Top 10 TikTok Trends of 2021
The TikTok trends of 2021 that helped to keep us sane.
As the most visited website in the world, TikTok is now more than humanity’s most powerful tool against boredom. The social media powerhouse is quite possibly the next step in social media marketing. With unique niche communities and an entrancing algorithm, TikTok is a clear path forward for influencers and businesses alike.
In another year of this endless pandemic, TikTokers brought levity, creativity, and educational entertainment to viewers across the globe. While some trends are fleeting, they bring an intensity and an opportunity for collaboration that is hard to deny.
Here are 10 of our favorite TikTok trends from 2021.
#10 Zoom Meeting Mishaps
As more and more people shift to remote life, Zoom is an increasingly important part of our recent lives. So, it only makes sense that numerous incidents occurred where people forgot to turn off their mics or cameras. Whether they fall asleep or scratch something a bit awkward, they brought a lot of levity to life.
Many TikTokers love to share these incidents because so many people can relate to them. One of the most popular posts is from @thiswellplannedlife. Not realizing her camera is on, she continues to make exasperated gestures to get other people to wrap it up.
When the meeting should have been an email ##wfh ##workfromhome ##zoommeeting ##meeting ##worktok♬ original sound – 💕 Chevonne 💕
#9 Understanding the Assignment
Saying someone “understood the assignment” became a go-to for describing someone who exceeded expectations. If a famous actress hits the red carpet in a stunning outfit or steals the spotlight in a film, that’s a prime example of understanding the assignment.
This is all thanks to a song released by Tay Money. Now, “The Assignment” takes on new life as TikTok users repurpose the audio to showcase their achievements and skills. For example, one TikToker showed off her weight loss progress.
In another video, an Amazon driver hides a package after reading a note on the doormat. Even popstar Taylor Swift got in on the trend with the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), saying she’s finally giving fans what they want.
With over 686,000 videos using the sound, it’s now one of the hardest songs to get out of your head…
My Amazon driver understood the assignment 🤣🤣 best driver ever ##amazon ##amazondriver ##mvp ##understandtheassignment♬ The Assignment – Tay Money
#8 Dating in your…
This trend started when @jamiejukesuk posted a video highlighting the struggles of dating in your 30s. To the tune of “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” he gets knocked to the ground over and over and over…
Dating in your 30’s #over30 #dating #funny #fyp #foryoupage #foryourpage #gay♬ Dating in your…… – Jamie Buckley pt and actor
For many women, though, they felt they faced the same struggles in their 20s. From there, the trend evolved into a showcase of life struggles outside of dating.
#7 Good Soup
Sometimes, trends take off for… no real reason. It’s hard to explain why they get so popular or dig up the source. The “good soup” trend uses a clip from the 2017 season of HBO’s Girls. In the scene, Adam Driver sips some soup, makes the OK sign with his hand, and says “good soup.”
The original TikTok video has over 36 million views, but users have used it on a variety of videos. From a cat drinking its owner’s water to someone catching their own tears in their mouth, it’s made the rounds.
The utter randomness and versatility of the clip consumed many an FYP this year, making it one of the top TikTok trends of 2021.
Good soup 👌🏽♬ good soup – MARVEL FANS
#6 Tell Me…Without Telling Me
In this top trend, TikTokers challenged other creators to tell them something by showing them something. For example, if you say “Tell me you’re from Texas without telling me you’re from Texas,” you might show a video of a guy riding a horse through a Houston neighborhood.
Because it left the topic so open, this trend took over broad and niche communities, allowing them to showcase unique aspects of life as well as the more cliche aspects of life. From wholesome to cringe, it has something for everyone.
He told me he was gonna run down to the beach and a few seconds later I see him creating this…. #fyp #tellmewithouttellingme #relationship♬ Stop trauma dumping on this lol – Diana🦕
#5 Berries and Cream
Now, this one is a bit strange because it harkens back to a 2007 commercial. Back then, Starburst released an odd commercial to introduce its berries and cream flavor. The commercial featured the “little lad,” decked out in an awkward bob and awkward outfit.
As he eyes the sweets, he starts to dance around, saying “I’m a little lad who loves berries and cream.” While the meme floated around the Internet for years, it began to lull. This year, it made its debut on TikTok.
Some posts feature people doing the dance while others show folk with questionable haircut choices. However, the true strength of this 2021 trend is in how bizarre it got. Even the little lad himself joined TikTok to partake in the spiraling chaos.
1 million ! on TLL day ! WOW! Thank you #berriesandcream #littlelad #dance♬ original sound – The Little Lad
#4 Mama Said It Was Okay
“Mama Said” emerged as a trend with a clip from the song by Lukas Graham. While many variations of the trend used the audio, one of the most wholesome versions came from people posting a criticism of themselves with images of a person who gave them permission.
In one video, the user posted “Why are you so goofy and childlike?” followed by a montage of photos featuring Robin Williams. Another had the caption, “You’re 33, why don’t you have kids?” with images of Jennifer Aniston.
Through this trend, TikTok users paid homage to the people who made them feel okay with themselves. From lifestyle choices to body image, users highlighted the influence of others on their lives.
#greenscreen 🤷♀️ #mamasaid #mamasaidthatitwasok #foryou inspo: @sunleopard 🥰♬ Mama Said – Lukas Graham
One of the weirder pieces of audio on TikTok, users used this humorous audio to lift others up or brag a bit about themselves.
gen z weddings boutta be lit♬ Sheeeshhh – King Julio
#2 Couch Guy (or the Surprise Visit)
Here’s a cautionary tale for cute relationship posts. What started as a… sweet post quickly devolved into an investigation. It began with a user posting a video about surprising her boyfriend at college.
In the clip, “couch guy” is on the couch with three other girls and slowly gets up to hug his girlfriend. With the other girls and his lukewarm reaction, TikTokers took it and ran with it. Some suspected he was cheating on her and flooded the video with red flag comments. Others broke down the clip moment by moment for signs of what was really going on.
Then, the parodies started. Users reenacted the scenario with fake surprise visits where the partner is by now means thrilled to see them or clearly with someone else. One clip featured a girl walking in on her boyfriend’s proposal to another woman.
If there’s one thing TikTok is great at, it’s taking a supposedly tender moment and turning it into a massive in-joke.
robbie had no idea #couchguy♬ still falling for you – audiobear
#1 Sea Shanties
Including this partially because… how was this 2021? How long has this year actually been?
Adrift in troubling waters for over a year, there’s no surprise that the first weird TikTok trend of the year was a strange obsession with sea shanties.
It comes from Scottish singer Nathan Evans, who went viral for his performance of a New Zealand sea shanty. Other users quickly expanded upon it to add harmonies and instrumentation.
The #ShantyTok community quickly became home for any user seeking the vibe of centuries-old tunes meant to ease the drudgery of life on the seas. It’s, you know, relatable. The uproar of #ShantyTok should have been a clear indication that 2021 would not be a normal year.
Still, what a glorious distraction it was. Now, where’s the rum?
#duet with @the.bobbybass SHANTY TIME once again! Adding a lower middle harmony 🙂 @nthnevnss @_luke.the.voice_ @apsloan01 #shantytok #wellerman♬ Wellerman – Sea Shanty – Nathan Evans