The Hansel & Gretel Effect

Once upon a time there was a boy called Hansel who started dating a girl called Gretel.

For the next 6 months, she would go and see him once a week (well, when he was bored or horny). He’d give her some attention (after she virtually begged him to give a f*ck) and would do the bare minimum (to keep her around) all while he promised her the world (so she wouldn’t entertain anyone else).

Then one day, he vanished, never to be heard of (well, to Gretel) again. Leaving only the breadcrumbs and her feelings in the dirt behind him.

The end.

I bet you remember the fairytale slightly differently… Hansel and Gretel are siblings in your version? Yeah, well, in mine they’re not, and that’s probs the least of their worries, lol.

If you hadn’t guessed, this diary entry is about ‘bread crumbing’. No, I do not mean the little bits scattered across your worktop leftover after cutting into a nice crusty loaf and no matter the amount of times you try and scoop them up, the little pesky specs STILL decorate your kitchen counter. I am talking about the dating term for when someone basically leads you on.

The Oxford Dictionary (LOL, there is no way it’s in there, but you catch ma drift) defines bread crumbing as; ‘someone who gives another person just enough attention/affection to give them hope but not enough to make them feel assured about the relationship’. Crumbs of it, if you will.

Sounds quite sh*t, doesn’t it?

This little crumby mess isn’t to be misunderstood though. They might be tiny little specs of interest but they can have a MIGHTY impact on us and our feelings. Put it this way: the crumb is their actions and the loaf of bread they have come from is the reaction it has on you and your feelings.

Now I can bet my LIFE on the fact you have been bread crumbed AND have been the bread crumber at least once in your life. You don’t think you have? Come on darling, we’re all ‘angels’ around here and even I have accidentally done it…

Wait, am I being breadcrumbed?!

Before you decide you’ve had enough of them and write that very aggressive text telling them to go f*ck themselves, let me elaborate a bit.

There are sooooo many terms for all the sh*tty things we do to each other while dating nowadays that you’re probably being breadcrumbed as well as something else. How nice of em, ay.

E.g. Bread crumbing 🤝 Situationships

(For anyone who isn’t a Gen Z, the above is emoji lingo for bread crumbing and situationships going hand in hand. I know, kinda clever, right?! Anyway, on the same page?)

Although saying that, you can also be breadcrumbed without the commitment of a situationship - and that’s going to say something as you get 0 commitment from a situationship.

For example, you could have been on a few dates. They actually cancelled last minute before your first AND second date and they both had to be rescheduled. As well as this, there was a good few months between those dates because they were soooo busy (yawn) and happened to act like Casper and ghosted you for a while in between. But you remained hopeful because they would occasionally pop back up, giving you sweet (don’t kid yourself, they are extremely mediocre) compliments and intense attention for 48 hours.

Now seeing it written down, it all sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it? Why would you continue to waste your time on someone who isn’t willing to actually give you the proper time of day that you DESERVE? Well, you shouldn’t.

Oh golly gosh, I think I am the bread crumber…

Well, well, well… Was that a bit of an eye opener for you, babe? It’s ok, we can get you out of this situ together.

Not to excuse your sh*tty behaviour, butttttt, some of the time we start scattering the breadcrumbs without even realising we are doing it. One minute you’re getting to know someone and you soon realise you’re not interested but you give the situation the benefit of the doubt and keep going with the flow. Deep down you know this person isn’t for you, BUT you keep them at arms length because, let’s be real, they’re stroking your ego a lil bit. And it’s nice to have someone interested in you and wanting to spend time with you. But you will never take it seriously will you? Because at the end of the day you just don’t see them like that and never actually will.

If you’re starting to feel personally attacked, soz. But if this isn’t a HUGE indicator that you obvs need to sort your sh*t out and be honest to someone, I don’t know what is… So, sorry not sorry.

Not to kick you when you’re down, but here are a few other things you could be doing which make you a lil bread crumber:

- Do you constantly flirt with them, but don’t actually have any intention of taking this anywhere?
- You try and change the subject (or completely ignore it) when the person mentions meeting up?
- Do you suggest meeting up (normally to shut them up) but never follow up on the offer?
- You text them constantly about mundane things/general daily chitchat but never engage in meaningful conversations?
- When you feel them slipping away do you panic and show more attention so they don’t leave?
- Do you only reach out to them when you’re after something? Yes, this includes when you’re horny and fancy a shag.
- Are you also open to other opportunities with other people whilst you are seeing them?

Why do people breadcrumb?!

I couldn’t tell ya, babe. But some clever people in psychology careers and not marketing told me a few things to pass on to you.

They said that when people do it intentionally, it is a way to make themselves feel wanted and in control. They can get a real thrill out of it. Bit of a weird kink in my opinion, but each to their own I suppose.

In some severe cases it can be a pre-warning of narcissistic behaviour. Or in other words just call them Britney, coz they’re toxic.

But before you go around accusing someone of being a narcissist, when it comes to the WHY someone is bread crumbing you, there could be other reasons. Like previously mentioned, they might not intentionally be doing it, or it could be down to their attachment style. It could be anything, there isn’t just one explanation.

How do I avoid bread crumbing?

To avoid being breadcrumbed I would suggest the following:

- Make sure you have set your boundaries, and actually enforce them, particularly before they try and trigger them.
- Be clear as to what you are looking for out of a relationship/dating.
- If plans have been made and they cancel them (which most likely they will do), call them out on it and tell them it’s not ok. Try and rearrange asap, if they take longer than a week to get a replacement date, ditch em, hehe x
- Be aware of repeating patterns in their behaviour - do they make plans, cancel, ghost and then pick things back up regularly?
- Consider whether all of the worries are even worth it? Why would you want to be with someone who is treating you like this anyway?
- Most importantly, REMEMBER YOUR WORTH!

We’re all starving for love and affection and the dating scene is particularly malnourished at the moment. But be aware that the breadcrumbs you might be munching on aren’t going to lead you to a nice big fresh tiger loaf. They’re tiny bits of empty promises misleading you to what you really want. And the bets are, they’re being scattered all over the place, just waiting for someone to take a nibble.

Have a think…do you actually like this person, or are you just bored?

Love, Thursday x

Jan 25, 2023
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