internet slang & abbreviations

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Most of the time, “TFTI” is a sign that someone feels left out. Here’s what this acronym means and why it might make your group chats more awkward.

Thanks for the Invite!

TFTI stands for “thanks for the invite.” In direct messaging, people use this sarcastic initialism when they feel left out of a social situation. For example, if all your friends decided to go out for drinks and you saw their pictures on Instagram, you might message them, “Wow, TFTI.”

You can write it in both the uppercase “TFTI” and the lowercase “tfti,” with both being reasonably common. It’s closely tied to the concept of FOMO, which means the fear of missing out.

The Origin of TFTI

Unlike many acronyms from the early 2000s, TFTI rose to prominence in the 2010s. As more social groups started using technology to communicate, people began moving event planning and invitations to texts and direct messages. TFTI was coined to respond to incidents where your friends forget to invite you to something.

The earliest definition of TFTI on the internet slang database Urban Dictionary is from 2010. It reads, “an acronym for ‘Thanks For the Invite,’ usually used when a bunch of your buddies go out, and they don’t think to invite you.” Nowadays, people almost exclusively use it in direct texts and messages, particularly group threads.

Sarcastic and Sincere

Despite its seemingly good-natured and cheerful definition, TFTI is overwhelmingly used sarcastically. Most people who say the phrase or use the acronym aren’t being thankful, they’re pointing out that someone failed to invite them. So you should be careful of using this acronym — you might accidentally come across as bitter about not being invited.

You should also be wary of this acronym if someone’s saying it to you. People typically use it when they feel left out of an event, particularly when pictures or videos of that event are plastered all over social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. So, for example, if you organize a get-together of your friends and fail to invite one person who’s usually in the group, they will probably message you with a “TFTI.”

TFTI can also be a way to fish for additional information. Typically, when you don’t receive an invite to a social situation, you’re unsure whether they did it accidentally or deliberately. Saying “TFTI” to your friends can be a way for them to clarify whether they forgot to invite you or left you out on purpose. Sometimes, they may have invited you, but their message failed to send.

In rare situations, people use the phrase “thanks for the invite” to sincerely thank someone for inviting them, especially if they won’t be able to go to the event. However, this is rare and can vary between social groups.

TFTI and FOMO

One of the biggest reasons why “TFTI” exists in the first place is the “fear of missing out,” often shortened to “FOMO.” This is a feeling of anxiety people get when they don’t want to be excluded from social gatherings, opportunities, and experiences. Usually, people who are frustrated about not being invited to things already feel a lot of FOMO, and the lack of an invitation makes things worse.

The idea of FOMO has been extensively studied, covered on the news, and depicted in movies and TV shows. You can read all about the term in our FOMO explainer. It also stretches outside the confines of social situations, with there being plenty of FOMO that comes from your career, finances, or family obligations. It can even describe the feeling of having too many TV shows to watch and not enough time.

However, not all TFTI situations are born out of FOMO. Many people are angry about not being invited to something, even though they would not have attended that gathering regardless. In these situations, people are more concerned with being thought of than actually participating in a social experience.

How to Use TFTI

Before you use TFTI, you should consider raising your concerns more maturely. The acronym can feel accusatory for most people, especially when they may have just forgotten to invite you by accident.

Here are a few examples of TFTI in action:

  • “Nice Instagram pictures. TFTI.”
  • “Wow, tfti. I guess you just forgot about me.”
  • “Did you go surfing without me? TFTI!”

If tensions are high in the group chat because someone sent a “TFTI,” you may want to use other slang terms to diffuse the situation. Check out our explainers on DW, YSK, and TIFU to make things less heated.

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