‘The Penny Method’ Is A Disturbing New Dating Trend That’s Worse Than Ghosting

'The penny method' is a disturbing new dating trend that is worse than ghosting.
Credit: @erikatham/TikTok & Alamy

‘The penny method’ is a disturbing new dating trend that is worse than ghosting.

When it comes to dating, it seems there are a whole host of awful trends to look out for.

Be it dexting (dating solely through text message), vulturing (being friends with someone in the hopes their relationship will fail), or even zombie-ing (ghosting, then coming back from the dead every few months).

However, the latest dating trend to go viral might just be the worst of all.

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Something called ‘The Penny Method’ has taken TikTok by storm, and it’s left many people considering giving up on dating entirely…

The ‘trend’ was brought to TikTok’s attention by Erika Tham, a 23-year-old singer and songwriter based in Toronto.

Although it’s safe to say, it’s less a ‘trend’, and more a horrific and harmful manipulation tactic.

@erikatham you learn something new everyday 🙃🙃🙃 #lovebombing #dating #boymath ♬ original sound – erikatham

One person commented: “Penny method is crazy.

Another added: “That’s psychotic to both know and do.”

Tham claims she was told about the penny method by a guy friend.

“Imagine a girl is a piggy bank,” she explains. “In order to get her interested, obviously at first you have to be feeding her $100 bills.

“But putting in $100 bills is a lot of work. And you don’t always wanna be doing that, so eventually you decrease it to $90.”

The TikToker then points out that the girl is going to ‘feel the decrease in effort’, so if she tries to bring up the $90 to $100, ‘she’s gonna sound crazy at this point’.

Tham continues: “Now here’s where it gets sick. The next thing you do is, bump it back up to $95.

“Now instead of feeling like she lost $5, which is how she would feel if you went directly from $100 to $95, suddenly she feels like she’s gained $5.

“But you are still putting in 5% less effort. Basically, you just keep repeating the cycle and weaning her off your effort until you get to the point where you’re giving her pennies, and she’s excited to receive a nickel.”

Erica Tham
Erika Tham’s ‘penny method’ trend is taking TikTok by storm. Credit: @erikatham/TikTok

She concludes: “This idea that men might actually think like this makes me so afraid.

“Like is this boy math? Because I don’t like it. Anyway, be safe out there, ladies. I think the takeaway message in all of this is that we should never be accepting anything less than $100 bills.”

Many users quickly flooded Tham’s comments, with one questioning: “Whatever happened to genuinely liking someone and wanting to spend time with them without any games or lies?”

We’re asking the same question!

However, another pointed out there are flows to this method, joking: “The moment I feel 90%, I’m already gone.”

We respect it.

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Buzzfeed has since followed up with Tham to ask about the ‘friend’ who taught her this lesson.

“He admitted to doing it in the past, but he now realises it’s wrong,” Tham tells the outlet. “He said he definitely knows guys who do it and also knows guys who do it but aren’t aware that what they’re doing has a name.”

Tham also claims the reason she made her TikTok is to help other women who are feeling gaslit by their dates. 

“It’s the type of thing that can make you question whether your gut feeling is correct, or if you’re just overthinking,” she reveals.

“Once I had learned of the method though, it made recognizing the signs a lot easier. That’s why I made the TikTok, I wanted other women to know about it, too.”

We guess that in the brutal game of love, knowledge really is power!

Do you have a story for us? If so, email us at [email protected]. All contact will be treated in confidence.

Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.