My best guy friend once told me about the group of girls he was dating.
"A group?" I asked?
Yes, he explained. A whole bench full. Five girls to be exact. One for every night of the week and each one had a different purpose. One he was mainly just attracted to. That was a lust thing. Another was fun for seeing movies with. Another felt like a best friend. One got along with his friends. And another he actually could imagine a future with.
"Why so many then? Why not just focus on the one you actually like?"
He explained to me that with this benching system, he never got too needy or obsessive with the girl he actually had a huge crush on, and he got to go on practice dates with other girls. Additionally, he got to make SURE the girl he envisioned a future with was the right one by getting to know other women as well. He didn't want to jump into things like he had in the past. Getting to know many women at once was the best way to go about doing that.
"It's like basketball," he said.
My eyes glazed over.
"Yeah. I know."
There is, however, a dark side to benching. And it can feel a lot like ghosting.
Being benched can feel a lot like being put on the back burner. So for the person playing the game, it feels great. You're in control. You have options. You can have plans every night of the week and there's always someone to text with. But for the person being benched--you're pretty much operating in a grey area. The Telegraph explains, "With benching, you don’t even get to a stage where you’re regularly dating. Instead the bencher strings along the benchee with well-timed WhatsApps and witty texts, or small promises that never materialise into big gestures."
If this sounds familiar, then you might be on someone's bench.
Other signs of being benched? If someone talks to you forever and never wants to meet up. Most likely, you're most being led on, strung along, or to put it plainly: your time is being wasted.
So while being benched certainly doesn't feel good, here is what I'm suggesting: do it to other people. Because here's the thing, guys are doing it all the time. And they don't feel bad about it. So neither should you. In fact- stop feeling bad about anything.
For the people on your bench you don't envision relationships with-- just let them know. But there's nothing wrong with being fun, flirty, and in demand. Plus, it might save you from sending your actual crush 3000 text messages in a row.