Love bombing is the deliberate show of affection or friendship by an individual or a group of people toward another individual. Some have asserted that this action may be motivated in part by the desire to recruit, convert or otherwise influence others.
Critics of cults often cite love bombing as one of the features that may identify an organization as a cult. When used by critics, the phrase is defined to mean affection that is feigned or with an ulterior motive that is used to reduce the subject’s resistance to recruitment.
The term was popularized by psychology professor Margaret Singer. In her 1996 book, Cults in Our Midst, she describes the technique as a coordinated effort, usually under the direction of leadership, that involves long-term members’ flooding recruits and newer members with flattery, verbal seduction, affection, and lots of attention to their every remark. Love bombing, or the offer of instant companionship, is a deceptive ploy accounting for many successful recruitment drives.
Members of some groups use the phrase themselves to mean a genuine expression of friendship, fellowship, interest, or concern.