Why The 'Goblin Mode' Dating Strategy Is Such A Success

In case you missed it, the Oxford Word of the Year for 2022 was "goblin mode." According to Oxford Languages, over 300,000 people voted on the word of the year and, yes, that's the one that came out on top. Why? Because after the last few years of living in unprecedented times — enough with the unprecedented already! — goblin mode is the only way to live. 


"Goblin Mode really does speak to the times and the zeitgeist, and it is certainly a 2022 expression," American linguist and lexicographer Ben Zimmer said at an Oxford Union Press event. "People are looking at social norms in new ways. It gives people the license to ditch social norms and embrace new ones."

It's also a dating strategy worth embracing. With goblin mode, you go into every first date 100% yourself and unapologetically so. If the world is going to implode (or explode) and take us all down with it, why not toss your hands up in the air, shrug, and just kick societal conventions to the curb? At this point, what do you have to lose? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. That's why goblin mode is such a success: you're being legit without a care in the world. You've jumped the line between social expectations and society's prescribed ideas of what dating should be and settled into goblin mode right off the bat. In turn, you give your date the opportunity to go full-throttle goblin too. It's refreshing, it's invigorating, and it's a fantastic time to be alive!


But before you get too carried away with all the time you won't be wasting on your first date outfit, here's the why and how of goblin mode.

Why you should try the goblin mode dating strategy

Before Covid, before the January 6 insurrection, before UFOs were shot down out of the sky, and before house clothes became outside clothes, we were a fairly civilized society. We got out of bed, showered, put on our business casual outfits, and went to our sea of cubicles. Insurrections only happened in other countries, a world pandemic only happened in horror films, and Mayor Giuliani didn't have a leaky head. Life was good, or at least decent, then the bottom fell out.


What we were left with was a society that had been forever changed because of all those darn unprecedented events. We were forced to examine our lives and realize that jeans are hard pants and lounge pants are soft pants, and soft pants win. What was important and what wasn't took on new a meaning, and how we viewed dating culture changed. Even if we didn't realize it, our inner goblin started to rear its head because it's hard to care when it looks like the world is going to spin off its axis at any moment.

The true essence of goblin mode in dating

When you bring goblin mode to your dating strategy, you're dropping the façade and bringing the real you. You know, someone who just might show up to a first date in soft pants and a pocket full of snacks. To date in goblin mode is to be the genuine weirdo that your date is going to discover eventually, that is if they want to embrace your goblin and see you again. It's about getting real really quickly, and you need not apologize for it.


In cutting societal niceties, we free ourselves from the constraints of who and what we're supposed to be. We go rogue — a word from which "goblin" is derived in Greek kobalos — and we become mavericks and are at the helm of our destiny. We are everything and then some. In goblin mode, we offer ourselves up without masks and invite our fellow goblins into our worlds. It's the perfect way to find "the one."

How to pull off goblin mode

The first step to successfully pulling off goblin mode is labeling everything with "whatever." Seriously. Put those cares away, because the world is on fire, the politicians are out to get us, and aliens are coming. Next, update your dating profile to reveal your goblin mode. This should involve somewhat unflattering photos and a profile description that says you're in goblin mode, so take it or leave it. When you get a match, don't dance around with the usual questions like asking what they do or where they're from. Instead, ask them how long they've gone without showering, or if they prefer to eat Doritos in bed or on the floor — you know, the important questions.


When you prepare for that first date, don't spend a lot of time getting ready. Why waste good lipstick on someone you don't know? Ask uncomfortable questions, give uncomfortable (but honest!) answers, and when you realize you don't have any floss after dinner, borrow a hair from their head and ask if they want it back after you use it. Why would you do such a thing? Because this is who you are: a goblin. If your date doesn't like it, then they can find someone who has yet to discover the beauty of goblin mode. It's their loss, not yours.