Remember when we were trying to get used to Ghosting? A term that was bandied about on the dating circuit, first coined by The New York Times when they referred to the split of Charlize Theron and Sean Penn, claiming that it was Theron who had ended the relationship by imposing the ultimate silent treatment on her former partner – something she denied ever doing. It’s a cold way of cutting ties with anyone; friends, lovers and simply involves ending contact without a word, but now there is a new phrase popping up on the relationship merry-go-round: ‘benching’.
We’re all doing it apparently; it’s far worse than ignoring someone until they get the hint – you don’t want to completely cut ties with a person, but nor do you want a relationship with them either, so you leave them hanging in the middle – benching them – with never officially saying anything otherwise, until someone takes initiative.
Jean, a 31-year-old, told New York Magazine, she believes some can fall for the bencher’s perceived niceness and get stuck in a loop. “The guys who’ve benched me are always doing the ‘How are you?’ or ‘How’s your day?’,” she says, “which feels special. It’s like, ‘See, he’s not an asshole. He’s asking me questions!’ But that’s literally sales 101: Ask questions, so the buyer thinks you think they’re interesting.”
If you’re ghosted, you get to go through all the stages of grief. But when someone disappears and then continues to text you, you don’t even get that
However, some benchers see the scenario as just being polite. Conor added that he’s often ignored advances from females in his life — but will continue to text and “spend time” with them while at school or in the workplace. “I won’t actually hang out one-on-one because I want to avoid any confusion for her about my interests,” but I’ll still text with her, often a few days after those botched plans. She’ll say something like, ‘You’re too busy for me,’ and I’ll laugh and change the subject. Maybe it seems like I just don’t want to be an asshole, but to me, it’s just polite.”
Basically, benching is the modern incarnation of what we used to call leading someone on, and it isn’t cool, but very easy to do in an era where online dating rules the roost. The takeout here is, unless you’re happy with the situation, don’t do it. Invariably, one person is getting the wrong end of the stick and getting hurt to boot. Forgo benching, forget ghosting and buck up and tell the person the relationship isn’t for you.
Via NY Magazine