What Does Benching Mean? Here’s Your Definition

A guy who learned what does benching mean sitting on a bench with the girl he's dating chatting.

Keeping up with dating trends, terms, and expressions is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard enough to date, let alone memorize everything everyone is saying about the dating world. If you’re wondering what benching, the newest dating term means, we’ve got you covered.

What is benching?
If you aren’t crazy about someone, but you also believe they have potential to be a great partner and don’t want to burn your bridges, you’re benching.

Have you ever hung out with someone a handful of times and you think they’re super nice and cute, but you just can’t get into the relationship? Limbo is a hard place to live in, but we’ve all been there. Benching is the term used for when you put someone into your “I’ll come back to this” category.

How is it different from ghosting?
Ghosting is the phenomenon of people completely cutting off all communication with the person they’re dating. If you’ve been dating someone and all of a sudden, they seemingly cease to exist, you’ve been ghosted. Ghosting can also refer to when you’re chatting with someone on a dating app and they suddenly unmatch you and disappear.

With benching, you don’t cut off communication with the other person. Benching is more of a “we’ll circle back to this later” approach to dating. There may someone better for you out there somewhere, but you don’t want to completely close the door on this person either.

And ya, it’s a pretty horrible thing to do to someone.

What can you do if you’re benched?
If you are the one being benched, note the behavior and call the person out on it. It’s important to be on the same page. If you’re dating other people and want to keep this particular person as an option, that’s great. But if the feeling isn’t mutual, it’s important to know. If you like this person and want to be with them, you deserve more than wondering when they’ll be ready to commit to you. No one deserves to be strung along.

What should you do if you’re the bencher?
If you’re the one doing the benching, maybe it’s time for a little self-exploration. The first step is to admit that you’re benching someone. Benching may seem more harmless than ghosting, but the truth is, it can be incredibly hurtful. Dangling the idea of something meaningful in front of someone is really unfair. It’s more than okay to be unsure about committing to a person, but they also deserve the truth. In kinder terms, maybe chat with this person and figure out what each of you wants.

Check in with them and figure out what they’re interested in, with you and in general, and acknowledge their needs as well. Maybe they’re also unsure and you two can continue to casually date while seeing other people. Maybe they’re completely in love with you and it’s no longer appropriate to play with their emotions. You’re not a bad person if you are benching someone, but it is also really important to make sure you aren’t toying with another person’s emotions.

Benching is a newer term to the lexicon of the dating world, but there’s nothing new about being lead on. If you feel like you’re being lead on, or if you’re the one doing the leading on, you’re familiar with benching. Treat people with more respect than benchers do, and give yourself a little good dating karma.

Jessica Tholmer

Freelance Writer

Jess Tholmer has been writing on the internet for what feels like most of her life. After studying English Literature in school, she has leaned into her degree and is a full-time content writer, social media manager, and freelance contributor to websites like HelloGiggles.com. You can find her @tholmz on Twitter and Instagram!

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