Question: What should you do when one of your close friends starts using “LOL” in casual text conversation?
Sadly, this question has become very relevant to me in the past week, ever since a fellow compatriot of mine has decided that LOL-ing is the best thing to come around since kettle corn.
For now, I will allow him to remain anonymous. (I will say, however, that his initials contain the letters P, T, and S. Also, he’s one of my cousins. Whoa, I just realized that if this unnamed person married someone with the last name Dillard, his initials would become PTS-D).
This whole debacle started at 3:25PM on March 18th, 2011 with the following conversation:
*please note that "bbming" refers to Blackberry Messaging - I guess it works long distance from Mexico
Despite my blatant disapproval, the next day it continued…
I’m not sure what it is about LOL that bothers me so much. Perhaps it’s the fact that people use it to make potentially serious statements seem ambiguously lighthearted. In a way, it’s a lack of commitment on their part. They’re not sure how the receiver of their message will feel about what they’re saying, so they throw in LOL at the end in case they need to play it off as a joke. E.g: “Susan, I’m head over heels in love with you. LOL!” This way, if Susan is like “WTF??” the entire thing can be brushed aside as a harmless ruse.
I think it also bothers me because it’s not something that I would ever say in normal speech, unlike “Oh my god” and “For your information” and “On my way” all of which are statements that I commonly acronym-ize in my textual conversations. I can’t imagine ever saying “laugh out loud” to someone in a face-to-face conversation. Instead, if someone said something that was actually funny, I would probably just laugh. On the other hand, if someone said something to me that was not really funny but intended it to be funny and I didn’t laugh but said, “laugh out loud” I think that would be pretty confusing for that person (just as this poorly written sentence is probably sort of confusing to you).
Furthermore, when someone LOL’s me via text, I’m often left wondering if they intended it as a command or if they were just describing to me what they were doing. In other words, are you telling me that I should laugh out loud right now or are you letting me know that, after carefully considering what I’ve written, you’ve decided to laugh out loud? How are you even texting and laughing at the same time? Are you doing all this while driving too?? I mean, that’s just dangerous.
If it’s the former, please stop telling me what to do. If it’s the latter, I really don’t care whether or not the people around you can hear you laugh. They probably don’t know what you’re laughing about anyway unless you’ve just read them my really funny text message. In which case, perhaps a more aptly suited acronym would be AGOUALOLAYTMRN, which translates to ‘a group of us are laughing out loud at your text message right now’. But, if you do ever receive this in a text, just be sure they’re not trying to make a reference to famed emergency room nurse, Samantha Agoualolaytm, R.N.
I’ve remained adamant in my requests that this behavior ceases. I’ve tried anger, I’ve tried pleading, I’ve even tried to confront this person using the skills I learned last semester in my interpersonal communications course* (see below). Alas, all of my efforts have been futile and the usage of LOL by this person continues to this day.
*1. Identify the behavior that you need clarification 2. present the person with two definitive reasons that might explain his or her behavior 3. finish your statement with an open-ended question like "is it something else?" to leave them room for further explanation
And so, this blog post is my last resort. You leave me no choice but to humiliate you via public forum. I do apologize to Grace as she is an innocent bystander. Although, apparently she LOL’s a lot via BBM, FYI…so perhaps she’s actually not that innocent. Now that my voice has been heard, I see this playing out in one of two ways. Either the perpetrator gets the hint and stops LOL-ing me. Or, I’ve just made my last mistake and in the months to come I’ll find myself being awoken by 3AM text messages that just say “LOL, LOL, LOL.”