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Why do we write ‘LOL’ when a situation couldn’t be any less laughable?


Do you ever feel the urge to type “LOL” shock dumpingComplaining about your coworker or any other situation in which you’re definitely not laughing out loud?


I mean, really, if I had a pound for every time I typed “lol” or “haha” with a blank face, I’d have… a lot of money.

In fact, I’m sure many of us would be. People have shared the same sentiment on forums like Quora, reddit And girlsaskguys,

Does it sound believable to you too? Aside from your well-intentioned grandma who thinks “LOL” means “lots of love,” you might wonder why you type something that’s so far from what you really feel — and if it’s emotional. is hurting your ability to be intimate physically.

What do experts say about the causes and effects of typing those three letters?


Why do you feel the need to deal with ‘LOL’

Therapists have several theories as to why your thumb moves to the “L” and “O” buttons before sending:

You struggle to express your feelings comfortably


in a society full of toxic positivity And with the pressure on women to “smile more,” it can be uncomfortable to reveal that you’re feeling something other than happy.

Madeline Lucas, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist Real, “We can feel wrong or bad when something bothers us, and are unsure how to get it out of our system.”

But as I’m sure you know, it’s impossible to ever feel a negative emotion, and it’s in our best interests to get those feelings out. So, you can text “LOL” to ease the tension — to yourself or the person you’re talking to — after you’ve shared that emotion.


“It keeps us from owning up and expressing, ‘You know, this is really not fun, and is going to really hurt or upset me, and I might even be upset about it. you For that reason,'” Lucas said. “We are often afraid to say it directly because of the potentially awkward, uncomfortable, and real conversation.”

“Texting ‘LOL’ during an awkward moment protects us from being vulnerable or being seen completely by the other person.”

– Madeline Lucas, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Therapist

You are trying to protect the relationship or the other person

Similarly, when you share something deeply hurtful and emotional, you may worry that you’ll seem burdensome or that your friend will worry too much about you.

Adding “LOL” is a quick way to lighten the mood.

“Additionally, texting ‘lol’ during an awkward moment protects us from being vulnerable or being seen completely by the other person,” Lucas explained in an email. “It takes away the seriousness of that statement.”

You’re Communicating Your Intentions (Albeit Indirectly)

When your message could be read as offensive, you can use “LOL” to show that what you said was not meant that way.

“For example, LOL may be used at the end of a potentially controversial or upsetting statement when the person using it wants to make sure the receiver knows it was said in jest or that the sender was being offensive. There isn’t,” explained Erin Phillips, a licensed clinical social worker. Kansas City, MissouriWith ThriveworksA company that provides in-person and online therapy services nationwide.

you want to end the conversation

“LOL” can feel comfortable even when the other person is expressing sadness.

As important as communication and vulnerability are in relationships, it’s understandable that they can make you feel uncomfortable on either end.

However, typing “LOL” (or laughing emoticons or “haha”) to deal with it can hurt your relationships.

According to Lucas, this can invalidate the other person’s feelings. “If someone shares with us that they are upset or hurt, and we don’t know how to respond or feel like taking responsibility for it, ‘lol’ is a way of shutting down the conversation or expecting the other person to cut off.” Might be the way to get it out, shut down the conversation,” she wrote.

“Being accountable for hurting someone else can feel insecure and uncomfortable, and ‘lol’ Apologizing Can Feel Easier Sometimesor asking for more information to better understand the other person.”

You are protecting yourself from their possible disapproval

Especially in dating, it seems, many of us are afraid of coming across as “too interested”.

At the same time, though, we know that relationships can’t happen without work and chances. “LOL” can feel like a happy medium to an extent.

“‘LOL’ can be used to actively deflect negative feedback,” Phillips said. He gave this example: “Hey! I was wondering if you would like to go out for a cup of coffee sometime. In case I don’t fully understand, thought I’d ask. Laugh out loud.”

If the person isn’t interested, that last addition can make you feel better, like hanging out isn’t a big deal to you (even though, really, it is).

Should You Consider Being More Mindful About Your LOL Use?

In other words, is it unfair to your relationships and harmful to your long-term well-being? While typing “LOL” isn’t always necessarily one person or the other, my concern would be that it has the potential to rob it of a state of genuine, authentic connection and vulnerability, Lucas said.

If those are your values, then mindfulness is something you might want to consider. The effect may not be as scary as you think.

“Maybe we can actually appear and be seen, and the other person can do the same, and we’ll be fine,” she said.

Phillips said the instant gratification that comes with texting and abbreviations — while sometimes useful — ultimately leads to misunderstandings.

“While intended to be convenient and fast for the sangat, these formulations have become their (own) language full of misinterpretations and confusion,” she said.

How to get more attention on your LOL

Adding LOL/HAHA/laughing emoticons can easily become a habit that is hard to break for various reasons.

That’s fair: communication and relationships are ongoing processes. When you feel the urge to type “LOL,” Lucas encourages asking yourself a few questions, such as:

  • What purpose is it serving me?
  • What’s the risk of sending this text without “LOL”? (Is it a vulnerability? Being seen as a whole? Potentially creating conflict?)
  • How exactly would I like to communicate or express it?

As a mental health professional, Phillips said, she believes in the importance of being mindful of your word usage (even when it’s hard).

“If someone hasn’t made me smile with at least one text, they probably won’t get an LOL,” she said. “And if there’s any possibility that my text could be interpreted as controversial or offensive, I either rewrite it or don’t say it at all.”

That’s not to say it’s not okay to use humor, just that you probably don’t want to. overuse it. “I’m all for using humor as a way to get through tough days and tough times,” Lucas said, “but I think we have to be careful when we use ‘lol’ in texts.” If we are, it diminishes or invalidates our very real self. and valid feelings.

(tags to translate) mental health


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