Breadcrumbing is a pattern of behavior intended to manipulate, says a psychology expert. The term describes the act of showing intermittent interest in another person without any intention of committing emotionally or establishing a formal relationship. If someone seems super into you on social media but can’t seem to make time to see you in person, you might be experiencing breadcrumbing. Breadcrumbing is often done by individuals with narcissistic personality traits or avoidant attachment issues, who seek positive reinforcement without wanting to emotionally connect with others. The behavior is also known to have emotional consequences for victims, such as increasing their sense of loneliness. Research has shown that people who use dating apps or monitor others’ online behaviors are at a higher risk of suffering from breadcrumbing. It is, however, not exclusive to social networks, as it can also occur in person. The use of social media has made it easier for breadcrumbing to occur, as it allows for intermittent communication without direct contact. Recognizing and seeking help to get out of these types of relationships is crucial, and can help mitigate the mental health consequences of experiencing breadcrumbing.
Understanding Breadcrumbing: Manipulative Behavior on Social Media