull away. Again.

How to deal 


Seriously it's not you, it's them

We know, it can be so tough trying to understand why someone would breadcrumb in the first place. But whether they're working through some past relationship baggage, scared of commitment or just feeling insecure, know that it probably doesn't have anything to do with you in particular.

Right now, you might feel hurt, betrayed and even like you could've done something on your end to prevent this from happening. The truth? You can't predict what someone is going to do or act like. 

Be honest with them (and yourself)

It might be worth reaching out and letting your crush know how you're feeling. Setting clear goals of what you want with them will not only establish expectations for future interactions but will also either get them on the same page—or force them to re-evaluate their intentions.

You might have some serious heart-eyes for your crush, but you need to ask yourself: Is it worth pursuing someone who hasn't given a crystal clear sign that they like you? Or worse, that think it's OK to play with your feelings?  

We get it, it's hard to know where to start in getting over your crush. But you deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you because of how amazing you are—not someone who only wants your attention on their—and only their—own terms.

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by Annika Chaves | 12/3/2023