are you Being Breadcrumbed?
They ‘like’ your photos and constantly ask to meet up – but it never happens. Oh dear, it could mean your friendship is toast…
If you’ve ever been victim to a sinister breed of dater known as the Breadcrumber, we have some bad news: the menacing behaviour once reserved for Tinder time-wasters has evolved – and now our mates are throwing crumbs too.
‘Babe! How are you? Congrats on the new flat, let’s go for a drink soon?’ Sound familiar? How many times have you received this type of message in the last month? How many times have you actually ended up getting that drink? A quick poll of the Look office and for most of us, receiving a text like this is a weekly occurrence – usually in the form of a Facebook comment or a Whatsapp message, triggered by a big life event (often promotions, engagements, or just a decent selfie).
Because along with dating apps, a penchant for brunch and the inability to claw ourselves onto the property ladder, there’s another fantastic characteristic of being a millennial: we surround ourselves by a specific pool of noncommittal ‘friends’, otherwise known as Bread crumbers.
Bread crumbers usually present as old uni friends, mates you spent a season with in Napa circa 2010, or girls you know from school. The ones whose hair you held back every week. The one who was your first choice of ‘going-out friend’ during The Big Break Up Of ’09. They’re not your best mates, you might not have even known them for a long time, but at one point they were a huge – and very real – part of your life.
These friends will comment on your social media and plan to meet up with you without ever confirming. Or text you out of the blue to say ‘You look great atm’, but it’s never going further than that. While it might feel like they don’t value your friendship, is that the entire picture? ‘Sometimes we overextend ourselves,’ says psychologist, friendship expert and author of thefriendshipblog.com Irene S Levine. ‘We have every intention of making the plan, but when it comes to it we just don’t have the time. Other people have a hard time saying no, so they lead friends on rather than disappointing them or making them angry.’ So why do we cling on to these flakers? Shouldn’t we just let them go? Rebecca Mill is a 23-year-old student from London who’s Breadcrumbed by her friend
‘I have a mate I was really close to before uni, but she went away for a couple of ski seasons. Now she’s back in the country, she actually lives really nearby, but she’s impossible to pin down. She sends the classic ‘Let’s meet for a coffee’ every few weeks, but when it comes down to meeting up, nothing materialises. She’ll either take weeks to reply or she’ll suggest meeting up that day. It’s almost as if she knows I won’t be able to. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t bother, but I miss her and I always hope she’ll change.’
Of course, no one is innocent here. Let’s be honest, for every Breadcrumber in your life is a girl you’ve Breadcrumbed yourself. ‘My friend Lucy* is a good laugh,’ says Anne Brethway, 26, a receptionist from Nottingham. ‘As she’s one of the only single people know, I just like going on nights out with her as my wingwoman. But in between, I guess I just “like” her social media photos and we don’t really see each other any other time, just when we go out on the pull. I kind of assume she feels the same about it, but I think actually I’ve just been Breadcrumbing her all along.’
It’s annoying, yes – but does it make your friend a bad person? After all, many of us are victim to busy lifestyles and hectic work schedules – and we all feel bad about letting go of mates. In fact, a whopping 83 per cent of us hold onto toxic friendships.
‘Some people feel better knowing they’re surrounded by a large cadre of “friends,”’ says Irene. ‘Social media has made the meaning of what it is to be a friend somewhat murky. Staying in touch on a superficial level may be enough for some, but in a sense it dilutes the meaning of friendship.’ Generation Flaky, it’s time we sorted ourselves out…
Social media has made the meaning of friendship murky