'Benching' is the worrying new dating trend that everyone should be aware of
I'm one of the few people who haven't really got into online dating, but there's enough people out there willing to talk about their experiences that I've heard all manner of horror stories. It's definitely the easiest way to get to meet people out there, but there are some serious downsides that come with this way of meeting a potential partner.
It tends to happen that the messaging stage goes on for a long time - unless you're one of those rare people who cuts to the chase and makes plans as soon as possible. It's all well and good if you're getting to know them, but on the other hand, there's a lot of leeway for people to get a little manipulative. Even when you come in with good intentions, it's easy to get into bad habits or to miss when you're getting screwed over.
Thankfully, the internet is broad enough that common experiences can be shared, and a useful term can spring out of it. The latest one to be on the look-out for is 'benching'. According to Urban Dictionary, this when you keep someone around as an option without truly committing to them - something I'm betting many of us are secretly guilty of.
The Urban Dictionary definition reads:
"Benching is when you start dating someone you think is nice and who has potential, but you're not crazy about them. You don't know wether to keep dating them, or dump them and move on to the next one. This is where benching happens; instead of going for either of the above polarized options, you put your date in your mental 'maybe' folder and 'bench them' so you date around to see what else is out there."
If you're the person being benched in the situation, it can be difficult to tell that it's happened at all. For the bencher, they can bring you back into play whenever they've got nothing to do or their preferred option is too busy to see them. That's when you come along, unaware that you're their 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice.
When you think about it, this isn't even just confined to romantic flings - it can happen with friends too.
Whether it's with your mates or with dates, it's good to look out for this kind of thing - but it isn't easy to see. Since it may be difficult to pick up on hints that you may be getting benched from time to time, it's actually easiest to look out for it in your own behaviour.
If you're hanging out with someone just to kill the time until you find someone you actually really like, then maybe consider the fact you may be wasting the other person's time. And, if you're unlucky, they might end up getting attached when you're not planning on sticking around - and that's a messy situation we all want to avoid...