I'm sick of hearing people complain about being ghosted because "benching" is much worse than ghosting. It's actually more common, too.
Here's the thing: Although New York Magazine writer Jason Chen may have come up with a new term for it, "benching" is far from a "new" dating trend. What Chen calls "benching" is really just the extremely common misdemeanor of stringing someone along.
It's also known as keeping your nets in the water, leading someone on, keeping your options open and saving up some backups for a rainy day. You could even call it passive ghosting. Like I said, benching is simply a new term for a dating problem we're already very familiar with.
I'm sure everyone reading this has benched someone or knows someone who has been benched. It happens when someone is kind of into you, and the person texts you and responds to you just enough to keep you on the hook.
When you're being benched, the person benching you is likely only contacting you when whoever he or she is really into isn't available. You're not special to that person, and you're not adored by that person.
You're just an option. This person isn't going to put in any real effort with you.
Why do we even let this happen? We're not blind to it. Most of the time, we know when we're being kept on the back burner. At the end of the day, instinctually, we know how we rank with someone. That's because it's pretty fucking obvious when we're someone's priority, and it's even more obvious when we're not.
It's laughable when people complain someone they're talking to is giving them "mixed signals." That's because there's no such thing. They're just being benched; that's all. It's not "confusing" when you sometimes get a text and sometimes get ignored. You just have to open your eyes to the reality of the situation.
The reality is, only players bench people. In other words, nobody who's worth your time would put you through that or make you feel subservient.
To the players out there, we get it. It's obviously an ego boost to have a selection of babes on the hook, waiting to hear from you. But, a stand-up guy or a stand-up girl will make an actual decision. That's what makes someone sexy: the strength of character to decide and be direct about the verdict reached.
These rare finds are actually smart enough to not waste their own time, and they're considerate enough to not want to waste yours.
I hate to say it, but if you're ever "sort of" interested in someone, it makes more sense to ghost the person than to bench him or her. Why waste your time stringing someone along when you know this person isn't whom you really want? Why not save your energy for someone whom you're excited about, someone whom you're very interested in?
I'm not condoning ghosting. Being ghosted is a little better than being kept on the hook, but the fact that I'm even comparing these two pathetic acts is simply proof of the unbelievably passive and dishonest dating culture we're participating in.
Honesty is the only real antidote, but since nobody's willing to just say, “Hey, I'm not that into you,” or “If I'm being honest, there's someone else I like a lot more," we're just getting more and more diseased as a dating culture.
Remember, if someone benches you, all you have to do is get up and get off the bench. Just because you're placed on the bench by someone doesn't mean you have to sit there.
In fact, instead of sitting there like an idiot and thinking you're still in the running and that you might get chosen if you're patient, recognize your worth. Go find something real with someone who makes you his or her priority.
Get up, walk away and slap yourself in the face for even entertaining the idea of being a bench warmer. You're so much better than that.