The “Broke Boyfriend Hug” Meme: Where Did It Come From and What Does It Mean?

Have you come across the intriguing trend of what is a broke boyfriend hug meme on TikTok and wondered about its background?

This viral sensation carries more significance than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll delve into the origins of the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme, elucidate its meaning, and examine the perspectives of the TikTok community regarding this phenomenon.

Understanding the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” Meme

The “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme refers to a particular embrace often exhibited by boyfriends when their girlfriends assume financial responsibilities. Imagine this scenario: you and your partner are out shopping, and he leans against you, encircling you from behind with his arms. 

This gesture is what is known as the “Broke Boyfriend Hug.” It is essentially a non-verbal request for financial assistance, implying, “Could you cover this, dear?”

This act extends beyond essential expenses like groceries and clothing; it encompasses various non-essential expenditures such as video games, haircuts, and other non-essential items. It frequently unfolds at the point of payment, with the gentleman subtly relying on his partner to handle the transaction.

It is important to note that the question on what is the broke boyfriend hug  meme does not intend to ridicule individuals facing financial constraints. Instead, it serves as a commentary on the unspoken expectations that often burden women within cis-hetero relationships.

Tracing the Origins and Proliferation

Let’s rewind the clock and trace the meme’s origins. The “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme finds its roots in the “He Got No Money Pose,” an internet phenomenon from 2019. It is also referred to as the “He Has No Money Hug” or the “She’s Paying Hold.” 

Picture two individuals in an embrace at the payment counter, with the male partner clutching the female from behind while she takes care of the financial transaction. This posture symbolizes the universal stance of individuals in dire financial straits relying on their partners for financial support.

The meme gained considerable traction after its appearance on Imgur in June 2019. However, its breakthrough moment occurred in 2020 when a tweet by user @joe_espy featured a similar scenario, where a man embraced his girlfriend in a game store, expressing his hope for the release of the PS5. This tweet sparked a wave of “He Has No Money Pose” moments on Twitter, with numerous users sharing their interpretations of the meme.

Fast forward to September 2022, TikTok user @gkingcomic entered the scene with a parody video reenacting the “He Got No Money Pose.” In this TikTok version, a man delivers the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” as his girlfriend covers his barbershop expenses. The video went viral, propelling the term “Broke Boyfriend Hug” into the mainstream by the end of 2022.

TikTok’s Perspective on the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” Meme

On the ever-evolving platform of TikTok, the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme has not just remained an amusing trend but has also sparked crucial conversations. TikTok, known for its ability to quickly disseminate information and opinions, has become a breeding ground for discussions surrounding gender dynamics, expectations in relationships, and the concept of “invisible labor.”

Highlighting “Invisible Labor”

One significant aspect the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme spotlights is the idea of “invisible labor.” In many relationships, women often find themselves doing a considerable amount of work behind the scenes—tasks like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and childcare, which frequently go unnoticed or unappreciated. This meme serves as a poignant reminder of the additional emotional and financial labor that often falls on women’s shoulders.

Pressure on Women to Keep Partners Happy

Another perspective frequently explored on TikTok is the added pressure on women to ensure their partners’ contentment, sometimes to an unhealthy extent. The meme suggests that women may be expected not only to contribute financially but also to manage their partner’s emotional well-being. This expectation can create an imbalance in the relationship, potentially leading to resentment or frustration.

Collaboration and Shared Responsibilities

Conversely, the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme also promotes the idea that healthy relationships should involve collaboration and shared responsibilities. It encourages couples to communicate openly about their financial situation and expectations, ensuring both partners contribute equitably. TikTok users emphasize that it’s essential to foster a relationship where both parties actively participate in decision-making and share the burden of financial responsibilities.

Gaslighting and “Weaponized Incompetence”

While some TikTok users interpret the meme as a humorous take on financial dynamics, others see it as a form of gaslighting. The act of leaning in for a “Broke Boyfriend Hug” can be likened to “weaponized incompetence,” where someone intentionally performs poorly or pretends to be unaware to evade responsibility. In the context of this meme, it reflects the man’s reliance on the woman to shoulder the financial burden rather than seeking alternative means to support their lifestyle.

Financial Equilibrium and Red Flags

The “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme also serves as a cautionary tale. It underscores the importance of maintaining financial equilibrium within a relationship. If a boyfriend consistently depletes their partner’s finances without contributing, it could be indicative of financial abuse. TikTok users advocate for safeguarding one’s financial well-being and seeking support from trusted sources if such red flags emerge, emphasizing the need for healthy financial boundaries.

In conclusion, TikTok’s perspective on the “Broke Boyfriend Hug” meme extends far beyond its entertainment value. It has evolved into a powerful tool for highlighting deeper societal issues and fostering discussions about gender roles, relationship dynamics, and financial responsibility. As users continue to share their thoughts and experiences, the meme’s impact on perceptions of contemporary relationships remains significant.


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