Your A-to-Z guide to the passive-aggressive world of digital communication


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Help! I need a manual designed explicitly to help me navigate the nuance that is the letter/word/core value/feeling “K” in the digital age. For real, texting etiquette is complicated.

As HuffPost  discussed in an article on Tuesday, there are many leagues of significance in the messaging lexicon between “k,” “kk,” “OK,” and “okay,” okay? Picking which one to messenger off to your boss and which to send to your friends is a task in and of itself, but TBH, it’s really just the first frontier nailing down modern day communication jargon.

If you took an audit of your text messages or company Slack messages right now, my guess is you’d find a fodder for a linguistics graduate student’s thesis. There’d be no shortage of ellipses, “LOL” and “lol,” “yep” and “yeah” and “sure.” My brain already hurts just thinking about it. Below, I’ve attempted to bring some sort of order to, well, modern day communication.

Behold, the secret meanings of common digital language, from A to Z.

Ahhhh: “You make very little sense to me as a human being.”

By: “I don’t know how to spell ‘bye'” or “I spell ‘bye’ like this to rebel softly.”

Bye: “I know how to spell ‘bye’ correctly, and I’d like everyone to know.”

Byyyeee: “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Adieu!”

Gotcha: “I really hate the feedback you just gave me, but you’re my boss” or “You’re my friend and I get you.” [Note: This one is hard to read. You need context.]

ha: “You’re the least funny person I know” or “I want to end this sentence without punctuation.”

haha: “We cool.”

HAHA: “Oh my god you’re actually hilarious.”

hahahahahahaha: “It’s so satisfying to type super fast on my keyboard.”

K: “What you just said is about 20 percent okay with me.” or “I’m running late and don’t have time to type out three more letter” or “I’m a dad. Texting is not my first, second, or third language.”

k: “What you just said is about 7 percent okay with me” or “I’m running late and I’m also annoyed about what you just said.”

kk: “I’m okay but in a cutesy way.”

LOL: “I’m not really laughing out loud, but you did make me smile.”

lol: “You’re funny, but not funny enough to warrant uppercase letters.”

lolz: “It’s past 4 p.m. and everything’s a little bit funny to me.”

Makes sense: “It makes no sense. Like at all.”

mmmkay: “You’re dead to me.”

Okay: “¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

Okey: “¯\_(ツ)_/¯, but in a cutesy way.”

Over and out: “I’ve watched too much Stranger Things and I kind of wish you were out of range right now.”

Sure: “You’ve thrown a wrench in my day, but yes: I will do X for you.”

Yeah: “I’m not enthusiastic about anything right now, including you.”

Yep: “Mmmhmmm.”

Added Punctuation

. : “Shhhhhhhh.” or “I’m not hyped enough to use an exclamation point.”

… : “You have rendered me literally speechless” or “I feel the need to insert dramatic pauses between everything I say.”

??? : “You puzzle me. You are an enigma.”

! : “I am genuinely excited that you slid into my DMs” or “I am ingenuously excited that you slid into my DMs” or “I need you to think I’m kind, OKAY?!

Slack is linguistic minefield, too. Here’s how to keep your DMs with coworkers healthy and how to write emails your boss will answer in, like, a second

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