Mobile messaging of all types has quickly become the main way that people communicate today. Text messaging, direct messaging on a social media platform, or using an instant messaging application like Slack for work-related things are all examples of ways we communicate.
Odds are with all of the messaging and online reading you’ve done, you’ve probably come across a text message abbreviation or two that caused you to open a new tab or browser and google it.
Our goal with this guide is to discuss some of the more commonly (and uncommonly) used abbreviations and slang words and their meaning so that you can feel more educated on the topic.
Commonly used Text Message Abbreviations
- LOL – Laugh Out Loud
This is probably the most commonly known abbreviation on this list. Also used at the end of sentences to reduce the awkwardness of serious conversations.
- BRB – Be Right Back
This one’s fairly obvious.
- LMAO – Laughing My A** Off
I’d be willing to wager that while this text abbreviation is supposed to be reserved for moments when you are dying of laughter, 90% of LMAO texts are sent with a straight face.
- BTW – By the Way
Oh, by the way
- GTG – Got to Go
A great way to end that awkward conversation in a hurry!
• WYA- Where You At?
“I’m here. WYA?”
• SMH – Shaking My Head
For those moments when someone just isn’t acting right.
• OMG – Oh My God
“He just asked me out, OMG.”
• IDK – I Don’t Know
• OMW – On My Way!
My keyboard barely let me type the acronym without correcting it to “On My Way!” for me.
• IMO/ IMHO – In my opinion / In my humble opinion
“Cloud Contact AI is the best SMS Marketing Service IMO.”
• NVM – Never mind
• FTW – For the Win
“Crocs in the summer FTW.”
• ILY – I Love You
• ILYSM – I Love You So Much
This one should be reserved for that really special someone
• BF – Boyfriend
• GF – Girlfriend
Commonly Used Slang Terms
- Sus – Suspicious. This is commonly used if someone is acting off. Ex: “His responses have been short. He’s acting kind of sus.”
- No Cap – No lie. Ex: “My phone died last night. No cap.”
- Low Key – Not well known. Ex: “This fishing hole is low key the best in the valley.”
Business/ Professional Abbreviations
- B2B – Business to Business
- B2C – Business to Consumer
- EOD – End of Day
- SMS – Short Message Service
- MMS – Multimedia Messaging Service
- WIP – Work in Progress
- TL;DR – Too Long, Didn’t Read
- LMK – Let Me Know
To Abbreviate or Not to Abbreviate
Abbreviations are a great tool when it comes to messaging. They save you and the recipient of your message time. However, there are cases when you should and should not use them.
When in a business environment, abbreviations are best used sparingly. The occasional abbreviation is okay, but presenting yourself as articulate enough to type out full words is important. This is particularly true if you are in a new workplace. The last thing you want is for your employer to think that their new hiree is incapable of spelling.
Unfortunately there are no hard rules when it comes to abbreviations. Some employers abbreviate everything they can, others hate abbreviations. If you see your other coworkers or boss using them then by all means, go for it. If everyone else seems reluctant to do so though, I’d hold off. This really is a case-by-case decision with a lot of variables.
One thing to avoid indefinitely is filling your message with multiple abbreviations. No one wants to read a text that is so chock-full of acronyms that it is impossible to decipher.
What about Slang?
This one is a little easier to decide on. While being ‘hip’ to the current slang is valuable because it can help you avoid confusion in the world, it’s best left outside of the office.
When you use slang in a professional setting, you run the risk of offending a colleague or customer who may not understand what you’re saying. Try to avoid slang use in these cases.
The most important take away from this article should be the importance of knowing your audience. Shifting how you speak based on who you’re talking to is kind of a no-brainer in day-to-day life. The same should be said when it comes to sending messages.
A message sent to your boss full of slang and abbreviations may not be received well, even though it’s fine among friends. Try and stick to a professional dialogue when in a business environment, and leave the text message abbreviations for more casual conversation, unless they are business specific.
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