Everything you need to know about TikTok’s Orange Peel Theory

Could your relationship’s worth come down to some fruit? Social media thinks so.
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Relationships are complex. They take time, sustained effort and compromise (the list goes on) which is why it makes total sense that social media users are testing their partner’s love with an orange, right?

Enter the Orange Peel Theory (also known as the Orange Peel Test), a small act of service test doing the rounds on TikTok. One video of a “failed” attempt by user @shelbyywilfong has attracted more than 29 million views.

While we can probably all agree that acts of service are rarely bad in a relationship, is there any validity to this fruit-based test? Or is comparing your relationship to the ones you see online like comparing, well, apples and oranges?

Firstly, what is the Orange Peel Theory?

TikTok’s Orange Peel Theory first went viral in 2023 and has become synonymous with signs of true love – especially for heterosexual couples.

In the test, women ask their male partners to peel oranges for them, and their partner’s response indicates how healthy their relationship is.

If their partners agree to peel the orange (some men even go as far as buying oranges if there aren’t any at home) it indicates they have a positive attitude towards their relationship and are committed to making their girlfriends’ lives easier.

On the other hand, if the partner refuses it’s a red flag, signifying that they’re less likely to help out when needed.

Does the Orange Peel Theory work?

While little things in relationships matter, according to psychologist Nancy Sokarno from mental health service We Lysn, the Orange Peel Theory isn’t a sufficient way to test a relationship’s strength, and so engaging in it may be problematic.

“I think one of the main issues with relationship ‘tests’ is that we really need to ask ourselves why the relationship is being tested in the first place,” says Sokarno.

“If someone is testing their partner to try and ‘catch’ them out, it may suggest a lack of trust, among other concerns like insecurity and power imbalances.”

According to Sokarno, continuously testing your partner’s love can create an environment where neither partner feels emotionally safe, impacting emotional intimacy and vulnerability, which are all essential for a healthy relationship.

“It’s not wise to use one tiny instance as an indicator for how strong the relationship is,” explains Sokarno. “There are so many other factors at play in a relationship and it can’t be boiled down to one thing.”

Watch below: Chiara King Orange Peel Theory | TikTok

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Should your partner try to make your life easier?

Even if your partner does want to help make your life easier, Sokarno says peeling an orange isn’t always the best way to do it.

“In the realm of psychology, various theories and frameworks attempt to understand and categorise how people express and experience love,” she says.

Here, Sokarno points to Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, which suggests everyone has distinct preferences in how we give and receive love.

While one of these languages is “acts of service” – completing household chores, running errands or even peeling an orange – this is not the only love language.

“There are also words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time and receiving gifts,” Sokarno explains.

“Not everyone expresses their love in the same way, so if your partner doesn’t show acts of service, it’s likely they’re using one or more of the other love languages to show affection.”

Watch Below: Dr. Gary Chapman on The Five Love Languages

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The bottom line

“It’s important to remember that healthy relationships are based on trust, mutual respect and communication,” stresses Sokarno.

Trying to catch a partner out – and posting the results on social media – may indicate a breakdown in communication that can lead to humiliation and a lack of trust.

If you fear your partner doesn’t want to help make your life easier, Sokarno says you should focus on openly communicating your concerns and addressing any issues healthily.

“Effective communication is crucial when resolving conflicts and maintaining a strong connection,” she says.

In other words, it’s best to keep the oranges out of your relationship.

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