Chat Acronyms Exposed

Glib, detached, oft taken for granted, the following chat and text acronyms are examined and exposed for both their oblique intent and implication herein.


Before it officially became an acronym, people have been passive-aggressively saying “I don’t know” as a prelude to some derisive comment about what they ostensibly didn’t know about. Employed with affected nonchalance, it implies a kind of noble concession to one’s subjectivity, as if the imminent insult were merely some benign opinion one is offering, but in actuality it’s simply used mitigate the subsequent conscious offense. I don’t know, it’s like the people who use idk are like fucking assholes probably.

Example: idk just feel like susan is a retarded cunt


“Laugh[ing] out loud” is less a description than it is an affirmation given to the person who has supposedly evoked such audible laughing. The “lol” has become somewhat an imperative for an amicable chat or text message discourse, both parties complicit in the lowered standards of humor. The extended euphemism “lmao” (laugh my ass off) is a further example of such figurative flourish. For every humorless conversation, these mutual conspirators seem to be viscerally unable to contain themselves. The “lol” is also used as a solipsist commentary on one’s own perceived humor, where one affixes the lol stamp to something they think is evocative, in effort to garner corroboration.

Example: i put a firecracker inside a squash and it blew up lol


“Oh my god,” despite the invoked deity, is a secular (arguably blasphemous) phrase uttered as of form of glib lament toward perceived unfairness, harrowing experience, or other incurred tribulation. Rhetorically, the more spread out the three words are uttered, the more indignant and effective it becomes, like “oh [pause] my [pause] god” (syntactically, a period is often used to punctuate the cadence e.g. “”). Those grossly mistreated may wish to insert “fucking” between “my god,” as in, “oh my fucking god.” This omniscient God being spoken to is aware of all our First World problems — the bad cell signal, the overpriced cocktail, ennui regarding a graduate degree, crotchless pants on a windy day — and directing his attention elsewhere to more deserving places. We all know God is Jesus’ father, thus the “omg”/”jesus christ” exasperation(s) are kept duly in the family.

Example: omg i feel pubes on my teeth


“Just kidding” is usually preceded by a harsh comment or insult, for which the insulter is too proud to explicitly apologize. This is used in the same passive-aggressive manner as idk, where the offender is free to basically say anything they want, shielded by the retroactive “jk” — though we know they were far from just kidding. The next time you see “jk” after a comment, erase it in your mind to truly gather the feelings of your supposed friend. Cases in which “jk” immediately follow descriptions of acne, weight, and sexual competence, are most cruel, and cruelly, probably true. Verity was never a friend.

Example: you kinda suck at drums, even a drum machine, jk


An abridged “ok” (itself an abridged “okay”), it is a gentle mark, suggesting to your chat partner that you are a very mellow and easy going person. Almost listless, that single letter seems to float inside a chat window as a zen koan, a haiku too lazy for any more syllables. The “k” is kalm, kollected, kareful to not add drama to dramatic conversations; its propagators are timelessly chill, ones you can say anything to. If you are lucky enough to chat someone who not only types — but means — “k,” hold on to them, k?


— i’m sort of seeing that bro i cheated on you with, sorry abt that

— k


The self-placation of “no big deal” often expresses things which are indeed a big deal, used to compensate for unresolved psychiatrically suspect feelings. Unlike the near spiritual “k,” it is of deeply conflicted and contradictory sentiment. The utterer of “nbd” uses emotional detachment/disassociation as a coping mechanism for out-of-control feelings. You may often notice “nbd” accompanying grave or ponderous news or assertions of one’s character. Please understand that it is a big deal, and that such affected stoicisms are cries in darkness for help.

Example: might be preggers nbd


The grim concession “fuck my life” is an existential exertion of depleted self-deprecation, a final utterance before denial or other grave measures are taken. The person who says “fuck my life” is not soliciting their chat partner to come over and “fuck [their] life,” but rather, confirming that their life is already fucked. Of course, we being of the auspicious First World, our lives even at worst are far from fucked (relatively), so the “fml” motif is dramatic, of socioeconomic privilege, and somewhat self-involved. A person who says “fml” is generally simply bored, a time where self-destructive fucking of life, or the concession to a fucked life, may provide necessary distraction.

Example: fml i live with my parents


When your chat partner types that they will “be right back,” be prepared to wait a long time, for they are not simply retrieving a Hot Pocket from the toaster oven (est. 35 seconds); or going to the bathroom (est. 1:20 minutes); or negotiating a rent disparity with a landlady whose English is a second language (est. 6:21 minutes), but rather, they have decided the leave the chat but are too non-committal to tell you. It’s okay: you have 5-6 browser tabs open and quickly emotionally/intuitively detach yourself from your fickle chat partner, who has started watching a marathon of Full House on TBS. You finally cave in and solicit their whereabouts hours later, imagining a happy trail of nap-drool down their cheek. By the time they are back (via “back”), it is the next day. You are less hurt than you are relieved, and the chat about nothing continues.



— [two hours later] u there? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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