TikTok users are sharing their innermost insecurities under the guise of asking a simple question.
The trend appears nonsensical at first: TikTokkers reveal their intimate fears within a consumer-driven question and answer. Typically, these anxieties are accompanied by an edit of Lord Huron’s “The Night We Met” (first posted on TikTok back in January), which has now been used in over 200,000 videos.
This trend is best explained through examples. On Wednesday June 22, Dina Ali, a 23-year-old BookTokker who goes by the name @dinas_version on the platform, posted a video that reads, “What’s your favorite perfume? I find the idea of marriage to be terrifying. I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than risk losing or shrinking myself for anyone. Personally, I have been loving Diptyque Fleur de Peau.” Another creator, Azucena Villalba, wrote, “What’s everyone’s go to hairstyle for the gym? I’m 25 never been in a relationship or been romantically pursued. I’m starting to believe that I wasn’t meant to find love in this life. Personally, I like doing 2 quick braids.” The mundane questions shield a casual viewer from their confession, creating a safe space to share and seek community.
One of the several TikToks Ali made to the trend.
Credit: TikTok / dinas_version
Villalba uploaded this TikTok last week.
Credit: TikTok / azucena.ac
TikTokkers use questions that attract the sort of people that might relate to them. For example, women tend to pose questions about skincare and makeup products.
“It seemed like a less intense way to let my innermost thoughts out,” Villalba told Mashable over Instagram DM. “If someone straight up asked me if I was worried about not finding love, I would have either lied or just avoided the question. Hidden beneath the question just made it feel safer to express those thoughts.”
It’s not a phase. It’s an era.
Ali told Mashable, “I found the idea of first asking a capitalist-consumer driven question and then immediately following up with a deep, intrusive insecurity driven thought, to be right up my alley. Balanced all while remaining unhinged.” The whiplash between the question and the following vulnerability doesn’t only create a safe space for users to share their thoughts, but it also mimics the way we hold these fears with us at all times. These anxieties can pop up at any moment whether we are browsing for a new sunscreen or scrolling on TikTok.
Sharing these kinds of fears online isn’t new. People are always using the internet to find people they relate to and to feel less alone, but the trend allows for a different approach. “Being deep on TikTok is often perceived as cringey, so [the trend] is a great way for people to share their deepest, darkest secrets without feeling embarrassed,” shared Sara, the 22-year-old behind the TikTok account @strawb3rrychick.
On June 22, @trentonvhorton posted a TikTok that reads, “do y’all like oat milk or almond milk? Personally i liked when i could feel something, but almond milk isn’t bad either.” He told Mashable, “By putting a commonly asked question first it takes the seriousness off of the secondary statement creating a sort of irony. The trend gives a sense of community to people who believe they are the only person feeling this sort of way.”
Credit: TikTok / trentonvhorton
The TikTok @strawb3rrychick made.
Credit: TikTok / strawb3rrychick
Reese Regan, a 23-year-old lifestyle creator, posted a video revealing her fear that she’ll be single forever under the guise of asking for shampoo and conditioner recommendations. “Even though some may think oversharing on the internet isn’t good, I always find that whenever I do, there are tons of people who relate to me and I no longer feel alone in my experience,” Regan told Mashable over Instagram DM.
The trend also harnesses the way we process information online. On social media, we’re consistently inundated with a flurry of unrelated topics on our feeds, from mindless consumerism to breaking news to users’ own existentialism. The trend similarly combines these areas of interest. It feels designed for a chronically online brain that’s constantly scrolling through what you went online for, what you end up seeing, and how it makes you feel.