“Rejection is inevitable. The goal is to minimize it.” Keith Grafman

Language is a constantly evolving sociopolitical construct. It changes with the locale, culture, and context in which it is used. Words take on new meaning. The world of relationships and romance has been revolutionized itself with the onset of digital mediums through which to communicate. With it though has been borne a potentially toxic culture of miscommunication, micro-communication, and no communication at all. No one really knows how people will utilize inventions, and oftentimes users dictate the uses of products more than creators do. People are both predictable and simultaneously an unsolvable enigma of the most epic proportions. They exist both in the centerfold and the marginalia. They are creatures of habit and wildcards played to disrupt the flow of things. People can be cruel regardless of intent just as easily as they can be kind. Time for a vocabulary lesson, this time on breadcrumbing, windowshopping, and submarining

Breadcrumbing - v. - the act of leaving clues, hints, comments, likes etc. or any bits of communication that indicate interest without any intention of that contact leading anywhere. Breadcrumbing is similar to ghosting but subtle differently in some ways. Instead of the frustrating ambiguity of a disappearance that fits some semblance of closure, breadcumbing is a manipulative perpetuation of insidious gaslighting without the prospect of anything substantive materializing. It's like Hansel & Gretel leaving their trail of breadcrumbs only them to lead absolutely nowhere. Breadcrumbing is about power, control, and exploitation. It's the notion of wanting someone for the simple sake of having them there, but not wanting them, rather anyone would do. It's the ultimate lead on that manifests itself in the occasional Instagram like, Twitter favorite, Facebook comment, or text out of the blue in between long periods of radio silence. It's enough acknowledgement to fool you into thinking there's something there when in actuality, there's nothing, zero, zilch. There's no follow through, concrete plans, or authenticity. It's the equivalent of a "you up" text minus the instigator to actually want you to come over. It's liking the idea of someone, versus wanting them as they are. It's pretending to make plans but never giving any specific details that would be useful. It's giving bare minimum effort to not lose someone while casting out as many lines to see who will bite, specifically the person you're actually interested/invested in. Breadcrumbing is cruel on a whole other level. 

What is most bothersome about this phenomenon is how subtle and narcissistic it is. It's about validation and affirmation of admiration. It's wanting people to pine over you from afar but never giving out more than some neglected leftovers in return. It's receiving a few words in response to your paragraph of text. It's a singular double-tapped picture of you from too far down in your timeline to be socially acceptable just to get your attention. It's saying "look at me" without ever looking back and giving someone the respect/decency they deserve. It's about a twisted dependency on external vindication without any concern from whence that justification comes. It's using people who are interested in you to authenticate an egotistical belief that you in fact as are amazing as you think you are. It's petty, mean-spirited, and sinister. It's guerrilla marketing tactic that could not care less if it actually captures the attention of potential prospects or just feeds into a feedback loop of them being wanted by anyone and everyone. Look for the clues and believe them when you find them. Do the right thing, for you, and remove yourself from the situation.

Again, I say, why you bother me, when you know you don't want me? Why feign interest when you could break off something that does not have a future with you anyway? Why do you only pop up when others who are genuinely engaged with me come around? Why are you only concerned about me when it's convenient for you? At the same time, it's worth interrogating how did I put myself in this situation? Why did I fall into this trap? What about my words and actions made me susceptible to partaking in this back and forth? You're comfortable in your life, your friends, and your love-life is either not a priority for you or you're playing the field so much that you don't have time to balance it all. But time is all you really have. What is really being conveyed is that I am not a priority for you, and that you're not interested. Point blank. Period. Full stop. People make time for the things and people that matter to them. I just don't happen to be one of them. And that in and of itself is fine, but not expressing that sentiment is not. It's take two to keep the game going, and that means if your baiter won't end it, you can and should - simple as that. 

Breadcrumbing only works if you actually pick up and act on the breadcrumbs. It's being too accessible or willing to engage. It's leaving yourself available and open to the nonsense. It's falling into a toxic cycle of entrapment. Know your value and know your worth. You deserve better. Note the signs of a windowshopper (asks  you for your specifications, only to lose interest and put you back on the shelf), a submariner (ghosts you then pops up pretending nothing happened/no time has passed), or a breadcrumber. Communication, or the lack thereof, is key. It's the mental games and madness inducing randomness.  It's the will they, won't they back and forth. If people are perpetually flaky, take that as for what it is - a sign to cease and desist. Instead of being upfront, kind, and succinct - it's a cowardly avoidance of a brief awkward moment that instead is replaced with an ongoing saga that knows no end, feeds on giving you just enough hope to keep you hooked, and leaves you constantly confused. 

Cut it off. Shut it down. Wrap it up. Move on, and move on up. Choose you, and your sanity. Forget the what ifs and the maybes. Time and time again there's been shallow attempts at making plans, pieces of key information have been missing (time, date, location, etc.) and an incomplete plan that conveniently falls apart every time is a repeated behavior that says a lot about a person's non-intent to get real. Break the cycle. Stop responding to any of their communications. Hell, block their number. Unfollow and/or block them on social media. Or even more directly, tell them how they made you feel and why you're giving up on them - then follow through and do so. A last ditch effort to keep you waiting on the backburner is almost inevitable on their part. Don't get drawn back in. Break free.

You know what is not being said about all these new words and their meanings ... dealing with them can kind of hurt. You have invested time and effort into a person that really does not feel the same way at all. In your head, there's a loss there by you calling it done, but in truth there's nothing worthwhile there to begin with, so you're not losing anything - you're gaining respect for yourself. People who care about you will treat you right but you have to treat yourself right first. You do not, and should not be the one who initiates conversation first. You do not and should not be the only one making the plans. You do not and should not be the only getting cancelled on at the last minute. And if it's you asking if you're still on only for them to cancel, that means they didn't even have the courtesy to let you know it wasn't going to happen ahead of time. If you're the one needing to reschedule, that should be a proactive move. Take the hint. Save yourself. Break the window, sink the submarine, and get off the trail - you'll be more than okay. With or without someone, you'll be okay. X


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