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If you clap when planes land, your partner might break up with you

Two-thirds have ended a relationship because of an "ick" — a trait that turns them off.

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Young beautiful woman bored at a date in coffee shop.
(Mix Tape via Shutterstock)

The strangest reasons Americans have called it off with a partner include them having dirty fingernails, being rude to a waiter, having ugly tattoos — and being too clingy.

A poll of 2,000 adults found over half (65%) have ended a relationship because of an "ick" — a trait that turns them off — and 88% of them have ghosted someone completely.

Nearly a sixth (15%) have called it quits with a romantic interest because they were obsessed with star signs, while 14% have ended it with someone who clapped when a plane landed.

An eighth of men (14%) would also happily break it off with someone who wanted to share food on a first date.

And 16% of women find wearing a tacky watch is an "ick," while 15% judge someone else for referring to their favorite sports team as if they were part of the actual team.

The study, commissioned by upscale dating site Seeking and conducted by OnePoll, found that simply smelling bad is the top ick, selected by 24% of those surveyed.

This was followed by pretending to be more knowledgeable about something than they really are and being rude to a waiter (both 21%).

But 20% left their would-be paramour totally in the dark and didn’t explain what they’d done to deserve it.

It also emerged 58% believe they have given someone the ick themselves, turning them off totally.

Four in nine (44%) describe themselves as at least somewhat picky when it comes to finding a partner, with 33% being ‘very picky.’

And 79% believe they deserve the best so try to up their standards when looking for a partner, showing the prevalence of the ‘dating up’ trend.

"People are very set on what they want, which is empowering, said Emma Hathorn, spokesperson and in-house dating expert at Seeking. “Online dating has opened a whole new world of singles, which means people can afford to have higher standards.

“And if an absolute deal-breaker for you is someone who never wears sunglasses indoors or chews with their mouth open, that’s absolutely fair enough.”

However, the study revealed 35% believe there is no such thing as being too picky when out on the dating scene, further showing the growing popularity of trying to find more aspirational relationships.

Adding to this, 48% believe their dating standards have gotten higher as they have gotten older — with those aged 65 and up most likely to feel this way.

The research also uncovered how 73% are likely to judge someone negatively if they wanted to split a food bill — particularly if they suggested the date.

While 72% would critique first date location choice if it didn’t meet their standards.
When it comes to looking for a potential partner, 33% said salary is most important, followed by 30% who go for a good sense of style and fashion.

But 40% of adults feel dating does get harder as you increase in years — despite 37% being completely set on dating someone who matches their preferences exactly.

“The current trend in dating at the moment is ‘dating up’ – finding someone who can better and elevate their own lifestyle,” added Hathorn. “So, the goal for all singletons is to not only be someone who can help someone else ‘date up’ — but find someone who can elevate themselves at the same time.

“As with all things in life, it’s about finding that exact balance that works for you, and this can be tricky if you are totally inflexible in who you date. Keeping an open mind is key, and you may find someone who elevates your life in every way possible – even if they wear terrible shoes.”


  • Smelling bad
  • Pretending to be more knowledgeable about something than they actually are
  • Being rude to a waiter
  • Living in a mess
  • Being overbearing and rude
  • Having dirty fingernails
  • Being too clingy
  • Having bad teeth
  • Double texting (sending a secondary text if you’ve not responded after the first one)
  • Talking too loudly
  • Chewing with their mouth open
  • Oversharing on social media
  • Having long fingernails
  • Referring to themselves in third person
  • Still living at home
  • Not wearing socks with shoes
  • Having shoes that are too dirty
  • Putting on a baby voice
  • Breathing heavily
  • Having a bad tattoo
  • Eating and talking at the same time
  • Being obsessed with their star signs
  • Wearing a tacky watch
  • Wearing shoes you don’t like
  • Wearing too much makeup
  • Wanting to share food on the first date
  • Not paying on the first date
  • Clapping when an airplane lands
  • Talking longer than you to get ready
  • Referring to their football team as ‘we’
  • Wearing bad jeans
  • Having an Instagram account for their pet
  • Saying pet names like ‘honey’ or ‘baby’
  • Using emojis in texts
  • Not being able to drive
  • Wearing a weird colored lipstick
  • Wearing sunglasses indoors
  • Having too many shirt buttons undone
  • Wearing creased clothes
  • Wearing socks to bed

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 single or actively dating Americans was commissioned by Seeking between November 18, and November 28, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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