My best friend and I are avid texters; we ‘speak’ every day through text and instant messages. It keeps our friendship alive despite the distance between us.
This summer we were discussing some of the most annoying things that people do when texting and we came to the agreement that we both hate it when we send something substantive to someone only to receive an empty ‘lol’ in return.
Of course, in the week following our discussion, we were both very aware of our own bad habits and noticed that we each killed discussions with a simple ‘lol’ followed by… nothing. Or, worse yet, surrounded something substantial on both sides with a ‘lol’. How annoying is that?! In real life that would sound something like:
“HAHAHA I’ll talk to you later, my lunch break is up HAHAHA”
Ugh. That person would be on my nerves with their fake, meaningless laughter.
We’re both very interested in communication, especially as it applies in the digital age, so we decided to take on a challenge: we would try not use lol – or equivalents like hahaha, lmao, ect – in our text or instant messages.
We left the challenge open-ended; the goal was to learn to communicate better.
And we did. Almost instantly I noticed a huge change in how we shared; statements that once laughed off were actually followed with a response. We started to explain what it was that would make us laugh, or what it was that made us uncomfortable, nervous, hesitant, or annoyed - it turns out that ‘lol’ was covering all sorts of emotions.
We stopped leaving each other hanging and started actually communicating.
My take-away from this challenge is simple: never hide behind lol, at least not with the people you care about. Be open and honest. Be silly and spontaneous. Be uncomfortable and real. Be something by expressing yourself with words instead of empty letters.
I love to laugh out loud, but it just doesn’t sound the same in silence.