What People Say On The Internet Vs What They Really Mean


What They Say: brb

What They Mean: I probably have nothing else to do right now, but I can’t just stop responding to you entirely, so I’m going to pretend to be off doing something really important so as to justify my sudden, prolonged absence.

What They Say: [Sets gchat status to “busy”]

What They Mean: Okay, let’s be honest, I’m not actually “busy” for literal weeks on end, I just want a semi-legitimate justification for the times when I just choose not to respond to people, and would also like to simultaneously dissuade people from sending me less-pertinent information.

What They Say: lol

What They Mean: I may have briefly smirked or let a little puff of air out of my nose, but I am by no means laughing — and certainly not in any way that could be described as “loud.” If anything, I am “lying out loud.”


What They Mean: I may have elicited an actual, audible chuckle, congratulations. (Though there is also a strong chance that I remained perfectly still and thought to myself, “Heh, this was very funny.”)

What They Say: Omg I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu you are so beautiful can I please have your babies ok thanks

What They Mean: You are a good friend, and I am proud to declare you as such, but let’s be honest, it would be kind of weird if we said these things to each other in real life as often as we say them online.


What They Mean: This is vaguely upsetting, I wish I hadn’t come across this.

What They Say: [something something something] Hitler

What They Mean: Okay so basically there is no way for me to win this argument, or even exit it with a little bit of grace, so I’m just going to compare whatever I’m arguing against to Hitler and call it a day so I can go eat some spicy Cheetos.

What They Say: “Maybe”

What They Mean: LOL I’m totally not showing up to this shit.

What They Say: I’m wearing that little silk nightie you like, but I can take it off if you like ;)

What They Mean: I’m in sweatpants watching Gossip Girl on the other tab, but come on, we’ve been doing a long distance relationship for eight months now, I’m not getting paid for this shit.

What They Say: Oh, I’m just listening to that underground shoegaze album Pitchfork loves so much, it’s pretty good I think…

What They Mean: I’m listening to terrible Christmas music by the cast of High School Musical for the fourth time today AND I LOVE IT

What They Say: I’m not crying from the sheer beauty of this Les Miserables trailer on YouTube, someone’s just cutting onions :’)

What They Mean: JK I’m literally ugly-sobbing into my blanket and I hope everyone hears it because I am not ashamed of this love

What They Say: [something something something] lol

What They Mean: I am actually totally serious right now but I don’t want you to know that and get irrationally upset about it, so I’m gonna temper it with a “lol” to avoid conflict. You’re such a bitch lol Thought Catalog Logo Mark


Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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