Brb. A tiny, simple expression used by most people to indicate that one will temporarily be unavailable during a text conversation. It’s a fine, sturdy acronym for most people. but not for me.
I fucking hate using brb. Not for any highfalutin, degradation of the English language reasons. No, I never use brb because thinking about using it triggers an intense neurotic response within me.
See, when you use brb, you imply a whole lot more than be right back. What you’re really saying is something like this: Hey bro, I know we were having this great conversation about Transformers or whatever, but I gotta duck out and go penetrate a mountain goat. I’ll be fast, so just hang tight and we’ll talk more about big robots, k?
By saying brb, you’re implicitly saying that you want to continue the conversation, leading to a potentially awkward situation for the recipient. What if the recipient’s done talking about Megan Fox fighting giant robots, but he or she doesn’t want to be rude? There aren’t many polite ways of saying fuck off. And you just know that when the brber gets back, he (or she) is going to say, “back,” and expect some kind of response.
Of course, if it’s obvious that both parties are in the middle of a fulfilling conversation about livestock fondling, then one person using brb is perfectly fine. It’s the other conversations, when it might have been a minute or more since anyone has said anything, that pose a serious ethical dilemma.
If you say brb, you, again, impose an unspoken social contract on the other person.
If you say nothing and the other person says something in your absence, then you’re an asshole.
If you take the nuclear option and say g2g, well…what if the other person’s a massive stalker who diligently keeps track of your status to make sure that you have, in fact, logged off? You could go invisible, but then later you might forget to switch back and wind up missing out on one of your other bros telling you about this awesome goat festival down the street.
I’ve spent a long time pondering this problem, and I think I’ve come up with the perfect solution. It’s simple, all you have to do is…hang on, brb.