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Petty Party in the USA: How Many Americans Embrace Their Petty Side?

‘I’m petty, yeah, yeah, I’m petty, P-E-T-T-Y'… Admit it, you've probably got 'P-E-T-T-Y' looping in your head now, thanks to the #petty TikTok trend that’s amassed a staggering 21.7 billion views. It’s the kind of content most people can’t help but resonate with. After all, let’s be honest, who hasn’t indulged in a bit of (harmless) pettiness at some point?

We set out to gauge just how petty our nation can be by polling 3,000 Americans. From roommate battles, relationship grudges, or holding on to resentment from the smallest slights. Get ready for some laughter, cringing, and perhaps a bit too much relatability as we dive into the world of petty behavior.

Key Findings:

  • 84% of Americans admit to being petty
  • Alabama (96%) has the highest level of pettiness, followed by Nevada (95%), Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Illinois and Arkansas all with 94%.
  • In contrast, District of Columbia stands as the least petty state (67%), with Vermont following closely (68%), then Nebraska, Utah (both 71%) and New York (72%)
  • 22% reveal they are their pettiest when it comes to their current or ex romantic partner

States of Petty Affairs: The Pettiest States in the US

Usually when someone irritates you, there’s at least a small part of you that just wants to retaliate, and sometimes you simply can’t resist being, well, petty. Our nationwide survey reveals Americans are in agreement with this, with a whopping 84% admitting to being petty. It appears that the TikTok trend and petty antics are not just popular on the internet!

Naturally, pettiness varies in intensity, and some may show more resistance to these impulses than others. So, we questioned respondents on how they would rate their own pettiness on a scale ranging from 0 to 10, the average response was 5.9.

America’s Petty Confessions

So, which US states truly excel in the art of pettiness? While America generally finds common ground, we decided to delve deeper and uncover which states embrace it more than others. Alabama claims the title as the pettiest state, boasting a remarkable 96% of respondents who openly admit to this trait. Nevada closely trails behind with 95% acknowledging their own pettiness, followed by Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, and Arkansas all with 94%.

In contrast, the District of Columbia is the least petty state, yet still has a notable 67% of respondents confessing to this characteristic. Vermont with 68% is also at the lower end of the scale. then Nebraska, Utah (both 71%), and New York (72%).

When Do People Petty up a Storm?

Whether you find yourself riled up by thoughts of your ex or frustration from being cut off by another driver, there are plenty of situations that can bring out your inner pettiness. We explored which of these scenarios tend to trigger the biggest reactions.

Relationships 22%
While driving 18%
At work 16%
Friendships 15%
Social Media 14%
Gaming 11%
While playing sport 4%

In the grand spectacle of pettiness, it seems that relationships, both current and past, take the top spot with an impressive 22% of respondents admitted that this is the biggest cause of their irritation. Closely followed by road frustrations at 18%. Surprisingly, gaming was close to the bottom with just 11%.

Petty Confessions

We couldn’t resist asking for some petty confessions, because, you know, people are seriously funny when it comes to acts of light-hearted revenge. In fact, one of our survey participants even described themselves as “Princess Petty”. So, without further ado, here are a selection of our top picks:

  • “I almost ended a friendship over $3.”
  • “Before moving out of my old apartment, I took all the batteries out of everything my jerk roommate owned.”
  • “I'm the type that will slow down to 5 miles per hour if you tailgate me-then suddenly slam on the brakes. Watch out!”
  • “I turn the game off when my wife is winning.”
  • “I put chewed gum in the door handle of someone who took a parking spot I had been waiting for.”
  • “My boyfriend would not interact with me on social media, so I unfollowed him”
  • “I killed a friend in Zomboid (zombie game) because they were taking too long to loot the store.”
  • “My girlfriend once forgot to put gas in the car, so I hid the keys when she wanted to go out.”

In summary, it’s evident that Americans don’t hesitate to acknowledge their pettiness, a sentiment shared across the country. After all, if harmless pettiness brings a bit of satisfaction, who are we to pass judgment? Though perhaps you might think twice before tailgating someone or taking another person's parking spot!


We surveyed 3,000 Americans on whether they would describe themselves as petty. We asked them to rate their pettiness on a scale of 1-10, reveal typical petty scenarios and share some petty stories. We also noted their state of residence. The age range was 18+ with all participants living in the United States. We rounded the percentages up to the nearest number.

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