What the heck is ‘goblin mode’?

The pandemic has pushed many to embrace their inner slob.

The pandemic has changed our habits in a lot of ways.

Some people are wearing more sweats. Some are showering less. Some are watching a little more Netflix than they used to.

Then there are the ones scouring Reddit until 4am while eating fistfuls of raw pasta as a snack.

That, my friends, is an example of “goblin mode,” which, according to The Guardian, has become the new normal for many.

Goblin mode…

… can be described as a full-on rejection of self-betterment.

The phrase first appeared on Twitter in 2009, and spiked in popularity in February when a headline incorrectly attributed it to Uncut Gems actress Julia Fox, who was dating Kanye West at the time.

Some examples of goblin mode include:

  • Mindlessly binging reality TV shows while scrolling social media
  • Pouring the end of a bag of chips into your mouth
  • Wandering into your kitchen at 2am and making weird snacks (e.g., saltines with melted cheese)

In other words, goblin mode is all about embracing your inner slob, and relishing in socially unacceptable behavior.

Why is goblin mode blowing up?

One reason is its direct opposition to more conventional internet aesthetics — AKA presenting one’s best self online. For example:

  • Cottagecore: A stylized Instagram aesthetic that thrived early in the pandemic featuring pastel colors and elements of country life (e.g., baking and embroidery)
  • #thatgirl: A popular TikTok aesthetic embraced by influencers who obsess over self improvement (e.g., waking up at 5am to make a green smoothie)

A simpler reason? The pandemic has dragged on, and people are losing their sh*t cutting themselves some slack.

In a way, goblin mode is a form of self-love — which, ironically, is one of the most powerful paths to self-betterment.

The return to the office…

… poses a serious threat to the goblin lifestyle. Many workers are being forced to do things they haven’t done in years, like talk to people face-to-face and dress presentably.

If you find yourself needing to brush up on your social skills, NYT’s got you covered.

Just remember, there’s nothing wrong with letting out your inner goblin every once in a while.

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