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What is ‘the ick’ and why do we get it?

‘The ick’ is a relationship and dating phenomenon that has taken the world by storm in recent years.

Everyone has had their experience with it, and can probably admit they’ve doubted relationships over it.

But what exactly is this cringeful experience? And where did it come from?

The term “the ick” was first coined by protagonist Ally in the US sitcom show Ally McBeal, and has since weaved its way into almost every conversation about potential partners.

The phrase gained a huge surge in popularity when it was mentioned by Olivia Attwood during her appearance on Love Island in 2017.

Explaining why she was no longer attracted to her co-star Sam Gowland on the show, Olivia said: “When you’re seeing a boy and you get the ick, it doesn’t go.”

“Once you’ve got it, it just takes over your body and it’s just ick. I can’t shake it off, that’s just me.”

Since the Love Islander’s use of the term, it has taken over popular culture and bulldozed its way across the dating scene.

‘The ick’ is often triggered by witnessing some kind of turn off and instantly becoming disinterested in someone. spoke to matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, Susan Trombetti, in a bid to help us understand the commonly used phrase that has taken the dating scene by storm.

“When it comes to ‘the ick’ in relationships, we have all been there. It’s one of those things you don’t see coming, but it hits you in the head like a ton of bricks and prevents you from going further in a relationship,” Susan explained.

“Here is a personal example that happened to me… I remember it being the weird way a guy dressed when out of his 9-5 suit and tie.”

“It repulsed me so bad I never went out again. It wasn’t that he was a typical bad dresser type thing, but more or less a weird style.”

‘The ick’ can seemingly arise at any given time or stage of a relationship, anything from “the way they laugh that suddenly disgusts you, or the way they talk,” said Susan. Think Janine’s voice from Friends.

Unfortunately, ‘the ick’ doesn’t necessarily have to make sense, and often times it doesn’t.

The matchmaker said: “It just bugs you! They are perfect in a lot of ways, but it’s this weird thing.”

“The ick could be that you are creeped out/annoyed just by the sound or tone of their voice and everything else is perfect. It doesn’t have to make sense.”

Susan’s words begs the question – are we letting ‘the ick’ undermine our chances in love?

While some ‘icks’ could be the smallest detail to one person, they could be make or break for another.

However, it’s safe to say that we have all been there!

Interested to know what other people’s icks are? We’ve listed 50 of the most irrational ‘icks’ – and some of them are pretty hilarious.


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