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What Is a Simp, and Why Do People Call Me That?

What is a simp? If you’re texting a guy who’s giving nothing in return, it could be you. Here’s how to recognize and prevent simp-ery in your life.
Editorial team
January 3, 2024
June 17, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Are you tired of being called a simp, especially when you aren't sure whether you should even be offended? Unfortunately, the jury's still out on whether simping for someone is an unforgivable sin or a sign of being a healthy partner.

Calling someone a simp is almost always an insult, but what is the definition of simping, exactly? One entry on Urban Dictionary, the universal hub for learning NSFW slang, defines a simp as any time “a male is overly submissive to a female and gains nothing from it.”

We know what you're thinking: There's a lot to unpack there. This doesn’t apply to you, so why would anyone still call you a simp? This definition has merit, but the word’s actual use is much more fluid.

Let’s dive deeper into this terminology and determine why people call you a simp. While we’re at it, we’ll help you decide whether or not it’s something you should change.

What is a simp?

The textbook definition of simp is a “fool” or “simpleton.” It’s now commonly used to describe a weak and submissive person or someone who is overly attentive to the object of their affection. Often, they put this person on a pedestal, bending over backward to impress them and ignoring their flaws.

You can use simp as a noun or a verb, depending on the context. Simps be simpin’.

Remember that simp is slang; its definition has changed throughout time. Even now, people will use it with different connotations. 

Defining the word isn’t so simp-le

In the internet zeitgeist, the term simp is very gendered. It's usually a man doing the simping, with a woman receiving the simp-ery.

Many men who accuse others of simping suffer from toxic masculinity, an unfortunate and pervasive illness that commonly plagues monster truck enthusiasts and also all of society. They might see any level of respect or consideration for a woman as simpish antics.

But, as we learned from The Ultimatum: Queer Love, we can do all the same nonsense straight people do. Nothing is stopping queer folks from engaging in the simp-adjacent behavior, for better or worse.

Although most people will use it in a derogatory way, the term is often turned on its head by people who are crushing on someone. They'll refer to themselves as simps to demonstrate how into the other person they are. 

What is simping?

What does simping mean in the real world? The act of simping looks different for everyone. But to give you a general idea of what simping behavior looks like, here are some hallmark activities a simp might engage in:

  • Putting themselves last: Simps often have low self-esteem and are desperate to impress the object of their affection. 
  • Unnecessary chivalry: If you're familiar with “m’lady” fedora-tipping behavior, that falls under this category. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being chivalrous, but simps do it to get what they want — not as an act of kindness.
  • Being overly defensive: Simps often display an uncomfy level of possessiveness. They may demand attention even if you aren't in a relationship with them.
  • Showering with gifts: Gifts can be great! But a barrage of gifts for no reason should raise some red flags.

You can see why some of this behavior is problematic for both parties. It leads to a one-sided relationship, which is often a massive turn-off for the person on the receiving end of the simping. And if the subject of the simping doesn’t have a problem with it, signs indicate that both people struggle with attachment or understanding what a healthy relationship looks like.

But relationships are complex; what one person considers simping another might find romantic. It's tough to throw all these behaviors under the bus and say they're universally bad. Even researching simping will net some questionable results from websites doused in toxic masculinity, suggesting that frequently complimenting someone is a classic simp move.

Your best bet is to ask yourself what responses you get from the other person when you act like this. If they aren’t meeting your expectations or reciprocating your feelings, you should probably stop the behavior before you turn to the dark side.


Is simping always wrong?

All this talk of unrequited feelings and possessive tendencies leads us to another topic: “nice guys,” the evolved form of the simp. You've heard of a nice guy before, right? He insists he’s being nice to his crush, offers a bunch of unwanted favors, and then holds unreasonably high expectations in return, usually displaying an adverse reaction when he’s turned down.

In reality, this behavior is far from nice. It displays a lack of respect for personal boundaries and a transaction view of relationships and sex. Nice guys often fall into the “bad simp” category for obvious reasons; being nice with the expectation of sex or making someone your SO is textbook creep.

A new hope: Simping isn’t all bad

Is there such a thing as a good simp, then? It depends on who you ask. At its most innocent, your friends might tease you as you undergo the typical honeymoon phase with a new boo. Or maybe you’re always gushing about a certain sexy celebrity. (But you can't help that the Troye Sivan body pillow was on a Cyber Monday blowout sale, can you?)

Simp-ly put, expressing your feelings through acts of kindness or adoration shouldn't be grounds for bullying. People are often wrongly labeled as simps when all they're doing is being themselves and trying to show how much they appreciate their partner. How else are you supposed to foster emotional connections and get past the talking phase?

But there is a line, and once it's crossed, there's rarely an opportunity to go backward. Set healthy boundaries within your interpersonal relationships, and don't engage with those who won't respect them, whether you’re the simper or the simpee.

Where did simps come from?

No, simps did not appear fully formed with the official release of 4chan. And contrary to popular belief, it also didn’t start as an acronym for “Sucker Idolizing Mediocre Pussy.” That’s a relatively new explanation with no roots in the original definition.

Simps have existed for centuries, even if they weren’t always given such a catchy nickname. The origin of simp isn’t with the Urban Dictionary but the New Partridge Dictionary of Slang, released in 1903, where it’s listed as shorthand for “simpleton.”

The modern simp

The transition from a relatively tame dig on someone’s intelligence to a term for a sex-starved sycophant happened in the 1980s when West Coast rappers adopted it into their lexicon.

This was the origin story for today’s simps. Rappers used the term to describe men who were being turned soft by their attraction to women. It was also a clever foil to "pimp," which was often seen as the highest compliment. And so, simp came to refer to a man who was just doing too much.

Simping stayed relatively stagnant until decades later when Gen Z put its own spin on it. The trending hashtag #SimpNation on TikTok brought new life to simp-dom. Users rebranded it as an almost silly thing. With enough overuse and dilution, simp became a more blanket statement, turning into terminology we could use to offend people of all gender expressions and sexual orientations. (Hooray for inclusivity?)

But whether on the internet or in real life, simps can be a concerning, frustrating, and even anxiety-inducing presence in your life. And if you’re creating these feelings for another person, it’s time to ask yourself: do you really like them? Or are you just trying to get what you want by being creepy?

Are you living the simp-le life?

We’re adding some levity to the topic of simping. But truthfully, it can hamper your relationships and mental well-being. If you think you’re the target of simping, do your best to maintain firm boundaries with the person.

Ironically, if you're the simp, you should do the same. Recognize when you're behaving like a creep. It's not easy to change your behavior, but it's still your responsibility.

And finally, if your friends are giving you a hard time just because you have a crush, tell them to get bent. You’re too sexy to let toxic masculinity affect you.

Tired of simping? Find someone who feels the same way you do on Grindr! Download the Grindr app today and get started.

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