Have you ever been in the midst of a new relationship and everything is perfect and easy and exciting until, well, it isn’t anymore? Your new partner does or says something weird that completely turns you off, and you’re left wondering what you ever saw in them in the first place. What once was blossoming new love is now absolute repulsion. That is what TikTok calls “the icks.”
In the social media app's latest trend, users are sharing their own icks — that unshakeable feeling you can’t seem to get over — and asking others to share theirs.
The icks is a slang term for being grossed out by a former relationship.
“The icks” are essentially that shivery, yucky feeling you get after seeing a new partner in a different, not-so-flattering light aka a turnoff. Whether they said something weird or did something totally out of the blue and only cringey to you, what’s done is done and now you have “the icks” for that person.
Hilarious examples of the icks have been circulating all over TikTok, including TikTok star Brittany Broski who couldn’t even get through her whole video without cracking up. “The first ick is when you’re in a car with a guy, listening to a song, and he thinks the beat drop is coming, but he misses it entirely.” She then begged others to leave their own icks in the comment section.
“I ghosted a guy once because I saw his butt crack when he got out of the car,” wrote user @breoniguess. “Fortnite flossing,” commented another. “When he’s at a dance and everyone’s dancing in like a huddle and he’s on the outside trying to get involved,” wrote a third.
The "icks" term actually originated from the U.K. version of ‘Love Island.’
According to The Cut, having “the icks” is something that originated on the popular reality dating show, Love Island. “‘The ick’ was first coined by Olivia Attwood, a contestant on the reality dating show in 2017, who used it to describe the breakdown of her relationship with fellow contestant Sam Gowland," the outlet wrote.
They continued, "She explained the concept behind the scenes: ‘When you’ve seen a boy, and got the ick, it doesn’t go,” she said. “It’s caught you, and it’s taken over your body. It’s just ick. I can’t shake it off.’"
The ick is actually more than just a funny term on TikTok. There is real science behind this feeling we get over small, minute things that others do. The Independent investigated the feeling and what causes us to feel this way.
Psychologist Becky Spelman said that the ick tends to take place “after a period of mutual attraction, and before the relationship has had time to mature into a settled, long-term situation.” Basically, there is still enough “newness” for something small to completely undo feelings of attraction.
She added that the feeling might arise when we find “our unconscious mind reacting to some fundamental incompatibilities between us and the person to whom we were so recently attracted … Because of the initial rush of attraction, we’ve chosen to overlook these fundamental incompatibilities and to pursue a relationship with them. However, when there are serious incompatibilities, problems will emerge at some point.”
The “icks” slang has made its way from TikTok to Twitter.
What started on TikTok has ended up on other social media platforms like Twitter where users are tweeting about their own icks. One user wrote that the new trend made her realize that she might be single because of her growing list of “icks.”
When your Icks don’t work with them 🔴DANGER 🔴DANGER 🔴DANGER 🔴— LJ (@lorna_T77) February 2, 2021
She wrote, “TikTok has made me realize that icks really are a thing and i have many.” Another user wrote about how icks just aren’t a thing for romantic relationships. Friendship icks have also begun to surface. “Can confirm friendship icks are 1000 times worse,” she wrote.