Why 'Goblin Mode' Dating Might Actually Be Worth A Try

If you've ever collected piles of dirty laundry on the floor rather than the hamper, sipped juice straight from the bottle, or fallen asleep wearing your false lashes and contacts, you're at least a little bit familiar with "Goblin Mode." The origins of this term on the internet can be traced back to 2009 Twitter, according to The Cut. It's meant to refer to a person in their messiest, most chaotic state or, as explained by Oxford Languages, "a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations." Although a temporary mindset — and most often applicable late at night or in the wee hours of the morning — Goblin Mode can be a reflection of our most honest selves.

Especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's become a phrase with pretty much universal appeal. In fact, Goblin Mode was elected Oxford's Word of the Year in 2022, beating out candidates like Metaverse. Though we often channel our inner goblins in private, you can actually benefit from showing your messier side to potential partners. Here's how to let your more self-indulgent side take the wheel when it comes to dating.

Weed out incompatible partners by going 'Goblin Mode'

In 2022, a fake headline went viral on Twitter: "Julia Fox opened up about her 'difficult' relationship with Kanye West 'He didn't like when I went goblin mode.'" Although the "Uncut Gems" actor claims to have never used the term, it did open up a larger conversation regarding goblin-led dating. In the wake of the pandemic, there's been an increased push-back against aesthetic-driven content. Whereas TikTok's "vanilla girls"  and viral "clean girls" advertise flawless skin and impeccable beige wardrobes, goblin mode celebrates uncurated authenticity. Ultimately, leading with your true self can help you find a compatible partner who will appreciate you for your weirdest habits and maybe even shares one or two of them.

The bottom line? In the early stages of dating, we're often committed to putting our best foot forward. However, it's honesty that will strengthen your relationship, not perfection. In other words, if you sometimes use your shirt instead of a napkin, that's okay. Lose the filter. If you like to sing show tunes on road trips, go for it. Talk to your potential partner about everything from pet peeves and politics to baggage and boundaries. As Julia Fox never said, "if he can't handle me in goblin mode, he doesn't deserve me at all." Plus, make sure your commitment to being "that girl" isn't suffocating your inner monster. After all, hiding your quirks to satisfy a partner is never a good sign.

It's important to maintain balance

Although goblin mode can certainly help you recognize compatibility (or incompatibility) much earlier in a relationship, it's also important to understand where your deepest impulses are coming from. As neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez, Psy.D. explains to Today, "I don't like to see my patients obsessed with every aspect of their physical appearance to the point where they are constantly feeling the need to alter it via aesthetic surgery," caveating, "On the other hand, it's a sign of depression if someone remains in a constant goblin mode and cares nothing about their appearance..." Especially in the wake of COVID, the messier behavior associated with goblin mode has become a way of dealing with uncertainty.

If you're spending days on end in bed and starting to build a fort out of empty Pringles containers, what was once an occasional mindset has become a larger problem. Sure, loving yourself means embracing your quirks. But it also means taking to build a support system and relying on people who aren't cast members on Netflix's juiciest reality shows.