Urban Dictionary perfectly sums up the phrase with a couple of detailed definitions, but we've devised our own version below to properly encompass it.
Breadcrumbing (noun): The act of sporadically sending flirtatious yet noncommittal text messages (i.e., "breadcrumbs") to someone at random times in order to keep up their hopes that a relationship may form in the future although there are no actual intentions of dating.
Breadcrumbs may come in the form of a text message, as mentioned before.
These are typically as random and evasive as possible, such as "Hey, I was just thinking about you the other day," a link to a funny article, or a cute dog-related meme.
But these crumbs can also be left in the form of an Instagram "like" or Twitter retweet because the doer knows that person will receive some sort of notification of their interaction.
If you suspect that you're a victim of this fascinating communication tactic and you're ready to call it quits, not responding is usually a solid go-to that gets the message across.
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But if you want to breadcrumb the breadcrumber, try replying to their message with even less enthusiasm and even more brevity.
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