If you’ve been on social media at all during the past few months, you’ve probably stumbled across the term ‘delulu’. It is an abbreviation of the word ‘delusional’, and unsurprisingly describes a person who holds onto beliefs or ideas that seem irrational or disconnected from reality. Long story short, every gen Zer ever.
Nevertheless, being delulu is not something that the 20-somethings of the world feel ashamed of. It actually builds a cornerstone to some of our most popular trends, such as being delulu in the workplace.
To explain this new trend, I should probably take things from the very top. Work isn’t exactly working for most of us. People are facing more intense working days than ever, with less time for their private lives and are reporting burnout at an all-time high, according to research by the Trades Union Congress, or TUC. Did anyone else see that video of the girl crying over how rough the 9 to 5 grind really is? Because honestly, I feel you babe.
On top of that, workplaces have not been very welcoming to gen Z. Gen Z workers are frequently branded as being ‘difficult,’ ‘lazy,’ or ‘unqualified,’ merely for expecting adequate training, supportive management, a fair workload, and good compensation—we’re not exactly asking for too much. Consequently, many of these new grads enter the workforce feeling incredibly anxious and discouraged.
Enter delulu, the new technique for feeling happy, relaxed, confident and competent at your job.
Being delulu at work is about letting yourself believe that you are more qualified and better suited for a job than you really are. Pretending that you are actually killing it can help you feel more confident and secure in your career path, which can then in turn open your eyes to more opportunities and consequently success. In a nutshell, it’s the gen Z version of ‘fake it till you make it’.
The trend is being spearheaded by young women on TikTok, who explain in numerous videos how being delulu has played a pivotal role in their careers’ success.
Regardless of what generation they belong to, young women are frequently affected by imposter syndrome, which describes the sensation of one feeling as though they are not qualified enough for a position, and attained it solely through luck. Embracing being delulu can serve as an antidote to neutralise all symptoms of imposter syndrome.
To get to the bottom of this delulu craze, SCREENSHOT spoke to one of these particular young women. Romanee Virgara is a 25-year-old content creator based in Adelaide, Australia and has a following of over 94,000. The social media star quit her job as a logistics manager in February 2023 to become a business coach and public figure. She swears by this technique and has made multiple videos promoting it to her followers.
When asked in what ways embracing the delulu mindset has helped her progress in her career and manifest success, the influencer replied: “Embracing delulu for me has meant that I’ve not allowed my logical mind to prevent me from trying things. So much of the time we allow ‘logical’ thoughts and ‘rationale’ to talk us out of trying things because they ‘won’t work’.”
Virgara continued: “Whereas the premise of being’delulu is telling yourself you’ve already achieved what you want and embodying that energy. Allowing you to move yourself towards the life you want.”
Reflecting on how delulu is best applied professionally for young women, Virgara replied: “I think delulu is best applied professionally in the way they carry themselves. Showing up as the person they desire to be, embody her already. Being delulu in this sense is dressing in the way she would like to in her workplace to feel like the empowered version of her, speaking out and on things they feel they aren’t confident enough to, showing up in a way that aligns with the roles they wish to work towards. Look at what your career goals require, and start showing up as that person.”
Nevertheless, there has been some backlash to this trend. Critics argue that adopting the delulu mindset might encourage overconfidence and dishonesty. Weighing this counterpoint is important because being regarded as overconfident and out-of-touch is a misconception gen Zers often have to deal with in the workplace.
“They think they’re better than you, smarter than you, more capable than you, and they will tell you to your face,” said Akpan Ukeme, head of human resources at SGK Global Shipping Services in conversation with The Hill over why gen Zers make ‘difficult’ employees.
When I asked Romanee about this, she responded: “So I think being delulu is more about the way you speak to yourself, rather than being dishonest outwardly.”
“I think being dishonest or manipulative is a no-go,” the content creator noted. “When practising any kind of law of attraction or delulu tools, it’s important to check in with yourself. Are you being honest? Are you being manipulative? This is about allowing your mind to practise thinking outside of its own limitations and developing habits and behaviours that are aligned with the best version of you. This is not about being deceitful or manipulative,” Virgara concluded.
Ultimately, the delulu trend is nothing more than a tool for approaching tasks more positively and appearing more self-confident in your job. Obviously there are some considerations netizens should have. For instance, if you constantly need to visualise a different reality to make it through your workday, you might just not be on the career path.
Furthermore, it’s important to know that being delulu won’t be able to counteract bad management or a toxic work environment in which young people simply aren’t being taken seriously enough. Gen Zers did not come up with “bare minimum Mondays,” “lazy girl jobs,” and “acting your wage” because we are unwilling to work. Instead, these are tricks we developed because we are refusing to sell ourselves short to jobs that do not return nearly as much as they ask from us. A lot needs to be done to make work more workable for the new generations and delulu probably isn’t the answer to anxiety, burnout and stress.
However, if you just need a little bit of self-confidence, direction, and want to harness the power of visualisation and manifestation, this might just be the right trend for you.