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Why do we do cringe things to get the attention of our crush?

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Are you coy or cringe when it comes to dating? (Picture: Freeform via Getty Images)

This week’s viral TikTok trend shows people vying for their crush’s attention in a very obvious way – but is the hustle cringe or crafty?

TikTok For You pages have been full of videos set to a slowed-down version of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy of late – more specifically, the lyrics: ‘I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind.’

Starting out in the present day, users show their mortification at their younger selves, before cutting to old home videos of them singing and dancing to songs. Why? Because their crushes at the time were fans of the artist and/or hobby.

One user, @imfaithelizabeth, for example, shared with the internet how she’d decided to put on a bedroom performance of Tones and I’s 2019 hit Dance Monkey, the day after her crush shared a video of it.

In the footage, which has racked up 4.9 million likes, young Faith applies an exaggerated impression of the Australian singer’s vocals –complete with animated facial expressions.

Another user, @killacam_, similarly decided to record himself dancing in what appears to be his basement, after the girl he liked said she was into men who danced.

Of course, ‘peacocking’ is no new thing, and as much as we’d hate to admit it, these videos are somewhat relatable. So, why are we so keen to showboat and impress?



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According to Johnny Cassell, a personal dating coach and advisor, ‘In the quest for romantic attention, many find themselves acting in ways they scarcely recognise. This phenomenon is all too familiar in the era of social media, where the desire to catch a crush’s eye can lead to a parade of cringe-worthy behaviours.’

If there’s a way to get someone’s attention, well, a trending social media video ought to do it.

Johnny goes on to say: ‘We’ve all seen or taken the classic ‘bathroom selfie’ or the ‘gains’ post right after a gym session. And truth be told, when done right, these tactics can work.

‘The dating game today is about marketing oneself, and the digital tools at our disposal amplify our message, image, and reach.’

Rightly or wrongly, social media has long been a favoured means to communicate with our crushes – from writing emotional lyrics in your MSN status to writing cryptic posts on Facebook and MySpace, in the hope they’ll unpick the meaning or, even better, reach out to you and strike up a conversation.

Even now, we post selfies when we’re ‘feeling ourselves’ and the term ‘thirst trap’ literally came about because of the desire to seek a particular person’s attention online.

Johnny adds: ‘Whether it’s through a view on a Story, a like on a post, or a low-investment comment, these actions are often rooted in a deep need for validation, propping up the self-esteem of the insecure dater.’

Even the expert admits that ‘this behavior raises the question: is this all cringe, or is it the work of a strategic individual who knows how to lure their catch?’

Ultimately, Johnny stresses that authenticity is key. His advice is: ‘When you step too far out of character, that’s when actions become genuinely cringe-worthy. People can sense when you’re not being true to yourself.

‘While the urge to act out of character to impress a crush is understandable, maintaining authenticity and ensuring balanced efforts can prevent those cringe-worthy moments. Stay true to yourself, and let genuine connections flourish.’

Brb, off to post a throwback to Maroon 5’s Payphone or Bruno Mars’s Grenade – dealer’s choice.

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