Most of the time, “TFTI” is a sign that someone is feeling left out. Here’s what that acronym means and why it might make your group chats more awkward.
Thanks for the invitation!
TFTI stands for “Thank you for the invitation”. In direct messages, people use this sarcastic initialism when they feel left out of a social situation. For example, if all your friends have decided to go out for drinks and you’ve seen their pics on Instagram, you could send them a message, “Wow, TFTI.”
You can write it in both uppercase “TFTI” and lowercase “tfti”, both of which are fairly common. It is closely related to the concept of FOMO, which means the fear of missing out.
The origin of TFTI
Unlike many acronyms from the early 2000s, TFTI gained prominence in the 2010s. As more social groups began using technology to communicate, people began switching to SMS and direct messaging for event planning and hosting. TFTI was coined to respond to incidents where your friends forget to invite you to something.
The earliest definition of TFTI in the Internet slang database Urban Dictionary is from 2010. It reads, “An acronym for ‘thanks for inviting you,’ which is typically used when a bunch of your friends are going out and don’t think to invite you over.” These days it’s used almost exclusively in direct texts and messages used, especially in group threads.
Sarcastic and sincere
Despite its seemingly good-natured and cheerful definition, TFTI is predominantly used sarcastically. Most people who say this phrase or use the acronym aren’t being grateful, they’re indicating someone didn’t invite them. So you should be careful using this acronym – you might accidentally come across as bitter for not being invited.
You should also be wary of this acronym when someone says it to you. People usually use it when they feel left out of an event, especially when images or videos of that event are plastered on all social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. For example, if you organize a meeting with your friends and don’t invite a person who is usually in the group, they will probably send you a “TFTI” message.
TFTI can also be a way to fish for additional information. When you don’t receive an invitation to a social situation, you’re usually unsure whether they did it accidentally or on purpose. Saying “TFTI” to your friends can clarify whether they forgot to invite you or left you out on purpose. Sometimes they might have invited you but their message could not be sent.
In rare situations, people use the phrase “thank you for the invitation” to sincerely thank someone for inviting them, especially when they are unable to attend 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 because of “fear of missing out”, often abbreviated to “FOMO”. This is a feeling of anxiety that people get when they don’t want to be left out of social gatherings, opportunities, and experiences. Usually, people who are frustrated at not being invited are already feeling a lot of FOMO, and the lack of an invite makes things worse.
The idea of FOMO has been studied extensively, reported in the news, and portrayed 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 plenty of FOMO arising from your career, finances or family commitments. It can even describe the feeling of watching too many TV shows and not having enough time.
However, not all TFTI situations are born out of FOMO. Many people get annoyed that they were not invited to something when they would not have attended the 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, consider voicing your concerns more maturely. The acronym can feel accusatory to most people, especially if they accidentally forgot to invite you.
Here are some examples of TFTI in action:
- “Nice Instagram pics. TFTI.”
- “Wow, tfty. I guess you just forgot about me.”
- “Did you go surfing without me? TFTI!”
If tensions are high in group chat because someone sent a “TFTI,” you may want to use other slang terms to de-escalate the situation. Check out our explainers on DW, YSK, and TIFU to make things less heated.
TIED TOGETHER: What does “DW” mean and how is it used?
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