The Brief: TikTokers are sharing about what gives them "the ick" when they're in a relationship or have a crush.


What Is The Ick?

“The ick” is a dating term that refers to a major turn-off in a crush or romantic partner. Someone may get this feeling with their crush or new partner when they see them in an unflattering light for the first time. This could be related to something specific like catching them picking their nose, staring off into space, playing music too loud, or it could be more of a general gut feeling. For many, when “the ick” occurs, it’s the first time they’re seeing their romantic interest without rose-colored glasses.

The term’s first prominent usage was on the reality show Love Island in 2017 by Olivia Atwood in reference to her relationship with Sam Gowland. There is some debate as to whether “the ick” is a dealbreaker in relationships, or if it’s a minor turn-off that people can look past.


On TikTok, young people, mostly young women, are sharing their stories of getting “the ick” and sharing tips on how to induce the feeling to help them get over someone. At the time of writing, videos associated with the hashtag #TheIck have been viewed over 13.9 million times, and ones tagged #IckTok have been viewed over 1.5 million times on TikTok.


found this in my drafts… why am I this way #foreveralone #ick #foryou #fyp #theick #helpme

♬ Mmm thats nasty from karate kid – Jakit Hatch

#IckTok videos are often set to a clip from the song “Join Us For A Bite” by JT music (which is based on Five Nights At Freddy’s) with the lyrics “can’t wait to meet you/ so join the animatronic family.”


Could be helpful🥰 #fyp #foryou #theick #icktok #boys #girls #crush #comedy #theatrekid #makemefamous #viral #fun #lol

♬ original sound – do1an

Many of these videos feature girls laughing at the idea of their crush or boyfriend doing something embarrassing, awkward, dorky, or exceptionally ordinary.


Bonus points if you think about his mom taking him shopping for nice clothes to wear at Macy’s. ICK. #fypシ #theick @thelifeofrat

♬ original sound – do1an



♬ original sound – do1an

Negative traits that may bring on “the ick” include small idiosyncrasies, goofs, major red flags, and behavior that some people don’t deem “masculine” enough for a boy to do.


For the girls and the gays and that’s it #BLM #fyp #theick #gay #lgbt #trans

♬ original sound – evabof3


Plz tell me I’m not alone 😂 also ignore my chipped nail varnish #ick #theick #fyp #foryou #foryoupage

♬ original sound – do1an

Some TikTokers ask commenters to share things that give them “the ick.”

The Ick TikTok

Not everyone experiences “the ick…”


i don’t get “the ick” like it’s just normal things i- #foryou #foryoupage #SupportSmallBiz #fyp #theick

♬ Stay in my arms – Øøf._.Mäÿ