Goblin Mode: Why Slobbing Out Is Becoming More Attractive To Pretty Much Everyone

Goblin Mode: Why Slobbing Out Is Becoming More Attractive To Pretty Much Everyone

When life feels overwhelming and you’re sick of adulting, you might think there’s no way out. The pressure to have it all together all the time can be paralyzing, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe you should consider going goblin mode. After all, everyone else seems to be. Here’s what it’s all about and how you can adopt the practice in your own life.

What is the meaning of “goblin mode”?

Goblin mode, which refers to “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations,” is kind of a big deal right now. It’s become so popular both in theory and practice that Oxford Languages named the term its word of the year for 2022 after it was chosen overwhelmingly by public vote.

Putting this into practice is all about shunning the hustle culture that has been pushed for years. Instead, it’s all about embracing the slow, slobby life of purposeful underachieving. It’s rejecting the pressure to do more and feeling guilty for spending a day — multiple days, even! — doing “useless” things like napping, watching TV, or eating Chinese in your underwear. At its core, it’s also about not giving a rat’s ass what you look like or how you come off. You’ve given up… and you like it that way.

Why has slobbing out become such an attractive idea?

As with many trends in the internet age, it’s impossible to trace goblin mode back to its exact roots. The term was mentioned on Twitter back in 2009, but it never garnered much attention. It wasn’t until February 2022 when a fake headline about Julia Fox (which she later denied) used the phrase as an explanation for why she and Kanye West broke up.

Regardless of where it came from, the trend has made major headway since then. This is likely largely attributed to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 18 to 24 months many of us were on some level of lockdown, people’s psyches shifted. Suddenly, we all had a lot more perspective on how precious life is and what we wanted out of it. We got used to having a lot more downtime and taking it easy every now and again. When we couldn’t overachieve, many people realized they kinda didn’t want to anymore. They were tired of working long hours for little payoff. They started to value different things in life, and suddenly, “letting yourself go” wasn’t such a terrifying concept. It was actually kind of preferable.

How you can embrace goblin mode in your daily life

  1. Rock unwashed hair and wear your favorite stained, ratty t-shirt and pair of jeans… maybe even to go out. If you simply have to go out, maybe to pick up more snacks or, you know, perform actual responsibilities, celebrating goblin mode means slobbing out regardless of the circumstances. Sure, the cashier at your local bodega might mistake you for a homeless person, but oh well! If you can buy kombucha at your best, you can certainly pay for Oreos and a bag of Utz at your worst.
  2. Wake up at 3 a.m. and make yourself a gross but delicious snack in the kitchen, like rice cakes with ketchup, Kraft singles, and pickles. Insert your most controversial delicious snack that others would find barf-worthy here. Goblin mode is all about giving in to your basest instincts, not caring how repulsive they (or you) are. No one’s going to judge you, and even if they did, you don’t care. Goblins are unaffected by such petty matters.
  3. Let your body hair grow and then pluck those hairs out one by one in front of the TV. This is akin to peeling all the dead skin off after a sunburn. It’s gross but really rewarding. Bodies are weird and do some pretty nutso things. It’s fascinating. There’s nothing wrong with getting n touch with our animal instincts. Pop your pimples in the mirror, pick your toenails, do whatever makes you feel good.
  4. Watch all 19 seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” without ever leaving the house once. Sometimes goblin mode isn’t necessarily about being gross but about letting go of the need to always be productive. Wasting multiple days or even weeks binge-watching a TV series may seem like a waste of time to most people. To you, it’s a great way to finally understand who the hell McDreamy is and appreciate Sandra Oh’s other work now that “Killing Eve” is over.

Are there any downsides?

Generally speaking, goblin mode is simply a lighthearted way to cut yourself some slack and unwind from the intense pressures of modern life. It’s usually temporary by necessity, and generally includes habits and behaviors that are ultimately harmless. In these circumstances, sobbing out a bit can actually provide a boost to mental and emotional health, provide the “goblin” with a recharge, and make it easier to get back out there into the real world again.

Of course, for a small number of individuals, goblin mode may be a cause for concern. If those who normally suffer from mental health issues use it as an excuse not to partake in normal, everyday activities or to justify their disengagement from their own lives, this is a problem. In these cases, it may be worth discussing this tendency with a psychologist or therapist to ensure you’re not hiding behind a trend that could be having a negative impact on your well-being.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more.