Is Penny Dating Method A Toxic Present Day Trend?

The 'penny dating' trend, explained by TikToker Erika Tham, has gained attention and sparked heated discussions on Instagram. Some expressed disbelief that such things exist, while others say it's "straight-up harassment" and "abuse."

Ishika Thanvi
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In the ever-evolving landscape of dating trends, one recent phenomenon has sparked controversy and outrage across social media platforms. The 'penny dating' trend, brought into the limelight by TikToker Erika Tham, has gained attention not for its romantic allure but for its disturbing manipulation tactics. Let's explore more about this.


Where Did It Even Come From?

Erika Tham's revelation about the 'penny dating' method originated from a conversation with one of her male friends, who introduced her to this unsettling approach while talking about love bombing. The video she shared on TikTok quickly went viral, accumulating over 7.6 million views and sparking heated discussions on Instagram, where it garnered an additional 2.7 million views.

Watch the full video here

Let's Decode


So, what exactly is the 'penny dating' method? In essence, it revolves around the idea of treating a romantic partner like a "piggy bank," with the investment of effort representing the value of currency. According to Tham, the process begins with a lavish display of attention, symbolised by "hundred dollar bills." However, as the relationship progresses, the investment diminishes incrementally, akin to reducing the value to "90 dollars."

"In order to get her interested obviously at first you have to be feeding her hundred dollar bills, but putting in hundred dollar bills is a lot of work and you don't always want to be doing that, so eventually you reduce it to 90," says Tham. 

The disturbing twist comes when attention is momentarily increased, creating a deceptive cycle that erodes the partner's sense of self-worth over time.

This Is Not A ‘Dating Method’, It’s Manipulation 

As explained by Tham, the 'penny dating' cycle involves deliberately decreasing attention, followed by a slight increase to make the partner feel like they've gained something. This manipulative dance continues, with the ultimate goal of diminishing the partner's expectations and making them content with the bare minimum—receiving metaphorical "pennies" instead of the initial "hundred dollar bills."

"Basically you just keep repeating this cycle and weaning her off your effort until you get to the point where you're giving her pennies and suddenly, she's excited to receive a nickel", says Tham.



The revelation of the 'penny dating' method sent shockwaves through the internet, prompting strong reactions from users. Some expressed disbelief that such manipulative tactics exist, while others labelled it as "straight-up harassment" and "abuse."

One user says, "Girl math is silly and cute, boy math is straight-up harassment and abuse.” 

Many comments highlighted the disturbing nature of this trend, emphasizing the need for genuine effort and communication in relationships. A user commented, "This just proves men would do anything but actually put in some effort into a relationship."

Erika Tham concluded her video with a stern warning to her female followers, urging them never to settle for anything less than metaphorical "$100 bills." The responses from internet users echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of recognizing manipulative behaviour and standing against toxic dating trends.

In a world where dating trends come and go, the 'penny dating' phenomenon serves as a stark reminder of the need for healthy, respectful relationships built on genuine connection and mutual effort.

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