The refrain is a list of the seven traits the singer "hates" most about her ex, with the seventh item being her frustration that despite his flaws, he makes her love him.
In one verse, Cyrus asks for a sincere apology and states, "If you text it, I'll delete it", which Molly Lambert of The New York Times said "perfectly captur[es] our confusing age of technologically mediated courtship." Todd Martens of The Los Angeles Times wrote that while he wished the song had played up Cyrus' frustration rather than concluding with the kind final verse, "the winning, full-on chorus -- and Miley's exuberance -- are enough to make it a success." Heather Phares of Allmusic contended, "7 Things" is a twangy, clever piece of love-hate pop that feels descended from Shania Twain's flirty mix of rock and country" and marked it as one of the best tracks on Breakout.
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For a moment, she is replaced by a different girl holding a small stuffed monkey.
Cyrus then reappears, holding onto her necklace and wearing a multicolored sequin sundress designed by Sass & Bide, black Chuck Taylor All-Stars, and leg warmers.
These performances were recorded and sold exclusively by the United Kingdom i Tunes Store as a live extended play titled i Tunes Live from London.
"7 Things" was also included in the set list of Cyrus' first world tour, the Wonder World Tour; Cyrus performed the song in a black leather ensemble paired with a silver rosary while overhead video screens projected a conflagration. Thompsen of The Oregonian said Cyrus' performance of "7 Things" the September 14 concert in Portland, Oregon at the Rose Garden Arena "showed what a powerhouse she can be using her voice and influence to get her message out".
In the video for '7 Things' she wears Nick’s diabetes dog tags while singing about how his vanity and insecurity undermined their relationship." Jessica Herndon of People similarly points out the necklace and the fact that Jonas, "who split with Cyrus in late 2008 after two-and a half years of dating – has Type 1 diabetes and is a spokesperson for awareness of the disease." "[W]ith '7 Things,' I think a lot of people do, you know, think it’s about Nick Jonas, and if they think it is, that’s fine, or whoever they think it’s about.