With 1.4 million followers, Christina Najjar, aka Tinx, is often dubbed TikTok’s big sister. And she takes her role very seriously. Whether she is answering her followers’ questions during her weekly AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions or offering giving away extra press gifts on IG (little sisters love hand-me-downs), Tinx loves her followers — and sometimes, that means imparting some tough love advice. Tinx’s Box Theory is just one example, and it’s a pretty controversial one.
According to Box Theory, an idea Tinx first put forth in a May 9 TikTok, heterosexual men see women in three neat categories. Either they see you as a potential partner, a potential hookup, or they’re just not interested. This has nothing to do with how you act or if and when you hook up. Tinx never specifies what determines your box, but she makes one thing clear: it’s not something you can control.
Box Theory is based on Tinx’s own dating life, so it’s limited in scope and only applicable to heterosexual relationships. Blanket statements are never 100% accurate, especially when they attempt to generalize an entire gender, so take this one with a grain of salt. That said, according to Tinx and her fans, this theory tends to be pretty accurate — even scarily so.
Box Theory might oversimplify the complexities of dating and attraction. But if we take trust big sis Tinx and take Box Theory at face value, what can we learn from it? Let’s dig in.
What Is Tinx’s Box Theory?
According to Tinx, men put women into three boxes. Once they’ve made their mind up, they probably won’t change it. “It’s very difficult to shift box to box,” Tinx told her followers.
At first glance, Box Theory might seem like you’re giving the guy all of the power. It sucks to be viewed in only one way; you’re a complex human being! But according to Tinx, “Your behavior doesn’t really affect what box you’re in.” She turns that around into something empowering rather than limiting, especially for her followers that are running into the “When do I sleep with him?” question.
“If he meets you and is like, ‘I want to date this girl,’ you could puke on his shoes and sleep with him on the first night, and it wouldn’t matter,” Tinx explained. “If he meets you and he just wants to hook up, you could make him wait three months to sleep with you, it’s not gonna change that.”
Since you can’t shift between boxes, Tinx suggested, “Sleep with him when you are ready.” Beyond that, Box Theory’s biggest takeaway is to be your own authentic self. Don’t try to act like someone you’re not in order to catch someone’s attention. It probably won’t work, and even if it does, you shouldn’t have to put on a show in order to be liked.
Which Box Are You In?
According to Tinx, figuring out which box you’re in is actually pretty easy. “If you’re confused, you’re in the hookup box,” she wrote in the comments section of her June 18 TikTok.
That sounds pretty straightforward, but what are some telltale signs of each box? “If you’re in the dating box, he actually knows things about your life,” Tinx explained. “He texts you just to check in... and not just to make plans or hook up. He takes you on... date[s]. He remembers your friend’s name.”
The hookup box is more “hot and cold.” Tinx said, “He might take a long time to respond to your texts, or only text you on weekends. He cancels plans last-minute. Basically, if you feel like you’re not a priority to him, you’re in the hookup box.”
Tinx doesn’t go into the “he wants nothing to do with you” box in more depth. But it should be pretty self-explanatory; if he’s ignoring you, it’s a no.
What’s Reverse Box Theory?
Per Tinx, the opposite thing happens for most women in their 20s, especially their early 20s. “Women are so different,” she explained in her original Box Theory TikTok on May 9. “We meet a guy, and we’re like ‘Oh, he’s just for fun!’ And then three weeks later, we’re sitting down to brunch with our friends, being like, ‘So I’m thinking about Tuscany for our wedding.’”
In a July 13 TikTok, she claimed that women often “prematurely put guys in the ‘I want to date them’ box,” regardless of the person’s personality or how long they’ve spent with them. It can even happen after a few messages on a dating app. She added, “Women often have a scarcity mindset when it comes to dating... And this mindset, in turn, puts men on a pedestal.”
Per Tinx, recognizing Reverse Box Theory helps shift your expectations so you recognize your own worth. She explains, “The mindset should be: Do I like this guy? Is he good enough for me? Does he have a headboard? ... He doesn’t get to go in the ‘I want to date him’ box until he’s proven himself.” Fair enough.
So What’s The Takeaway?
Box Theory and Reverse Box Theory make a lot of sense (I know that Reverse Box Theory definitely rings true in my life), but where do these theories leave us? Now that we have this information, how do we actually make dating better?
“Match their energy always,” Tinx told her followers on July 18. “Know your worth, cause you’re worth a lot.”
The next time you’re questioning where you stand after a date or browsing a dating app with starry-eyed expectations, keep Tinx’s advice in mind. Just remember that dating can’t happen entirely in theory, and there are exceptions to every rule and ambiguities to every box.
Still, if you believe in Box Theory, feel free to test it out. Just have a cleanup plan prepared if you’re going to take the “puke on your crush’s shoes” route. According to WikiHow, baking soda and laundry detergent should do the trick.