There are, of course, lots of different kinds of relationships and the accompanying jargon takes a while to figure out (LTR, NSA, FWB, Sugardaddy, DKY, ENM). With that said, my starting assumption is that people create profiles on dating apps and websites because they actually want to meet somebody in real life. That isn’t a safe assumption, as it turns out, and I’ll share some examples in my next post. For now, let’s take a look at the false apology.
In the bizarre world of online dating, I have come across all sorts of different examples of rudeness, superficiality, poor etiquette, and just flat out lies. I’m sure you have too. There is one excuse that, based on my experience, is more widely used than all the rest combined: I don’t get on here much.
You may recall a prior post about what I am calling the False Perception of Plenty (FPP) where I argued that people give up on a potential connection easily because they think there are many more “matches” out there.
Benching, Breadcrumbing, and other Despicable Behavior:
One of the ways the laziness FPP inspires shows up is when people put in the minimal effort they think is required to keep somebody in their queue while they investigate other options. There is even a term for it: Benching (the dating version of being on the team but not getting to play).
Benching isn’t quite the same as Breacrumbing, another delightful online dating term: when you send the occasional flirtatious message to somebody you’re not actually all that interested in. Rather than having the integrity to tell them you’re not all that into them, you remain distant and non-committal without having to suffer through the discomfort of being honest.
I say that benching and breadcrumbing aren’t the same butt there is some overlap and they can be hard to distinguish sometimes.
Let’s see how this can play out through this example from Tinder
Tinder has a feature that I think some people don’t take into account – it doesn’t show people where you are but it shows your actual and potential matches how far away you are. It is important to note the difference between distance and location (showing the latter would be a serious safety issue!).
In this case, I matched with a woman who had already “liked” me and sent an initial greeting.
An upbeat and casual exchange followed which, as you can see from the timestamps, shows we were both online and engaged. My casual inquiry about her plans for the evening went unaddressed for several hours. The drop off seemed odd but I didn’t make much of it initially.
When I eventually got a reply I reviewed her profile. When we matched she was 8 miles away. Five hours later she was 180 miles away. No problem, I thought, it is Tinder after all so my expectations for a meaningful connection are already fairly low: It’s the weekend, she has already indicated that she has a busy social life, and she’s out of town (her profile said we live in the same city). So, I let it be and checked in on Monday.
She was back in town (8 miles away, again). OK, I thought, I’ll send her another message and see if her initial interest is genuine. A simple on-topic message and related question to restart the conversation. Nothing.
Since I’m actually interested in meeting someone I send a comment designed to challenge and provoke a response. Is this an adult woman who will act accordingly? Obviously not!
Her reply (a version of I don’t get on here much that didn’t even include the superficial apology) seemed to very telling, to me anyway. Here is a woman who doesn’t like to be called out and will push back rather than take responsibility.
I could not resist calling her out even more explicitly. The reply, which I waited for before unmatching, was at least consistent with her personality – lazy deflection and accusation that actually reflects her behavior.
She wasn’t exactly benching (we had barely started a conversation) and she wasn’t really breadcrumbing at the end. Maybe we need another term to encapsulate this (possibly FPP induced) brand of hypocrisy.
Suggestions welcomed in the comments!