Language never stops evolving. And the dictionary never stops expanding. This powerful tool called communication is one we rely on immensely in life.
But as we patiently taught our toddlers to cutely say “mommy” who knew we would one day end up mourning this landmark in their development as we witness them attempting to string together a coherent sentence today as they merely baffle or confuse us in tongues?
So, if you are struggling to decipher teen lingo and terminology, here’s my top 10 guide to help you:
“Two secs.” (Alternatives include: “Just a min,” or “Yep, coming.”)
Don’t be fooled by this autopilot response. It does not mean two seconds. It does not even mean two minutes or even two hours, to be fair. Invariably it means “I haven’t heard anything you have said but I guess you want me to do something and if I reply in this way, you will leave me alone to continue watching endless TikTok videos.”
Often said while shuffling and huffing in front of the fridge, siphoning snacks while simultaneously complaining there’s nothing to eat. In reality “I’m hungry” can often mean “I’m bored” or “I’m too lazy to make anything healthy or substantial so I will simply graze for the next few hours on whatever I can find without too much effort.”
“Get out of my room!”
Actually, this does just mean “get out of my room.” Like seriously, how dare you even enter? Anyone would think you actually own the place.
“You can drop me here.”
This means DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT drop me anywhere near my friends. They must not know I have parents or, even worse, that you have given me a lift. I wish to appear independent as if I have walked the 10 miles from my house in a three-day snow blizzard.
You can, however, drop them right at the door if no one is around to witness the parental taxi service. Because then their little darling legs are often strangely too weak to manage the 100-meter distance to the entrance.
“I’m not cold.”
Similar to above. Basically means “I do not wish anyone to know I own, let alone wear, a coat.” It seems that a T-shirt and a hoodie are fine for anything above and below freezing point. And please, never, ever mention the words “vest” or “layers.” It will simply be met with a disdainful look.
This means no.
This means yes.
The two above can often sound remarkably similar. So listen carefully because if you misunderstand, it can cause all manner of agitation. And do not, under any circumstances, ask for a clarification of response. My advice—take an educated guess and go with it. From experience, 90 percent of the time the answer is “nah.”
This word is so popular it does actually exist in the dictionary and is an expression of boredom or apathy. For your teen, it can be used in multiple situations in response to various questions about their life. In particular, it is pretty much a standard response to this one: “How was school today?”
Often used following the questions: “Have you done your homework?” or “Have you cleaned your room?” We are so often fooled by this one as it is what we, as parents, want to hear. Unfortunately saying it and actually doing it are two vastly different things. Invariably 99 percent of the time they are not “doing it” and have no plans to do it at all unless accompanied by a) threats b) begging and/or c) bribery.
“I know!” (Often accompanied by an eye roll.)
Probably the most common phrase for all teens and often used to interrupt you saying practically anything and roughly translates as “Please don’t lecture me, advise me, nag me, tell me something, or talk to me because I either know this stuff or don’t have a diddly squat clue, but the last thing I want to hear is you telling me about anything at all.” It’s basically the verbal equivalent of “Talk to the hand.”