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Rule #3: Laugh Like You Mean It

Posted Jun 30 2010 5:25am

Today I’m going to talk about a very real and serious topic: misuse of the acronym for “laughing out loud.”

Despite the fact that I have stated my feelings on this subject on many occasions, people still find it necessary, in our text, e-mail, and Facebook conversations, to use “lol” as though it is punctuation.

It’s not.

I laugh out loud a lot. Like, my mom often says, “What were you in your room laughing about last night?” (One night it was at these 41 Hilarious Mugshots — I’m not exaggerating when I say I laughed for ten minutes straight and then on and off for the next hour. My abs hurt and my make-up was running because I was so overwhelmed with hysterics.)

I can’t help myself! I love to laugh. I surround myself with friends who make me laugh. And, oh yeah, I try to make people laugh. And of course everyone likes making people laugh, but, really, making people laugh is in my job description.

So if you’re not really laughing, I feel as though you’re lying to me. And…I take it personally.

Here’s my guide to expressing laughter virtually.

LOL :)

  • Don’t type “lol” after you’ve made a joke to let me know you’re making a joke. I know internet humor is tricky but you aren’t actually laughing at yourself. If you must clarify, just say “haha.” I’ll get it. And “haha” isn’t a lie.
  • Guys — do not write “lol” in an effort to make it seem like you didn’t just suggest something really dirty you want to do to me. I know that guys think “lol” is the perfect way to flirt but…you aren’t really laughing to yourself. At least I hope you aren’t. If you’re sitting there giggling as you tap out, “Let’s f*ck in public tonight”…we do not share the same sense of humor. You either mean it or you’re kidding. I’m pretty sure you mean it. So just own it. And then suggest a location.
  • Do not write “LMAO” at your own apparent joke (especially if you’re a dude who just suggested something really dirty). I mean, really!? Really. I crack myself up sometimes, but I rarely type something so hysterical I feel qualified to say I’m laughing my ass off at myself. If I do write something so ridiculous I crack myself up, my friends know because I’ll just write, “hahaha I totally cracked myself up on that one.” Then we all laugh out loud at our respective desks even harder.
  • If you are LMFAO or ROTFL at your own joke, you need to go to LOL rehab because now you’re just being ridiculous.
  • I do not like “lol.” It’s weak. If I’m really laughing, you’re going to get it IN CAPS. “LOL” means “WOW, that was really funny and I just burst out laughing and am now enduring the public embarrassment that comes along with it.”
  • “LITERAL LOL” must be written to people who do not understand the rules of LOLs. (Unfortunately, some people know even less about the definition of the word “literal” than they do about LOL…but that is a topic for another day.) To my close friends, LLOL will also do the trick. Although my close friends, in general, know that LOL is the same as LLOL or even lol. We simply do not lie about our laughs.
  • If you and your friends LLOL a lot, it’s acceptable to say “lolz” or “lulz” sometimes because that usually causes an extra LLOL for both parties. I mean, I hate hipsters, but basically “lolz” is ironic and therefore acceptable. It should still be done sparingly, or it loses its hilarity!


  • If you type “haha” it means, “I’m smiling and I’d probably laugh out loud if we were together but I’m not moved enough to laugh out loud here by myself.”
  • If you type “hahaha” it means the same as “haha,” only the joke was even funnier.
  • If you type “HAHA” it just means, “That was really funny and I totally appreciated it, and maybe even emitted a loud snort or ‘HA!’ but I didn’t actually laugh.”
  • If you type “HAHAHA LITERAL LOL,” you are about to pee your pants and I feel as though I just struck gold.

There’s nothing I hate more than watching a friend sit in front of her laptop totally straight-faced as she types “OMG LOL hahaha.” Surround yourself with people who make you LLOL. It’s worth the stares in Starbucks to have friends who make you feel good!

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