TBH app spreads positivity with anonymous compliments


Eric Hang

Students choose one of four friends to send each compliment to.

SJ Lasley, Staff Writer

A new app has revolutionized compliment-giving in the digital age. 

On Instagram, users often post pictures with the caption “like for a tbh,” or “to be honest.”  If someone likes the post, the poster will leave a comment on the post with their honest opinion on the “liker’s” looks and personality. The posts promising a tbh generally received more likes and attention than others, which sometimes resulted in generic messages. 

“I never really liked [the tbh’s],” junior Carlee Marquez said. “They were never very heartfelt.”

The comments are meant to be honest, but sometimes miss their mark.

“Some people didn’t want to chase drama and would spread positivity. Other people were blatantly honest, and it sometimes felt rude,” freshman Sydney Hammerman said.

These messages now come in a new form. The app TBH asks users to provide their name and school, then creates a friends list of their contacts who use the app. Users are presented with a compliment and asked to chose one of four friends to send the compliment to.  The preset compliments resemble yearbook superlatives, ranging from “real life Wonder Woman” to “most likely to visit Mars.”

“I really like the ones that say I’m helpful or unique,” Hammerman said. “I got one that said my differences make me an interesting person and that meant a lot to me.”

Players receive gems after receiving compliments, which can be spent to unlock more opportunities to give compliments. Inviting contacts to download TBH unlocks another round of compliments. These incentives contributed to the rapid rise in popularity of TBH over the first few weeks of the school year.

“I only downloaded [the app] because I had gotten around ten text invitations,”  freshman George Caldwell said.

Users are notified when given compliments while the sender remains anonymous. Many students use this app to give sincere compliments, although a few take advantage of their anonymity. 

“There is sarcasm in the app. People vote for the name that makes them laugh, not the name that makes the most sense,” Caldwell said.

The anonymous component is a driving factor in the popularity of TBH. TBH keeps the names of compliment givers secret, but does provide an age and gender. Since players know that only their friends list can give them compliments, this provides intrigue and entices people to keep playing.

“The anonymity is definitely better for giving compliments,” sophomore Sambhu Balakrishnan said. “It’s fun to guess who gives me ‘tbh’s, but sometimes I’d like to know who it was.”

Students have responded positively to the growing popularity of the app. 

“The app makes me happy because I love getting sweet comments. They make my day and really boost my confidence,” sophomore Skylar Williams said.