You see this caption at the top of a TikTok video “Catching my bf simping” as a guy snuggles up close to his girlfriend, whispering in an unnaturally baby voice, “Wanna take a nap with me?” The sweet nothings flutter across the screen, flooding the screen in a cloud of fluffy pink romance. Until he notices that he’s been recorded. He abruptly drops this demeanor, puffs up his chest, and deepens his voice to show the world that he is not a simp.
The next video you see shows a guy judging his friend for simping when he helps his crush to do homework for her. And now you think you know, being a simp means you’re a man who does too much for a woman. But then, you see yet another video that shows a girl calling herself a simp for hot anime men.
This got you questioning, what exactly is a simp? And is it necessarily a bad thing to be a simp? If you want to know more about this new internet term, you’re at the right place. Find out all about this trending word and if you could potentially be one now.
What Does Simp Mean?
With the onslaught of various online labels such as himbo and incel, the simp term also developed as another way of identifying other people, or oneself. The simp definition was derived from the simp acronym: a “sucker idolizing [a] mediocre p*ssy.” From this acronym, one can already deduce the simp meaning in an instant. The simp Urban Dictionary definition refers to a person “who does way too much” for someone that they find attractive or have feelings for.
In most cases, people use the simp term to describe men who exhibit such behavior and perform said actions. While there are various features and actions related to this slang meaning, the common trend is that the person that a simp likes does not reciprocate their feelings. Generally, people also perceive simps to have been stripped of their dignity due to their eagerness to please their crushes.
On another note, simping refers to the act of doing everything just to please, satisfy, and seduce a person of interest. As such, many use simping as an alternative to “thirsting.” People use the thirsting term to convey sexual attractions or yearnings for someone. Similarly, people sometimes refer to simps as thirsty due to their longing for attention and approval.
What is a Simp: Signs and Characteristics
Many people flock online to participate in simp Reddit posts and read Twitter threads. Typically, they join in on popular simp meme trends or simp games. On another note, some try to participate in various ‘what is simp’ discussions to learn more about this internet fad.
Naturally, one could get curious about this latest trend. Whether you wish to earn a simp card or pick up tips on how not to simp, this list could help you with your goal:
Eagerness to Impress
If you want to learn how to simp, you have to know that simps are known for their eagerness to please the person that they fancy. This can be exhibited in buying expensive and extravagant gifts for someone you like. One could also do such grand gestures, all while having no guarantee of being liked back. While this can be seen as sweet, people generally see this act as a way of simping. The mere price of extravagant gifts on top of the yearning to look impressive totally checks out on the accepted definition of simp.
Defends and Admires Women
The characteristics of being protective and fans of women generally define simp. Most of the time, people associate these particular features with men who dote on women. Typically, a man who’s vocal about gushing over celebrity idols or their crushes can be identified with the term as well.
Some people label men who take the extra mile in defending women online as simps. They are usually very expressive when it comes to hating people who try to defame women or belittle their capabilities. In a way, the public sees this as a way for simps to let women walk over them. Indeed, this is tied with misogyny against women, since toxic patriarchal mentality despises the idea of women outranking men.
Chivalrous and Kind
On another note, simply being chivalrous falls under the simp definition as well. For so long, societal standards were set upon and expected of men. Masculine norms include being strong, apathetic, never crying, and generally having passive or bad behavior—especially towards women. In turn, many people see the act of straying away from these gender stereotypes as a simp’s way to appear more likable to girls.
Moreover, the general rule of thumb on how to not be a simp is to avoid showing signs of vulnerability, gentleness, and doing extra nice things for women. If you do exhibit these traits or perform these actions, people could brand you as someone who’s subservient to ladies.
Unreciprocated Feelings of Attraction
The consistent and universal trend among simps is that the person they want does not reciprocate their feelings. People often refer to a simp as someone who’s stuck in the friendzone. On the other hand, some people deem simps as having no game when it comes to their crushes. As such, they have to resort to being kind and thoughtful. People perceive them to have the need for exerting extra effort in winning over a person who shows little to no interest in them.
