Relationship Slang 101: Decoding the Secret Language of Teens
Feb 02, 2024
Parenting in the digital age comes with its own set of challenges, and one aspect that often leaves parents scratching their heads is the ever-evolving world of teenage slang. In today’s digital world, it sometimes feels like there’s a secret language. However, the use of some of these words and phrases has become so mainstream that one even made its way to Oxford English Dictionary’s 2023 Word of the Year. Oxford University Press, the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, named "rizz" as the 2023 word of the year.
As your teenager navigates the maze of social interactions, understanding the language they use can be crucial for fostering open communication. Understanding common slang terms that teenagers use today can help you bridge the generation gap and connect with your adolescent in a meaningful way.
Rizz: The slang word “rizz” was made popular by Twitch streamer and YouTuber Kai Cenat but has quickly taken over TikTok and other social media platforms. “Rizz” is short for charisma, and it refers to the ability to sweet talk or charm someone. In other words, if you’re smooth when you’re flirting with someone, you have “rizz.” While we often appreciate a little charisma, it’s crucial to understand how the lines can be blurred when it comes to consent.
Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a common type of abuse that happens in unhealthy relationships. It’s used to make victims second-guess or doubt their own thoughts and feelings. The term “gaslight” comes from a 1938 play, “Gas Light.” It’s about a husband trying to make his wife believe that she is out of touch with reality. He continues to lower the lights in their house but denies it being darker when his wife asks, which leads her to doubt her own mind. Some gaslighting phrases include, “You’re overreacting,” or “I never said that. You’re making that up.”
Simping: "Simping" refers to someone excessively showing affection without receiving equal interest. While used jokingly, it can carry negative undertones about masculinity, suggesting men showing too much emotion may be a problem.
1437: In the world of texting and social media, “1437” is a numerical way to say, “I love you forever.” It’s like a secret code to express deep affection to someone special. Each word in the phrase “I love you forever” corresponds to a number in 1437. For example, “I” has only one letter, so it is represented by 1. “Love” has four letters, “you” has three letters, and “forever” has seven letters, so together, the words become the number 1437. While this may seem harmless, it’s important to make sure someone’s feelings align with the meaning behind these words.
Situationship: A “situationship” refers to a relationship dynamic where two people are involved in a romantic or intimate connection, but without clear labels or commitment. It’s a grey area between being friends and being in a defined relationship, often lacking clarity or exclusivity. “Situationships” can be complicated and may involve mixed emotions or uncertainties.
Navigating the sea of teenage slang may seem intimidating, but staying informed can help you connect with your teen on a deeper level. By familiarizing yourself with common slang terms, you'll not only decode their language but also demonstrate your willingness to understand their world. Open communication is key, so don't hesitate to ask your teen about the latest slang or share some of your own experiences. Together, you can bridge the generation gap and foster a stronger, more connected relationship.
Alena Schuckmann is the Digital Communications Specialist for The Center for Family Safety and Healing. Alena graduated with a degree in communications and a minor in art from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Alena is a skilled digital content creator who has had various articles and photographs published locally and nationwide.
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