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“Delulu” is More Than Just a Word. It’s a Culture.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the Gen Z lexicon, one word has been making waves: “delulu.” It’s a term that’s as quirky as it is enigmatic, and it has sparked both positive and negative effects on the way we communicate in the digital age.

The Delulu Phenomenon

To truly unpack “delulu,” we first need to understand its origins. The word is a shortened version of “delusional” and it often describes individuals who possess an overly optimistic or idealistic view of things, usually related to their own lives. It started off as a term used in the K-pop community to describe stans who hold the belief that their favorite K-pop artist with 90 million fans would notice them, but today, it’s very much a part of our everyday online conversations. The term has evolved to not only be used exclusively to describe parasocial relationships below TikTok thirst traps, but can now also be used for everyday situations.

The Good, the Bad, and the Delulu

Now, let’s break down the positive and negative effects of this peculiar term.

It’s funny

If there’s one thing “delulu” brings to the table, it’s humor. Using the term is a playful way to tease yourself or others gently. It’s like a linguistic tickle that can turn a dull conversation into a hilarious exchange. The phrase, “being delulu is the solulu” is something I often hear my friends saying every time I question if I’m being unrealistic.

He kept making eye contact with me! (It was totally not because I was staring at him for the entire hour of class).

Building Bonds

Delulu has a way of creating a sense of community. It’s become a badge of identity for many girls, uniting them in shared experiences and feelings. In a world that sometimes feels disconnected, delulu can be the glue that holds us together.

What did he comment underneath that girl’s Instagram picture? Does he follow her main and her spam?!? I don’t see anything.


Sometimes, getting called “delulu” can be a gentle nudge to reflect on our own dreams and attitudes. It’s like a mirror showing us where we might get too carried away. In this way, delulu can inspire personal growth and self-improvement. Most people who call themselves delulu aren’t actually delusional, but very much self-aware that they’re being a tad unrealistic.

Yup I’m totally the only one on his close friends list!

He’s probably fallen asleep so he didn’t respond. (It’s 8 p.m. and he just posted on his story).

Confidence and manifestation


Replying to @Yanique Morris do you all prefer my random rants like these or GRWM’s? 🤍

♬ original sound – Hannah Chan

In this hyper-competitive world, being delulu can give you that extra confidence boost to make that first move or bag that job. Take TikToker Hannah Chan, for example. She had no idea that moving to another country and starting her business would lead her to where she is today. Whether or not you believe in manifestation, the “fake it till you make it” attitude has the potential to take you very far.

The Unrealistic Abyss

On the flip side, constantly labeling someone as “delulu” can have a dark side. It risks trivializing genuine dreams and ambitions, discouraging people from pursuing their goals because they fear being labeled as unrealistic. Some might wield it as a weapon to insult or ridicule others, causing emotional harm and perpetuating online bullying.  A relentless barrage of “delulu” accusations can erode someone’s self-confidence and self-esteem over time. It’s a buzzkill, especially when used in a hurtful or derogatory way. Additionally, being too delulu might prevent you from getting over an obsession or prevent you from seeing red flags in a potential partner who has you eroding your confidence and questioning your self-worth. (Trust me, he’s not worth it, girl.)

Balancing the Delulu Equation

So, where does that leave us with “delulu”? It’s clear that this term is more than just a passing linguistic fad. It’s a mirror reflecting the complexities of our digital culture and the perplexing world of modern dating.  As we continue to navigate the linguistic rollercoaster that is delulu, it’s essential to strike a balance. Use it for humor, camaraderie, and self-reflection, but also be mindful of its potential to hurt and hinder. Like a sword, it’s double-edged, and wielding it requires finesse.

In conclusion, “delulu” is a testament to the ever-evolving nature of language, shaped by the digital age. It’s a reminder that words have power, and how we use them can either bring us together or push us apart. Delulu is more than just a behavior or a word; it’s a reflection of our times, a mindset where many of us reside. And remember, next time you text your situationship (or delusionship), just remember you are not alone: there are millions of us just as delulu as you.

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Naomi is a Public Health major and pre-health student from Tampa, Florida. You can find her studying, doing research, or volunteering when she's not in class. She hopes to be a physician one-day serving communities with limited access to healthcare.