Internet abbreviations can be confusing. If you’ve seen the acronym IRL used online or in text conversations, you might be wondering what it means.
Most commonly, IRL is an abbreviation for in real life.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways people use IRL in conversation.
What Does IRL Mean?
IRL is a contraction for the phrase in real life. We use it to indicate that we’re talking about physical reality and not the digital world we interact with on the internet.
Sometimes, people drop the letter I and simply type RL to mean real life. You might say, “I can’t chat for a while. I have RL problems to deal with.”
IRL Meaning in Chat
When you’re chatting with people online, you might use IRL to show you’re talking about something that’s happening offline rather than something that’s happening within the chat room.
For example, you might say in a chat room, “It’s so much fun hanging out online. Would you ever want to meet up IRL?”
IRL Friends Meaning
You can use IRL with your friends to distinguish between the real world and everything else, including what’s happening online or in books and movies.
For example, you might tell your friend, “I love reading about romances with morally gray love interests, but that would be really toxic IRL.”
IRL Meaning on Twitter
People often use IRL on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. On Twitter, it can be used to mark a distinction between someone’s Twitter persona and their real personality.
For example, you might see a Tweet that says, “I’m very outgoing here, but my friends would tell you that I’m actually really shy IRL.”
Examples of IRL Abbreviation
Let’s take a look at an example where IRL is being used in a conversation between friends.
Friend 1: Did you see Brad’s new boyfriend? He looks so hot!
Friend 2: That’s just a filter. There’s no way he looks like that IRL.
Here’s another example:
Friend 1: That actor seems so scary because he only ever plays villains on TV.
Friend 2: My aunt said she met him once at a convention! He’s actually a really nice person IRL.
Remember that IRL might be a useful term for conversations between friends, but it’s best used in informal contexts. You can use ProWritingAid’s Paraphrase report to help reword your writing for more formal situations.