Orange Peel Theory: Know The Sentiment Behind This Very Literal TikTok Trend

Manya Ailawadi

We can keep trying to make sense of all relationships with one idea but the truth is that they mean different things to different people. They work differently for each one of us. There are some ground rules, though. Things that form the ethos of all of it – of why we choose someone as our person. It has to, right? The Orange Peel Theory is a lot like that. It’s like an unsaid rule that has always existed but we either fail at it, or don’t recognize it at all. I remember this thing my mom said about my dad one time: he cleaned up every time I threw up as a kid, because he knew it would make mom nauseous. In a nutshell, that’s what I perceived of the theory.


The crux of it is to know what your partner wants, without them having to ask each time. Literally, it boils down to handing an orange to your partner to wait and see if they peel it for you. It is more than about peeling the orange, of course. Suppose you’re a person who does not like peeling oranges because of how sticky it gets, and so your partner does it for you – that sentiment.

The thing is, relationships are more about days than gestures – something we rarely track about them. Pragmatically, not all days can be exciting, which easily means that you need good enough reasons to stay with a person. How would you find them if each day is similar? You consider the simple acts, right? In the end, it’s the little things that matter, or at least give you reasons to stay. The TikTok trend requires you to test a partner, which is the one side of it – because how much can you judge someone by a reaction? The other side of it is – noticing the tiny details.


So technically, when we talk about the Orange Peel Theory, we talk about how much your partner knows you. And if they know you, do they empathize with you. Take for example: you are bad at crossing the road. Your partner sees the pattern, gets it, and makes sure that you feel safe when you’re crossing the road each time. This action stems from care and respect. In addition, they also make sure not to make you feel like it’s an incapacity that you’re carrying. So the theory is rooted in empathy, care and respect, which are quite literally the basic foundations of a healthy relationship.


We all have our reasons to want a relationship, or to simply date someone. No reason is big or small enough – no reason is right or wrong. To want to be cared does not and should not mean giving away our sense of independence. It shouldn’t mean giving away a part of you. The Orange Peel Theory is that and more. It says that you can ask for small things without feeling like you’re incapable. On the contrary, you can appreciate small gestures without them sounding bare minimum. It’s about finding a lot in some. Because a little of something doesn’t have to mean insignificant.


So go on, find the one who’d peel all the oranges for you.

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