As we slowly lose our ability to write in complete sentences, it’s important to learn the abbreviations kids are using in their text messages. A police department distributes a list of these abbreviations. It’s called “A Parent’s Introduction to Text Messaging Lingo.” It raises the question: “Could your child be hiding a conversation right in front of your eyes?” It’s important for me to study the list of abbreviation because I increasingly communicate with my adult children by text, often when we’re in the same room. 

For example, “WH5” summarizes the foundation of journalism, “Who, What, Where, When, Why.” To find out answers to these questions, I set up interviews by texting the person “A3” or “Anytime, Anywhere, Anyplace.” If I’m running late for the interview, I text “OMW”.

I let them know I’m on my way, but if I keep them waiting too long, they may text “WRUD.” Instead of telling them what I’m doing, I may text back “NOYB.” Sometimes, after I tell them it’s none of their business, they reply “WAJ!” No one likes being called a jerk “IMO.” I often add, in my opinion, to a statement, because this is an opinion column.

If I offer an opinion about something I’m ignorant about, a reader will text that I’m “IOMH.” Sure, I’m often in over my head. If I were an authority on every topic, it would be “2G2BT.” “FYI” I need the “411” if I’m going to write knowledgably about an issue. I can only hope readers can relate to the topic, otherwise they text “DKDC.”

They don’t know, don’t care about stolen pears! Haven’t they heard about the huge apple heist in Indiana, or is that “TMI.” “AFAIK,” this kind of crime (as far as I know) is on the rise. If you think it’s “NP” that a thief can pick an entire orchard clean, then you obviously don’t care for apple cider. I would love to get “F2F” with a thief like that, or the guy who steals my morning newspaper. 

“IRL” (in real life) we don’t find this kind of justice. No, we “G2G” (got to go) to court to see “TPTB” (the powers that be) convict the perpetrator. After they are sentenced, we can text the defendant “TTFN.” I don’t know anyone who says, “Ta Ta For Now” except in texts. “BM&Y” I think kids are using these codes for “KPC,” keeping parents clueless being a time-honored tradition with teenagers. They want their parent to “MYOB.” They’re so tired of being asked “RUOK?” It’s not like the parent is their “BFF.” Teens may no longer like “H&K” or being called “QT.” When the parents texts them to “PTB,” (please text back)” they may reply “DIKU?” 

Of course they know it’s their parent texting them. The teen is “J/K” but don’t expect the parent to “LOL.” The parent especially wouldn’t “ROTFL.” They’re too old to roll on the floor laughing. They simply want to know if their teen is “BRD” and wants to come home. When the teen gives them an “ETA,” they can text back “SLAP.”

No, this not threatening violence, it means sounds like a plan. It’s not necessary for the parent to get gushy and text “LYSM,” they can simply type “TOY.” I know that sounds like the parent is promising a present but it just means they’re thinking of you. They worry about their teen even if they know they’ll “BRB.”

But if you think this kind of communication is too confusing, we can stop using letters altogether and switch to emojis. 


John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.