When we type “LOL,” are any of us actually laughing?
Wait, let me backtrack for a minute. Tone is everything. With the help of body language, our ears pick up on the laughter in a friend’s voice or the obvious irritation in our dad’s voice. It determines the way somebody comes across and it determines our reaction. But when we depend on text instead of audio or visuals to communicate, that’s when things get tricky. It’s notoriously difficult to understand somebody’s tone via the internet, texting, etc, which leads to miscommunication or the fear of coming off the wrong way. In fact, the way we talk online is more than just lingo, it’s a new dialect in which the inclusion of an exclamation mark can turn a conversation from terse to playful. All of this has an impact on how we talk to each other, and how we use words.
This brings me back to “LOL.” Sure, you might use “LOL” (caps or otherwise) to express genuine laugher, or maybe you’re like me and you write “LOL IRL” to indicate actual laughing out loud. But when it comes down to it, we don’t even just use “LOL” to signify whether we find something funny or not! Here are nine ways you actually use “LOL,” few of which have anything to do with laughter.
1. To make a super depressing sentence seem a little less scary.
For example: “I just want to crawl up into a ball and die lol.”
2. When something is just mildly funny, like when your friend sends you an old meme. But definitely not laughing out loud worthy. You would really just say “heh” if it didn’t sound so underwhelming.
3. When somebody says something that you honestly don’t know how to respond to, so you write “lol” and hope they’ll accept your response and leave it at that.
4. When you’re really, really angry, but you don’t want to go into full CAPSLOCK mode yet.
Example: “Wait, are you serious right now lol.”
5. When you’re arguing with somebody but you’re not as emotionally invested as you might seem, so you throw in a little “lol” to soften it.
For example: “I wish you had told me before but okay lol.”
6. When you’re filled with so much disgust that actual words can’t properly express what you’re feeling.
Example: *Donald Trump tweets something racist/sexist/anything ist* LOL.
7. When you’re feigning interest in something that is boring af and try to seem interested.
Example: *Friend starts talking about their leg workouts* You: lol cool!
8. When you literally don’t know what to say so you just go with “LOL, I feel that.”
9. For literally no reason at all, you’re just so used to it that you write it out unconsciously, even if you’re doing something super mundane.
Example: “I’m eating a kiwi lol.”
What other ways is “LOL” used? Do you designate whether or not you’re really laughing out loud or nah? Tell us in the comments!