John Fleenor/Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Anna Gragert
June 13, 2016 3:53 pm

It’s a tale as old as time. You go on a date with someone who seems like they’re into you. You mutually flirt the entire time, sending the message that you’re both interested in seeing where this goes. As a result, once the date comes to a close, you understandably assume that you and your companion are on the same page and then… nothing. Nothing happens, even though you try your darnedest to make it work. Soon, you come to this unfortunate conclusion: You’ve been led on.

Traditionally, when the above scenario occurs, we simply say that we’ve “been led on” and that’s it. Never before has there been one word to describe such a frustrating scenario – until now. Finally, thanks to NY Mag, we now have a single word to shout the next time a jerk tries to mess with our hearts: Benching.

20th Century Fox Television / giphy.com

Benching refers to when, after one or two dates, someone keeps texting you to keep your attention – but they never actually follow through with plans to meet up in person. Or, they’ll make plans with you when they know it’s an inconvenient time. However, benchers will continue to converse with you – by sending you photos, asking about your day, and sending you flirty emojis – to make sure you’re under the impression that they’re still interested in you.

Essentially, benching is a sports analogy. The person doing the benching is keeping you on their team roster, but they currently have no plans to let you play in the game. Instead, they prefer to keep you on the sidelines because they may need you to play in the game if someone “better” drops out. To put it simply, a bencher is into you, but they’re not that into you.

People tend to partake in benching because it leaves them blame-free. Even though benchers can be selfish and manipulative, it’s awfully hard to point out something specific they did wrong. This makes it super easy for them to deny any accusations you’re ready to fire their way.

Sony Pictures Television / giphy.com

However, we hate to admit it: Benchers aren’t the only ones at fault here. After all, benchees are allowing the benching to occur because they think there’s something there or they’re hoping the bencher will change their ways. Then again, maybe they think that life is simply getting in the way, instead of realizing that the bencher is the one who’s sneakily canceling plans they never wanted to follow through with in the first place.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, you’re most-definitely not alone. At one point or another, we’ve all be benchers or benchees because – let’s be honest – relationships are confusing. Yet, we’re here to say that it’s not worth it. You have value and if someone isn’t willing to see that, then it’s time to kick them off the field.

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