Most of the time, “TFTI” is a sign that someone feels left out. Here’s what this acronym stands for and why it could make your group chats more awkward.
Thanks for the invitation!
TFTI stands for “thanks for the invite.” In direct messages, people use this sarcastic acronym when they feel left out in a social situation. For example, if all your friends decided to go out for a drink and you saw their photos on Instagram, you could send them a message, “Wow, TFTI.”
You can write it in both uppercase “TFTI” and lowercase “tfti”, and both are reasonably common. It is closely related to the concept of FOMO, which stands for 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 began to use technology to communicate, people began to move event planning and invitations to texts and direct messages. TFTI was coined to respond to incidents where your friends forget to treat you to something.
The oldest definition of TFTI in the Urban Dictionary Internet Slang Database is from 2010. It reads: “an acronym for ‘Thanks for the Invite,’ usually used when a group of friends are out and won’t invite you.” . “Today, people use it almost exclusively in texts and direct messages, particularly group threads.
sarcastic and sincere
Despite its seemingly good-natured and light-hearted definition, TFTI is overwhelmingly used sarcastically. Most people who say the phrase or use the acronym are not thankful, they are pointing out that someone did not invite them. Therefore, you should be careful when using this acronym: you might accidentally come across as bitter that you weren’t invited.
You should also be careful with this acronym if someone says it to you. People generally 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 host a get-together of your friends and don’t invite a person who’s usually in the group, chances are they’ll message you with a “TFTI.”
TFTI can also be a way to fish for additional information. Usually, when you don’t get invited to a social situation, you’re not sure if they did it accidentally or on purpose. Saying “TFTI” to your friends can be a way of clarifying whether they forgot to invite you or left you out on purpose. Sometimes you may have been invited, but your message could not be sent.
On rare occasions, people use the phrase “thanks for the invite” to sincerely thank someone for inviting them, especially if they won’t be able to make it to the event. However, this is rare and can vary between social groups.
TFTI and FOMO
One of the main reasons “TFTI” exists in the first place is “fear of missing out,” often shortened to “FOMO.” This is a feeling of anxiety that people experience when they don’t want to be left out of social gatherings, opportunities, and experiences. Usually, people who are frustrated about not getting invited to things already feel a lot of FOMO, and the lack of an invite makes things worse.
The idea of FOMO has been widely studied, covered in the news, and depicted in movies and TV shows. You can read all about the term in our FOMO explainer. It also extends beyond the confines of social situations, as there is a lot of FOMO that comes from your career, finances, or family obligations. You 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 upset that they weren’t invited to something, even though they wouldn’t have attended that meeting anyway. In these situations, people are more concerned with being thought of than actually participating in a social experience.
How to use TFTI
Before using TFTI, you should consider raising your concerns more maturely. The acronym might seem accusatory to most people, especially when they just accidentally forgot to invite you.
Here are some examples of TFTI in action:
- “Nice Instagram photos. TFTI.”
- “Wow, tfti. I guess you 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 defuse the situation. Check out our explainers on DW, YSK, and TIFU to keep things less heated.
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