‘Benching’ Is the New Ghosting

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


‘Benching’ Is the New Ghosting
Photo: James Ryce/Getty Images

Oh hey. Remember when the world finally came up with the term ‘ghosting’, and we finally had a way to describe all the dates that had disappeared from our lives?


It was great. We had a shorthand for our anguish. What a wonderful time to be alive, we said, sobbing into a plate of nachos after another failed relationship.


Well, good news: there’s a new way to describe all the massive d*ckheads in your life.

According to New York Magazine’s Beta Male, ‘benching’ is the new dating term you need to know about.


Benching is when someone you’re interested in stops actually hanging out with you or committing to dates, but continues to text, tweet, or snapchat you.

Think of playing team sports. When you’re benched, you’re not actually playing. But you’re still on the team, ready and waiting for when the coach decides to bring you back into play.

It’s also known as being kept on the hook, left on backburner, or simply being led on.


It’s the worst, because there’s no way to have a clean break or move on. Just when you’re giving up, you’ll get a noncommital but flirty text.


They’ll make the minimum effort required to keep you as an available option – which often means no face-to-face contact, just frequent texts about plans to meet up that never end up happening.


Which makes sense – and explains why stories of benching feel so familiar.

But why do people bench potential dates rather than just cutting things off, or even just ghosting? Selina and Vicki told us it’s all down to choice.


‘We have more dating choice than ever before, but it’s actually more of a hindrance than a help as too much choice overwhelms us and makes it harder to make a decision.


‘We keep our options open because we don’t want to risk making the wrong choice.

‘Even when we do choose and commit to a date, in the back of our mind is the notion that someone better could be out there.’


And so, no matter who we’re interested in, we don’t want to fully commit in case something better comes along. But we don’t want to cut things off either, in case we end up alone.

We totally get why benching is happening more and more. But it’s still so deeply frustrating and disappointing to be benched, especially when it’s by someone you really like.

If you do suspect you’re being benched – and you’ll be able to tell if the IRL meetups become less frequent, texts go unanswered, but they’ll suddenly get in touch just as you’re about to give up – Selina and Vicki have some advice.


‘If you suspect that you’re being benched, then suggest a coffee date as quickly as you can.

‘If they can’t commit to that, then don’t take the bait the next time they get in touch. Move on to someone who can.’

This article originally appeared in the Metro UK, written by Ellen Scott, was shortened for brevity.

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