Back in 2015, I wrote ‘Ghosting: The Most Brutal Form of Breakup?‘, all about being left – completely out of the blue.
Come mid-2016, there seems to be a new, upcoming dating trend rearing it’s ugly head… a trend by the name of ‘Benching’.
So what is Benching?
Coined by Jason Chen in an article in New York Magazine, ‘benching’ is what happens when you like a person, but you don’t want a full-blown relationship – you want to keep your options open.
It’s the perpetual limbo of texting here and there – but never really going anywhere.
It’s when you’re ready to move on and plan to go on a date with someone new, and they pop miraculously back into your life – just enough to pique your interest and dangle the carrot of a possible relationship without ever actually following through with plans.
You’re left hanging.
You’re on the back-burner, a just-in-case. You’re left waiting on the bench, but never given the chance to play.
It’s the nightmare of never having closure. At least with ghosting you can get over them… right?
Chen came up with the term after struggling to define the weird, not-quite-relationship with someone he’d gone on a couple of dates with — the random texts, the Instagram likes, the halfhearted plans to get together which always fell through.
Are we are falling for the bencher’s perceived niceness?
When the person is messaging you, asking you questions like ‘How are you?’ or ‘How’s your day? it makes it seem like they care – they have a genuine interest. E.g ‘See, he’s not an arsehole. He’s asking me questions!’
But that’s literally sales-for-dummies: Ask questions so the buyer thinks you think they’re interesting.
Benching is just a new term for ‘leading someone on’ – it’s a way of keeping your options open, without terminating the conversation altogether.
Chen calls it “despicable, manipulative, selfish behaviour” – which is pretty damn accurate.
Unfortunately, I hate to break it to you: if it’s happening to you, the pseudo-relationship is most likely over, in spite of how ‘interested’ the bencher still seems to be.
As the old phrase goes… he’s just not that into you. No matter how many kiss emoji’s they send…