Texting in 2024 has changed. These are the 11 new 'rules'.

As a serial texter and culture writer, my job is to be on the lookout for trends everywhere. And yes, that includes our everyday tasks like how we sleep, what scent we choose to wear and even the way we text.

It's clear that texting has changed dramatically over the years. From "lol" to "hahaha" to "rofl" and now back to "lol", it's hard to keep up with the cool lingo but more importantly, it's hard to keep up with the correct lingo.

Watch: If my brain could text me. Post continues below.

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During the pandemic, we relied heavily on texting which was when things got a bit... weird. We nicknamed everything e.g. cozzie lives, cheugy, hits different, big yikes, and the list goes on.

Much to people who are older than 35's dismay, our obsession with text speech has completely infiltrated our lives irl. Now, some of the common phrases we've been texting have completely different meanings altogether.

To help you and make sure you're still down with the kids, here are the new meanings behind popular texts. And brace yourselves because "can we talk" among other text phrases are back in... and they don't mean what you think they mean...

"Can we talk?"

Ahhh the most dreaded text of them all. In positive news, the world's been conditioned to know that the "can we talk" text only means bad things. If someone sends you this message, you have the right to text them back and say something along the lines of "no." If someone wants to talk to you about something serious, they will just call. A word of warning though, as more and more of us have a fear of talking on the phone, AKA if you're under the age of 28 then the "can we talk?" phrase is only going to be used more and more so let's put it to rest.


"hahaha" or "lol".

This means what you said was kinda amusing but not funny enough to physically cause a laugh. If someone genuinely laughed at something you texted them, they would instead say "Omg that actually made me laugh irl hahaha lol".

"Hey, just checking in, it's been ages!"

If this is sent to you from an ex or someone who was attracted to you, it means they want to see if there's still a spark between the both of you. If this was sent by someone you don't vibe with, it means they want to make sure that they're doing life better than you. And if this was sent by an old friend, it means that you probably popped into a very vivid dream of theirs and they had to make sure that you don't really have a pet dragon that wants to set the world on fire.

"Omg, that's so crazy!"

This means that whatever you said isn't actually that crazy. The sender of this text finds this conversation extremely boring but doesn't know how to end it. The more "that's crazies" they send, the quicker they want you to wrap things up.

"Happy birthday!"

Yes, this means happy birthday (great work if you guessed this one correctly). However, "Happy birthday" also means "I'm wishing you a happy birthday so if you don't wish me back on my birthday, then you are in debt to me until the next year."

"On my way!"

We all know that when we receive this text, the sender is in fact not on their way but has instead just woken up from a four-hour nap and is texting you from the toilet.



If you have a text thread with someone who exclusively replies with the thumbs-up emoji well then... I think you're texting my dad. Can you please let him know that my car needs servicing? Actually, never mind I'm sure I know what his reply is going to be...

"What are you up to tonight?"

If someone sends you this, they don't really care what you're doing tonight, they just want you to hang out with them and do whatever they're doing tonight. No matter what you reply with, they will argue that their version of "tonight" will definitely be more fun.

"Where should we go to eat?"

This is sent by someone who doesn't want the mental load of choosing where to go to eat but wants to show that they're putting in the effort by asking the question. They're most likely to reject all your options but won't ever suggest counter-ideas. My classic reply is, "I'm going to [insert restaurant name here] hope you can make it! xx"

"Can't talk, can I call you later?"

A classic automated reply someone sends you when you've tried to call them and they're too "busy" to answer. News flash: They will most definitely not call you later.


Most men think that this text means "I HAVE A HOME!" All women know that this text really means that you've just had drinks with the girls at a late hour and you need to ensure that you have all made it home safe and sound. These are the best kinds of texts and arguably the most important.

What are the common texting phrases you use? Tell us in the comments section below.

If you want more culture opinions from Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature image: Canva.