What Does RLF Mean in a Text?

RLF means "Real Life Friend."

The abbreviation RLF is used with the meaning "Real Life Friend" to refer to a friend who is seen face-to-face, as opposed to a relationship which exists only online (e.g., on Facebook). Friendships can take many forms, but RLFs are considered the best, because closer bonds can usually be forged in person.

Image for RLF

When I write RLF, I mean this:

meaning of RLF

It's nice to have RLFs.

Summary of Key Points

"Real Life Friend" is the most common definition for RLF on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Real Life Friend
Guessability:guessability level 2
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of RLF in Sentences

Here are examples of RLF being used in conversations:
  • Louis: Can I bring Simon?
  • Will: Is he your RLF?
  • Niall: You should go out more.
  • Sheila: I've only got one RLF. My others are all online.

An Academic Look at RLF

As it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., "Arr Ell Eff"), RLF is classified as an initialism abbreviation. Initialisms are different to acronyms, which are spoken like words.

"Real Life Friend" is a noun phrase. A noun phrase is a phrase that plays the role of a noun. The head word in a noun phrase will be a noun or a pronoun. In the examples below, the whole noun phrase is in brackets and the head word is in bold:
  • I've met [the last remaining chief].
  • I know [the back streets].

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, when we might have had "Pen Friends," we would have just said "Real Life Friend," instead of using the abbreviation RLF.

Example of RLF Used in a Text

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