How to Overcome the ‘Ick’ When Dating

Dating is hard. There’s no denying that. 

You might meet a guy, hit it off and think true love is just around the corner, right? Wrong. 

It’s safe to say that finding someone you are compatible with, enjoy being around, and share similar lifestyles and values may seem almost impossible. Getting to know someone, and potentially having them become a part of your own life, comes with its own unpredictable challenges. And on top of all this, if, and once, you’ve found the perfect someone, how can you predict that there won’t be any small details that entirely turn you off to the idea of being with them? 

The answer is: you can’t. Unfortunately, and also most likely, you are going to encounter what Gen Z likes to call: the ick. 


What is the ick, exactly? The ick can be described as an automatic response feeling of cringe or disgust towards a romantic partner. This feeling, typically triggered by a minuscule detail or minor quirk in someone's behavior, can completely change the decision to continue to pursue the possibility of a relationship. 

Following the recent popularity of this term, Tik Toker Kevin, who goes by the handle @kevpongg, created an all too relatable series of videos describing girls’ icks. His videos gained traction within the Gen Z community, turning the ick into yet another challenge that young people will have to face when dating. 

While many of the icks described in the Tik Tok trend were reasonable, or understandable to some degree, such as a partner who is overly arrogant, a noisy eater, or complains excessively, many were simply irrational. 

Here is a (shortened) list created on Twitter

It gives me the ick when: 

“He is excited to see me” 

“He is screaming on a rollercoaster” 

“He is taking a mirror selfie” 

“I imagine him jumping up and down at a festival” 

“I imagine him sitting in the bath” 

“Men have their height in their bio” 

“Men use velcro wallets” 

“Men wear acid wash jeans” 

“They lose their balance on the train and wobble” 


Social Media, in particular Tik Tok and Twitter, as well as dating apps like Tinder and Hinge are to thank for the popularity of this term. Having the ability to nit pick each and every detail in a potential partner’s dating profile allows for icks to form unknowingly. While it may be easier to write someone off initially based solely on these external icks, it also can be detrimental to the process of getting to know someone. If you judge someone based only on a quality or behavior that they may not even be aware of, you are doing yourself a disservice to the possibility of them potentially surprising you.  

Different from red flags or warning signs that may be indicative of unhealthy behavior, icks are typically harmless. Although the way someone chews their food, or speaks or dresses may be found somewhat annoying, these icks are not inherently concerning behaviors.

A large part of what makes each and every person so unique and special are these small differences.While not everyone is going to be your cup of tea, this does not mean that these small details are worth shutting down the potential for a genuine connection.  


One word: Communication. 

Although the unpredictability of the ick makes it especially difficult to prepare for, getting (or even giving) the ick is inevitable and quite simply unavoidable. Addressing and talking through why and how these icks can be overcome could end up being the key to saving a healthy and happy relationship. 

The innocuous nature of icks makes them pretty simple to overcome. Rather than letting a minuscule and unimportant detail such as the idea of them sitting in a bath or chewing with their mouth open ruin the potential for a genuine connection, it is important to look at the larger picture. 

Is this ick really important? Does it influence their character and who they are as a person? Does it prevent you from seeing a future with this person? 

If the answer to the last question is yes, speak with your partner about this problem. Odds are, they probably are not even aware of their own behavior and it may be something so minor that they could easily change. If someone is genuinely interested in you, something as small as an ick should not get in the way of the possibility for a happy future together. 

So next time, rather than ghosting the guy who gave you the ick, consider talking through and communicating why this particular behavior made you feel the way it did. At the end of the day, maybe the guy who gave you the ick could end up being that special person for you!

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