Chinese Urban Dictionary: Bolixin

By Mia Li, August 20, 2019

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bolixin / bō lí xīn / 玻璃心 n. a person who is overly sensitive about criticism and reacts strongly to any mildly negative feedback

A: Great vacation photos! Your girlfriend looks much younger than you. 

B: What are you saying? Are you saying I’m not good enough for her?!

A: No. It was just a casual observation. Don’t be such a bolixin.  

B: How can you disrespect me like that?! 

Social media has made online arguing a favored national pastime. After every WeChat headline and every Douyin video, there is a “What do you think?” or “Who do you agree with?” that follows. (And don’t lie, sometimes you click on a headline just to see the comment section.) 

With all arguments, someone has to lose. Veteran keyboard warriors understand that online arguing tends to be more vicious than its real-life equivalent (and manage to not have their feelings hurt too much). However, there are also thin-skinned people who are not used to the style of arguing in Douyin comments where it can go straight from “I think milk teas in Beijing malls are overpriced” to “You will always be poor, you loser” in seconds. 

The internet calls these unfortunate individuals bolixin, which literally mean “hearts made of glass.” Like delicate glass vases, their hearts are fragile and can shatter at the softest blows. It’s easy to identify bolixins in real life. Their brows twist and lock at mild criticism. Their eyes swell with tears after comments like “I find what you said problematic.” They can storm off with hands covering their anguished faces at any sign of disagreement. 

It is a touch harder to identify these tender and sensitive souls online. Sometimes they disappear after negative comments, or lash out uncontrollably with passive-aggressive phrases. Bolixins tend to leave over-dramatic and emotionally high-octave responses like “You’ve ruined my life,” “How can people be so mean?” and “The whole world against me.” 

It is unclear how some can still be this sensitive online in this day and age. (Maybe they live in areas that only got internet connection recently.) Generally, they are thought to have negative self-image and a heightened sense of self-protection. In their crusade of protecting their own ego, they forget to think about whether the comment section should matter that much. Other dwellers of the comment section would mark out bolixin like minefields to avoid. 

If you have trouble taking a joke sometimes or get no response when you post something online, ask yourself if you are a bolixin, because Douyin comment sections are not for the thin-skinned.


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