Sometime last year, I talked with my friend about someone I’d been doing talking stage with and told her in detail what had been going on. She said, “This person seems to be breadcrumbing you”. That was the first time I heard the word; I had to find the meaning. 

In simple terms, Breadcrumbing means giving just enough attention and affection to someone who cares about you to keep them interested. People who breadcrumb want the receivers of their breadcrumbs to stay stuck on them; they like to be in control while doing the bare minimum. 

I’m no relationship expert. However, I’ve been a victim of breadcrumbing more times than I’m willing to admit. Now I know the signs to look for when talking to someone new and how to avoid being strung along. 


Inconsistency is one of the most apparent signs of breadcrumbing. Breadcrumbers are usually inconsistent with their time and how much attention they give to you. They disappear and reappear with a reason why they’d been absent. The reason is always good enough to keep you interested and forgive their inconsistency. 

Sometimes, you believe they had a good reason for their inconsistency and count down to their return. It’s not because you don’t know better; you just think they’ll be back, and their words to you are valid. But alas.

Not following through with plans

We all know that you make time for what you care about, and although a breadcrumber has told you in several ways that they care about you, they usually find it challenging to create time to prove it. They entertain the idea of seeing you without acting, following through or and showing up to the date location. There’s no one busier than a breadcrumber on the day you’re to spend time with them. 

Fancy reassuring words without action

Although it’s expected that breadcrumbing and gaslighting will be two peas in a pod, that’s not usually the case. A breadcrumber won’t attempt to alter your reality, but they’ll reassure you about their feelings and intention even when they’re lying. They tell you what you need to hear and remind you about their “feelings” for you. Their reassurances aren’t always laced with lies; sometimes, they also believe what they’re saying. The issue with the reassurance you get is it is only words and no action to back them up. 

Poor communication

We already stated that breadcrumbers do the bare minimum. They share little information and communicate erratically. Most of their communication with you will be in small doses. Even when sharing about themselves, they may share very few details about their life. 

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Reaching out when they feel the most vulnerable

Anyone who’s breadcrumbing you will most likely reach out when they feel lonely or vulnerable. They can call you on a lonely night when their words flow nicely, and all they say can be interpreted as interest. Their words are most believable when they feel say them with vulnerability.

ALSO READ: How to Be a Good Friend As an Adult With a Busy Life


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