Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Too often on Facebook, I see the post FML.  For those of you unfamiliar with this youthful acronym, FML is a more expressive way of saying, “boy, I’ve got it bad,” or “shucks, my day isn’t going well.”  These posters are simply choosing a more colorful way to illuminate their immediate quality of life.

Acronyms such as FML represent two individual problems with our online population, neither of which is the constant evolution of the English language.  Personally, I am happy that language evolves, incorporating new and exciting elements.  The Oxford English Dictionary just added OMG and LOL to its arsenal of currently used English, so if you were eager to mix them into your conversation, feel free to do so without consequence.  If we didn’t allow our language to evolve, we would still be throwing around such mouthfuls as tither, wist, trow, and pudh.

The first problem I have with the use of FML is the veiled attempt at profanity in a public arena.  Very few people are comfortable bandying about expletives online, yet many people feel no problem throwing out FML, LMFAO, or WTF.  Most of us know what they mean, but despite that fact, the barrage of F-grenades continues.
The facebook friends I see using these abbreviations are generally in their twenties or younger - they are the digital generation.  Their favorite form of communication is text, chat, or skype.  They think they are safe hiding behind the immunity of the digital world.
But they aren’t.
Many of them have no idea who their audiences are.  In their eagerness to expand their list of online friends, they accept requests blindly.  They might be posting FML for neighbors, parents, grandmas, pastors, teachers, and friends’ parents to see.  For all they know, people have developed an incorrect opinion about their values simply based on the willingness to use inappropriate language hidden inside a couple of letters.
As I would always tell students who dropped f-bombs in the hallways at school: 

"Know your surroundings and know your audience (basically, be aware of where you are)."

Do your best to sound intelligent (even if you are faking it).  While online posters may get attention for three letter outbursts, it is never the right kind of attention, and eventually it might come around to bite them.

The second problem presented with the use of FML is what the statement applies.  Obviously the poster is not happy with something and wants their audience to be aware of it.  They are looking for consolation or a venue in which they can vent.

“OMG, what happened? Text ME!!! :-b”
While venting certainly feels good sometimes, it is never the actual solution to anything.  For me, the best solution is to avoid the upset.  Roll with the punches.  Keep up perspective.  There is always some reason to celebrate your life instead of the opposite.  When something unexpected and unpleasant happens, make the choice to keep your head up, find the place where triumphs are hidden, bring one out, and play with it.  Remember that no matter what, your life rocks.
One of my many teachers over the years, it was either one of my students or Mary Kay, I can’t remember, once said that if you are feeling bad about something, do something for someone else.  It will be impossible not to feel better.  If something gets you down, go buy flowers for a special person in your life.  If you are treated badly, smile as big as you can at the next person you see.  If someone road rages you, let the next driver in with a friendly wave.  If you have the intense, overwhelming desire to open your computer, log in to Facebook, and type the letters F, M, and L, don’t.  Take a big breath, post how thankful you are for the life you have been delivered, and move on.  It is so worth it.

Don't forget to send in your topic ideas!  September is approaching rapidly.


  1. I wouldn't say it's impossible not to feel better by helping someone. I didn't feel to great about helping an unemployed couple when they told me they couldn't buy groceries for their kids, so when we gave them a $100 gift card at the local grocery, they spent it on one steak dinner for themselves when it could have bought staples for the kids for weeks.

  2. I think FML is becoming another familiar phrase that does not hold true to the literal meaning. When the young'ns are posting FML they are simply stating they had a bad day, as you said. I dont necissarily think they should stop saying the acronym. Saying FML, to me, is like saying OMG. When a person says oh my god, they arent really speaking to, or about God. Obviously somthing exciting, frustrating, joyful, or crazy happened, an the person has resorted to expressing themselfs three tree letters. It is true though, I guess that us kids should watch what we say around the older folks. They might get the wrong idea.