The Truth about Texting Abbreviations


I realize everyone has limited time. But if you’re going to give your thumbs a rest by using texting abbreviations, let’s at least better understand them. Studies show that using texting abbreviations during the entire course of life will save you a total of sixteen minutes. So when you’re ninety years old and drooling, you can stare at the wall a little bit longer. Make it count.

Here are the most popular:

OMG (Oh my what – God? Gosh? Grapes?). This is mainly used when there is literally nothing else creative in the universe to say, generally an acceptable response to anything from “I’m having a ten-pound baby” to “Let’s have tacos for dinner, OMG I love tacos.” If we are going to perpetuate this abbreviation we should maybe vary it up a bit, like OMS (oh my stars!) or OMB (oh my bacon!). People can guess. It’ll be fun.

LMAO (Laugh My Ass Off). This is ridiculous. Let’s all stop using this. There is no one who laughs so much that they lose their own ass. Perhaps the laughing is so forceful and it burns so many calories that the fat melts off. This is odd at best, scary at worst. Because you need an ass. Without one, how would you look in jeans? How would you sit? If you are laughing this hard, you need to calm the heck down and take a sedative.

ROFL (Rolling on the Floor Laughing). I can’t believe this is even a thing. I’ve been on this planet for 40 long years, and have heard some extremely funny things. However, I have never rolled around on the floor about it. Not due to Lucille Ball. Not after hearing Jerry Seinfield. Not even listening to the Louis C.K. HBO special. There is dog hair on the floor, and germs. I’m not sure why you’d roll around down there, even for a good solid Trump joke.

LOL (Laugh out loud). This is a classic, but don’t you think it’s getting tired? It is rare that you laugh out loud. It’s often only a slight chuckle, so to say you are truly laughing is a bit extreme. Americans are going crazy with extremes. If you laugh at something, perhaps just say “Ha.” Or “Funny.” Or even “YFPS” = you are so funny that I want to take you to parties like a sideshow. Not to be extreme. As an aside, I had a friend once whose wife was in the hospital with a life-threatening illness, and her mother-in-law thought LOL meant “lots of love,” so whenever she’d text the poor girl she would say “Does the IV hurt? LOL” or “I’m so sorry you are losing your eyesight LOL.” That actually did make me laugh out loud.

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion). I’ve had this thrown at me a few times, meaning that the person is about to say something I do not want to hear. Because of course I wanted their vain, arrogant opinion.

The folks who post on our neighborhood garage sale always use the phrase ISO (in search of). That cracks me up because instead of leading with “I need a used dresser” what they are instead saying is that they are on a search! A quest! A scavenger hunt for treasure! I am desiring a purse made from the threads of Burberry!

The only phrases (in my humble opinion) that are truly worth the energy-save of an abbreviation is perhaps JK (just kidding), the occasional K (okay) and certainly GOTYM (get out of town you moron). Otherwise, you need to salvage your ass and stop rolling around on the dirty floor. No matter how funny Jim Gaffigan is, sit up for heaven’s sakes. K?



Top Ten Odd and Curious Thoughts (about Texting)


(1) I love to text.  My thumbs fly so fast you would not believe.  There’s nothing more gratifying than the three little dots that says “they’re writing something at this very moment! In a few short moments, unless they get a phone call, have to take something hot off the stove, have an urge to do something different, or feel like totally ignoring me, I’ll know what they are thinking!” Yay!

(2) Come to think of it, phone calls are actually more efficient. As a bonus you get to hear awkward pauses, which is a delightful hobby. Why did we start texting, anyway?

(3) Oh yes, I remember.  Because you don’t have to speak to anyone.  And you sound more intelligent when you write rather than dumbly asking your man how his day was.  It was fine? Super.  You ate grilled chicken for dinner? Awesome. And your day? Oh I already asked that.

(4) Conversely, you can’t save them like love letters.  Printed screen shots just aren’t the same. It’s perhaps a bit weird and creepy to print out volumes of screen shot text messages. I imagine strange giggling and Saturday nights spent scrapbooking.

(5) My mom started to text. Which means at 10 am when I’m sitting in a meeting I get reminded to buy a crock pot and that next summer we’re getting together for July 4 and random thoughts like “I watched five minutes of Honey Boo Boo and who watches this stuff because this show is awful and your father is cooking eggs” and your boss keeps glaring at you for your buzzing phone.  Little does he know its just mom, stream-of-conscious asking if you turned off your coffee maker.

(6) The standard test for if a friend will make it past the introductory text phase is whether they can handle humor via text or whether all snarky throw downs will end with an LOL and a smiley face for the loss.  That being said there are times that I’m just tired and a good solid LOL is all I can muster.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

(7) I am the worst at not being able to get in touch with a coworker so I just naturally assume that I can text them like “hey buddy, so sorry to bug you but can you just stop everything you’re doing and pay attention to me because I have this work issue that’s super important (to me only) and I need you to be interrupted during your chipotle burrito to explain this complex financial arrangement to me real quick-like? THANKS!!” or the like.

(8) I’ve found that including the standard smiley-faced emoticon conveys a decent amount of normalcy or perhaps diffuses a humorous statement. Yet more intricate pictures seem to scream “I’m a nerd and found out there’s a Spanish dancer twirly-skirt lady in my picture file so I’ll choose to use it” and you don’t want to be that guy

(9) I love it when someone texts an obvious mistake like “I’ll be there at eight because I’m running a little lame” and then later you get the follow-up text that says “late” like you couldn’t possibly figure out what they meant by using standard context and you would just naturally just assume they were talking smack about themselves and they needed to clear up the rumors

(10)               Most of my best friends answer about half of my texts because they have a life and could possibly fail to care for their children or not have time to eat or shave their legs if they answered them all but then the next day I’ll get a picture of Chunk, Missouri with a statement like “who the heck names a town Chunk” and then all is forgiven for not commenting on my cute kid pictures because I am a lover of random texts.

There are times, however, that I miss the days of talking for hours.  I yearn for the flavor and tenor of a human voice.  I miss the nervous talking over each other and twirling the cord in your hand and the amount of openness it takes to talk without the shield and power of words and time to prepare them.  And most importantly, you have to form a coherent verbal response instead of just saying HAHA! LOL! Rolling on the floor laughing! Seriously? I’ve never seen anyone roll on the floor unless it part of a fire drill, and they are usually cursing under their breath.

So as many reasons as there are to love texting – for it’s convenience and it’s ability to hide behind words – it’s good to pick up the phone sometimes, just to go through the exercise of speaking to another human being.  To find out that we are human, and raw, and awkward.  To lift your head up and look around you. Maybe at the core, we are all just scared we’ll look stupid and hide behind machines to be safe.

Be different. Brave.  Put your thumbs down.  Talk to one other.