How Simps Became Popular: Origin and Evolution
The Origin of Simping
Initially, the simp definition was used as an abbreviated term for a simpleton. As many may know, a simpleton refers to someone who is gullible or foolish. In 2019, the term’s linguistic aspects took on a different turn. The new simp meaning rose to fame through a TikTok post by Marco Borghi. On his TikTok account, @poloboy, Borghi introduced the Simp Nation challenge that eventually inspired other internet users to do the same.
The TikTok challenge entails a specific format that starts with a man standing and looking at the camera. A segment of “Rock Star” by Post Malone plays while a couple of words appear in the frame. These words generally depict a specific scenario in which a guy is simping for a girl by being too affectionate or looking desperate. Then, the song will transition into Outkast’s “Hey Ya” as the words “Welcome to Simp Nation” flash on the screen.
The Evolution of Simping
Eventually, the simp craze took not only TikTok but other online platforms by storm as well. Men were mostly the proprietors of the primary surge of online content associated with simps. They took to TikTok, Twitter, and even YouTube as they posted videos and funny memes associated with simping.
If you’re wondering, can a girl be a simp, the short answer is yes. Subsequently, women also took part in the trend. Some of them identified as simps for their crushes—whether celebrities or not. On the other hand, some women took the chance to slam the patriarchal and domineering male culture. They do this by voicing out their thoughts on the term, calling it toxic and misogynistic as well.
Despite the sexist and questionable aspects of simping, the term also developed into a more benign one. The women have made their voice known that simps can be highly attractive to through TikTok, to counter the men’s insults. They take videos of their boyfriends doing sweet things for them to highlight that simping is actually simply being sweet and attentive to your beloved.
Some people also use the term to merely describe the pitiful relationship or sexual aspects of their lives. Moreover, simping can also refer to a type of admiration for celebrities such as the talented Robert Pattinson or the endearing BTS members, or even hot anime characters. Like with most slang terms, simp continues to evolve. Its meaning will inherently depend on context and personal perception.
Difference from Gentleman and Incel Meaning
The main difference between a simp and a gentleman is intention. Gentlemen are perceived to be chivalrous just because they wish to be so without expecting anything in return. They open doors and let ladies pass first out of unbiased courtesy and pure intentions. On the other hand, simps behave gallantly for their ulterior motives—to get laid or make someone like them back. Indeed, even though they perform similar gestures and exhibit the same characteristics, their perception of these things makes all the difference between the two identifiers.
The simp term has been used alongside other internet slang—one of which is incel. People define incel as someone who unwillingly abstains from sex and marriage. The Urban Dictionary also refers to incels as people who never engaged in sexual intercourse and blames others for their virginity. Some incels have come to define themselves as #ForeverAlone due to women’s pickiness and cruelty. They believe that women will flirt with them, only to reject their sexual advances in the end.
In terms of similarities, simp and incel men generally dote on women. They identify themselves and behave according to what they expect from or think of women. Moreover, both identifiers are linked with the same unrequited sentiments from women. However, simps and incels are far more different than they are alike.
One of the differences between simps and incels is that being branded as the former does not ultimately refer to being a virgin. On another note, simps defend women while incels do the complete opposite. People associated the incel term and online community with violence against women. Their assumed “involuntary celibacy” caused various incel attacks that endangered and even ended the lives of many women. One can say that incels are the complete opposite of the women-loving and respecting image that simps are known for.
Simps in Pop Culture
As the Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit simp posts continue to accumulate online, it’s no surprise that the term has reached pop culture as well. In fact, even classic films and old songs have been associated with simping due to their similar aspects. The simp culture, while newly-evolved, has the nice-guy aspect and utter desperation that are all too familiar—both in fiction and real life.
Here are some examples of simping in music, film, and television that exhibit the themes of sheer devotion and unreciprocated affection.
