The “ick” factor

The “ick” factor…what is it, and how to avoid it?

You’re blissfully happy, and then suddenly you’re repulsed by them - what causes “the ick,” and can you get over it?

You’re looking for a potential partner. 

You’ve swiped, you’ve liked, you’ve chatted a bit online, and you’ve gone through all of their pictures. 

You’re in no doubt that they’re stunning. And as luck would have it, you arrive for the date, watch them walk through the door and are gobsmacked to discover that with “no filters,” they still look like their pictures. 

They sit down, and you can’t believe your luck until…


You’ve no doubt had “the ick” before.

But what is it, why does it happen, and most importantly, can you get over it, or does it spell the end of the blossoming relationship?

What is “the ick”?

Whether you’re looking for a “hook-up” or a long-term partner, there has to be something more than looks. 

Looking at your date… you wonder what the catch is. 

Before I start dissing this imaginary date, it’s important to note that your partner and potential icks will reflect your taste.

Sometimes you can overlook bad habits or traits (which is lucky as we all have them). But to others, it gives them the “ick.”- a feeling of disgust. Your tolerance for it can make or break a potential relationship.

The “ick” Factor

“The ick” isn’t just something that annoys you. It’s a physical repulsion that can often come on suddenly. You can go from fancying someone to not wanting to be anywhere near them in seconds. 

The phrase “ick” seems to have gained popularity recently, thanks to its constant repetition on this year’s Love Island TV show. The phrase “They give me the ick” was almost as famous as the show’s regular phrases such as, “What’s your type?”, “I’m not being funny, but…” and the ever-popular “You know what I mean?”

The “ick” can be pretty much anything. It can be a bad habit, something they say, or a massive turn-off. 

We’ve all thought about a date or partner at some point, so it’s nice to have a word for it, finally.

Some of the most common icks…

A quick scroll on TikTok, and you’ll quickly discover that anything can be an ick if you aren’t quite into the other person. 

The hilarious answers range from running for a bus to having a bath – which, in reality, means you probably don’t like the person. 

But some of the most common things that might be an instant turn-off for you include

  • Lack of personal hygiene 
  • Rudeness and arrogance
  • Being a noisy or messy eater
  • An annoying voice or laugh
  • Inappropriate jokes or comments
  • Being too vain.
  • Lack of concern about their flatulence
  • A bad attitude.
  • Too self-absorbed

If your dream partner walks in, you might be able to overlook these things – but if you sit down for a first date, it might be enough to put you off a second. 

Icks are often irrational, and it’s something we latch onto that tells you you’re probably not interested in the person. 

Can you learn to live with the ick factor?


They seemed perfect, and now they are suddenly giving you the ick – is there anything you can do?

It’s a good idea to remember that nobody is perfect, and some might overlook some items listed. Hell, they might even be a turn-on for you- no judgment. 

But can a relationship survive the ick factor?

learn to live with the ick factor

If you like this person, you can learn to overcome the ick. You can learn to love it and take it as part of the package. Some partners love a challenge and get turned on by the idea that they can change someone. 

The other way of looking at it is- maybe the problem is with you. Why does it make you feel this way? A my I just being unkind? 

Nobody’s perfect, after all. If it’s a small thing, you may learn to live with it or even ignore it as the relationship develops. 

But let’s face it, if it’s something about their personality or how they act, it’s probably not going to change, nor should it have to. So if you can’t get on board with it, it might be the end of this relationship.

Good luck!

We know the dating scene is a minefield, and finding the right one is hard enough, but an ick can be a dealbreaker. If you constantly encounter an ick in your choice of dates, the problem might be your choice of partner. Subconscious thoughts lingering from previous relationships might be contributing. 

If you’re trying online dating, change your profile to elaborate on what you don’t want in a partner. “No mingers” is not detailed enough. Try “good personal hygiene essential” or “No Spongebob tattoos.” Whatever turns you off.

And remember, if you like them, the icks won’t seem so bad – so maybe it is a sign to keep swiping. 

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