Rule #3: Laugh Like You Mean It

by Rachel on June 30, 2010

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!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel Marlena June 30, 2010 at 7:45 am

Ohhh Rachel, only you could make an entire post out of the rules of LOL. A friend once told me “I feel like LOL went from meaning ‘laugh out loud’ to meaning ‘I have nothing else left to say.'” SO true.


2 Exercise and Eat June 30, 2010 at 8:02 am

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.

This is the funniest thing I’ve read all morning. Granted, its 9:02 a.m., but it was a great way to start the day!


3 Lexie June 30, 2010 at 8:18 am

I was talking to a boy once who put lol at the beginning and end of each text message. Come on really?


4 Laura June 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

oh my god. thank you. I always ask myself “did you really laugh out loud at that? REALLY?” it’s become one of my biggest pet peeves!


5 vanessa June 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

I also enjoy the “pmp” when I feel I may indeed “pee my pants” from laughing.


6 Trinidad Pena June 30, 2010 at 10:38 am

I agree! This is one of my personal rules! You can’t take things so seriously and if you really pay attention… Life if funnier than any comedy!


7 Katie June 30, 2010 at 10:57 am

THANK YOU. That is all I can say. I, just, well, second everything you said.


8 Rachel's Mom June 30, 2010 at 11:08 am



9 Erin June 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I am sometimes tempted, but I NEVER break down and let myself slip one in. I like to word my texts just as I am saying them, like “hiiiiiiiiiiii” instead of “hi.” If something is funny enough to make me laugh out loud, I like a little “BAAAAHAHHAHAHA” for good measure. Also: no smiley faces, at risk of entering platonic territory.


10 j@nycandlove June 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm

There is a name for overuse of ‘lol’: a lolocaust.

Also, it should be known that lulz are different, they are something you get when you cause someone grief or schadenfreude. When questioned why you changed your coworkers background picture on his computer to an image of him in drag your answer should be: “I DID IT FOR TEH LULZ”.


11 Rachel June 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

@J — Thank you for that!! And “lolocaust” is pretty much amazing.


12 j@nycandlove June 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I’m going to lollerskate to my roflcopter.


13 Rachel June 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Literal LOL! That was a good one.


14 Dori June 30, 2010 at 9:46 pm

marry me, both of you lol


15 Keri June 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I received a condolence email after my Grandma passed away from a friend of the family…she used lol as her closing. She meant lots of love, but I was a bit miffed why she was laughing out loud at the death of my Grandma.


16 Jess June 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm

“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.”

Amen, sister! Laughing out loud is good for your heath! People who laugh out loud at least once a day have lower chances of heart disease and live longer, according to the AHA. And yes, it totally counts if you are laughing at your own damn self! I do it all the time and I’m not weird or anything…..right.


17 Angela @ A Healthy Fit June 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I haven’t finished reading your post because I’m too busy laughing my ass off at those mugshots! Belly laughs are good for working the abs right?


18 Maya July 7, 2010 at 8:34 pm

THANK YOU. You just summed up all my feelings about lol. I cannot stand when someone just treats lol like it’s a punctuation mark. Lol should be reserved to only when you are actually laughing at your computer or your phone. If someone does not realized that I reserve lol for serious lol worthy moments, I will emphasize the fact in my message that I am actually laughing. I use haha for the same reason too, like oh haha I might laugh at that in person, but sitting here typing I would just like you to know that I found your jest amusing. I also reserve smiley faces for the rare occasion in which I really just cannot find the right words to express my thoughts via text. Loved this!


19 Rachel September 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I am so in love with your blog in general, (my roommate just introduced me to it), but I particularly love this post. I HATE lol with a passion for the very reasons stated above, so I am in full support of this post!


20 Krista November 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I’m so happy to learn of someone else who thinks about the meaning of LOL, LMAO, haha, hahaha, and HAHA, as much as I do! This post made me LLOL.

My aunt signs all of her emails with LOL. She means Lots Of Love, but I always picture her laughing as she’s signing off.


21 Marie November 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I’m glad you linked back to this post… LLOLing.


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