“Sucker” by Jonas Brothers
Leave it to the Jonas Brothers if you want to have a taste of simp music. Their 2019 track, “Sucker”, perfectly depicted the utter devotion of a simp for the person that they fancy. “Sucker” expresses the feelings of being head over heels in love—to the point of doing everything for someone’s person of interest.
While the track sounds sweet and groovy, the “Sucker” lyrics conveyed a much more bitter impression. The song depicts how a smitten person looks past the otherwise manipulative and unhealthy traits of someone that they love. Its central theme explores helplessness and the strong desire to please—something that the public associate simps with. When it comes to the song’s hook, “I’m a sucker for you”, one can’t help but channel their inner Chandler Bing and ask: could this song be more simp?
Tom Hansen of 500 Days of Summer
Portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hansen is a character from the popular movie, 500 Days of Summer. Hansen could easily be anyone’s crush, what with his good looks and great taste in music. He is also the kind of guy that you’d want to introduce to your parents. Above all, he is the perfect example of a simp.
Although Tom sounds perfectly dreamy, he has one particular weakness—a girl named Summer, portrayed by actress Zooey Deschanel. Starting as mere officemates, the pair eventually got closer. They acted like a couple, all with Summer insisting that they’re not in a relationship. Despite Summer’s contending disbelief in love, Tom continued to dote on her. He gave her a meaningful gift, got into a bar fight for her, and shared his vulnerable side out of love for her.
Tom’s hands were still tied despite all his efforts to win Summer over. He continued to simp for her, all while enduring a lot of pain. Without a doubt, everything Tom did truly checks out on the ultimate simp list.
“Attention” by Charlie Puth
Charlie Puth’s 2018 track, “Attention”, is easily one of the most well-known simp songs. The same themes of desperation and blind admiration are very much evident in the song. The “Attention” lyrics convey manipulative and toxic treatment towards the narrator who has nothing but love for someone special. Moreover, things like perfume and a dress were objects of remorse in the track. Despite knowing that, the narrator goes on to express intense admiration and eagerness to please. These aspects, of course, are something that the public knows simps for.
Jorah Mormont of Game of Thrones
If you wish to learn how not to simp, just picture Jorah Mormont of Game of Thrones—and be the complete opposite of him. If you aren’t familiar with Jorah, he is a formerly banished lord from the city of Westeros in the book and TV series, Game of Thrones. Jorah offered his sword, loyalty, and life in serving a throne claimant named Daenerys Targaryen, who was portrayed by Emilia Clarke. Eventually, he developed romantic feelings for Daenerys who never reciprocated the attraction.
Still, Jorah continued to willingly submit to Daenerys, unconditionally giving her support and respect. While Jorah keeps his ground as a faithful companion and admirer, Daenerys continues to overlook him. In fact, she goes for almost every good-looking guy she meets while Jorah’s thrown to the wayside. Still, Jorah endured his simping ways and even literally died protecting his queen. If there’s a title for the king of simps, Jorah would have been a remarkable contender.
So, Is Being Called Simp a Bad Thing?
While simping may appear to be harmless or a simple laughing matter, the consequences of such a mentality can be detrimental. The prejudice on simps could make people lose their confidence and develop negative self-perceptions. Notably, the public tied simping with misogyny and toxic masculinity. The way people convey disapproval of men showing respect for women is rooted in far more serious political and societal issues.
Simps, especially men, have been the topic of many offensive memes and online insults. Many people ridicule them for doing nice gestures and being kind to women. In retrospect and deep consideration, such behavior should not be mocked. If anything, we should admire their kindness and chivalry.
Offering support and respect are aspects of basic human decency. Whatever your sex or social status may be, you should observe these values in your social relationships. However, tying kindness with entitlement does make simping problematic. If you merely wish to simp just because of an ulterior motive to acquire sexual favors, you’ve made simping a far more problematic deed.
Ultimately, you should keep in mind that online trends and other people could only go as far as how they label you. At the end of the day, you still have control over your own actions. Most importantly, the way you treat and perceive other people will have a greater say in who you truly are.